Monday, September 30, 2013

There May Be Something to That Gluten-Free...

Judah has been gluten-free for nine days.

I have a friend who's son basically started talking overnight after being on a gluten free diet for a while (I don't know how long). I have another friend who's baby had a bad rash on his face. She was still nursing him. She took gluten out of her diet without even realizing it & suddenly the rash was gone, and has been gone ever since then. Some of the thoughts behind gluten-free are that we aren't eating the same wheat anymore. The new wheat has been chemically treated & bleached, not to mention other things. Since wheat isn't wheat anymore, it's obviously going to affect us differently. The kids above may have had gluten intolerance or modern wheat sensitivity. I'm reading that allergies to modern wheat are not too common, but that could have been a possibility as well (especially with the rash). Thankfully there are gluten-free sections slowly growing at grocery stores & other places. This will make it easier for those affected by wheat & those choosing gluten-free diets to transition.

We aren't a family that diets well. Scott can do it. He gave up sugar & caffeine for months once. I lasted a month (which felt like a year). When the doctor told us a gluten-free diet might help with Judah's constipation I was nervous that we wouldn't be able to follow through 100%. But for 9 days we have, especially thanks to the support of Mom & Dave. His constipation pains are still there, usually about every 10 minutes. I really feel like we need to take him to a gastroenterologist. We saw the doctor less than a week ago & have called for assistance twice since then. Today they basically told me to give him piles of Miralax, crush a laxative & hide it in his food & then go back to the Miralax until the doctor says to stop (which she said could be a very long time). Worst case scenario was to use an enema. So the 9 days of gluten-free hasn't shown a huge effect on his bowels. He did poop twice today & was in pain much less frequently, but the fact that he is still not even close to okay (in my opinion) makes me feel that there may be a deeper issue. I hate seeing him in pain. This has to end soon.

So the gluten-free hasn't done much (if anything) for the constipation, however, it may have done something for his development. I swear he was understanding instructions today like I have never seen before. It wasn't a dramatic change in understanding but it was enough to make me cry. He really seemed to understand quite a bit. But you never know if it's a coincidence or if he is really understanding. There are many things that he consistently understands, but today was far better. For example, we were walking up the sidewalk to a building & were still pretty far from the door. I told him to push the button. When we got to the door he went directly to the button & pushed it. In the elevator I asked him to push the number 3. He pushed the number 3. ???!? He was very engaged in a television show & I said his name twice & then asked him to come eat. He turned around & came to the table. He was definitely responding to his name well today. He was laying on the changing table & I told him we could do the potty next time. I asked him to say potty, repeating it a few times for him. At that point he said, "Pa - dee" probably 4 or 5 times. I began enunciating the "t" very clearly & he looked at me & said, not once but twice, "Potty", clear as day. Tears of joy.

So I'm questioning.. was it the new diet or is he just progressing? Of course there is no way of knowing. We will stay on the gluten-free though, I'm not risking it!

The microwave went off tonight and Willow said, "Boffee!!", because she knew my coffee was in it. She is so funny. Scott & Sebastian went to the dentist today. Sebastian let the hygienist know that Daddy does not floss, ever. Sebastian got his teeth cleaned today. It took over an hour. Scott was with him.  Apparently Sebastian would curl up in the chair & refuse to open his mouth. At one point he got up and tried to run away. The hygienist (who used to work at a dental office specifically for children) tried everything. Finally she suggested that Scott leave the room. What do you know, Sebastian was done in no time! The hygienist's daughter is in Sebastian's class at school. He had a sub at school today. She was a little, old Asian lady. I asked Sebastian if the sub knew Spanish (the last one barely did) & he said he never heard her speak any Spanish during the entire class. Very frustrating. Their snacks are frustrating - parents bring in cookies, gummy candies, etc. on their snack days. His old school required at least one fruit or one veggie & a gallon of water. These kids don't get anything to drink & snack is distributed to them 5 minutes before they leave for the day. They can stay & eat or take it with them. Why are we bringing snack if they are just running out the door with it? Why aren't they eating together & acknowledging the kid who brought the snack? He is learning a lot of Spanish. I suggested we do a craft with my magazines this evening. He cut out anything he saw in the magazine that was blue & said it was his "azul" page. It's really cool. He worked on it for hours. So there is definitely motivation coming from school. He also read with Daddy tonight. He worked hard today.

