On January 6th, 2010 Alex suffered a gunshot wound to the head...given 3 HOURS TO LIVE ....this is our story of survival and how God continues to work in and through our lives!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


 I can't seem to figure out how to put pictures where they need to be in the story so I am going to make a slide show and add to the side of the blog at some point.  I just wanted to get this published as it is long over due!

We are finally back home safe and sound after 3 attempts to fly out!  Third time was a charm.  Our journey began on the 23rd of November traveling from Jax to Newark airport on an express jet by Continental.  I think it seats about 50 people, basically a puddle jumper with a bathroom the size of a portoilette, if not smaller!  We managed to be seated all together, last seats on the plane ….closest to the bathroom just in case his butt wouldn’t cooperate with the program we had in mind, lol.  Brooks was terrified to fly and Alex was WAY over stimulated asking every 5 minutes……. and I do mean EVERY 3-5 minutes…… “What time is it”, “How long do we have left”, “how long does it take to get there”, “what time is it again?”…. OMG….. a broken record!  WE managed only one potty break on the way there with the urinal  jug at his seat…THANK YOU GOD!  He managed to share his story with the people directly in front of he and Brooks and the young girl in front of me, imagine that!  We arrived about 8:40 and headed to the family’s home to meet up with Nick who had flown in earlier that day.  Day one we got up and headed to NYC for the day, first stop was Chinatown!  OMG ALEX AND OVERSTIMULATION MUCH???  Everything he saw he wanted…. Of course.  Out of nowhere we have all these oriental people coming up and saying… “hey you want watch, jewelry, purse?”  “We have…. follow me”….  I had no idea it was illegal lol!  I was planning on vendors just having shops on the sidewalk that I could purchase my fake bags and watches lol!  So of course Alex wants a Rolex and he starts out telling her “All I have is $10.00 what can I get for that?” lol… no go on that however he managed to get a Rolex for $40.00 as he talked them down from $ 75.00! We walked around for a bit, ate at Ferrera’s Italian pastry shop…OMG…TO DIE FOR PASTRIES, FANTASTIC!  It is in Little Italy which is a street over from Chinatown, lol!   Nick then decided he wanted a Rolex for he and a friend and we went back to find the lady that gave Alex the great deal.  He tells her he wants 2 for $60 she says no go…. We walk away…she comes chasing us down and says ok we do 2 for $75 ….. Nick bites and she says ok follow me.  WE walk and walk and walk and walk, me and Nick in Chinatown…. Everyone else stayed back on main road…. I swear we walked about 5 blocks and ended up in front of some fish shop and then she says… “wait here, he be back in 5 minutes with watches for you”.  As we are waiting there are about 6 other people around looking at the pamphlets they have with what these “sidewalk salesman” have in stock lol.   This young girl looks at me and says… “ I just bought a Louis Vuitton for $140.00 do you think that was a good deal?” …. I didn’t think so but I wasn’t about to tell her that!  I wasn’t paying more than $30 for one and they wouldn’t budge for me so I didn’t cave in and go higher…. SO PROUD OF MYSELF, lol!  Nick ended up with 2 Rolex’s for $75 so he and Alex made out like bandits, lol.  Meanwhile I didn’t’ t realize that we had been gone for 30 minutes and the family thought we had been kidnapped and stuffed in an alley, hahahahaha! It was just neat to soak up all of the culture and hustle and bustle of the city.  We paid about $60 in parking that day between 2 parking lots….that was the only downside of going into the city…..everything costs big money in the city.  WE headed to times square looking for the ESPN ZONE that Brooks wanted to visit, only it has been shut down  :0(  That was the ONLY thing that he wanted to see and it was closed!  WE did get to see some kids doing a little break dance show on the street… Alex wasn’t impressed and didn’t want me to give money so we moved on to shopping in Times Square.  WE had a pit stop at Bubba Gump’s to feed the boys and rejuvenate to continue shopping.  The table we sat at was awesome and we got a great view of Times Square and the Ball that is going to drop on New Year’s Eve!  