Monday, July 16, 2012

A Family Update (and some devastating family news)

It has been an eternity since I blogged.  Life has been crazy which I have excepted as our new normal.  Four small children make life full in the most wonderful way.  Brady is 7 now and will be in second grade in the Fall.  He is handsome, intelligent, and so funny.  He has proudly accepted the role of big brother and has become quite the helper.  The "babies" look up to him and he LOVES it.  Bryce turned 6 this Spring and will be in 1st grade in September.  He has become his father's son.  He loves sports, especially football and soccer, and is extremely competitive.  In two weeks both Brady and Bryce will start their second year of football.  Kaitlyn, our beautiful Kaitlyn will be 3 years old in just a few weeks, she is changing so fast and is developing an awesome personality.  Her transformation from tot to preschooler is happening right in front of our eyes.  She has over 75 signs that she knows and is using them to communicate more and more each day.  She loves Signing Time, Barney and Friends, and The Fresh Beat Band.  She would dance, draw, and swim all day if she could.  She will transition into preschool this Fall.  Ty, our baby, will be 2 years old at the end of the month.  He is hilarious, an angel, a devil, a helper and a lover...he currently walks in Brady's shadow and loves to taddle on his big sister.

2012 has brought a lot of changes/challenges for our family.  Bryce's peanut allergy keeps us on our toes and advocacy for him at school has taken a lot of our time.  We are learning the IEP process with Kaitlyn and make it our job to know special education law and IDEA.  It's a challenge and overwhelming, her first official IEP is in August, wish us luck!

This January my Dad lost his job in Tennessee after working for Oreck for several years.  Shortly after that my parents put their house up for sale and they moved up here to Michigan.  We are so glad they are here.  Their house has sold and they are living with us until they get settled.  My Dad has been with his new job now for 3 months and they are hoping to buy a new house soon.

My heart is heavy tonight which is the reason I felt the need to blog, I have so much to say and wasn't sure who to unload on so instead I type...

My Mom has not been well since they arrived in Michigan.  LONG story short we received some pretty bad news.  After after a 9 day hospital stay over the 4th of July for a bad case of pneumonia the doctors uncovered some serious underlying medical problems.  We found out that she is in heart failure, both her mitral and aortic valves need to be replaced, as well as a possible bypass which will require a scary open heart surgery.  This was very difficult to hear but we found comfort knowing that there was a "fix" for her heart.  The surgery was suppose to be in mid August.  Many of you already knew of this as I updated facebook often and made several phone calls.  Unfortunately we received more devastating news.  Last week one more set of test results came back, it was a flow cytometry that was done on the fluid off her lung from a second thorocentesis before she left the hospital.  It showed that her non Hodgkin's Lymphoma (B cell) is back.  She spoke to her Oncologist from Vanderbilt University tonight and was told that aggressive treatment is needed and that Chemotherapy will be tripled in intensity this time...she will meet with a local Oncologist Wednesday and they will come up with a plan of attack.  I'm not sure what this means for her heart, she will see cardiology in a couple weeks.  But I know for now her heart will wait and we will pray that it can hold on until she beats cancer yet again.  Prayer Warriors, we need you!!!  We need a miracle!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanks & GIVING for Gabriel and his family!

One of my dear local friends and fellow blogger needs our help! Erin, from Gabriel Updates, and her family are in need of some support.  In a few weeks Gabriel their 3 year old will be in an Intensive Feeding Program to teach him to eat and enjoy food.  They have been waiting for a very long time to get into this great program and are thrilled that Gabriel will be getting the help that he needs.  The problem is that Erin will be missing 8 weeks of work while Gabriel attends long hours each day at therapy.  So to ease the financial stress a few of us have started a fund for the family to help out with bills, their mortgage, Isabella's childcare, and any other expenses that arise during this time.  I am asking for your help.  Please make a donation this holiday season to this amazing amount is to small!  You can make a donation by clicking on the Chip In link on the right of the screen!  Thank you so much!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dearest Erin, we love you and help is on the way :)

(To my fellow bloggers please help me rally around this family and share their story and the chip in on your blog)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Family + Fun = Memories

Happy Father's Day Dad!

You are an amazing Dad, and a super amazing Grandpa!
For a good laugh, the cow that snuck into your yard.  Most people would chase it out of the yard but Blair took pictures!!!

Another cow on the wrong side of the fence!

The 'Big Guy' playing baseball!  So proud of him!!!
The 'Bigs' on Mackinaw Island.  It was wonderful having my parents there with us this year!  Great memories were made!

The 'Babies' in Mackinaw City.  Nope, they are NOT twins.  It's starting to look like it though :)

Our big girl!  Notice her toes in the picture, silly girl!

Ty with Grandpa!

Grandma & Grandpa with all their munchkins!
Bryce & Mommy!  So proud of him.  He biked the island w/out training wheels!

The boat ride back to the city!

Our whole family!
Brady & Bryce at Mill Creek campgroud!!!

Ty-bers soooooooo excited to be out of his car seat!!!

Happy Father's Day!