Again, another un-edited entry. We've just got some important stuff to get done tonight. Tomorrow I'm meeting with Judah's teacher for a bit so she can explain the new curriculum they are going to start using. We talked on the phone today for quite a while. I told her I plan on spending a day there to see Judah in action. She was pleased. We somewhat agreed to a time of the month to have a team meeting. Apparently every member of Judah's team is new this year. She said it's like that every year. So much for consistency huh. These new people don't even know Judah, how are they going to help write up an IFSP containing things like his goals, the amount of time he should get with certain therapists, etc.? I'm planning on reading up on IFSP's before we actually have our meeting. Dad is sending me books. That way Scott & I can be prepared & able to direct our son's school time in the most productive manner. His teacher is actually his new case manager. From talking with her on the phone I was much relieved to discover that she had a pretty extensive knowledge of how to work with the students. She seems to know her job & seems anxious to get plans into action. I was pleased.

Daddy is home with Taco Bell.. goodnight.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Magic in Music

Willow & Sebastian spent the day with Gramma & Papa today. They went out for breakfast, where they both devoured stacks of pancakes. After that they went home & turned Gramma & Papa's living room into a haunted house! It took me all of three minutes to get Willow to sleep tonight. That alone tells me that they had a very awesome day.

Such excitement splashed into our world today! It was happiness mixed with a huge sigh of relief. Today we took Judah for a music therapy consult in Portland. Yah, it was a bit of a drive but it was definitely well worth it. We spent 45 minutes with a woman who taught us that there are people out there who can work beautifully with children & are incredibly prepared with a mix of wonder & motivation to help kids progress in different areas. These are people that LOVE their jobs. Her strumming the guitar & singing was a bit over stimulating for him at first, but it didn't take long before he pulled his head out of my lap & began to explore. This woman knew what she was doing. She would transition him from one instrument to the next, keeping his attention fresh & his motivation strong. She sat on the floor with him (staying at his level). He LOVED all of the instruments & was so creative with them, which she seemed to enjoy a lot. After watching him for a while she let us know, in a very genuine way, that he was obviously a brilliant engineer. I've never heard anyone (besides family) talk about our son in such a positive, admiring way. She looked at him & saw strengths not weaknesses. She got to know him through music & playing as well as asking us questions about him along the way. She seemed genuinely interested in Judah, passionate about her work and very good at it. She would play an instrument while singing a song. Sometimes these songs were well known children's songs. Sometimes she would stop and see if he would fill in the word. Other times she would stop when she could see that his attention was going elsewhere. At that point she would engage in his current interest (which is very important) & work from there. She had asked me a week prior about his interests & favorite songs so she could work them into the session. Unfortunately I emailed her back last minute with that info, so she wasn't able to do that today. She used her I-pad while she played on the piano. She used a letter app, had him pick a letter & then she would play the piano & sing a short melody about that letter. In every instant of that session she was teaching, in many different ways. It was so cool to see. Judah played, he enjoyed the music, he learned how to use different instruments, he had new curiosities and new discoveries every minute he was there. He absolutely loved it. There's no doubt in my mind that speech progress could be made for him there. He was using words & making sounds during the session. She has free music therapy sessions with kids once a month in Portland. We've already signed up. She will work from the studio (where we were today) or from her mother's basement in Aurora if it gives a customer a shorter drive. She charges on a sliding scale, so price depends on what works for your financial situation. Like I said, she is passionate about her work. She has a few music therapy degrees, some pretty impressive experience & work titles, but she doesn't seem to let any of that get to her head. Working with her today put hope in my heart that we may have found a venue Judah could happily progress from. It was a great day.

