Thursday, July 14, 2011

Until You Are In My Shoes...You Have No Idea

Everyday when I pick Eric up from school his teacher tells me how his day went. He loves his school. She says that even though he cannot talk, you can tell he is cracking "funnies" with the other kids. He laughs and plays. He sees the other kids playing and wants to join in, but is sometimes reluctant because he knows his limits. He knows that he is unstable and will fall easily. He knows that he cannot do things like the other kids. We always have to reassure him that he is ok to try anything.

Yesterday the teacher kind of hit a "sore spot" with me. Everyday after snack they brush their teeth. Eric's teacher said she was "surprised" that Eric was not able to spit after brushing his teeth yet. Now, I have to be honest here, Eric has always been quite a bit delayed in every part of development except, receptively. He did not crawl until he was 15 months. He did not walk until he was 3. He is still working on talking. For a long time Eric drooled A TON. So, as a parent for a professional, supposedly Special Ed teacher, to point out that she was "surprised" that Eric is yet delayed in another part of his developing, it kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

I still work hard everyday to not get offended when people say something or ask me something about Eric. It is the hardest thing when a stranger asks Eric "How old are you?" or "What is your name?" I try to let him answer for himself but when he says "Ga" for Eric and cannot say how old he is, the stranger then looks at me like "What's wrong with him?" I know in my heart that he is developing at his own speed and he is doing GREAT! When the Special Ed teacher asked me about the spitting after brushing his teeth I thought to myself, "Did this Special Ed teacher read the IEP (Individual Education Plan) that I gave her? Does she realize how far Eric has come in the past year? All of these questions keep floating in my head.

So that day when I saw Mark I told him about what the teacher had said. He actually was "surprised" that she asked a dumb question like that in the first place. He asked, "She is a Special Ed teacher, right?" Then he said, "Until someone walks in our shoes, they have no clue how it is raising a child with Special Needs." Mark always makes things so simple. That's what I love about him. He reassures me that Eric is doing great and he has come a long way. I agree.

I know that there will always be that person that rubs me the wrong way. I know that Mark will always be there to reassure me that we are doing the best we can with what was given to us. I know that Eric is smart and funny and super handsome! I know this road that we ended up on is a rough and windy road but it is always worth it when I see Eric smile and enjoying life.

I have a challenge for those of you who feel you are up for it...Next time you see a child with Special Needs and the opportunity arrises, smile at them and wave and tell that parent they are awesome! We always need to hear it! Don't be surprised if that parent cries right there in front of you! If you are at the park and you see a child with Special Needs, try to take your child over to say "hi" so that you can help them be aware that even though that Child is "different" that they still enjoy the same things. If you want to go even further, go say "hi" to that parent yourself because a lot of times people just stare and wonder. It would make our day to have someone not afraid to come and talk to us!

I would love to hear from anyone who takes on the challenge!

Until next time...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Eric Goes to School!

Well today is a big day for Eric. We finally found a school equipped to take him. YAY! As many of you know, it has been hard to find a school here in the Philippines. Most of the schools were full and I was getting discouraged. We had him enrolled in a playgroup that was supposed to start in August but that wasn’t good enough. We really wanted him to be 5 days a week with other kids so that he can learn social, emotional development.

I had been asking everyone I know! Moms, therapists, people at our office...finally someone gave me the name of a school here in Cebu. I called them expecting to have them full too, but I had to try! I was surprised to find out that they were equipped for him as well as they had 2 openings left! I had to hurry so that I could ensure a spot for him. So he went on last Thursday for a “trial day”. He had been to school before in the States but it had been about 6 months since he had been in a class with other kids so I was nervous that he would have seperation anxiety when I left him. Afterall, we are in a new Country! All that day I had been preparing him for school. Telling him that Mommy was so excited for him to go to school and make some friends and play. I have always found that since Eric’s receptive language was high and he could understand everything we said. I have never had to use baby talk or smaller words. I am thankful for that. So I prepared him all that day for going to school. When the time came, we went to the school singing a special song that I had made up for him. The Eric’s Going to School Song...which he loves and signs “more” and makes me sing it 50 times a day! Which I love, so I just do it! We get to school, he gives me a kiss and waves “bye” and that was it. The teacher said he did great and he was willing to do everything they did that day. I was so happy to hear that.

So he actually starts today and I couldn’t be happier! The class size is great, only 5 kids per class. There are 2 Sped (Special Ed) teachers and 1 OT (Occupational Therapist) per class...which means pretty much one on one! He is in a class with 3 other Special Needs kids and when he is ready he will be mainstreamed. If he needs a shadow the school will provide, which usually the parents have to pay out of pocket here in Philippines. The picture above is him in his uniform. All the kids wear uniforms here in the P.I. (Philippine Islands).

We have been in Cebu now for a little over 2 months and I can’t even tell you how hard it has been to get Eric’s school and therapies going. It has definitely been a struggle but in the end, it is all worth it! I will keep you all posted on his school and progress. I am just so excited for him and for me as well. =) I will be spending my time while he is in school at the local Coffee Bean using their WIFI and relaxing! Quiet time, I call it!

