Monday, June 25, 2012


Life is crazy busy right now. 

I have 5 "lists" right now and one of them has a sub-list. Yes, you read that correctly.  I may be neurotic but at least I'm organized, right?

We leave for Ohio tomorrow and before we go two lists will be completely checked off, Gabe and I will have driven downtown for an appointment and then towards the other side of town for his physical therapy appointment.  It seemed like a good idea when we changed the time of PT so that he could get in another session before vacation but now I'm thinking I was just a little off my rocker thinking we'd do both.  Maybe, just maybe Houston won't be too horrible and I won't have to white knuckle drive all over town. 

Speaking of driving; I am a huge multi-tasker.  With a toddler, if I didn't multi-task we would
 never eat a hot meal, have clean clothes and we'd most certainly live in a dirty house.  After a meeting Matt had at work we have removed one area of multi-tasking; talking and driving.  Now I didn't ever text and drive but talked and drove frequently.  I mean when would I have an adult conversation if it wasn't when I was driving.  But the distraction isn't worth it.  I am transporting one of God's biggest blessings with me most of the time and we've decided it's just not worth it.  And this not talking while we're driving thing... I think it's made me a better parent.  I use that time to talk more to Gabe; we sing songs, he reads letters off of street signs and we just enjoy our time together in the car. 

Speaking of cars, Matt was in a hit-and-run accident about a month ago.  He wasn't hurt, just sideswiped on the feeder road of a major highway.  Before the driver of other vehicle left the scene, Matt got his license plate number.  Evidently the driver of the vehicle was not the owner of the vehicle AND has an arrest warrant out for himself.  Another note of importance is that if you don't answer your insurance companies phone calls, they won't process the claim so you can get off scot free.  Our faith now rests in the HPD; that with all of the homicides, trafficking and violence they have to sort through they will have time to track down the car, speak to the owner of the vehicle and find the driver and address our situation.  This is one of the downfalls of living in a large metropolitan area :/

Continuing with the theme of being all over the place, I leave for El Salvador in 19 days.  I'm excited, nervous, filled-with-anticipation, scared and a little worried.  The worry solely involves leaving Gabe.  He'll be in very capable hands, just not my hands.  I've written copious amounts of notes for my mom, the freezer has some premade meals with more to come when we get back from Ohio. 

I'll have 3 days between getting home from Ohio and leaving for El Salvador.  I will need to shop, pack, do laundry, go to appointments, pick my mom up at the airport and then do the important stuff like take Gabe to the pool and splash pad, read 1000 books and play trains for 5 hours a day.  Because in light of the craziness going on, those are the important things.  Spending time with Gabe, laughing, cuddling and reading; making memories, not matter how big or small - those are the things that are most important.

And that ends the most hodgepodge blog post ever.  If you read this far, you must really love me!  Or be really bored [smile].

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Sundays are best spent at church and then the pool.  Because it would be a little distracting (awkward) if I went around taking pictures during service, I'll just show you the pictures we took at the pool. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

We made it!

I always use my GPS to get to and from downtown.  I was pretty certain I'd be able to do it but liked the security of the GPS.  Gabe and I went down to the Childrens Museum today and like always my trusty GPS led there with no problems (except being stuck in the never ending, super ridiculous amount of traffic).  However, in our haste to get out of the car and into the museum I forgot to take the GPS off the dashboard and 2 1/2 hours later it was HOT!  So hot it wouldn't even turn on.  I'll admit, I started to get nervous but figured I'd try to get from Binz Road to Texas Childrens West for Gabe's therapy appointment today.  And we made it!  We managed the crazy afternoon traffic and made our way over the highways, past the wide loads escorted by police officers and around traffic cones! 

Gabe had a great time at the children's museum and then was a little rock star at therapy!  With all that fun I think he'll sleep very well tonight.  One can always hope!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gabe-isms Volume 1

You never realize how much you say something until your little one repeats you.  Today was one of those many times I realize what a little sponge Gabriel is. 

Gabe is two and like most toddlers he spends a bit of time testing his boundaries.  Life wouldn't be interesting if Gabe wasn't learning who he is, what he's allowed to do and what he isn't allowed to do.  Two of the words you hear fairly regularly at our house are "obey" and "listen."  I think it is very important for Gabriel to obey and listen to his parents; I figure our house will be much more peaceful that way and those concepts are a work in progress.  Not just for Gabe, for all of us!

Now enter today's trip to Target.  We ran in for four things and were in line to pay for five things which is a complete success when it comes to me and Target.  In line ahead of us was a little boy not much older than Gabe.  But while Gabe was happy eating his crackers, the other little boy was not; a big old meltdown at checkout aisle number 8 was going on.  Gabe kept looking at the little boy and then back at me -  the look on his face seemed to ask "why aren't you doing anything?"  After a couple minutes of this Gabe looked at the other boy and said "obey, listen mama." 

