Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scrappin' 40!!!

Today is the day. I'm the big 4 - 0. Wanna hear an added funny? My mother-in-law's birthday is the same day! We always joke that Jim married me so that he could remember his mom's birthday. Anyway, she's great, so I adore having the same b-day as her. Back on track...Fourty doesn't feel too bad so far. Jim and I always wonder that as we get older how are we going to maintain energy for the kids, since they're so young. Well, we've been working on taking better care of ourselves. We try to eat better....doesn't always work when we're feelin' lazy. We've started jogging again which has done 2 things - given me more energy (although I could always use more), and helped me sleep better at night (I've never been a good sleeper during the night). The trick for me is.....can I keep it up? I can find ANY excuse not to go jog....too windy, too cold, too hot, too tired, blah, blah, blah. I'm actually starting to enjoy the jogging again though, which helps out with the motivation. Shoot me a "you can do it, Donna" comment every once in a while!

What am I doing for the big birthday you ask? Well, first Jim got me this GREAT camera (well, I think it's great). Suzanne, you'd be proud to see what this one is compared to my old one. Thing is, I'm still trying to figure out how to use it. I can do the point and shoot thing, but I want to know ALL the cool things I can do with it. Unfortunately, the way I read instruction manuals - hmmmm, well it might take me a while. Anyhoo, I'm enjoying it so far.

Last weekend, we had a family birthday gathering at our house. My mother-in-law and I decided on pizza and wings to keep things easy. Plus, the kids love pizza - makes it double easy. We hung around, goofed off, told stories, etc. Then my niece (almost 13) decided we should play hide and seek. So, we did. It was soooooo much fun. What better time in life to remember that we can still be kids!!??

Next, my best friend is putting together a girl's night for me tonight. I'm looking forward to that. Basically all Iknow is we're going out to eat, then to a friend's house for girl stuff. I'm excited to spend time with friends I don't get to spend too much time with these days.

Then, the culmination of it all.......scrapbook weekend! 5 other girlsfriends and I are going away to a scrapbooking cottage. We leave tonight and don't come back until....ready for this....SUNDAY EVENING!!! Wee-hooo! Avery will be 4 this summer and I just MIGHT get her 1 year book done. I plan on getting a 1 year book done for all 3 kids, but I don't plan on being a scrapbook mom. Who knows, maybe that'll change....maybe not. I enjoy cardmaking more. It's less taxing on my brain.

So, here's the deal. I'm normally a bit of a jokester when it comes to overnighting with friends. There's one friend in particular on this trip that I would LOVE to come up with something to 'get her'. So, if you have any ideas on good pranks, please offer them up!

To sum up the entry, I just want to praise my Father above for the great life He's planned for me. It's not always easy...okay, it's pretty much never easy...but it's still wonderful. While I can only see the parts of my life He's shown me thus far, I know He has a beautiful plan for making it all for His glory. That knowledge and hope keeps me going everyday. Thank you, Jesus!!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Back from Spring Break

OMG! We had such a great time! We have some friends that own a cabin about 2 hours from where we live. They have let us stay there the past 3 years, and each time has been such a blessing. The kids, although they were a little sick, had a great time. Ben, however, looks like we beat him with a baseball bat. He's more of a shuffler than a walker, so when he 'walks' he trips easily. That's very apparent by his cuts and bruises. He survived though.

The kids just did so well. Ian even seemed to improve on his vocabulary. He was speaking so much more clearly and using a lot of really good sentences. We think that all the sensory input helped him out. He swung a lot on the swing, sledded down a hill of leaves, relaxed in a hammock, climbed up and down stairs, went on nature walks, and threw the football around with dad. They all were so tired by the end of each day that sleeping was never an issue!

Jim and I enjoyed the complete family time. We were able to focus ALL our attention on the kids. No phone calls, no computer, no cleaning and laundry all the was great.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention how Ian used the potty. At home, Ian sits down on the training potty (not ideal because he's actually too big for it). At the cabin they have shorter toilets. Ian must have caught onto this because he went tee-tee standing up! And he went A LOT! We would set the timer and he would go pretty much every time. We even came home with leftover pull-ups. So we've decided that next month we are going to get a shorter toilet. I think it's going to put the potty training into a fast gear. And hopefully it will be a push for when I start Benjamin too. We could just see the 'proud' look on Ian's face everytime he went standing up.

So that was our trip.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Just For You, Kathie!!

This entry is for my wonderful friend, Kathie! I'll update on Benjamin in my next entry.

Last weekend Jim, me, the kids, and our friend Kathie went to a really fun Irish Festival. We don't normally take all the kids out to something like that, especially if it means missing nap time. However, Ian loves music. He and Avery are especially fond of a CD and video we have of a group called Celtic Thunder. They have a few songs they listen to over and over and over. So, when Kathie brought up the festival, we thought it would be fun for the kids. So, off we went.

