Thursday, April 30, 2009

I passed!!!!

It's official - I passed the Texas bar exam. My name is on the pass list! I don't know how I did it, and I really don't care, but this nightmare is over!!! Thank you all for your continued love and support!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Still waiting...

Any day now - bar results will be here. I'm still a nervous wreck, but keeping things in perspective. In the meantime, I'll just keep watching this video - it just makes me feel a little bit better! Try not to pay attention to the bad lighting...

video

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I remember this feeling...

My stomach hurts. My chest keeps getting tight. I feel like I want to hyperventilate. I just might even cry.

These episodes are starting to happen more frequently these days. They happen in the quiet moments - when I'm driving in the car, dusting a dresser or taking a bath. You see, in these moments I have just enough time to remember that bar results are due next week. By next Friday (May 1st is the official due date, although exam results can be released early) I will know whether or not I can close one more chapter in the story of my life, or if I will have to abandon my family and life as I know it to prepare for another bar exam.

I remember this feeling and I knew it was coming - I experienced it while waiting for my California bar results way back in 2002. It's an awful feeling because you spend more time focusing on the chances of failing than you do passing. You start remembering all the mistakes you made on the test - it's hard to remember the things you actually did right.

I will keep you posted - please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I need them right now!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Smart Tips!

I've gotten some calls and emails recently about people thinking that they might've possibly maybe seen me on Fine Living Network. Y'all, it's true! I'm excited that the Smart Tips I shot several months ago while studying for the bar are running. Here's one of several "Mommy" smart tips I shot. Enjoy!
video

Friday, April 17, 2009

In our nation's a capitol...

I am currently in Washington D.C. attending the first annual Off the Field conference. Off the Field is the official national players' wives association and I've been a member since the organization was founded several years ago. Just this week, I was chosen to sit on the organization's board of directors. I'm looking forward to helping this incredible organization continue to contribute to the lives of NFL wives as well as the communities we serve.

We had a long yet phenomenal day yesterday. Our morning began with an always interesting meeting with a benefits representative from the NFL. These meetings always go like this - the NFL rep explains all the wonderful programs in place for NFL players, then the wives usually voice their passionate concerns about how the NFL is not doing enough for players and their families. The NFL rep usually tells us that her hands are tied and there is not much the NFL can do. True to form, this is how the meeting went yesterday.

A prevalent and concerning issue is that resources abound for players while they are in the league, but once they are no longer on a team, the resources dry up and they are released into the "real world" unequipped to deal with real world issues like unemployment, job searches, etc. The NFL and NFLPA do have programs available to help players with the transition, but information regarding these programs isn't being adequately communicated to the players. There is some hope though - we had an incredible meeting at the NFLPA offices yesterday and the new president of the organization seemed sincerely interested in the issues and concerns presented by the wives. He even gave out his cellphone number and told us to call ANY TIME! It appears that he is committed to working with us to help make our players better men once they leave the NFL!

The highlight of our day though was a private tour of the White House! We were a sight to see - over 100 women making our way through the non-public entrance to the grounds. Usually the maximum number of people in a private tour at one time is around 25, and we were told that we were the largest private group tour of the White House ever!

We had an incredible tour - the Admiral - who loved supplementing the tour with his own personal stories and experiences. He told us about how he enjoys going up to the Lincoln bedroom and lifting up a velvet cover - revealing the original Gettysburg address in it's box. He told us an incredible story about how he lost one of his staff members a few weeks ago - a butler had a stroke and died. The Obamas were concerned that they weren't going to be available to attend his memorial, so they decided to have a memorial there at the White House. This has never been done before. He told the story of how Mrs. Obama invited young women to the White House for an empowerment meeting. Stars like Alicia Keyes and Lisa Leslie were there to encourage the girls and to show them that all things are possible. The guests were told to remain seated while Mrs. Obama exited the room - this is customary. What they didn't expect was for Mrs. Obama to be waiting in the hallway for the young women where she hugged every single one of them as they left. It was clear from the Admiral's stories that he is in awe of the first couple. They have clearly already made a tremendous impact on the White House and it's staff.