I'm almost positive the other mom missed what he said, but I was chuckling to myself.  It was pretty funny and I'm pretty happy that Gabe was able to extrapolate the concepts of obeying and listening to mama in a situation other than one that he is in.

But mostly, it was just funny. [Smile.]

And just because he's super cute!

Monday, June 18, 2012


The love between father and his son is priceless. 

Gabe was super to give his Daddy his Father's Day present.

See what I mean?  Priceless!
 Presents? Check!  Couch acrobats?  Check!

Oh, how I love them.  A lot! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Basketball coach Jim Valvano once said

"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me." 

That statement rings true for both me and Matt.  We are so blessed to have a legacy of fathers that believed in us; believed in us enough to know when tot push, when to teach and as hard as it was, when to let go. 

Father's Day will always be a little bittersweet for us since Matt's dad passed away.  But Jim left behind 4 sons; one of whom is a remarkable dad.  Matt loves Gabe endlessly, provides for him, encourages him and believes in him.  While I assume some of this comes naturally, some part of behavior is learned.  And for that we have Gramps to thank; for showing Matt how to love your children without reservation and to fully believe in them. 

And my dad, well he believed in me.  He believed in me when I wanted to be a ballerina, a swimmer, a writer, an engineer, an environmentalist and finally when I became a mom.  The older I get the more I appreciate my dad, the more I see just how big all of his sacrifices were for our family and how his love resonated from everything g he did for me.  When I went away to college I missed my dad but moving to Houston, I miss him so much more.  No matter how old I get, I will always need my dad.

"Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes."
~ Gloria Naylor

Happy Father's Day... to my dad, to my wonderful husband, to all the father's we know and to the fathers-to-be; those waiting on their little ones to be born or to finally come home over miles of land and sea.  Today we celebrate you; the way you love, teach, discipline and believe. 

Gabe painting part of his Daddy's present
And because I love this quote:
One night a father overheard his son pray: Dear God, Make me the kind of man my Daddy is. Later that night, the Father prayed, Dear God, Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

It's back!

The splash pad has had a few problems this season.  It seems to work only every other day or only a few random hours (that we never seem to catch) some day.  But yesterday after a full week of the splash pad not working, it was on! 
Gabe and I were already at the pool when we noticed it was on so when the lifeguards called for break time we decided to forgo the relaxing in the baby pool and headed over to the splash pad.  It was perfect timing because Matt texted me to let me know some friends were headed that way in case Gabe wanted to play. 

Gabe was excited to see his friend Rylan but even more excited by the three older boys that allowed him to follow them around.  They were super kind to include him in their fun; run around him, splash him and spray him with the water gun.  Gabe loved it! 

Do you want to see?

I was super grateful for sweet kids and happy moments at the neighborhood splash pad. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Sam book

Gabe loves reading books and his newest interest is in Dr. Suess books.  Particularly The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham.   Approximately 47 times a day I hear "cat in the hat" or "Sam book."  Gabe calls Green Eggs and Ham "Sam book" and that provides a new revelation about why he likes the story.  Does he like it because of its silly rhymes and the whimsical, lyrical way it reads or does Gabe like it because of Sam, the main character who shares his name with his cousin, Sammy.  Because I want to think I make reading Green Eggs and Ham fun, we'll go with he likes it for both reasons.  Although if I'm honest, I know Gabe's interest was spiked the first time he heard the words "I am Sam."

To help bring the story to life for Gabe, we made green eggs and (and blueberries) for dinner last night.  He ate the eggs much faster than usual, and reading the book while he ate was definitely an added bonus!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Oh my!!

In one month I will be in El Salvador... I can't believe it! 
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I am going, that I have been blessed with such a wonderful opportunity to serve...

 and that I'm going to have to leave Gabers 1100 miles away. 

The closer July 14 gets the more excited I become and the more nauseated I get about being so far away from Gabe for so long.

This will be awesome.  It will be okay.  This will be awesome.  It will be okay (repeat as needed).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

9 months waiting

Waiting is hard... although right now the word hard doesn't seem nearly strong enough to describe how it feels to be waiting 9 months for your newest little love... waiting with no end in sight. 

"Hard times call for furious dancing"
-Alice Walker

But today, rather than dwelling in the overwhelming feelings of waiting... we are going to dance. 
We are going to dance on our way to the swimming pool this morning, we are going to dance in the car as we drive to physical therapy this afternoon and we are going to have a Veggie Tales/ Go Fish dance party when we get home.  