The drive there was a bit worrisome. Ian didn't have a good time in his carseat while Avery got to sit next to Daddy (I drove and Kathie sat up front with me. Dad was in the back of the van with Avery). By the time we got there, he had about had it (jealousy, I'm sure). Then we didn't think we were even going to make it to the entrance. Ian just didn't seem like he was going to participate in any of the plans. But, we did make it to the entrance. And once Ian started hearing the music, he was hooked. I wish I had pictures, but we just got a new camera (a really great one), but I don't know how to get it hooked to put pics on the computer yet. Anyway, Ian and Kathie had a great time dancing together. Ian would go find a seat all by himself and just seemed so mesmorized by the music. Avery was a bit bored. She wanted to be able to play somewhere. She wasn't in to staying in one place to listen to music for any length of time. However, she did enjoy watching the Irish dancing. We finally found a courtyard area for her and Benjamin to run around and play. The kids lasted 4 1/2 hours before we knew they were through! Must be a record! We were thrilled that they did so well. And Kathie, you were awesome with the kids! Thanks for wanting to go!

P.S. We are leaving to go out of town for spring break so I'm taking a spring break from blogging too. This won't be another 3 month break. I'll be back on late next week. For those of you having spring break coming up......ENJOY!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Avery Update

Well, Avery is still just a sweet little princess......with some attitude. We're working on that. Who can blame her though with bro hitting on her and pulling her hair??? Some days I wish she would just have some super power strength and club him a good one. Problem is, he would probably just laugh. Anyhoo, Avery and I had some mommy/daughter time away at a hotel this past weekend. The goal was to do whatever the little princess wanted to do, with no interruptions. So, what did she choose do, you ask? We checked into the room, took our shoes off and jumped on the bed. Then she headed for the remote and pushed buttons like a mad woman. Then we went out to eat and got icecream. Then back to the hotel where we painted toes, did crafts, played games, took a bath, pushed buttons like a mad woman again on the remote, and ate princess snacks while drinking a princess drink. She loved it. Then around her bed time (which she told me when that was) she was ready to go home and see daddy. It took her a while to catch on to the plan, which was to STAY ALL NIGHT. When we checked in I had tried to talk her into getting her own bed, but she would have nothing to do with that. She said she might get scared. So much for mommy getting a good night's sleep. So, we got the king.....and she slept right next to me....then perpendicular to me.....then partially on me.....then perpendicular again. I didn't sleep too great. But we had a wonderful time and she's ready to do it again.

She's still doing great in her preschool. She loves to read the letters of words and read numbers. She can say her phone number. We're working on the days of the week. Also out of the blue, she told me when her birthday is. I didn't even know she knew. She loves to go in Ian's room at bedtime and say a night night prayer and sing to him. It's really cute to hear her pray. She thanks Jesus for EVERYTHING! Last night, she thanked God for Uncle Josh and asked Him to protect his heart and his BOTTOM! I almost called Uncle Josh and asked if there was a problem with his bottom.

Latest Avery sayings:
**When we were getting on to the elevator to go up to our room at the hotel (she HATES elevators), she stood outside of it and said, "Mommy, I don't want to get on the ALLIGATOR."
**There's a song we listen to that says, "Come where the peaks meet the sky." However, when Avery sings it, it turns to, "Come where the PIGS meet the sky."
**The other day she asked for a video that we don't even have at our house. So, I asked her, "Avery, where did that come from (meaning where did that thought come from)?" She waited a minute then said, "It came from my mouth."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Update on Ian

I figure since I hardly have time to sit and blog these days, maybe I should just update on one kid at a time. You'll understand after you read how long Ian's update is.

We're having our go around with ARD's and IEP's now. I've been gleaning off all your stories and trying to learn as much as I can about what I can expect. With him being in PPCD for 3 years, everything was pretty basic. Now we're talking kindergarten for next year. I have to say, we are extremely blessed that he is going to the same school where Daddy teaches. And we're doubly blessed that he has had the teacher he has had for the past 3 years. She REALLY cares about him and our family and wants so much to see him go as far as he can. And he has a principal who adores him and is pushing for a lot more than most would.

The last ARD we had was originally supposed to be his placement ARD. Because Jim teaches in the system, we knew that Skills would be one of the possibilities. Shortly before the ARD date I was out jogging and was going past what would actually be his 'home' school in our neighborhood. All of a sudden I felt this HUGE weight hit me and my mind went crazy. By the time I got home to try to share it all with Jim, I was in tears and could hardly spit it all out. You know the stuff I'm talking all starts with "Oh my, what's the best thing for him for school next year." Then it quickly flips to "I'm so sad at the thought that he may never get married and have kids." I know, I know....SLOW DOWN SISTER! Oh, I forgot to mention that previous to my jogging experience, we had a meeting to discuss the results of all his evaluations. That was the first time the school system had actually given him the label of MR to receive services. It didn't come as a shock, but to a mommy's heart, it hit hard. Luckily, I'm able to realize that it's based on a bunch of really idiotic testings that only allow for one correct answer to get the point. It doesn't leave any room for those who can think outside the box and still have the answer be in context. And it's the label that will get him the services he needs. It's not his life label.

