About our blogger: Kel

These days, I feel like I wear many hats: chef, secretary, financial planner, immigrant, speech therapist, that crazy lady down the street... At the end of the day, though, it always comes down to being a loving wife to my husband John and a mom to our two kids, Eric and Danny. It amazes me daily how quickly they grow and how much they fill our lives with joy. I spend most of my time blogging about the daily adventures of motherhood, and I am proud to be a part of the JustMommies blog family both as a contributor and editor.

John and I are blessed to be parents to a special needs child. Our younger son Danny was born with congenital CMV, and I am active in the community trying to spread awareness of this surprisingly common illness. Among his challenges, Danny is deaf, and he uses cochlear implants to hear.

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Posts by Kel:

September 10th, 2014

There He Goes

“Here you go, Mommy,” Andrew said with his ting 2 year old voice, setting the trowel down beside me. I smiled brightly down at him. “Scooping.”

“Thank you, Andrew!” I exclaimes, and he grinned back.

“Welcome, Mommy! Bye bye!” He trundled off and hopped into his little plastic car. Shutting the door, he turned the key, cranked over his shoulder, backed up a little, then “drove” away.


It was a moment, a flash, of the future to come. Today, he went about 4 feet, but it looked so real…and one day, crazy enough, it will be.

But today, I’ll just enjoy the littleness of him.


June 17th, 2014

Brothers at Play


Playing with others has never been high on Danny’s list of things to do – nor has it come easily to him. He loves his brothers like nothing else, though, and wants to play with them…even when he doesn’t know how.


There is a lot of fighting, a lot of mine not yours. He loves to steal toys and hide them from Andrew, to run up and hit Eric will force to get him to play.

Buy when it clicks, it’s beautiful. Like this spinner at the playground down the way. They spent a full 10 minutes, the big ones taking turns spinning each other and laughing uproariously.


Moments like these are what it’s all about.

June 13th, 2014

Pinterest Fails: Fizzing Paint

So, I found this awesome blog post with fizzy sidewalk paint. How great for my boys! Outside, paint, mess, and science fizzing. I set to work one lovely morning!

The recipe called for 1 box of baking soda, 1/2 cup of corn starch, and warm almost hot water to get the thickness. I put a bit of water in, too thick. A bit more, still a thick paste. A little bit more….super thin. What? Oh well. Poured it into a few cups, added food coloring, and set the boys loose.


It became immediately evident that it was too thin, as anything they painted was a slightly tinted wet spot. But hey, they were having fun.


Once the painting fun wore off, I filled up a squirt bottle with about 1/4 water and 3/4 vinegar. I took it out to test spray…and the end of the bottle that makes it spray like we need instead of a thin squirt is missing. What? Ugh. Ok, so we’ll squirt and get some fizz. And we did. A teeeny, tiny bit where they painted, because duh, very little baking soda made it into the paint they were using.

So, I improvised. I stirred up the paints I could find (um, where did the red go?) and dumped them. Read the rest of this entry »

April 28th, 2014

No Language Barrier

The language that Andrew is so easily able to pick up and master no less than amazes me. I totally have to watch what I say, because he WILL pick it up. Like today.


“No, Danny! Stop it stop it! No push! 3, 2, 1, outside!”

Think I count down a little when someone isn’t listening? Yeah, just maybe.


August 14th, 2013

Breaking Down Barriers


Bit by bit, we are learning how to communicate at a level that truly amazes me with Danny. As his reading grows, he is becoming empowered… He needs to work on writing still, but come on, he’s only 5… The stuff we are seeing now really makes me believe he will be fully communicative with an assisting device in time.

Until then, our house is becoming full of white boards, chalk boards, and scraps of paper.


Read the rest of this entry »

July 14th, 2013

Late Night Waking

It’s nearly 10, and suddenly a wail comes through over the baby monitor. I sigh and push myself to my feet, grumbling slightly; I’m so over the night waking, even though I know it’s most likely because of teeth right now. And, I suppose, it’s because Mommy was gone for 24 hours camping with Eric and he needs the reassurance that I’m still here.

Still,  it’s tiring. He had been getting to a point where I could just be in the room and he would lay down and go to sleep – that’s gone now. I miss it. It felt like such a huge step in the right direction toward sleep.

I push open the door with all of the roiling in my head. When the crying instantly stops, it solidifies my resolve. I will not pick him up this time. I will stand strong! I will help him lay down on his own! Progress!

When I get to the side of his crib, I reach to him. I run my hand over his soft head, lay it on his cheek as I kiss his brow. The words are just forming on my lips to tell him to lay down and go to sleep when he lifts an arm. He gives me a half shrug, palm up, elbow bent – a mirror of how I hold my arms when I ask if he wants up.

In a tiny voice, he asks,  “Up?”

Aw heck.

How can I say no to that?

April 3rd, 2013

Autism Awareness

It’s Autism Awareness Day. Facebook is covered with images and statements – “I love someone with autism!” “Light it up blue for autism!” “Autism is seeing the world differently!” As a mom with a kid somewhere on the spectrum, I should probably be jumping right in, but none of it feels like it really raises much awareness. We live in a time where, fortunately, you’d have to live under a rock to not know “autism.” Autism isn’t like a number of other conditions out there that are practically unknown. (CMV, anyone?) I’d venture to say it’s reached the same level that breast cancer has for awareness; everyone knows the name and knows we should raise awareness for it, but no one really knows how to help or what it’s like to live with until it affects one of their own.

