Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Raising Money for Madison's Service Dog

We have decided to raise money for a non profit agency that trains service dogs - we have to raise $13,000. Here is our press release.


Contact: Natalee or Michael Landers
October 27, 2010 (

937) 671-0416;


Madison Landers is a preschooler who lives in Montgomery County, Ohio, and attends St. Rita’s School for the Deaf in Cincinnati, Ohio. She lives with her mom, dad, and two older siblings.

Madison had a difficult birth but developed normally during the first 10 months of her life. However, around 11 months of age, we realized she wasn’t hearing correctly. Tubes were placed in her ears, but unfortunately, her attempts at speech failed to return. At 14 months of age, we asked for an Early Intervention Team to assess her because we believed “something was not right” with her. That assessment stated she was within normal developmental ranges. Around this same time, Madison was trying to learn how to walk but her right foot did not work properly and moved perpendicular to her left foot. Again, we took her to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon who told us not to worry because she was within normal development. At 18 months of age, we asked for another Early Intervention evaluation and the team assessed Madison and determined she was NOW developmentally delayed in all areas. What a blow we took that day! Then two weeks later, Madison had her first febrile, or fever, seizure. It was one of the worst days of our lives. We did not know how to help her so we stood aside and hoped the doctors knew what they were doing. We were told she would never have another seizure so we were unfortunately unprepared for what would occur just two weeks later when she had another seizure. Now over the last 2 ½ years, she has had six seizures. Each of her seizures has been different. Some are short, and some have been extremely long and have lasted over 45 minutes. Unfortunately, we will never know the extent of the damage done to Madison’s neurological system.

Madison is currently on medication to help control the seizures. MRIs have enabled doctors and us to see the myelin on her brain is not fully formed. Myelin allows our brain to function normally. Doctors are unsure if the lack of myelin has caused her apraxia, sensory issues, low muscle tone, and developmental delays. Right now her therapists and teachers believe she is functioning around the level of a 2½ -year-old.

Madison is a sweet and loving four-year-old. She has a wonderful smile and sense of humor. Madison loves to ride horses at the Therapeutic Riding Institute, swing at the local parks, swim (assisted), and watch Barney and Friends. Madison’s issues are not evident until you see her trying to run, walk up the stairs, or speak. She also has trouble with everyday tasks, such as washing her hands or getting dressed. If you see our family out in public, you may see her frustration take the form of an uncontrollable meltdown that resembles a temper tantrum. This is an unusual occurrence for someone her age, but it is because she is unable to process the world as well as you and I can.

During Madison’s short four years of life, she has undergone five MRIs, CAT scans, copious amounts of blood work, sleep-deprived EEGs, an overnight EEG, and three ear tube surgeries. When we pull up to the Children’s Hospital, she screams, “NO, MOMMY!” or “doctor hurt,” which breaks our hearts. We know that a service dog would provide her comfort and assistance during her many medical trips and appointments to her geneticist, developmental pediatrician, neurologists, speech pathologist, occupational and physical therapists, ear nose and throat specialist, sleep doctor, and psychologist.

In addition, Madison has no appropriate fear of danger, such as traffic or strangers. A multipurpose assistance dog would accompany Madison everywhere and act as a safety guard. Attached to the dog by a special harness, Madison would be unable to run into traffic or get lost. If by chance she would ever get lost, the multipurpose assistance dog will be trained in search and rescue techniques and will come to her aid during times of need.
We truly believe that Madison has a special connection with animals and have faith that a service dog will enable Madison’s progression and help her live a fuller life. The service dog will provide her independence with walking up and down stairs. The dog will be trained to detect her seizures and help her to calm down or even prevent meltdowns. Lastly, we believe this dog will bring her comfort with who she is, allow her to sleep through the night, and help her to make friends.

4 Paws for Ability, Inc., is a nonprofit organization. This organization strives to provide service dogs to families and children that struggle with life’s daily challenges. They train a variety of assistance dogs including — but not limited to — seizure assistance, mobility assistance, hearing, and autism assistance dogs. 4 Paws for Ability, based out of Xenia, Ohio, has accepted Madison into their program, and they will be training a multipurpose assistance dog specifically for her needs. They have a fund-raising requirement where they form a working relationship with the family and have the family raise money for 4 Paws for Ability on behalf of Madison. The waiting list is only as long as it takes for the family to complete their fund-raising. Training service dogs is very expensive. It costs 4 Paws an average of $22,000 per dog to be placed with a family. At 4 Paws, they partner with the child's family, who becomes a volunteer fund-raiser and makes a commitment to raise a minimum of $13,000 for the agency to qualify for a dog. Dogs are trained to specifically address the needs of each child, and this is truly a great program for Madison to benefit from in her life.