We asked the waitress how much it costs to sit at our table on New Year’s Eve and we were told it is $450 a person, unlimited drinks and food because their restaurant is the only one in Times Square that has a perfect view of the ball and the Square!  WHAT THE FRENCH TOAST?!  I think I will stick to celebrating at my house and watching the ball drop for FREE, ha ha.  We moved onto the Hershey store where Brooks bought the Largest Candy Bar in the world for $40…. Curious to see if he’s going to eat it, lol.    I could have stayed in Times Square all day and all night just soaking up the city life and shopping !!  I LOVE NYC!  Thanksgiving day was a nice, relaxing day with the family….Alex woke up asking for Turkey at 9am!  All the sisters were there except Sherry who has since relocated to Alaska and stationed there with her husband Pete and kids.  WE MISSED YOU GUYS and hope to see you this summer!!  Alex insists on going so I hope I hit the lottery between now and then so we can make the trip!  My niece Madison and nephew Logan haven’t seen Alex since all this happened so it was great to see him interacting with them as well as the rest of the fam…… much needed for all of us and A LOT TO BE THANKFUL FOR!  I wrote on the blog Alex’s thanksgiving blessing but forgot to mention that instead of Amen…he ended with Mozzletoff!   CRAZY FOOL….. my little coo coo bird how funny you are with the most random and off the wall comments you come up with!  Pop Pop and Grandma have a 3 level house with stairs going up to bedrooms and bathroom and stairs going downstairs to the basement living area where he, Randi and Brooks slept.  Even though we were on vacation…. Alex still got some therapy from all the stairs he had to climb!  He even said to me often… “Mom, I’m on vacation and I shouldn’t have to do stairs?!” “That’s bullshit”.. I replied with “I’m on vacation too and I still have to do stairs!!”… hahahahahahaha! Then I realized he cursed and said “Don’t curse!!”…. His response…” Shit is not a curse word…. Shit shit shitty shit shit”…. Trying to teach him/remind him of things that are appropriate and not appropriate is still a challenge and he gets his phone taken away ALL THE TIME!  It’s hard not to laugh sometimes because he is so QUICK with his witty responses… I have to pause a moment, turn my head….compose and redirect!  It’s easier to reprimand when Brooks and Nick aren’t present because they tend to laugh a lot at the things he says even though they don’t mean to.  On Thursday we visited Chelsea Piers, a large indoor sports facility… AWESOME!  Brooks wanted to go and practice for Basketball tryouts so we loaded up in a car and a van, the whole gang and headed to Chelsea Piers.  It had basketball courts, ice skating rink, soccer field, HUGE gymnastics arena and much more.  The kids all enjoyed some basketball… Alex included!  His wheelchair didn’t keep him from the courts as I knew it wouldn’t!  His favorite part was pressing the dang buzzer every 5 seconds, lol.  He found the score controls on a nearby table and went to town while Brooks, Nick and Uncle Mark played.  From there we headed to Times Square to see the tree.  We knew it wouldn’t be lit but figured it was our best bet to see it.  Rockerfeller Center was beautiful, all lit up…. AWESOME!  On one of the random buildings downtown they had like a snowflake light show…. Really cool.  WE got some great pictures in front of one of the rokerfeller buildings “which was certainly a chore on Black Friday in NYC with the hustle and bustle of everyone else wanting pics in the same spot lol.  Love my Nick Nick…. As we are standing in line waiting for our photo opportunity…. Everyone kept cutting in front of people so I jumped into another line, not realizing that I cut a couple off and he says …. “Mom.. you just cut in front of those people, that wasn’t nice”… Out of frustration I say… “Nick, we are in NYC… NOONE IS BEING NICE”…. The tourist couple turns to me and very kindly put me in my place and took me back to the person that I am… “ Most of NYC is not nice but it certainly helps to be nice”.  I was humbled at that very moment and let them get their photo and offered for Nick to take their picture of them together as I took photos of our group.   Thank you God for sending Angles in the midst of the hustle and bustle to bring me back to you!  