So today, I’m going to open up a little about the truth of autism in our home. Autism is different for every person and every family, which is what makes it so hard to understand sometimes. In some families, autism shows itself in the form of strong obsessions or extreme disinterest, echoing everyone’s speech or not speaking at all, stim behaviors like spinning or hand flapping or biting or scratching or beating heads against the wall. We walk right down the middle – Danny is neither a high functioning Aspergers child nor a low functioning child with classic Autism. As in all things, he makes his own path.

For us, autism means spending a lot more time at home. Going out with Danny Read the rest of this entry »


February 25th, 2013

Late One Night

“I want McDonalds,” came Danny’s voice down the stairs.

“You can’t have McDonalds right now, Danny,” followed Eric’s voice softly. “It’s late. McDonalds is closed.”

It was over an hour past bed time, but still talking and laughter came from their room. When I put Andrew to bed and walked past their open door, Eric sat on his top bunk reaching down, and Danny stood below waving and giggling. I knew I should put an end to it and shoo them into bed…but it was hard to do.

See, when I found out I was having a second boy, I imagined late nights in bunk beds with two brothers talking, whispering jokes, teasing and laughing. Once Danny was born and we learned he was deaf, I thought I had to give that up. How could you sign while in separate bunks? We learned about cochlear implants and I worried a little – I mean, he’d sleep with them off – but maybe he’d keep them on long enough…

Then the “other” crept in, the missing social piece, the difficulty speaking, the global delays. With each little bit of the “other,” I saw those bunk bed conversations drift away.

By now, they were a distant memory, almost forgotten and well left behind…

…until I heard those voices drifting. So I let them go on a little longer than I should have, simply because it made me smile.

January 30th, 2013

10 Months

Andrew is getting so big, so fast! At 10 months, he pretty much has perfected cruising. Every now and then we’ll catch him letting go of what he’s holding onto, briefly, but for the most part he has no interest in independent standing. When I try to play with him with it, he refuses to put his feet down and stand! I’m in no rush, though, so he can be a crawler all he wants. For all he is not walking, though, he is climbing – he will push things around so that he can climb onto them and, from there, further up. He’s managed to get onto his brothers’ desk in their room, onto the couch, onto the kitchen table… You name it. He has, at least, had the decency to master going down though, so he is no longer stranded or prone to falling all over the place; he very neatly turns around and goes feet first off everything.

With tooth #5 being cut this month, he took a bit of a…break from eating solids. He would still munch down purees, but until the end of the month, he wanted little to do with finger food. He’d eat a little, and expand his horizons some, but it was always in small quantities. Along with the food “regression” or sorts came a sleep regression, and hooooooly cow, the kid slept terribly! Waking 3-4 times a night has been the norm around here. He uses the awake time, it seems, to figure out babbling, because he’s been a pretty vocal kid with his /d/ and /b/ sound busting out again.

The most exciting part of 10 months, though, is the communication. Now, I’m not talking speech – there’s been no first word yet – but he’s getting the back and forth of communication down. We will blow raspberries at each other with great turn taking, and he’ll pause and wait for me to blow one (or his brothers, even Danny gets in on this action) before he goes on. Danny and I play an “ah-choo” game, and Andrew has picked up on it… If I sneeze (legitimately or not), often he will gives a squeal (very high pitched “ahhhhh!!”) and then blow a raspberry, which is how Danny play-sneezes a lot of the time. It kind of cracks me up, and I hope to catch it on video soon! He’s also been experimenting with signing “milk” when he nurses, and “all done” at times as well. He’s figuring out waving and will sometimes wave when someone waves to him…though more often than not, it’s after they disappear out of sight. He’s putting his arms up/out when he wants up, as well. Receptively, he’s understanding more and more, which is exciting and says to me that a word or two will probably be coming soon!

Andrew’s favorite games this month have been the drop game (yep, we’ve hit that stage) and crawling around the house making as big a mess as possible. He is starting to experiment with putting things back in though too, and will diligently empty and then refill stuff…at least part way, before getting distracted. You can just watch him and see him trying to figure out how things go together; I love watching the gears turn in his little head!

We are onward and upward to big things around here :)

December 20th, 2012

One of Those Days

It’s 4:15 on a Thursday, and I’m sitting on the couch with a sleeping baby sprawled across my lap, small mountains of crumpled up Kleenex around me from blowing my nose way too many times, and a mess of baby toys on the floor in front of me – one of the many reasons I’ll never be mom of the year. It’s early release Thursday, so Eric is home already. Instead of doing something educational or crafty or athletic, like Perfect Mom would, I have a play station controller in my hand. He’s finished his homework, and when asked what he’s like to do, he insists he wants to watch me play Final Fantasy. I should say no, but hey, let’s be real – if your kid begs you to play your video game, and it’s something appropriate for them to watch, you check if he’s sure than you pop that sucker in with a silent “finally! I haven’t gotten to play in weeks!”

Andrew stirs as I get to a boss, so I offer him some milk and he gladly sucks away while I try to finish just one more battle before turning it off. Suddenly, warmth. Wet, seeping warmth all over my lap…and though I may pee a little when I sneeze, I’m not prone to relieving myself without feeling it, so I know something has gone amiss with Andrew’s diaper.


I pause, much to Eric’s dismay, and rush Read the rest of this entry »