Until next time...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Father's Day Beach Day

Father's Day started out a little rough in our house.  We had no plans the morning of.  We had talked about going to the beach that morning but it wasn't set.  I am a "planner".  I like to make plans pretty much on everything I do.  Mark, not so much!  He likes to "fly by the seat of his pants".  Which is easy for him to do because I am always the one who has to get everything ready for us to do anything or go anywhere.  I am the multi tasker.  Mark, can only do one thing at a time.  I wish I could just go with the flow, but sometimes my anxiety takes over!  There were so many things to do before we were to go anywhere that morning.  That's all I could think about.  Mark says "The dishes will be here when we get back"  Easy for him to say, I am the one who does them.   Our girls had 2 days off that weekend so the house was in shambles.  I didn't want to come home to a huge mess after a relaxing day.   Between making breakfast, cleaning up afterwards, packing beach stuff for the day for 3 people, Eric's meds, making sure the 4 animals were squared away before we left, lunches packed, oh and we can't forget we all still had to shower...Mark was rushing me, to say the least.  So my anxiety kicked in full speed ahead!  I get flustered.  I start to think negatively.  I had to snap out of it...besides, it was not my day, it was Father's Day!  So, I explained to Mark all of the things I needed help with so that we could get out of the house and start having some relaxing fun.

We got out of the house about 11am, not too bad, right?!  Mactan Island is about 25 miles we were headed to The Hilton Beach for the day with some of Mark's family who also live here in Cebu.  Once we left the house, my anxiety level was way better.  Now all I had to think about was "Would the beach be OK for Eric?"  What I mean by that is...Would he be able to be somewhat independent while we were there?  Would he be able to walk in the sand without falling every 2 seconds?  Would he even like the beach?  All of these questions in my head..."STOP"  I said to myself.  He will be fine!  The great thing about Eric, he is sooo easygoing!  He doesn't mind sand.

That day was perfect in every way!  The weather was great, not humid, a little breezy.  Our lunches were great and Eric got to eat his favorite way, which is "eat & run", what we call it when he doesn't wanna sit still and eat.  The water was great. Warm and clear and shallow quite a ways out.  Eric loved it.  For about an hour, Eric and I sat right where the water met the sand and just played.  He NEVER sits!  We shared great moments together that day.  I think his favorite part was the hotel had a nice outdoor shower...and he went there like 4 times and just kept pushing the button to make the water flow!

As for me, my stress level was at an all time low since we have been here.  I didn't have to worry one bit about Eric.  He could be independent.  The great thing was when he fell...he couldn't get hurt!  The beach was not busy so he could roam a bit and I could keep an eye on him while lounging, which I NEVER get to do!

At the end of the day when we were on our way home, Mark said to me "Thanks Baby for a great Father's Day"  He got to relax which he NEVER gets to do.  He had a great time snorkeling which he loves.  Somehow he had forgotten what a basket case I was that morning.  Phew!  I guess Mark and I being so different is good.  It really balances us.  I am learning to breath and not to sweat the small stuff.  Mark is learning that if he helps me, I am much more relaxed!

Well, the year is just flying by!  I can't believe it is already almost July.  Which means Eric is going to be 5, July 30, 2011.  Wow!

I would love to hear any "basket case" moments from your family outings....please share!

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


ad·just ; 1. To change so as to match or fit; cause to correspond. 2. To adapt or conform, as to new conditions.

Well...that definition says it all!  We have now been in Cebu for 2 months and it has been an interesting few months! There have been SO many things to get used to here. 

Driving was the first challenge when we first got here.  There are no rules here.  There are traffic lights, but most of the time, they do not work.  Sometimes there is a "Blue Shirt" (Police) in the middle of the street directing traffic.  Most of the time, it's a free-for-all.  Pretty much the person with the biggest, you know what, WINS.  When we first got to Cebu we rented something called a multi-cab.  It's a tiny minivan made for small people! Typically, Filipinos are short.  Every time we drove it our knees were killing us.  We were desperately looking for our own car.  It took 3 weeks.  Driving here has been easier than I thought.  I guess I have big, you know what's!  =)

The next challenge now that we finally had a reliable car was getting Eric settled with all of his therapies.  It actually is still a little bit of a battle but we are getting there.  First, we have him in Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, each 2 days a week.  Speech has been difficult.  Speech therapists are scarce here so what they do is, usually a facility will hire one speech therapist to do evaluations and then that Speech Therapist will train an Occupational Therapist to implement the speech.  We have been trying to find a Speech Therapist to work one on one with Eric but it seems that it's just not how they do it here.  So, we are in the process of having his evaluation done until we can get a Speech Therapist working with Occupational Therapist is who who will work with Eric.