Music therapy is still pretty limited. I don't understand why though. We could only find one music therapist in Salem & it looked like she was focused in a lot of different directions, not just on music. I've recently found communities of music therapists online. Did you know that you can get a doctorate in music therapy? I predict it will become a strong form of therapy once more & more people discover it. From what I've read, it sounds like it's something that could work wonders for Judah. Speech & music actually overlap as they both work a certain area of your brain. There have been studies done that show that nonverbal kids like Judah will have LESS activation in that area of the brain through speech stimulation and MORE activation through song stimulation. Today I saw that in motion. It was pretty amazing.

We went to Einstein Bagel's after the music session & Judah had the worst bloody nose I have ever seen. He continues to be constipated, no bowel movements at all today.

ps- I'm sorry this entry is not edited. I was just excited and wanted to share!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Progress in Theaters

Last night a friend sent me a post from a local movie theater website. It was about a "sensory sensitive" movie the theater would be showing today. I read through the post and learned exactly what a "sensory sensitive" movie experience was like & boy did it sound fun! Kids with sensory issues can sometimes find loud noises and bright lights overwhelming & upsetting. For this reason, they adjust the lights and sound during a sensory sensitive viewing to keep the environment tolerable. They allow everyone to bring their own food, which helps with kids on special diets, allergies and picky eaters (sometimes another sensory issue). This also allows for healthier movie snacks! During the movie, the kids are free to get up and move around, dance, and do what they enjoy without being considered a "distraction". Movement is very helpful for sensory processing in children. This could obviously be a very fun experience for children with or without sensory issues. I got even more excited when I saw that the movie was one the boys had been wanting to see! Tickets were only 3 bucks too! So the plan for today was to go to the movie & afterwards the grandparents could spend time with the kids while Mommy and Daddy had a break. Unfortunately, the movie had to be taken out of the plan since Judah was constipated and not feeling well all morning, poor guy. However, I was very pleased to learn that this theater has sensory sensitive movie showings once a month! We will definitely make the next one!!

The kids are out now with Grandma & Papa. They said Judah pooped at McDonalds & then fell asleep in the car on the way to the bounce house place. Apparently he is up now & bouncing! I hope he will be up for music therapy in Portland tomorrow!

Friday, September 27, 2013

"The truth of the story lies in the details." - Paul Auster

Rain off & on all day. The wet season has begun. We've discovered that our dog, Pixie, is not a rain dog. Although she does like to swim, she seems to have a real disdain for the rain. It's highly unfortunate that she resides in such a rainy place. Her plan of action is typically to wait until it's barely sprinkling outside & then dash into the yard. It seems to be working for her so far- we just end up taking her out 20 times a day!

Today I was worrying about my Judah. I think he knew that. He seemed to be doing as much as he could today to let me know that he will be just fine. I don't know if I've mentioned how closely he pays attention to detail. One time we had a Lightning McQueen (that he had never laid eyes on before) covered with a small blanket. We didn't realize that an inch or two of the car was not covered. It didn't take long before Judah spotted the red & got excited. He knew exactly what it was. Today I printed up a black & white photo of the potty chair in the bathroom.  It was a picture I found online. Since Judah takes to visual cues well I thought this might help with potty-training. He was excited when he heard the printer because sometimes I will print the cover of his favorite movie in black & white. He will carry it around all day. He even took one to school on Thursday and showed his teachers! Today it was very apparent that Judah needed to potty, so I showed him the picture of our potty chair and he followed me to the bathroom. That was easy! I set the picture down near the potty. He GLANCED at the picture, looked down at the potty & pulled out the purple piece on the side of it. Why? Because that was the ONLY difference between the photo & the real potty. Apparently his attention to detail is quick too! He's also pretty amazing at knowing the precise second in a movie that something is going to happen. He won't even be facing the screen & he can look at you and make noises that correlate to what's going on in the movie at that exact second. He doesn't have to see the movie more than once to do this. He will sometimes imitate a character's facial expression or body movement without looking at the screen as well.