I got so caught up in the NYC attitude that I quickly adapted to their way.  From that point on when I bumped into someone or my bag got caught on their arm… I apologized….  And apologized and apologized about every 5 people, hahahahaha.  New Yorker City folk… DO NOT apologize when they bump into you…  Thank God I have southern charm and manners!  Saturday was low key…. We hung out at the house, watched some football and enjoyed some quality family time before Mark , Darlene and kids had to travel back to VA and Chad had to head back to Jax to work bright and early Sunday morning at 7:30am.  Thank you Mark and Darlene for traveling with the kids to spend some much needed quality time with us and for dropping Chad off at the airport!  I LOVE  YOU GUYS and it was an awesome visit!  Sunday we headed to the Jersey Shore….. yup you guessed it… we went to see where the cast and crew film their show as well as see my families shore house which is a couple of streets over and around the corner!  Everything was locked up tight for the winter but I managed to get some pics of the house and scope it out, only all the windows had dark drapes so I couldn’t really get a look inside the place.  I bet in the summer time that place is hopping because it’s on the boardwalk and there is soooo much to do!  We never ran into any of the cast, that place is a ghost town in the winter.  I think we saw maybe 20 people and that’s only because we headed into the arcade for the boys to play some games.  Alex attempted a carousel ride…. Yes we loaded his behind up and over a horse, a funny sight for anyone to see, lol.  He has gotten rather large and heavy since all this happened and he isn’t a little boy anymore that’s for sure!  He lasted about 2 go rounds until I noticed he was slipping and leaning to the left (his weak side) and I couldn’t hold him up anymore.  We stopped, got him down and he and Brooks sat in a bench seat on the carousel till the ride was over.  The best part was the funny mirrors in the arcade.  You would swear my boys had NEVER seen them before,lol.  We were all cracking up at how funny and crazy they look in them…. Especially Alex in the wheelchair!  Not sure all of you have had the pleasure of seeing this movie, not on my list of favorites, lol…. But  Alex loves the movie Harold and Kumar Visit White Castle and he insisted we eat at WHITE CASTLE on the way home…. Basically our version of Krystals down south.  Thanks to Pop Pop and Gma’s shore house neighbors, Richie and Julie ….. little did we know it but they gave $$ to treat us to White Castle!   SO THANK YOU JULIE, RICHIE and sister Kristen for picking up the tab at White Castle for all of us to enjoy!
Our next trip into the city was EVENTFUL to say the least!  Alex had been bugging us to go to POP TART WORLD...yes there is such a thing!  A big store with a pop tart restaurant with many different foods prepared with pop tarts, lol.  Even.... pop tart sushi!  Sounds gross... yes... taste grosse... well depends on if you like smushed up pop tart rolled in a fruit roll up?!  I particularly did not care for it myself but it wasn't what I was thinking it was going to be..... fish pop tart seaweed...no thanks, lol!  From there we strolled the city gathering up our last day of shopping and soaking up as much of the city as we could.  As we were leaving we see the CHARMIN store...... there is a guy outside dressed in a toilet getup costume....singing... trying to get people to go in.  We figured... why not?  So we go in.... there is a ramp to the right and stairs straight in.... we opt for the ramp being Alex is in his wheelchair.  Basically the whole store is BATHROOMS.... their selling point is that they have the cleanest restrooms in NYC!  Its shaped like a horseshoe with bathrooms and you wait in line and each time someone comes out, they clean it for you then you go in.  Each bathroom is decorated as a different state... cool enough.  Their advertising comes in once you get in there.... you have 5 different toilet papers (all charmin) to choose from! LOVE IT... GENIUS!  They even had 2 handicap ones so that I could get Alex in there and you know of course he had to try it out, lol.  So once we all had our go, to the left of the store was a GIANT toilet that you could take your picture at and they emailed it to you for free.  