We will dance!  And we will be happy because we have made it nine months; nine months closer to the day that we see our sweet ones face for the first time, nine months closer to the day we hold our little love in our arms for the first time and nine months closer to the day we become a family of 4 (or 5!). 

You turned my wailing into  dancing; you removed
my sackcloth and clothed me with joy"
-Psalm 30:11

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Discovery Green

Today we met up with some friends at church and headed down to Discovery Green.  It's a neat little park in the heart of downtown Houston filled with lush green grass, little kiosks to eat, places to meet, jungle gyms and a fabulous splash park.  We went for story time!  This week was Bernstein Bears and while Gabe was really excited by the big televisions that showed the pages of the books he was a little intimidated by Brother and Sister Bear.

Story time was followed by a picnic lunch and then came Gabe's favorite part of the morning; the splash pad.  Although we were unaware there even was a splash pad, Gabe didn't care.  He romped around the splash pad in his clothes.  He was much more adventurous than his play mates and scooted around the splash pad finding the biggest bursts of water possible. 

Next Tuesday Curious George is visiting Discovery Green and I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find us there again!  Perhaps we'll be a little better prepared for the splash pad this time!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Where we've been!

It has been hot here in Houston.  Like heat index above 100 EVERY SINGLE DAY hot.  So, we have been spending a ton of time at our neighborhood pool.  Gabe's exhuberance in getting into the water the instant we walk into the pool area has resulted in very few photos.  By very few, I mean one.

Alas it is not even a good picture.  But it is proof that we frequent the pool.  Gabe is so much more wild in the pool this year; ducking his head under water, jumping (from sitting on his bottom, of course) off the wall, kicking up a storm and splashing.  This child loves to splash! The only bummer of the neighborhood pool is the 10 minute adult swim at the end of every hour even when Gabe and I are the only people there and the fact that it is closed on Mondays for maintance.

Besides visiting the pool or the splash pad we haven't been spending too much time outside. But don't let that fool you, we are staying busy inside.  One of Gabe's favorite activities is playing with his trains.  Gabe loves trains; Thomas, Percy, Henry, Toby.  Couple them with the Dinosaur Train and he is in train heaven!  Some days he leaves the traditional train track behind and uses furniture to create new adventures for Thomas.
 Gabe is continuing to develop the budding artist in himself and has developed a great love for painting.  Finger painting or using a brush, it doesn't matter either way!  He also works on his fine motor skills by coloring.  He usually requests certain colors (blue, green and purple) and scribbles until his hearts content!  I have a question for all you parents of budding artists out there.  Do you save all of your childs artwork?  I've been throwing away Gabe's papers from Sunday school but feel a little guilty.  We don't have room to save everything; so what do we do?  What do we save?  Where do we keep it?  And how do I get over the guilt from throwing his 'masterpieces' away? 

Besides hanging out inside reading books, playing trains, working on our alphabet, reading more books, playing basketball (indoor hoop) we have been going on adventures.  Last week we joined Matt in Houma, Lousianna for work.  While the rain ruined all of our plans we did get in a swimming session at the hotel and eat at the TARC restaurant.  This is a restaurant ran solely by adults with special needs.  My blackberry cobbler was to die for!  Yes, I went right to the dessert this time.  You only live once!  Gabe, Matt and Barry (Matt's friend and co-worker) all enjoyed their food as well.  Another cool part of this restaurant is that there are pictures, kitchen wares and canned foods you can buy.  We bought a jar of cajun salsa and a super cute painting of an owl for Gabe's bedroom. I'll take a picture once we get it up.

But truly this place was awesome.  Being a parent of a differently-abled child allowed me to truly appreciate the fact that this place exists.  That these adults are given an opprotunity to provide a good life for themselves, to work hard and feel good about themselves.  I'm thinking Houston and/or Cleveland need a place like this.  The How I Met Your Mother in me wants to say "challenge accepted."
Besides traveling 6 hours to Houma (Gabe did moderately well in the car - cried at the start of the trip on the way there and was just so done with sitting in his carseat when we were about 30 minutes from home) we haven't done much else besides visiting the train table at Barnes and Noble.  I'm definitely seeing a train table in Gabe's future. 
So that's where we have been... where have you been?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tear Drops on the Splash Pad

If that doesn't sound like a bad country song I'm not sure what would.  However, that was a brief part of reality today.  
Most days I don't think of Gabe as being any different than any other child out there.  Sure, he goes to therapy 4 days a week, doesn't walk yet and has to work harder at things than other children do.    Gabe's differences don't stick out to those that love him but they sure stick out to others.  And while our sweet boy doesn't notice this now, one day he will. 