Willow has been her usual funny self today. Tonight she was pumping her arms in the air & chanting, "Will..OW! Ju..DAH!.. Da..DA!" It was pretty funny.

Scott has all the kids out at the "big" McDonald's this evening. I talked him into it. Judah goes through phases. Not long ago he was terrified of the play areas at McDonald's. He would act as if he couldn't get back down from the Playland once he made it up a step. This was strange because weeks earlier he had loved those same play areas & seemed pretty fearless! He has very recently returned back to the fearless stage. Scott didn't want to go to the big McDonald's because usually he has to chase Judah around while Sebastian goes crazy in the Playland. I'm betting tonight will be different. Scott was very hesitant, but they went anyway.

Scott took Judah to his speech therapy for the first time today. I really wanted him to experience that. Since I was able to stay home with Willow, and Sebastian was in school, Scott could go on his own. Had I been there, Judah would have thrown a fit if Daddy tried to take him in. So we took advantage of today's situation & Scott had a good time partaking in Judah's special time. Judah's progress at home today was very apparent. His confidence was high & he was not clinging to me nearly as much. I can't say the same for Miss Willow. She thinks the top half of my body was built to be her carriage. Unfortunately, as she gets bigger this carriage may lose some wheels.

I'm home alone. Time for a bath!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bath Time

When you can't go into the bathroom and lock the door without ALL THREE of your children crying as if they've just witnessed you falling into a live volcano, things are bad. You begin to wonder how things could have gotten to this point. Then you stop wondering because you realize there are 3 children trying to climb up your body. I wanted to take a bath after Scott got home. Basically I just wanted a break. Today was rough. I figured Scott could cook dinner, I could have a relaxing bath & the kids could play in the living room or watch TV. Sometimes I get reality confused with my dreams. Once the kids found out I was not going to be completely accessible for 15 minutes, our loving, playful home suddenly transformed into a wild uproar of screaming & tears  I filled the tub with water & got in. Within minutes, Judah was at the door, crying & banging on it. Eventually Scott took him away. This would be followed immediately by Willow at the door, screaming, crying & knocking on it, "Hello? Hello?", she would say. It was so hard not to open the door. Sebastian had a breakdown before I even entered the bathroom. He begged me not to take a bath, as if I was doomed for life if I entered the bathroom in privacy. Obviously you can probably guess that privacy in the bathroom does not happen for me during the day. I stayed in the tub for about 5 minutes & then the guilt got to me. I stepped out of the tub & opened the door to a sobbing Willow. She looked up at me, stopped crying & suddenly didn't know what to do. Ha! She didn't even ask me to pick her up. She just started following me around. When Judah found out that I was no longer behind a locked door he clung to me like a magnet. I held him in my arms and he held on tight, as if I might go in for a shower later. And Sebastian, well he said "hi" & didn't even get up from his chair.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Halloween Soup

Today Judah & I tried a game on my laptop that he enjoys on our PC. My laptop has a touch screen, which is great because it eliminates the step where he would have to look away from the screen to the mouse or keyboard on a non-touch screen. This really gave him the opportunity to only have the challenge of the game and not the added challenge of the mouse and keyboard. I was hopeful, but unfortunately the game didn't go so well. It will take much practice. Later I discovered that he was going to be more responsive to art today. I drew pictures of items I knew he could say on the sidewalk with chalk and labeled them. He watched me draw each one, looking somewhat intrigued. He said all but two of them, with no direct prompting from me. The two he didn't know were probably the result of my mediocre chalk art ability. My Lightning McQueen was decent though. He really studied that one. Note to self: Sidewalk art seems to be something Judah enjoys & can learn from.

Judah & I took the dog out front while Willow was napping. Judah held the leash. He did pretty well hanging on, although he did get pulled down face first into the lawn & dragged a bit one time. He hopped up laughing & smiling. Pixie bolted when the UPS truck parked across the street, which resulted in Judah dropping the leash. My phone crashed to the ground as I dove into the street to grab the leash. I swear the UPS truck must look like a gigantic dog treat to dogs. Pixie will do anything to get to it.