You can HELP bring independence and safety to Madison’s life by making a tax deductible donation to:
4 Paws for Ability, Inc.
253 Dayton Avenue
Xenia, Ohio 45385
Please indicate on your check that the donation is in honor of Madison Landers, or you may donate online at: If you prefer making an online donation, please reference "In honor of Madison Landers" in the box asking for special instructions. For additional information, please contact Natalee Landers at (937)671-0416 or email at To contact 4 Paws for Ability, Inc., directly call (937)374-0385.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Festivities

What a long week Halloween was.....Started with Fall festivities at Madison's local horse stables. We showed up with our "boo" cupcakes and enjoyed riding on all the horses and taking a hay ride provided by Mr. Bill. Thanks Sandy!

On Wednesday night we attended the local Y's Harvest fest....Zachary and Maddie played all kinds of games and rode tiny ponies.....let the candy fest begin!

Then I prepared for Zachary's first kindergarten Halloween party. They played "toss the gourds," tried to guess what was in the witches' brew and made a skeleton and bat. Fun was had by all.

We shared beggars night with Nana and Papa. They came down from Toledo and went trick or treating with the kids. Maddie was a ghost and did an impressive "boo" and Zachary was ????. Ashley stayed home to hand out the candy. We didn't get a chance to crave pumpkins this year so we took the easy way out....turned out cute though!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

1st Day of School for all kiddos

So the start of the 2010-2011 school year has begun. I can't believe I will have three hours to myself in the morning. What will I do????? All the kids were excited to start school and thankfully, Daddy was here to watch everyone get up, get ready and go, go go!
Madison begins her first day of preschool.

Zachary starts kindergarten.....such a big boy he has become....he loves to ride the bus but isn't to happy about the early bus pickup.

Ashley starts 10th grade.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Zachary and his first hit of the season

Zachary is once again very busy for the month of May. He currently is swimming twice a week, soccer twice a week and tee-ball twice a week with a golf lesson every Saturday. This was his first hit of the season!

This was Zach's last soccer game (held yesterday).....he wasn't playing goalie, but look at that save! He was apart of the "Red Chicken's" team. The coach said, "he can't wait to see him in a couple of years, he will be GOOD, REAL GOOD....the kid's got speed and agility." That's our boy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers to all of you mom's, aunts, and grandmothers....

My day started as usually making breakfast for everyone and then running to a ball game (Zach's first one of the later)....and then cleaning up a gory, nasty mess from Maddie all afternoon (did I mention that it included a good 4 different diaper changes) much for sleeping in, getting served breakfast in bed, taking a nap and overall relaxing...maybe next year when Mike returns home!

So an email arrived last week that lists the difference between special needs moms and regular moms. I totally could see myself in that list. So for all you mom's out there...enjoy this list and count your blessings!

By Dawn Villarreal, One Place for Special Needs, May 2010
"Moms, a stranger walks among you. We look like regular moms, but we are the hybrid to your standard engine. Our child's disability altered us, enhanced us. Many words describe us: resilient, creative, protective, emb lodened, sympathetic, fierce and determined. We are speical needs moms. How do our lives stand apart from your own? Take a look the hood and see for yourself.

Regular moms tell their kids to wake up and get dressed in the morning. And they do it. Special needs moms put on battle gear to get our kids ready to start their day.

regular moms ask their kids if they brushed their teeth. Special needs moms prompt, "brush your top teeth. Brush your bottom teeth. Did you get the sides? Open your mouth. My God, give me that toothbrush! You've left half your meal in there."

Regular moms wave goodbye as their kids run off to catch the school bus. Special needs moms get awesome door-to-door bus service for their child.

Regular moms know the names of all their friends. Special needs moms know most of their friends by their username.