So Alex and Brooks have their go at it... Alex wanted to stand up... ok we can do this.... stand him up... take the pic....now it's mine and Randi's turn.  Well we get our pic taken, then I want one by myself with my iphone so I can post to FB... gonna sit on the thing and make a funny one right?  Well, Randi is trying to take the pic with my phone and it isnt cooperating, so she hands me the phone and I am trying to figure out why it isn't taking the pic.... I hear her saying "Wait Alex".... "Alex... WAIT!".... AND BEFORE I KNEW IT.... I look over and Alex is SPRAWLED OUT OVER THE FLOOR with 20 people around him.... I jumped off the toilet, ran over there to see that Mr. Alex Ross thought he would be slick and head to the door where Brooks was standing and talking on the phone... HOWEVER... he has NO PERIPHEAL vision to the left side, up or DOWN... and he scooted his wheelchair right over the STEP and over went the wheelchair with him in it!   My heart hasn't beat that fast since January 6th!  I thought it was going to jump out of my chest..... I get over there and am freaking out... "Alex are you ok?... are you alright? Did you hit your head?".... He looks at me and SMILES!!  "Mom, when I fell out the chair and the guy came over to me to help me up.... I asked him if I was SAFE or OUT"!!!  GOTTA LOVE THAT KID!!!  Thank God he was ok... scared us all to death.... this guy practically picked him up.... all 160 lbs and put him back in his wheelchair!  Once we got outside......Randi and I were crying we were laughing so hard...hahahahahahaha!  I could finally breath and honestly.... that junk was funny!  I am smiling just sitting here writing this because if you could have seen his face..... PRICELESS!  So to say the least... the ending to our last day in NYC was very eventful!  Our last day in Jersey was spent at the Garden State Mall or something like that.... HUGE.... HUGE.... mall and we didn't even see all of it.  Alex had Brooks and Pop Pop ALL over the place while Randi and I shopped in the girly stores!  Shopping.... a perfect ending to a perfect trip.... or what I thought was our last day in NJ, lol.  I called the airline and our flight was delayed an hour but we still had to be at the airport at the same time.  We headed home to greet the family one last time and head to the airport in two cars so that we could fit ALL of our luggage, us and Alex's wheelchair.  Pop pop's boss had gotten us a van to use while we were in town (THANK YOU) and pop pop was an awesome chauffeur! The van had to be turned in on Tuesday morning and we were leaving Tuesday night so we had to take TWO cars to the airport.  We load everything up.....Me, Brooks and Randi in Randi's car and Alex, Kristen, Gma and Pop Pop in Pop Pop's car.  I called the airport on the way to find out the status of our flight..... it was now delayed 2.5 hours and we would not be leaving until 11:30 arriving at 2:05 and I live about an hour from the airport so that meant getting home at 3-3:30 am with my little brain injured child....NO THANK YOU!  So while driving on our way to the airport, I call the airline to see if we can take another flight on WEdnesday because Alex cannot possibly survive the flying at that hour.... he, Brooks and I would ALL BE COO COO FOR COCOA PUFFS!!  "Yes mam, we can change that to the 3:05 flight.  You won't all be sitting together, but maybe once you get to the gate we can accommodate the change".  So I call the car ahead of us and let them know what's going on, we are all pulled over at some service station on the turnpike.... I call Chad see what he thinks...He thinks I should stay it will be to much on all of us to travel so late...... Brooks is in the backseat freaking out and dying to get home to see his girlfriend saying .."Mom, I will take care of him in the airport and on the plane, can we please just leave tonight"...I'm thinking to myself... do I really want to get in at 3-3:30 with Alex?  Do we really want to fly tonight if the weather is that bad?  Alex is in the backseat of the other car yelling out the window.... " LET'S JUST GO BACK TO THE HOUSE AND STAY ANOTHER DAY!" This must be a sign from God for us to stay another day.... OK WE ARE STAYING, lol.  WE all turn the cars around half way to the airport and head back to Bergenfield.  We made a pit stop and had a nice dinner at Applebee's and headed back to the house for a good nights rest before our adventure home on Wednesday.  