We spent more time outside when Sebastian got home from Gramma's. At this point I feel somewhat comfortable watching all 3 of them on my own in the front yard. Sebastian & Judah I really don't have to worry about much. They just chase each other around most of the time. They both seem to be pretty aware of the street and usually step back in the yard when cars pass by. Little sister, on the other hand, I have to keep a watchful eye on. She thinks it's funny to run away & sometimes attempts to go into the street. I have to be quick on my feet around that kid!

Sebastian showed us how to make his "Halloween Soup", a creation he had come up with at Gramma's today. He poured water into a large bowl, cracked an egg & dropped in the yolk. Then he threw in some sticks & leaves that we had found outside. He instructed Willow & I to pick out things we wanted to add to the soup. I threw in a small toy. After that he picked the items, which apparently were supposed to be things that were edible, ha! He was very polite to me about my mistake. Willow sat on the counter the whole time, stirring the soup & stealing a taste a few times (yuck!). Sebastian added things like milk, ice, flour, honey, syrup, rice and more. It was pretty spooky stuff! We actually just stepped outside & got very spooked. There is something on the balcony a few houses that looks like a person dressed in white from head to toe. It looks like a ghost to me, but Sebash thinks it's a mommy (mummy). Needless to say, we headed inside immediately after.

We're up late watching Tom & Jerry and stepping outside to look at "night" every once in a while. Tomorrow is school pictures day. I'm a bit worried about Sebastian getting the money to the photographer. I'm hoping the teacher will be on top of that business. We will have pics to share soon!! Judah will get his done in the Spring. I put in a request to his teacher, otherwise they wouldn't have done them!

Daddy's home, bedtime.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Summary of this morning:
Woke up late - everyone woke with cold/congestion - Judah gets a bloody nose - Scott late for appointment - Pixie poops in playroom - baby discovers said poop - leave for school - arrive early for Judah's class - have to wait in car for more than 5 minutes - waiting time produces Judah meltdown - we go into classroom early to stop meltdown- no teacher - staff are panicked - teacher arrives 20 mins after class starts - Willow and I go home.

Less than an hour later:
Judah's teacher calls, asks me to pick up Judah - bloody nose has returned- rush to get him - rush to 11am appointment directly after - back to school to pick up Sebastian - it is now 11:45am.

Home for lunch - another appointment follows.

When we arrived in Judah's classroom this morning one of the teacher's aides took me aside, looked me in the eye and very seriously said, "We have a problem." Instantly I thought that Judah had been hitting kids and they were going to kick us out and we wouldn't be able to get him early intervention. Thankfully I was wrong. She told me that they didn't have a teacher. Since she was speaking so seriously, I assumed the teacher had quit. " What happened??", I said. She told me that she didn't know. "Do they have another teacher??", I asked. I found myself again panicking, again thinking Judah may very likely not have a class to go to. It was then that she told me they were trying to get a sub and that the teacher would probably make it in later. She was running late! That does not require a private, serious parent/teacher conversation!! This was on top of an already stressful morning.

One of the cool parts about this morning (and there weren't many) is that I was able to see Judah's progress in his class. Apparently the aides and teacher all carry a ring of small laminated pictures on them during class. This morning an aide showed Judah one of these pictures (a chair) when she wanted him to sit down. He looked at the picture & immediately went to a chair & sat down. It was like I was in a dream. We tried the picture system for a while a year or so ago at home. We barely had any progress and stopped doing it/kept forgetting to do it. However, he can point to photos on my phone and let me know what he wants to do or eat. So why didn't I realize he could likely do the reverse as well? This would prepare him for what's coming next. This would cause him less meltdowns. This would help teach him stability. This might help us potty train. This would help keep him on a schedule. This could potentially give him an opportunity to learn to do new things since he may have never understood what we were asking him to do. If he knows what we are asking of him it will lessen frustration, which is a huge goal we have for him. We HAVE to make this a priority!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Carpet Sandwich

Judah had a very happy day.

