Hit by a Bus

The title of this post is not a joke. Seriously.

Today is Parker’s last day of first grade. Look how much he has changed!

The day started out great. He followed directions and we left the house with plenty of time. I was blown away by how much he has grown physically, developmentally and emotionally.

When we got to school, I pulled in to the drop off line. When we got to the front, he gave me the usual hug and kiss and then hopped out. I closed his door, put the car in drive, checked the mirror and then…
BOOM!

I don’t think I had even hit the gas yet.

I was hit by a bus. Literally.

We were both in each other’s blind spots and the bus was too close to the drop off lane while pulling in to the bus park lane.

After the initial impact, the bus just. kept. going.

It was so loud and felt like it was ripping the front driver, side corner off of my van. The front of my van was completely banged up and the bus knocked the bumper off. In other words, my car is a mess. Amazingly the bus had maybe a three inch scratch and not a dent to be seen.

Parker saw it happen and was understandably upset so his teacher brought him out to see I was ok.

No one was hurt and I managed to hold it together while dealing with the police officer, school transportation authority, tow truck and our insurance.

Then I got home and proceeded to lose my marbles. I was shaking, crying and had trouble catching my breath.

Scott, knowing me as he does, asked me which essential oils I wanted and then kindly got my vetiver and grounding blend.

I know I write and post a lot about essential oils but it is not just to make money. These oils work and can impact your life in a positive, gentle, natural and healthy way.

Within minutes of layering vetiver and the grounding blend on my big toes and wrists, I felt my breath return to normal and my emotions leveled out.

I chose to use these two oils because they work well for me in stressful situations (some of this is trial and error – finding the right oils for your particular concern and body chemistry) and there is science supporting their calming effects.

And here is a link to a video that actually shows what happens to your red blood cells after using grounding blend. It is truly amazing to watch and no wonder I was feeling better after using my oils.

The good news is that no one was hurt today. I am so grateful to have my oils to help me cope in stressful and scary situations. Unfortunately, my van isn’t doing so great and we will know more about that tomorrow – that’s about the only thing I don’t have an oil for!

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To learn more about my essential oil obsession, click here. If you are interested in learning more about the oils I’m using, and how to get them, contact me using this form:

Roller-Coaster

The last couple of months have been a crazy, busy, wild roller-coaster ride. We sold our house with an extremely agressive closing period, bought a house, moved, got the boys settled in to a new school and home, and organized and hosted the annual Pittsburgh Walk for Williams Syndrome.

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The boys have adjusted beautifully. I was worried that Parker would struggle with the mid-year transition – leaving his friends and making new ones – but that fear was unfounded. He did great with the (even more) aggressive curriculum and is smiling every day when he gets off of the bus. Reed quickly made friends with his peers and teachers – it is amazing how people are drawn to him.

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I am relieved that I can refocus my energy now and get back to the basics.

On the home front, we are painting and doing some recarpeting – along with the general maintenance, yard work, etc.

We are working with Reed’s team to develop a really strong IEP  to set him up for success in Kindergarten. He will be in the regular ed class with his peers with some pull out for learning support and we will be working to further improve his focus – which his is greatest barrier to learning.

Speaking of focus, Parker struggles to attend at school too but is doing quite well academically. His teacher has mentioned “2e” (twice exceptional: gifted and ADD – no “h” for Parker) several times as a strong possibility so we are working on strategies to improve his focus while planning to test for gifted programming next winter. His focus will be critical to testing and accessing curriculum to keep him challenged and motivated. We are looking at many natural solutions (essential oils, diet, supplements, exercise – and yes, we are trying all of these with Reed, too) and will consider medication as a last resort.

As for me, I am keeping busy with house projects, the kids, gearing up for summer, my development consulting business, and building my essential oil business. So, long story short, my crazy life is settling down and ramping up at the same time!

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*To read more about my essential oil obsession, click here. Or, to learn about the oils I use and how to get them, contact me using this form:

Guest Post: NATURALLY IMPROVE FOCUS FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS – WITH ESSENTIAL OILS

I am honored and excited to announce that I am guest blogging on a post with good friend and fellow Williams syndrome mother, Katherine. We are sharing our experiences about the ways we are using essential oils to support our children with special needs. Please check it out here.