This morning Gabe and I were at the pool minutes after it opened.  No one else was there and it was so peaceful,  just me and Gabe swimming in circles, his sweet laugh filling the air.  Not 5 minutes later though, the splash pad next door turned on and Gabe was drawn to the children playing there.  I couldn't refuse his request of "go play please" and we headed on over. 

I walked Gabe onto the splash pad close to a fountain and left him to play.  Gabe splashed in the water, squealed when the bucket tipped over and laughed along with the other children playing.  A few minutes after we arrived a little girl stopped in front of me and asked why Gabe was winking, why he wasn't walking.  I responded with my usual "his eye just doesn't work like yours... he's still learning to walk.... that's how God made him..." and she ran off.  Next a little boy followed with similar questions, receiving similar answers.  A few minutes later another girl came over, a few years older than the other children and asked "what's wrong with him" using the nastiest tone imaginable from a child around the age of 8.  I used the same responses again, she repeated her question emphasizing the word wrong when her mom called her over.

I was so relieved when her mom called her name assuming she would correct her behavior.  She (the mother) told her to go play with him (meaning Gabriel) and the little girl responded "no, he looks weird." 

And my heart broke a little (okay, a lot) bit.  Little girl ran away, mom said nothing, and I couldn't  help but cry.  Good thing my sunglasses are so big or else it may have become awkward.

I was so angry.  Absolutely horrified that that little girl would say Gabe looks weird.  I was even more angry that the mother was okay with her child calling another a name.  Children live what they learn...  growing up it was not okay for me to call other people names.  My parents wouldn't stand for it so I learned not to do it.  Again... children live what they learn. Besides the fact that the old mantra "if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all" still applies in the 21st century. 

But more than anger, my heart was overcome with sadness.  Sadness that a little girl could so easily call someone they didn't know a name, sadness that her mom didn't step up and set it right and of course my heart just ached for Gabriel.  Right now, Gabriel doesn't even know he is any different than the other children he sees at the park, splash pad and church.  But one day he will and he will also hear the words of other children and adults.  Words that can hurt, discourage and make him question his self worth. 

We will do our best to teach Gabe that there is nothing "wrong" with being different; that God made him in His image and he is perfect just the way that he is.  We will do our best to teach Gabe that it is okay to be different and that everyone is different in one way or another.

But we can't do this alone.  We need other people to advocate for the well-being of Gabe and all other children that are differently-abled. We need to teach all children (and parents) that calling someone else an unkind name is not acceptable; we need to show love and kindness rather than judgement and condemnation.  Our children will only learn to be kind, if we act kindly to others.  Wouldn't that be a wonderful legacy to leave our children?  A legacy of kindness that could just go on and on. 

Monday, June 4, 2012


I've found that the LaGorga ship sails quite a bit smoother when we are prepared to improvise.  Take today, a Monday, a 97 degree Monday.  On Monday our neighborhood pool is closed*.  However the splash pad is open.  The splash pad was broke last week but working on Saturday when Matt, Gabe and I went to the pool and it was working this morning when we drove by on our way to OT. 

After lunch, we put on sunblock and headed on over.  I couldn't believe it, no one was there!  As we walked closer, I noticed the ground was completely dry.  Not wanting to even acknowledge any other possibility I blamed the heat for drying the ground so thoroughly. We walked in, I rubbed the post that contains the sensor to start the water and nothing happened.  I rubbed it again.  We waited.  I may have said a silent prayer or two because I was imagining the melt down that would ensue when I would have to take a dry, hot Gabe home.  I'll admit, I tried again... and again, no water began to run. 

Big huge bummer!  I calmly explained to Gabe that the splash pad was broke and told him we had to go home.  He sadly responded with "no home."  But there was no tears, no tantrums, just one sad little boy. 

On my way home I wracked my brains for something fun to do.  I wasn't sure where his little pool was hidden and Gabe is not fond of playing in the sprinkler.  Well, he used to love the sprinkler!  Then a few months ago, he was either bit or stung while playing in the sprinkler and his love affair ended there. 

But today, it was hot.  So I decided to improvise.  I sprayed the driveway down so that it wasn't hot and turned the sprinkler on.   Slow and steady, that's our Gabe.  First he just sat in the spray, then he turned and put his feet closer, next it was a hand and then he was all over it.  Face in the sprinkler, picking up the sprinkler and trying to spray me... he was having fun. 

Catastrophe averted!  Water fun for all!

*To be honest, our neighborhood has two pools: one is two streets over and down a tiny bit.  The other one is a mile down the road.  While we frequently walk to that park because it doesn't have sand (read - public kitty litter) under the climber it is just a little too far away to walk when it is 97 degrees.  And humid.