Judah has recently started letting us know that he wants to go out on the balcony when it's raining. He enjoys standing out there & feeling the rain. Today he wanted to venture off into the backyard. I knew he would have fun, so I didn't stop him. After all, mud washes out, sometimes. He had so much fun sliding down the slide & landing in the puddle at the bottom. Then he would try to climb back up the wet slide, sliding right back down before he could reach the top most of the time. I'm sure his rain time added to the happiness he was experiencing so much of today.

Judah did the sweetest thing today, and very out of character for him. I went to the car & I guess he must have dropped my sandwich on the floor while I was gone. I came in to find him on his knees, carefully placing the bun back on my sandwich (upside-down). He looked up to see me, patted the mayonnaise covered bun & said, "There!", as if he was saying, "All fixed!" Then he held the sandwich toward me and said, "Mom", because he knew it was mine. He took it over to my usual seat at the table, held it up to his mouth and said, "Mmmmmm!", smiling the whole time. He was acting as if he wanted to make sure I would still eat my sandwich. Maybe he felt bad about dropping it? Of course at that point I had to eat it. To see his progress was totally worth it though. Typically when he throws or drops something on the floor that's where it stays. And I've never seen him clean up food & try to put it back together.

Mid-afternoon I took Judah & Willow to the Discovery Center, which they LOVED. We spent most of the time in the train room. I was worried Judah would get upset when it was time to leave the room. I let him know in advance a few times that we were getting ready to go. Eventually I told him it was time to go and he really surprised me. He threw his fist in the air, marched toward the door & said, "Let's go!!" Maybe he just needs adequate time to enjoy what he is doing and then he can depart with ease? I'm guessing that magic trick is something we won't be figuring  out anytime soon.

We played on the wet playground for maybe 10 mins before we left the Discovery Center. It was THEN that Judah refused to leave. He would not let me pick him up and kept trying to run away screaming, "No! No! No!" I knew I wasn't getting off scot-free! This time the promise of food eased him out the door. I try not to use food as a reward, but I was honestly just telling him what we were doing next. And it worked (eventually)! He finally settled down & said, "Eat?" as if he was thinking, "Okay, I will go, but ONLY if we are getting food." And then we somewhat normally made it to the car. There were too many distractions along the way.

The reason we played on the playground for only 10 minutes:
While we were playing, Judah crawled through a small opening on the wooden play structure that I couldn't make it through. I told him to stop, but of course he kept going, and Willow followed right along! I dashed around the play area to get to the other side (where I thought they would come out). I couldn't find them anywhere! I heard Judah sounding distressed for a minute but then it fell silent. As I continued to yell out their names I climbed back up on the structure & found both of them, just hanging out together. I don't understand how neither of them were panicked (usually they are if they can't find me). They appeared to feel secure in one another's presence. It seemed as if they were just standing there, waiting on me to find them. Interesting, but very scary!!

This morning was Sebastian's first drop-off at the main door of his school. He did fantastic. It went even better than when I walk him into his classroom. He was very excited and said, "I'll be the first one to do this!" I'm guessing he was talking about being the first amongst his siblings. Regardless, he did awesome. Such a relief!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Skyping in Spanish

Judah has been constipated all day. He says, "Help! Help!" over & over. We called the nurse to get advice & have used most of her ideas. I hate seeing him like this. It's been an issue the past few days.

Willow is still talking up a storm, using 2 & 3 word utterances. Her favorite thing to say is, "What's that?", as she is pointing to something. We'll tell her what it is, she will ask again about 5 more times, we'll continue to answer & then she will finally say what it is. It's interesting because Sebastian did the same thing when he was a baby! Today I was changing her poopy diaper & she pointed to it & said, "Trash! Ewwww!!!" She's had a runny nose & watery eyes all day. Her sneezes are kind of explosive.