Wednesday morning came....I talk to Momma Diane and she says... you know it's really windy out there... I don't think you should fly today and I assured her that I had been calling the airline all morning and my flight was on time so it must not be that bad at the airport!   Randi borrowed her boyfriends mom's SUV so that she could fit us and all of our luggage, wheelchair and bodies in one vehicle to get us to the airport...THANK YOU MRS. ESCOBAR....we arrive at the airport by 12:30 for our flight at 3:05....boys are starving we find a subway in the airport however Brooks decides he wants something at the pizza place.  I get me and Alex a sub... Brooks comes back with 3$ change from a 20$ bill that I gave him and says... "Mom, I'll pay you back when we get home"... I was like "Why".... he said " Well, the lady had an accent and I thought she said it was 6$ for the shrimp and noodles but she said $16"....NICE!  Enjoy that shrimp boy!  So basically I paid about $40 for the 3 of us to eat at the airport. OUCH!  We are hurrying and eating like crazy.... gotta get through that long line of security check and make sure we don't have any problems with Alex and metal detector going off with the bullet still lodged in his head.  So we get in line... wheelchairs go through a different line... Brooks takes him... I am in line with everyone else... we have to take off our shoes... Alex too... place in a bin, we all have backpacks.... laptops, dvd players etc... belts....phones...  you name it ... it had to go in the bins...SEPARATE BINS..... we had like 10 bins lol!  So Brooks has Alex to the left... I am trying to monitor 10 bins on the belt and Alex and Brooks at the same time making sure they are ok with being wanded and probed and scanned etc.  ALOT AT ONE TIME GIONG ON TO HANDLE.... The whole time Alex is cracking jokes saying he can't wait for the lady on the plane to ask him if he wants some nuts so that he can tell her " I already have some"..... CRAZY FOOL!  Always got jokes!  He is steady quoting quotes from Jimmy Jibberish... (you tube this one and you will see what the heck I am talking about).... People really think Alex is "special" because he is imitating this homeless bum who doesn't know if he is coming or going or even know what the heck he is saying!  So people are looking at him trying to figure out what he is saying while he is quoting this fool from you tube.... I am trying to gather up the 10 bins of electronics, backpacks, phones, shoes..... get everything put back in the bags, I am sweating like crazy.... wanting to rush to the gate so that I can get our seats squared away because Mr. Ross has been freaking out thinking he was going to have to sit with a stranger.... MAJOR OVERLOAD.  WE get to the gate, gate 23 what my boarding pass says..... we wait, no one there.... Alex wants gummy bears.... then I notice that Gate 25 says "JACKSONVILLE" and there is a lady there!  I go to the lady.... explain that Alex is in wheelchair, we need to be in the last seats right outside of the bathroom and I need atleast 2 of the 3 of us to be together. She fixes it to where Brooks and Alex are in seats 18 A and B and I am in 16.... ok we will have to take that!  As she proceeds to change all the tickets, a voice comes over the loud speaker and says that the Flight to Jacksonville's Gate has changed to Gate 20.  The boys start freaking out, yelling at me to hurry we have to go..... the time is like 2:30 and I know that our flight doesn't leave for another 30 minutes and told them to go over there that I needed to finish getting our boarding passes.  She gets it all squared away and as I head to Gate 20 to meet the boys.... the voice comes over the loud speaker again and says... " THE FLIGHT TO JACKSONVILLE HAS BEEN CANCELLED!".... not delayed... CANCELLED.   I took one look at Brooks' face and thought he was going to pass out, lol.  I already knew he was ready to get back to Jax on Saturday and today was Wednesday!  So now I had to get in ANOTHER line at customer service with all the OTHER PEOPLE WHO WERE ON MY FLIGHT and try to get another one out of there!  The 8:05 flight was booked solid and already 2.5 hours delayed as the night before ( we know I wasn't going to take that flight anyways if it was going to be like the night before!).... I had an option to fly Delta to Atlanta, CHANGE PLANES and connect to fly to Jax only that flight itself was delayed 2 hours in Atlanta.  