July 14, 2012

Being An Educator

I always knew I wanted to be an educator.  There are so many teachers in my family so I guess it was inevitable.  :) Teaching is an amazing profession!  I get to experience children growing and changing right in front of my eyes everyday.   I'm very partial to elementary education particularly kindergarten.  I've taught kindergarten for eight years and to me there is tremendous growth packed in to one year of learning.  LOVE my job!   To me being an educator has always meant teaching children in a classroom.  Now, it seems to be more.

I took the boys to get haircuts the other day and while we were there I found myself educating a few of the stylist about achondroplasia.  I don't always feel the need to explain that Reid has achondroplasia or what it is.  However, sometimes I do.  The stylist who cut Spencer's hair walked over to see Reid and asked how old he was...If you have a child with a form of skeletal dysplasia I'm sure you can close your eyes now and finish the story. :)  When I told her he was 8 months old she then asked if he was crawling.  I said, "No, not yet".  Then, I began to explain that he would be a bit behind in his gross motor skills because he was born with achondroplasia.  Of course, she had the look of "say what?...achondro what?"  I explained achondroplasia is the most common form of dwarfism.  Her questions began to follow just as if I was in a classroom teaching my kindergartners about the duck billed platypus....questions, questions, questions.
Question: "Is that something that you carry and passed down to him?"
Answer: "Nope, it's a random mutation that occurs at or before the time of conception."
Question: "So, it can happen to anyone?!"
Answer: "Yep." 
(She looked a little shocked and scared at this point. Trying not to roll my eyes, I told her the chances were pretty rare.) I hate to say that I wanted to roll my eyes but I am human and these questions do come often and it seems they are always the same.  I could have done without the next comment of, "Well he's still very cute."  What?!!! Still??  If I cut her some slack I'm sure she didn't really mean "still cute".  I said, "Yeah he's cute!  The cutest!"  By this time Reid and I seemed to have the attention of three or four stylist in the salon.  I was educating people right then and there but not in my classroom, not with lesson plans and not with an agenda...with life.  My life. Reid's life.  I realized right then the importance of teaching people about achondroplasia. Before I had Reid I knew nothing about achondroplasia and that is what I have to realize. People that ask questions don't know and they want to know.  When I have five year olds in my classroom eager to learn I'm jumping with excitement inside.  Why should people we bump into be any different?  If I tell them about achondroplasia and Reid flashes his gigantic smile a few times, they will listen, learn and become comfortable about something they knew nothing about.  As Reid's mom that is my new goal.  I'll be an educator for the rest of my life.  I won't retire and tuck it away, it will always be something I do.

I'm spending most of my time right now educating this guy!
Just look at those sleepy eyes ready for his story and then bed.

What is Moma getting? A book?

 Choices, choices! :)

Tonight my precious guy wanted to hold the book and turn the pages!

Tonight's story of choice is near and dear to our hearts! The author is my uncle and the illustrator is my aunt!  I love this book! I have a copy at home in Reid's nursery and in my classroom for my kinder kiddos! :)

July 13, 2012


Today as we ran out to go for a swim, Briggs checked the filter like he always does.  He yells out, "MOM! There's a baby turtle!"  Sometimes we get baby snapping turtles caught in the pool filter overnight.  The seem to be confusing our pool for the lake.  This time he seemed really excited so I hurried over.  A tiny red eared slider turtle (at least that is what I think he was) was perched on the edge of the flagstone about to take the plunge into the pool.  I told Briggs to grab him because he wasn't a snapping turtle and he wouldn't bite.  He looked at me as if to say...."Seriously? You're joking right?" Hahahahaha! So I had to explain to my little south Georgia lake dweller that not all turtles are snapping turtles.  Well, from there it was instant interest!  We scooped him up in a plastic container and let him hang out in the shade while we went swimming.  Briggs got out every 10 minutes to check on him.  Briggs named him "Parkley" and it became very clear, very soon that he would be wanting Parkley to stick around as another member of the family. 

I think Parkley was adorable!  He was so incredibly tiny!  I began texting a few friends that have had pet turtles to get the "low down" and googling to get a little turtle knowledge.  The Internet seemed to portray their care as a big deal but friends said it was pretty low maintenance.  That's good!  However, it was mentioned that they can carry salmonella.  It doesn't harm the animal but of course is terrible for humans, especially older adults and kids.  So, in the end we decided to let Parkley go live in the big lake where he will have lots of room to grow.  Briggs was such a good sport and thought that it would be a good idea as well.  Love my sweet guy! He's growing up so much!

(There was some major hand washing after this!)
Cute little Parkley!