Sebastian seems to be in good health, besides an occasional cough. Tomorrow will be the first day I drop him at the main door at school, instead of walking him in. I'm sure he will be fine, but he may be very nervous before it happens. We Skyped Meemaw & Granddad the other day (Susan's birthday) and he spoke more Spanish than I have ever heard him speak! He sang songs in Spanish & taught Meemaw how to say "How are you?" and answer with "Good" in Spanish. He let her know that she did good. I can't believe how much Spanish he has learned in 2 weeks! Later during the Skype when Scott & Willow were having a turn, Sebastian walked through the background stark naked, just casually heading across the room to ask me a question. It was so funny.

I bet I'm probably more nervous about tomorrow's drop off than Sebastian. If things don't go well I will end up carting the baby & 3 year old inside, and that went horribly, horribly bad last time. Wish us luck!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Scott's belated birthday extravaganza consisted of Gramma and Papa taking the kids, a movie for us, take-out for dinner & sweets from Kondetorei (supposedly the best desserts in town). It was a good day!

The movie we saw was Elysium. The word Elysium comes from Greek mythology. It is described as being a place that was reserved for those chosen by the gods, those related to the gods & heroes, the righteous and the heroic. Supposedly these people would remain there after death, to live a blessed and happy life. In the movie, Elysium is a planet where only the elite can reside. People there speak French & English and they have tanning beds that can cure any illness. This movie is sort of like Wall-e, except everyone isn't obese & life on Earth is much worse than huge towers of square-shaped trash. The storyline of this movie is interesting, it definitely keeps your attention. Matt Damon is awesome in this film & the mentally ill homeless man turned Iron Man is very entertaining as well. The story requires lots of action & lots of death. My stomach was in knots during most of the film. I'm just not good with senseless killing and completely unrealistic action that is coming at you so fast it's hard to keep up. I need to remember that. Matt's love interest is named Fray, just like the band. Her name was very distracting to me. I hate that band. Her character is a "good person", although I didn't find her likeable at all. The scenes with her daughter did make me teary-eyed though. There are moments in the movie that are definitely questionable. For instance, in a world where you can install a computer into the back of someone's head, why are they still using walkie-talkies? Or how about the carriage of farm animals that keeps Matt from being detected by security, but apparently nothing else will? I enjoyed the Los Angeles scenes, a city marinating in graffiti, scattered  with security robots & crazy women hauling pigs. Jodie Foster's character is stale, just like my dad had warned me. All and all, it is a very entertaining movie if you like action & the killing of massive amounts of innocent people. The message of the movie is great - there is a reason each one of us is here, everyone has a destination. I'd like to believe that is true.

I'd like to add that after the movie I went to the restroom and used a toilet that flushed for me when I stood up, a sink that turned on when it detected my hand movement & a machine attached to the wall that blew air to dry my hands when I put them under it. Maybe we are closer to Elysium than we thought.

Friday, September 20, 2013


September is the month of birthdays! Today is Scott's birthday. He turned 36 years old, but don't remind him. He spent the day working (at least it was from home!). We opened gifts on his lunch break. And after work we had some family time at Costco (man was that a horrible trip). After we got home from Costco it was bedtime for the kids. Scott showered & rushed out the door, 30 minutes late for game night with his friends. So yeah, that was his birthday. Maybe we will just celebrate that tomorrow. I am very confident that we will.

I honestly feel like Scott & I have been best friends forever. Falling in love was completely natural, completely meant to be. He was the piece of my puzzle that I had been missing for so long. Now we are learning to parent together. In the beginning, we were both pretty clueless about parenting, but we have come a long way. And I think that has a lot to do with our chemistry. He loves our kids so much. I remember when we were living in Phoenix 6 years ago & I asked him how much he loved me. He told me that he loved me more than anything in the world. Then he thought for a second and said, "Well, except for Sebastian (our baby at the time)". That speaks volumes about his love for our children. We have been parenting now for 6 years & have made some huge decisions in that 6 years. I can't say that we always agree, but I can say that he always holds an open mind. I don't know many people that can do that! He's taught me compromise for sure. He's also taught me that the answer is always there, you just have to look hard enough. Giving up is never an option. As a father he has taught our children how to have fun, patience and strength. They are in admiration of Daddy, and I am too. I love you babe. Happy birthday!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Happy Birthday Susan! You are the best mother-in-law I could ever ask for & an amazing Meemaw. Your passion for reading, your intelligence, your compassion, your acceptance, your cooking, your patience.. you have too many incredible qualities to list! These all make you a very inspiring woman. I hope your birthday was beautiful, you deserve it!!

