Tuesday, October 18, 2016

6 weeks in

     We are just about 6 weeks into the school year. It has taken 6 weeks, but we FINALLY are having drop -offs without tears! Kellen has adjusted incredibly well to preschool. He seems happy and seems to be making some "friends." Drop off every morning has been tough, but it was like when we hit the 6 week mark, he realized I was always coming back and the tears have stopped. :) Phew! Thankfully, even with the tears, I knew he was quick to get over my leaving and enjoy his day. I am anxious to get to the point where I can pop down and visit him during the day but we're not there yet. :) If I were to do this now, I'm afraid he would have a very tough time transitioning back. His teachers are amazing, as are his therapists. He gets speech up to 5 times a week, meets with the ECSE leader here for reinforcement, still does private speech for an hour a week (on top of school speech) with Miss Suzanne, and has started OT at school as well. I LOVE having him at Glen Lake. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I love our morning car rides, I love his excitement to see me at the end of the day, I love getting to touch base with his wonderful teachers each day and I love watching him through my window out on the playground. Things have exceeded our expectations already and we know without a doubt we have made the best decision for our boy.

     I don't have a lot of time to write a lot but I need to post this video. His teachers had told me he was singing along to songs in class. I was shocked. Remember, coming into September, we were hearing 2 MAYBE 3 words at a time and that was pretty limited. He was still talking most often in one word responses. Yet one day after school I asked him to do his friends song for me and I got this. I had tears streaming down my face. If you know Kellen, you KNOW how monumental this moment was.  "You were given this mountain to show others that it can be moved."

Monday, September 19, 2016

Northern Michigan Apraxia Walk

     This past weekend, we had the honor of participating in the Northern Michigan Apraxia Walk in Gaylord. We put together a team, called "Kellen's Krew" and raised over $1,000 for CASANA (Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America). It was an amazing experience. Both Dave and I were brought to tears by speeches and by the families that came together to support their children, to support Kellen, to support kids all around the world who are working so hard every day to overcome apraxia. Because we were the top fundraising team, we got to carry the banner on the walk. :) Kellen's beloved daycare worker also came and walked with us. Unfortunately grandparents/uncles/cousins were all unable to attend this year, but they are already talking about attending the next one and of course supported us and supported Kellen from afar. So much of this journey with Kellen has been tough because we have not had an opportunity to really get to spend time with others who have been down the same path. It was a beautiful day and Kellen had a great time. We are so, so proud of our amazing little boy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


       Yes, you read that right, we are on the brink of school with this kid. How in the world that happened, I have no idea! I swear just yesterday he was an itty bitty baby! :) We had an amazing summer. Dave and I traveled to Nashville with Jason and Christina. Oh how I fell in love with that city! We also as a family all flew out to New Mexico. My 93 year old grandfather passed away in the spring and we had a big family gathering to honor him and also to see my beautiful grandmother. It was an unbelievable experience. We realized that it had been close to 20 years since all the cousins were together in that way. We were so lucky to have this experience and the beautiful summer we did. Now though, we are drawing summer to a close and thinking about school.
        When Kellen turned 3, he was phased out of Early On. Because he was 3 and their intervention ability stopped, they recommended ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) as the next step for Kellen. However, Dave and I did not feel comfortable taking this step. The nearest ECSE program was at Blair Elementary. He would have to get on the bus and off the bus at daycare. This was a terrifying thought for us, especially given that fact that he was nonverbal. I also hated that by getting on and off the bus at daycare, we had no immediate connection to the school. It wasn't like he was going to be able to tell us about his day... so how would be stay tuned in? We also loved our daycare provider and felt he was in the absolute best hands there. So, we kept in in daycare and just did speech outside of daycare. The fall he was 3 and a half, we had to make a similar decision. Again, we were encouraged to send him to ECSE, again, we had the same concerns that we had had in January. So we opted to keep him in daycare for one more year and continue with private therapy and pull out therapy at his home school in TC.
       However, now, it's time. He is 4 and needs to be in a preschool program. We really struggled with what the best decision was. We had essentially 3 options. 1- ECSE. He would still have to bus and it would still be at Blair. 2- Silver Lake, his home school. We actually really planned on option 2 for most of his life. It was his neighborhood school and Gigi was there as a connection. However, with her passing away, this seemed like less of a certain choice. There were some great reasons to send him to Silver Lake. Friendships nearby and after school activities easy to attend were big ones. Yet, he would have to attend before school care and after school care. 3- Glen Lake with me. I think a part of me was hesitant on this option only because I was afraid of the ability to disconnect from teacher to mom, which I knew I was going to have to do. I am a total people pleaser and non-confrontational, yet I knew through our experiences so far, it was very likely I was going to have to "raise my voice" and advocate for Kellen. We talked a lot about the best choice for Kellen and it always came back to Glen Lake. While he is saying some two word expressions, he is still using quite a lot of approximations and still hard for most to understand. I love the SLP at our school and I know she will do wonders with him. The biggest reason we have opted for Glen Lake though is just because I will be right there. I can touch base with his teachers/therapists daily as needed. This means they can tell me hey, we played with blocks today and I can then talk about it with him at home (even though he is limited in what he can share). That home to school carryover is so huge and so important. It also means that his teachers and therapists can seek me out if they're hearing/seeing things they don't understand. So many of his approximations are things Dave and I are used to hearing-- we forget they're not always as recognizable to others.
         I have lost more sleep than I can to acknowledge over this decision. I am terrified of how it will be. What if kids don't talk to him or get him? What if kids are mean to him but he can't say anything back? What if he is teased? What if something bad happens but he doesn't have the ability to tell anyone? What if he's scared? What if we're making the wrong decision?
         Ugh. I KNOW he'll be okay. I KNOW that by being at Glen Lake, with me, I have the ability to help fix or eliminate some of those fears... but it doesn't stop the fear none-the-less.
         Here we go though, a few more weeks, and our boy is off to Glen Lake Preschool!

Monday, May 2, 2016

A loss for words

About three weeks ago, we lost one of the most important people in our worlds, especially in Kellen's. Diagnosed with cancer for the 3rd time right before Halloween, Dave's mom, Kellen's beloved Gigi- passed away on April 18th. She was Kellen's biggest fan. She loved that boy with every ounce of her being. I am so thankful for her love and her guidance. I know that this blog is set up to be about Kellen and his journey-- but his Gigi WAS a part of his journey and will continue to be a part of his world. We have found challenges in sadness and in explaining things to him in ways he will understand (and also challenges in the fact that he can't ask questions-- so we're not real sure what his little mind is thinking). Last weekend we held a funeral for this incredible woman at the elementary school she worked at. There were probably over 500 people there. A true testament to the amazing person she was. Her love, her memory, her legacy will live on in Kellen. I just wanted a place to share and to house some photos. We are all so broken. We miss her so much.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Kellen's famous! :)

A local news station did a feature story on Kellen! They talked about Childhood Apraxia of Speech and about getting the proclamation! It was pretty cool to be interviewed (although incredibly nerve wracking too!). His article was then also shared by the CASANA site! What an honor it was to be representing CAS and our amazing kid. A link to the article/newscast is below :)