Let's go let him go!

I can't even see him in this picture! Anyone?

 Bye Parkley!

July 12, 2012

Baltimore Trip

We take Reid to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD to see specialists every six months.  Reid had appointments this past Monday and Tuesday with his geneticist, neurosurgeon and orthopedic surgeon.  We drove to Atlanta to catch a flight to Baltimore. (note: all pictures were taken with the camera phone and therefore blurry)

All smiles before the ride.

Briggs was excited in the airport and began taking pictures of badges he saw.

Ready to go on the plane!  Our flight was supposed to leave at 8:15pm and instead we got off the ground around 10:00pm!  My boys were tired, especially the youngest. 

Reid sucked down a bottle right before we took off and slept the entire flight! Yay! :)

FINALLY in the hotel!
"Wow! Dad, look at all these tall buildings!"
Love these south Georgia boys!

Breakfast of champions!

Going to appointments!

Waiting on Dr. Jallo and making funny faces in the mirror!

Of course, these two found a way to pass the time!

Going for a walk in the Inner Harbor area.

We just HAD to end the night with ice cream!

We were supposed to meet up with this cutie!

However, I started feeling sick the last morning we were in Baltimore.  We had planned on meeting up and going to the aquarium. Briggs was completely bummed and all but said, "Just suck it up, Mom!"  Hahaha  I promised next time we would make it happen! We got to meet Max, Stefanie and TJ back during our December appointments but I would have loved to see them again! We'll be back in January you guys! 

Reid had great appointments!  We feel very blessed! :)

July 8, 2012

Thank You!

Thank you Aunt GG and Uncle Mike for our unexpected surprise! We really appreciate the blessing! Love y'all!

Jennifer, Rico, Spencer, Briggs and Reid

July 6, 2012


Meet Mateo ("Teo")! Isn't he just beautiful!!!  I remember seeing his picture months ago and thinking he was one of the cutest little boys I had ever seen!  I'm a sucker for baby rolls!  Look at those legs!! :)

Teo was born with achondroplasia.  Babies born with achondroplasia can have many medical complications.  Some babies with achondroplasia require more medical procedures than others.  Teo is needing more help from specialist and has spent a large portion of his life in hospitals. 

I know most of you are probably reading this post thanking God for your healthy children!  But, what if you could do more?  What if I could do more?  What if we could all come together and really make a difference?!

What if we could make a difference for this family?

I'm asking you to donate to the cost of Teo's medical needs and expenses.  His family has tens of thousands of dollars to pay for his treatment. Imagine if everyone just gave five dollars!  Five dollars is less than a drive through lunch or a car wash!  What if you just skipped your daily intake of Starbucks today and gave to this family?  YOU can make a difference in someone's life! 

Being on the other side is hard sometimes.  Feel blessed that you live the life you do and then bless someone else!  Be the miracle for a very deserving family!

Please visit Team Teo and donate today by clicking here!  Or, visit http://www.youcaring.com/fundraiser_details?url=teamteo&fundraiser_id=5133 .

July 5, 2012

8 Months Old

Reid was 8 months old on June 25th.  So, as usual, I'm a little behind in posting. ;)  Reid is doing great!  He is waking up once a few times at night for a bottle.  It really depends on who you ask...We put Reid to bed around 8:00 and he wakes up at 11:00 for a bottle.  However, we are still up so I say that doesn't count.  He then sleeps until around 1:00 a.m. and then wants another bottle again at 5:00 a.m.  Rico has started taking most of those 1:00 feedings! :))  He is taking two naps a day and both are usually 30-45 minutes long.  Reid really enjoys his cereal in the mornings mixed with some sort of fruit, bananas being the most popular, and he has a veggie and fruit for lunch and in the evenings.  I didn't get too many smiles from him this time but here's our guy at 8 months. :)

8 Months:

20" head circumference

25" height

16 lbs. 8 oz. weight

We decided to have Fairbanks hang out in this photo session.  Fairbanks and Reid are big buds.  He's around for a lot...naps, playtime, cuddling, car rides, etc...  It's only right that Fairbanks finally make his debut on the blog!

I've been wondering if Reid would have fair skin like Spencer and I or have that darker complexion like Rico and Briggs.  Well, lately I've been looking at his photos and I think he's going darker.  I'm excited about this because poor Spence and I usually burn once a summer before we tan.  Rico and Briggs? Don't even get me started...I'm so jealous!

We go to Charleston, SC soon for our annual family vacation!  Reid is ready to go with his hat on!  I just got his seersucker pants in the mail!!! :)

Fairbanks is stylin' also.