School has been another adjustment!  In the States, whichever school is in your district MUST take your Special Needs child.  Here, very different!  The schools which are equipped for handling Eric are paid for out of pocket by the parents.  There are only 2 schools in our area who are set up to handle him and they are both FULL!  One school only takes  1 Special Needs child per class and is about $400 a month.  The other takes 3 Special Needs per class and is about the same price.  So right now, we have him on the waiting list for them and hopefully next year he will be in.  In the meantime, we worry because he NEEDS to be with other kids.  I have been trying to find a parents playgroup but haven't succeeded. One of the schools that he is on the list for has a playgroup that starts in August.  Its only 3 days a week 1.5 hrs each day.  Still, better than nothing!  So he will start that in August.  Because this whole school thing is such an issue we hired a Special Ed Teacher to come to the house 3 days a week, but unfortunately, she just didn't work out.  So now, we are trying to get the Special Ed teacher at his Therapy place to take him on, one on one.  It seems like EVERYTHING takes longer here to get going.  So, we won't give up....and in the meantime....Mark and I have seriously thought about opening up our own Therapy Unit because it is in such demand!  

Well, that just gives you a taste of how we are adjusting here to life as an American in a Third World Country.  I miss so many things about the U.S. and hopefully in a few years, we can come back to our great country!  In the meantime, we are trying to make the best of what has been thrown at us.  We are thankful that our business has given us this opportunity to see new places and meet new people. 

Until next time....

Friday, April 22, 2011

The 3 Craziest Weeks Of Our Life!

Phew!  I am so glad it's over!  We are finally back here in Cebu, Philippines and WOW, is all I have to say!  We got rid of everything, thanks to Craigslist, my Sister and Cousins.  We sent over 7 boxes of our belongings and traveled with 6 large suitcases and 3 carry on.  We had 2 cats and 2 dogs sent over in the cargo of the plane. 

Things are getting normal again.  It's gonna take a while to get completely settled since we have to buy everything we had in the States, including a car.  I am a little scared to learn to drive here but I am sure I will get the hang of it.

We have 2 very nice girls living with us to help with the day to day stuff, as well as help us with our little Monster! =)  He is warming up to them more and more.

I am getting all of his therapies set up to start in the next couple weeks.  We are still on California time so we have to wait until we are on a normal schedule.  We have been up the last few days at 2:30am because Eric is wide awake!  This morning we went on a walk at 6am.  It was actually cool outside.  =) 

Well, I promise I will be blogging more and more.  It's 4:30pm here and breezy here in the mountains of Cebu...gonna go do some Yoga in our new yard since Eric and Mark are asleep!  =)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Philippines here we come!

Our new backyard!

Well, it's final!  We are moving to Cebu, Philippines in April!  It's a reality now!  We found a house in a beautiful mountain neighborhood.  Our landlord seems great!

 As far as Eric's therapies...we pay out of pocket here but they are so inexpensive that we can provide double what he is getting in the States!  Yesterday we met with a Developmental Dr and she is setting up all of Eric's therapies as well as his Preschool.  He will start in April when we get back!

This will be quite the adventure, I have to say!  We have to sell everything in just a few weeks time and then get back to Cebu so Mark can get back to work!  I have a good feeling though.  It will feel great to be able to pay all of our bills without worry as well as provide Eric with every therapy that he needs. 

 Keeping my fingers crossed we get lots of visitors!  <hint hint>

Eric and his new friend Ashley!

Friday, March 4, 2011


I have a bit of a dilemma!  I need some advice!  As many of you know, Mark, my hubby, has a business over in Cebu, Philippine's and has to travel there 4, sometimes 5 times a year, for 2 months at a time.  Our business is exploding (in a good way) so Mark has so much work he really needs to be in the Philippines.  There is my dilemma.  He is in the Philippines and we live in Lake Tahoe.  Something like 7200 miles away!  So, I am trying to decide whether we should live in the Philippines for 2-3 years until the business has totally taken off.  I miss my husband, all the time! 


  • We wouldn't be away from Mark! #1
  • We would have so much more help for Eric as well as with the normal day to day stuff.
  • Money...of course...goes a lot farther here
  • More quality time with Eric, because I wouldn't have to do things like laundry, cleaning, cooking.
  • More affordable services for Eric!  We would be able to provide so much more for him and his needs here.
  • I would be able to have a second child because of having more help.
  • The International schools here are so much more intense than the USA that Eric may catchup faster!
  • I would be able to make friends easier, I love Filipinos!  They are so friendly! Especially the Gay guys! =)
  • My stress level would be better! 
  • We do have some family here.
  • The fruit here is the best I have had!
  • Everyone speaks English in the Philippines.
  • Mark and I would be able to have more time to enjoy each other.
  • After living here for a few years, we would be able to sell the business and retire! Anywhere we want! The hugest PLUS!


  • My Mom would freak out!
  • The humidity. Which really hasn't bothered Eric and I yet. =)
  • It's 7200 miles away from most of our family!  It would take 17 hrs to get back to the States!
  • $1000 every time I wanna fly back to the States.
  • I know most of my friends and family will never travel here because of the price and it being so far away!
  • Getting our 2 dogs and 2 cats here!  Would my 13 year old cat survive the trip?!

So, you see my dilemma?!  If anyone has some advice for living in another country, I would love the help trying to decide.  To me, it seems like it might be the best thing, because it's only temporary.  Such a huge decision!  HELP!!!

Til Next time,