I wasn't taking a chance on having to sleep in the ATL airport with these two... NO WAY!  Alex is over in the waiting area yelling at me to hurry up let's just go back to Randi's house!  I'm trying to calmly explain to him I have to get us new tickets and arrange a flight home.  He doesn't understand of course he has to come over to me and try to get inline in the wheelchair with 50 other irate customers and TRY TO TELL HIS STORY, lol! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.... never a dull moment with him, I swear!  I look at Brooks and tell him " We aren't leaving tonight".... I'll never forget that look he gave me.... my heart was aching for him... I felt horrible but we were going to have to stay ANOTHER NIGHT!  We would be leaving on Thursday at 12:30 GOD WILLING.... only.... our luggage was already packed up and heading to JAX on the next plane.  ANOTHER PUNCH IN THE FACE, lol.  Now I had to tell Brooks and Alex they wouldn't have their clothes either..... OMG!  I called Kristen to see if she could come and get us because I knew Randi, Gma and Pop Pop all had to work and she would be getting out around 3-4 we would just have to wait. Soooooo, long story short, we spent 4 hours in the airport that day hanging out!  Kristen came and got us....it was just us, our backpacks and a wheelchair so we all fit in her Honda... no worries.  The boys are freaking... " We need toothbrushes, deoderant.....what clothes are we going to wear?"... You know that real feeling of the earth is coming to an end kind of deal. NEVER A DULL MOMENT.  Of course I suggest we just stop at
Walgreens on the way back to the house and I will get us some essentials.  We pull up and Alex announces he has to POOP.... HECK NO!  "Hurry Kristen, drive home... we ain't doing this here"!  "ALEX... HOLD IT!".... What is it with this kid and having to poop at the most inopportune times???!!!  We rushed home... he made it fine... Kristen and I went back out to get what I needed.... and all was good.  Next morning.... we arrived at airport, flight was scheduled to leave at 12:30 and I survived another security check... kind of a PRO by now, lol!  I wish someone had been filming us because I know we could be on funniest home videos! Heck I wish I had someone filming our family all the time... I really think it would make good TV!!  Kate Plus 8 ain't got nothing on this family!!! :0)  We got on the flight.... all sitting together...THANK YOU GOD!  Alex had to poop TWICE on the way home....not ONCE.... TWICE!  Now imagine in your mind.... me, Alex and a bathroom smaller than a portolette?  NOT MY IDEA OF A GOOD TIME!  I dreaded everytime he said... "Mom... I have to poop".  I hate those words any way but it's even worse when you are 20,000 miles in the air on a freaking puddle jumper with 50 seats and a bathroom the size of a closet AND.... ALEX MICHAEL ROSS, hahahahahahaha!  We survived..... we made it happen.... He's yelling "touchdown" in the bathroom as he is "dropping the kids off at the superbowl" as he calls it!  I can only imagine what the people on that flight were thinking!  AN ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME is how I would sum up our thanksgiving trip.... simply amazing!

Thank you to Pop Pop for taking off of work, showing us the town and for putting up with the shenanigans of the Alex Ross gang! You were a trooper and we really appreciate the time you took for us without a single complaint!  Gma.... you're the best!  Thank you so much for opening your home to a crazy week, for preparing an awesome Turkey day feast.... for making us all feel very welcomed and loved in your home... we love you!  Randi and Kristen.... thank you for giving up your rooms so that we could have the luxury of a bed, for carting us around too and from the airport... for your enduring love, friendship and spirit.... we love you!  Mark and Darlene.... thank you for making the long trip with the kids.... for sacrificing and staying in a hotel.... for going along with the craziness of not knowing what we were doing or where we were going until the very last minute.... I LOVE YOU!  Our time spent with the family this Thanksgiving was very special to all of us and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making it possible!