(my addition: regular moms know the names of the kid's friends and classmates....speical needs moms hope and pray their child has A friend)

Regular moms judge other moms when kids have tantrums in stores. Special needs moms say to themselves, "Hmm, I wonder which disability he has?"

Regular moms complain about driving their kids to sports and reacreation classes. Special needs mom grin and bear the weekly trips to tutors, doctors and therapists.

Regular moms' kids have a teacher. Speical needs moms' kids have a TEAM.

Regular moms talk about accomplishments. Special needs moms talk about skills, as in play skills, conversation skills, life skills, social skills and vocational skills.

Regular moms relax with their kids during the summer. Special needs moms start their second job as home teachers, therapists and skills coaches.

Regular moms think accomodations refer to hotels. Special needs moms have memorized the top 20 accomendations for their child.

Regular moms hope their child finds a good career. Special needs moms are hopeful someone gives our child the chance to work.

Regular moms soak in the tub when they want to unwind. Special needs moms consider a bathroom break a luxury.

Regular moms enjoy reading the latest best selling book. Special needs moms should receive an honorary degree for all the disability books they've read.

Regular moms go out for dinner and a movie with their husbands every month. Speical needs moms have a date night with their husbands every....wait, what decade is this?

Regular moms complain their kdis won't eat their vegatables. Special needs moms are so desperate we consider chicken nuggets to be a legitimate meat product and throw in ketchup as a vegetable.

Regular moms' kids go to play groups. Special needs moms' kids go to therapy groups.

Regular moms meet for a ladies night out. Special needs moms get together at a support groups and forums.

Regular moms have medical claim forms that fit into one file folder. Special needs moms will tell you a small forest was cut down so we could receive our claims.

Regular moms think OT means overtime. Special needs moms know more acronyms than a NASA engineer.

Regular moms have time to cook a full dinner every evening. Speical needs moms will never admit how many times we've picked up fast food.

Regular moms complain their husbands sit on the couch while they do all the work. Special needs moms...well how about that? Some things do stay the same! "

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Where did MARCH go???

I am just going to type one big blog for the month of March because it literally flew by.

1. First we started off with a wonderful two week visit from Grandpa and Mimi (grandparents from Alabama)...Eddie wasted no time in tackling my to-do list and Mimi was a tremendous help around the house....she cleaned and did laundry like nobodies business. They also took Zach to ice skating lessons, golf lessons, Maddie to therapies and celebrated in her school birthday party (video on that later...sooo cute)...and took Ash to school when she "missed" the bus or picked her up from school track. I hated to watch them go!

2. Due to the in-laws visit I got to fly to Maine to see my best friend from college, "Bubblebut." Christy and I spent an entire weekend shopping, eating and hiking (not to mention we almost died). I even got to meet and greet and approve of the new boyfriend:) I had not been back to Maine since college oh, so long ago...I forgot just how beautiful it is! It went by way to fast so I am hoping for a speedy engagement/wedding soon!!!!! he he he

3. Returned from my relaxing weekend and went right into party mood. Madison turned four and is now one year seizure free. So I decided we do 4 right and we had a big "horsey" theme party. My great neighbor Theresa took over the cake duties and produced a fantastic horse and even showed me how to make horse so cute. The kids had a horse pinata, decorated wooden horse shoes, ran a sugar cube race, played pin the tail on the horse then went in search of the missing horses. I believe it was a good party had by all. Madison is still slowing opening her gifts.

4. However, I believe the biggest gift was the one of her Daddy showing up on her birthday! Yes, yes, yes, he suprised us all and made his journey of 20+ hours, got a ride from a stranger, and ended up in the house undetacted prior to our arrival home with last minute party things. It was a wonderful suprise.

5. We then spent several days resting from the party and suprise. We headed down to Alabama for Easter. We started our morning with a service with Grandmommy and then home to a wonderful Easter dinner....the kids were able to find all the eggs the "Big Bunny" hid however, he forgot how warm AL gets in the early afternoon so most of the chocolate eggs had melted.....then we got back in the car headed toward Birmingham were we spent the night with Uncle Phillip and Aunt Kristin. Kristin and I headed out for a girls dinner (never ever happened in our eight years of marriage)....we had a wonderful gab session, wished lived closer together.