How Far We’ve Come

Until recently, doctor appointments with Reed were incredibly stressful for both him and me and unfortunately, because of Williams syndrome, he sees a lot of specialists.

In the past, he would get anxious as soon as he saw the hospital. He would run around the waiting area like a pinball in a pinball machine and then as soon as we entered the clinic, he would start screaming and wouldn’t stop until we left – both of us frazzled and frustrated.  So many things would set him off: the lights, the smell, the stethascope and blood pressure cuff, and those horrid purple, rubber gloves – just to name a few.

We’ve introduced a lot of strategies – some we’ve been doing for a long time and it is just now clicking and others are new – and his visits have drastically improved.

Prior to his last appointment, we talked about the appointment and what would happen. We showed him YouTube videos and played with the toy stethascope and blood pressure cuff.

When we got to the hospital, he was much calmer. He sat and played at the ipad station.

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When they paged us in to the clinic, he walked right up to the nurse and said, “Hi! I Reed!” Through vitals, we counted in a slow, rhythemic cadence – that really calms him for some reason.  For the first time in I don’t know how long, we were able to get a good resting heart rate and blood pressure.

When the medical assistant came in to the exam room and put on the purple gloves, he started to get nervous and tried to avoid the gloves but we used the “replays” strategy (info here) and he ended up making her put the gloves on again and again to play. If you have ever met a child with Williams syndrome, you know that they can charm most people in to getting their way!

After the MA walked out, I thought it was time to try some essential oils since he was getting wound up. When he is excited, he can quickly escalate to an anxious and agitated state. I layered the grounding blend and invigorating blend on his feet and behind his ears (and a little on my wrists for good measure). You can also make the Monster Juice blend with these two oils in a roller ball bottle with coconut oil.

And then this happened.

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He was so calm!

The nurse came in with a surgical mask on because she had a cold. I thought for sure this would set him off when I saw the worried glint in his eyes. Instead, we made a big deal about her halloween costume and had him cracking up. Reed is seriously obsessed with holidays and Halloween is one of his favorites.

Then, the doctor came in – also wearing a mask. Reed immediately broke in to song singing Monster Mash. By the end of the appointment, he had the doctor and nurse singing and dancing along and we left with smiles on our faces.

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I am amazed (and relieved) by how far he has come in such a short time. It was such a good feeling to leave knowing that neither of us had a really stressfull experience. I remember, not too long ago, thinking that this day would never come but it did. For families out there struggling with the same thing, hang in there and keep trying and retrying new strategies. It WILL get better.

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*To read more about my interest in essential oils, click here. Or, to learn more about the oils I use and how you can get them, contact me using the form below:

New Year, New Blog!

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A couple of months ago, I bought this domain. I hadn’t blogged in about two years and the process was very therapeutic for me. I missed writing. Every time I went to write on the old blog, I felt limited by the title and previous content. I have a lot of interests wanted a place that was more inclusive. Baby J and Bean is still there and will be for the forseeable future if you want to check out.

My goal is to write here at least once a week. I plan to continue writing about my family and also about parenting a child with special needs. Some of my other (obsessive) interests are knitting, food, pinterest projects – yes, I’m one of “those” moms, and improving my family’s health and wellness. I recently started running, we are trying to eat (and I am trying to cook) better and we have also started paying more attention to the products that we are using in our home and eliminating toxins when possible.

Now for an update: Scott is still working with the same company and I started working as an independant development (fundraising) consultant about nine months ago. I love the flexibility that consulting affords and I really enjoy supporting efforts by organizations that are close to my heart. I also continue to volunteer for the Williams Syndrome Association, the most comprehensive organization supporting individuals with Williams syndrome and their families.

Parker is in first grade. He enjoys school and his favorite classes are math, computers and gym. He is addicted to minecraft and LOVES taking karate lessons.

Reed, who was born with Williams syndrome, is five now and is in his final year of PreK. He absolutely loves school and has an amazing team in place that is meeting his needs and then some. His health has been great and he is making tremendous progress in terms of academics, social skills and even adaptive skills – an area that has been especially tough for him. Reed loves being outside, watching kinder surprise egg videos and Christmas. It is Christmas all year-round in our house!

So that’s it for now. This is our new blog launch and I hope you will join us for the ride!