We love you Dad!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Woot! Woot! Very powerful PSA aired during Glee last night. AWESOME!!!

Have you seen it?  Watch and share!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Giveaway!

Go to the Facebook link on the top right of this blog to get entered in our first giveaway.  If you are selected you will receive a custom made hat of your choice.

Read the instructions below!

Okay Fans it's GIVEAWAY time, here is how it works! For the next 48 hours everyone will have a chance to leave a comment on F & F's Facebook wall (this will be your entry), it will close Wednesday morning at 10:30 EST. In that post please let me know which hat you love and would like to receive if you win. Also please share our page on your wall mentioning the giveaway. If we can reach 150 'likes' by the close time on Wednesday, there will be 2 lucky winners instead of 1! I will then comment on each post and assign you a number. The drawing will be held Wednesday and the winner(s) will be announced! Ready. Set. Go.
Please make sure you click on ALL photos to see all the hats available, there are more than initially show up!

Thank you to all the awesome supporters of our little business!

P.S.  If you are a blogger and you mention this giveaway in a post you can get a second entry!!!
Make sure you mention this on the F & F facebook wall so you get credit for the 2nd entry!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Picture overload! Look how the babies are growing!

Oh my goodness! I can't believe how long it has been since I posted last.  In all honesty we are busy!  Very busy!

We have some new exciting things we are working on.  My husband is officially launching a photography business.  Below you will find several pictures taken by him of our babies!  So proud of him!

I am currently working on also launching a business with my Mom.  Freckles and Firecrackers will be an online children's boutique (inspired by my red-headed-babies).  Featuring handmade crocheted hats by my Mom along with several other essential children's item!  Below you will find several of our hats!

All of these things combined with all the activity that comes with raising four young children keeps us running.  We are so excited for things to come.  I promise to TRY to get to the blog more.  The Tennessee Grandpa is NOT pleased with the lack of activity on Kaitlyn's Korner.  Sorry Dad!

To stay in touch with us on a daily basis find me on facebook, Jenee Skocelas Ross.

Hope you enjoy the pictures!  Kaitlyn at 19 months and Ty at 7 months!  I would love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My feelings on the "R" word...Again!

This is a portion of a letter written to Sarah Palin asking her to take full advantage of her platform and become an advocate and educator for Down syndrome and all intellectual and physical disabilities. The reason I am sharing it is because I feel it truly explains why we as a society really need to think before we speak, and more specifically why we need to remove the "R" word (retarded) from our vocabulary. I've been trying for a couple weeks now to find the words to write on this issue. I think the letter to Sarah Palin written by leaders of the Oz Squad hit the nail on the head. So with their permission I'm sharing a portion of the letter. Please read on, change your thinking, and become a voice and help end the use of the "R" word....

Everybody knows and agrees that the word "retarded" used in a clinical setting defines a group of individuals as having limited cognitive abilities. In this respect, the term carries similar effects as racial or sexual orientation categorizations, in that it invokes a specific class of individuals with immutable characteristics.

But what not everybody seems to realize is that the current, common definitions of the word "retarded" as stupid, wrong, ineffective... the catch-all for anything that is annoyingly deficient, are steeped in our cultural view of people with mental retardation.

So whether one is using the term as an insult or to raise laughs through satire, the speaker is tapping into our common cultural understanding and belief that people with mental retardation are characterized by those negative definitions listed above. The speaker references a group of individuals defined solely by their cognitive limitations, denying them their individual personalities, and by extension their essential humanity. He agrees that this group is inferior and worthy of our scorn. This use of the word "retarded" has become so deeply ingrained in our society that the user probably doesn’t even realize that he has done this.

Many people, when called out on their use of the word, insist that they meant no harm to the mentally retarded community, that their use of the word had nothing to do with this minority group. These people must be made aware that there is no separating the insult/joke from its basis for understanding it.

No one believes that Rahm Emanuel or Rush Limbaugh thought that they were insulting those with true mental retardation when they called people whose ideas they objected to "retarded." But we do believe that both men were making the point that their targets' ideas were of so little merit that they deserve to be grouped with an undesirable category of people. Both the direct target of the insult, and the class of people it refers to, are indisputably demeaned by such a slur. You cannot have one without the other.

Put a simpler way, if people with mental retardation were generally well-respected and thought highly of, the insult "retarded" would not exist.

Having the government remove the term retarded from the books, and having the medical community change the diagnosis terminology to "a person with intellectual disabilities," is not enough to eradicate the insult. The public must be made aware of how the insult relates to and hurts an entire group of people. This is not a word police PC thing, rather it is a matter of common decency.

Some argue that the insult "retarded" will simply be replaced by another word that is just as hurtful to the intellectually disabled community. But just because some group of the population will always turn clinical or descriptive terms into epithets does not mean that we should condone it. Such a standard would condone the use of virtually any racial, ethnic, or sexual orientation slur.

Thanks for reading, and please help Spread the Word to End the "R" Word.

Watch this video, it shows just how overused that word is in our society, and how so many people don't think before they talk!  It makes me ill!