6. The next day Mike and his brother got up early (before dark, ugh...we are on vacation) to go play a round of golf.
They returned home to a packed car. We loaded up and headed to Pensacola, FL for a much needed vacation. We checked into Portofino resort (highly recommend) and spent the 5 days playing in the pools, building sandcastles and eating out....Pensacola was a beautiful vacation we did not want it to end. However, all good things must come to an end....

Mike took the kids to see the Navy Blue Angels....they said it was a great show!

Our condo is behind us....look at that white sand!

7. We packed up the car again and drove to the University of Alabama. Apparently, Ashley is thinking this is where she wants to go to college so we took a trip there to walk around the campus and of course eat. It is a beautiful campus, people are friendly, however it isn't THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY (I am a bit bias I know) we got back in the car and drove up to Huntsville, AL stay one night with Grandpa and Mimi and left the next afternoon for Ohio. It was a long drive but the kids hung in there.
Not sure who that coach is???? Anybody????

8. Mike left this past Monday to finish is deployment (Zachary and I took him to the airport in the afternoon - poor guy's flight was delayed so that added an additional hour). Back to life, back to reality, back to being a single, stressed out that how the song goes????

9. So here we is now 17 April and I am finally back on the blog...trying to get my desk cleaned off, house cleaned and the lawn mowed and to top it off my on-line school homepage has changed and I can't figure it out!!!!!!!! Here's hoping April will slow down!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cast video

Cast Comes Off

"The Saw"

"Its off"

"What was in here?"

Madison finally got her cast off yesterday....I think I was more worked up about it then she was. In the end she did great, no crying or trying to jerk her arm away. Way to go Maddie....
PS -- x-rays look great too!
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Stir Crazy at its best....

Ok, so being cooped up in the house with three kids drove me to seriously, I have always disliked the toilet paper holder and towel rack so I took a hammer to them...only to realize that what the builders used was for tile so they cut into the dry wall to hang those two things I have to figure out how to fix the, fun, fun

Daddy's Valentine

"Will you be mine, Daddy?"

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Snow Snow

Here is Ashley measuring the second big "SNOW" storm this year....yes that is a grand total of 9 new stuff, fun stuff

Monday, January 25, 2010

The word of the day is "pink"

At least it wasn't broken is all I kept saying to myself. Maddie fell down the stairs last night and apparently landed on her face....little did I know that she used her left hand to brace her fall...(but yeah for gross motor reaction)...OK, back to the I ran up the stairs grabbed her up and held her...looked her over...moved all of her limbs and found a huge goose egg on her we did the ol' Uncle Tony move....and iced with peas for a count of 10 on and a count of 10 off....then at about 2am this morning Maddie is moaning....and I say hush, go back to sleep u r ok...(don't I feel like the bad mommy) I get her up at 6am...for school, dress her and hear a scream with her shirt going over her head and arms....and mommy antennae is I carry her down the stairs but her on the couch, turn on the TV (not the usual am routine) and run around to get ready...she is crying and moaning...and I think how unusual is I run up the stairs grab my phone/shoes and start around the hallway corner to see Maddie trying to climb the stairs using her left hand and fall....(Mommy Antennae on full alert the bus driver to not come to our house and we are off to spend 7, yes I said 7 wonderful hours at two separate hospitals...LONG LONG story...but we ended up at Miami Valley (great facility) where she is diagnosed with a "buckle fracture" and picks out her pink cast...needless to say I am exhausted and going to bed!
Good news though -- her pediatrician scored her ages and stages questionnaire for 42 and 48 months and she is no longer in the "developmentally delayed" category...border line normal but needs extra I am joyous but cautious because I know how little of time it takes to slip...we have a long list of goals and things to work on but she is making progress...Thank You, Lord!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Some first moments

Zachary's 2nd basketball game and he makes his first basket....he was so excited....I missed all of the high 5's though!

Maddie is finally getting both feet off of the ground....yeah, Maddie.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Kids get haircuts finally!

Ok, it was time to venture out for haircuts. I always love to go because I end up sweating by the time we leave....but this time wasn't too bad...Maddie started off sitting in her car and watching the time it was over I had a pink sucker stuck to my chin but her hair was cut! Then it was Zach's turn to climb onto the motorcycle and watch Pokemon while getting his locks cut...tell me what you think??


Before Cut (picture taken in Nov -- forgot to get the camera out!)


Maddie's letter P!