I've never sat in on a Skills class before and so had visions in my head of no academic learning being done. I know Ian will be capable of learning to read, do some math, etc. So the thought of me sending him to school, paying for school taxes, etc. to have him not even be taught those things just infuriated me. So, Jim suggested I go observe a Skills class. The school he goes to now doesn't have the program, so I called his 'home' school which does have the program. Boy, did that open a can of worms! The next thing I knew, the 'home' school was calling his current school and one person in the district wants to know who said what to make me think he would be in Skills....yada, yada, yada. So then I was so worried that I had gotten his teacher in trouble, then the whole system thing got me mad again.....not a good week. I finally talked to the Skills teacher at the 'home' school and explained to her that nobody at his current school led me to want to observe. It was mine and my husband's decision. She was very nice and just explained that the head of the Skills program for the district couldn't imagine why I would want to observe at that particular school because Ian is higher functioning than what is offered at that school.....they have the low end of the skills program. Long story short, I decided not to observe at that school, or any other for the time being. I was already drained by the drama.

The next thing I knew, his placement ARD turned into an Amendment ARD because someone else from the district came to observe/evaluate him. I've decided that they just don't have a good program for kiddos with FX but not autism. Under their testings, he did not qualify as autistic or ASD. He's way too purposefully social. So, we're pushing for a full-time shadow for him for next year. I know there are a lot of you who want your child in a regular ed classroom and for them to receive all the same things as a typical child. I don't have a problem with that. But that's not where Jim and I are. Because we don't have him on any noticeable dosages of medications, he is sooooo hyper that it wouldn't be fair to him (or the ONE teacher) to be in a classroom with 20+ typical kids. He's just way too impulsive, loud, just wants to have fun, etc. Not to mention how over-aroused he would get with that many kids. Okay, enough about all that. I'm anxious about his next ARD and curious to see what they will have for us. Oh, he did qualify for music therapy and started it this week. I wish I would have known about it earlier in the school year so I could have pushed for it then. I never even knew they had it.

And thanks to fellow blogger Umma, we will be starting Ian on folic acid therapy. I'm going to call his neurologist today to talk to him about it. Will let you know how it all goes.

Potty training is still going.....very well as far as tee-tee goes. His sticker calendar is FULL everyday. He still won't always go completely on his own, but he generally responds well and quickly to the timer being set. Most of the time he'll tell me to set the timer! Poop is still a no-go. He'll get there. We're just thrilled with any progress that gets made. He loves to see Mommy so proud of him after he tee-tees. Oh, if anyone has any grand ideas how to get him to go on the 'big' potty, please let me know. He only wants to go on the 'little' potty. Well, he's really too big for it. He's tried to stand up at the 'big' potty, but he won't stand close enough to pee in the toilet. And because of his balance issues, he won't use a step stool to try to sit on a potty seat on the toilet. So, needless to say, when we go anywhere, pottying doesn't really happen. UGH!

To sum it up (I know, finally), Ian is really doing great. He still has impulsivity issues and some agression issue with brother and sister (he makes them cry a lot), but he has come so far. His vocabulary and enunciations are great. Even strangers can understand a lot of what he says these days. Even though he makes his brother and sister cry a lot, he is also very loving toward them and likes to get involved with playing with them. Even with other kids, he really tries to learn how to play with purpose. He's still a wonderfully happy kid!

And most importantly.....SPRING BREAK IS NEXT WEEK!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Getting Old? .....Just in Time

It seems, according to Avery, I'm getting old just in time. The other day we were waiting in line for drop off at school. She noticed some dry skin on my face and asked, "Mommy, are you getting old?" The funny part about all this is that I turn 40 later this month. You think she knows????????

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

TO: pddnosmom123

I'm gonna blog again later to catch up some...okay a lot. But I want to comment to PDDNOSMOM123 who posted a question on my last entry. I haven't even checked my blog lately, so I just got it. I tried to click on you, but it didn't lead me to a blog. Hopefully, you find this.

Ian was diagnosed at 18 months old. He was not 'diagnosed' with autism first, and he still does not qualify under the checklist of autism from the school system. Someone (sorry, can't remember who) replied back to you about the difference between an autism description and FX diagnosis. I agree that I would ask for the FX test. Although there are similarities between the two, there are also differences. When dealing with each, it's a good idea to know exactly what you're dealing with....especially if it's both. Not to mention the services you could receive. Please keep me updated.