We were all hoping we'd catch a glimpse of the first lady (the President was en route to Mexico so there was no chance of seeing him). The Admiral would actually get calls on his cellphone from time to time alerting him to where Mrs. Obama was in the house. He said he's not doing his job properly if we ran into her. We did not run into her so the Admiral obviously did a fantastic job! Nonetheless, it was an incredible experience! I'll post pictures when I get home this weekend.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!!!

Today is a special day for us - after another amazing and moving service at Prestonwood Baptist Church, we decided to join and make Prestonwood our church home. We've been looking for a church here in Texas since we returned home last June, and it feels wonderful to finally have a place to worship and practice our faith. The church has an amazing special needs ministry for Will, and Bryn seems to enjoy the kids ministry just fine. It is such a wonderful feeling to finally have a church home.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Know the signs...

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, I wanted to share some really important information with you. As many of you know, our son Will has autism. We first noticed signs when he was around 18 months old and we immediately enrolled him in early intervention therapy services. One thing we know about kids like Will is that early intervention is key. With 1 in 150 children now being diagnosed (for boys, the number is closer to 1 in 90), it's important for you to know the signs and red flags. If you notice any of these things in your child, please make your concerns known to your pediatrician.

The following information is available at www.autismspeaks.org...

These are autism "red flags" - if you notice any of these, make sure you discuss them with your child's doctor:

No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
No babbling by 12 months
No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
No words by 16 months
No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age

The following are typical developmental milestones children should be meeting:

By 3-4 months
Watches faces with interest and follows moving objects
Recognizes familiar objects and people; smiles at the sound of your voice
Begins to develop a social smile-
Turns head toward sounds


By 7 Months
Responds to other people's emotions
Enjoys face-to-face play; can find partially hidden objects
Explores with hands and mouth; struggles for out of reach objects
Responds to own name
Uses voice to express joy and displeasure; babbles chains of sounds

By 12 Months/1 Year
Enjoys imitating people; tries to imitate sounds
Enjoys simple social games, such as “gonna get you!”
Explores objects; finds hidden objects
Responds to “no;” uses simple gestures, such as pointing to an object
Babbles with changes in tone; may use single words (“dada,”“mama,” “Uh-oh!”)
Turns to person speaking when his/her name is called.

By 24 Months/2 Years
Imitates behavior of others; is excited about company of other children
Understands several words
Finds deeply hidden objects; points to named pictures and objects
Begins to sort by shapes and colors; begins simple make-believe play
Recognizes names of familiar people and objects; follows simple instructions
Combines two words to communicate with others, such as “more cookie?”

By 36 Months/3 Years
Expresses affection openly and has a wide range of emotions
Makes mechanical toys work; plays make-believe
Sorts objects by shape and color, matches objects to pictures
Follows a 2- or 3-part command; uses simple phrases to communicate with others, such as “go outside, swing?”
Uses pronouns (I, you, me) and some plurals (cars, dogs)

By 48 Months/4 Years
Cooperates with other children; is increasingly inventive in fantasy play
Names some colors; understands concepts of counting and time
Speaks in sentences of five to six words
Tells stories; speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand
Follows three-part commands; understands "same" and "different"

By 60 Months/5 Years
Wants to be like his/her friends; likes to sing, dance, and act
Is able to distinguish fantasy from reality
Shows increased independence
Can count 10 or more objects and correctly name at least four colors
Speaks in sentences of more than five words; tells longer stories



There is a stigma attached to autism - I think most of us picture the character from the movie Rain Main. But autism is a spectrum disorder, which means it comes in many different forms. Some of those affected by the disorder have severe problems, while others (like my husband Ryan who I swear is on the spectrum) might have some learning and/or socialization issues.

It's important to note that Will actually developed like most typical children and reached many of his developmental milestones on time. I remember looking at autism checklists when Will was younger and was certain he wasn't on the spectrum because he was developing normally in so many ways. The biggest issue we have with him is his communication - Will's language development is around that of a child in the 18 - 24 months range. So while Will is no Rain Man, he definitely has issues that will continue to be a challenge for him, but we're certain that with continued therapy and support, he'll be mainstreamed and will live a completely normal and happy life!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It's a miracle!!!

Both children in one holiday picture and no one is crying - THANKS EASTER BUNNY!