Happy Birthday Mom! I hope you had a wonderful day. I wish I was there to bake you a  birthday cake! You are a wonderful mom and I love you very much!!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jumping Hurdles

Papa took Sebastian to school & picked him up today. Another awesome drop-off! Papa met the teacher and some of Sebastian's classmates. Sebastian came home with a library book bag. They will be checking out books of their choice every week. He is looking forward to it!

Judah definitely jumped some hurdles today. Besides saying more new words than I could even keep up with, he also understood a couple of instructions that he typically doesn't understand. I told him we were going outside & he followed me around until we made it to the door. He understood something else pretty significant but I can't remember what it was. I drew shapes on the sidewalk in chalk while we were outside. As I named the shapes he would attempt to repeat the name of the shape after me. He also drew on the sidewalk. He's grown somewhat fond of making art very recently. We need to give him more opportunities to do that & opportunities for him to communicate that he wants to do that. When we were outside I suggested that we all go in for a snack. Of course no one wanted to do that, & I didn't think Judah had even heard me. Twenty minutes later Judah let me know that he wanted to go inside & "eat" (another hurdle).

Judah stood up in the bath this evening and said, "Look (at) me!!", something I've never heard him say before. Then he started washing his whole body with a washcloth, which he never does! That was another gigantic hurdle that he soared over.

Willow has been a mess of hilarity today. She finds humor in just about anything. She creates it too! Tonight she offered me a shoulder ride while she was taking a bath! She touched her shoulder and said, "Ride? Ride?" (which is what she does to me when she wants one). Then she smiled & laughed really hard, probably visualizing gigantic Mommy riding on her shoulders while she played in the tub. At the age of 21 months she has already learned how to play little tricks on people (and dogs). When I let her give the dog a treat she will pretend she is going to do just that. Then she will casually walk around with it, driving Pixie bonkers. She will nearly always pretend she is going to eat the treat (remember she thinks she is part dog). Today she actually took a bite out of Pixie's treat! I thought, "Well that will teach her!", but shockingly enough she didn't look disgusted in the least! Maybe she really is part dog? She's definitely got me fooled!

We did a lot of outside play today. The kids ran me ragged! I don't think there was a single minute during the day that I wasn't busy with something. Not to mention that Scott wasn't home from work & then gaming with friends until 9pm. At this point I'm too tired to even lay in bed & read.

Oh, one more thing! I had one of my post-op appointments today with the eye doctor. I have 20/20 vision! When the doctor's assistant informed me of that I said, "Oh my god!!" She immediately turned around in her chair & said, "When was the last time you had 20/20??" I told her, "When I was kid, a very young kid." I'm still a bit in shock.


A couple of Willow's favorite items are bags/purses and shoes. She loves to wear bags over her shoulder, sometimes one on each side. Often she will pretend that she is heading out. She also loves to wear everyone's shoes! She, like Sebastian, loves going through the shoes in my closet as if it was gigantic treasure trove. While we were in Oklahoma, Willow received a doll from Meemaw and Granddad that she absolutely loves. Why? It has removable shoes! They could not have found a more perfect toy for her. She took it with her everywhere the entire time we were there, asking everyone to help her remove and put back on the doll's shoes. This morning Willow found a small plastic doll that had come with a McDonalds happy meal. She handed it to me and said, "Shoes off!" When I showed her repeatedly that the shoes were not removable she handed it to me and said, "Trash!!"

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fiesta de la Harritt!

Judah had his first bus ride of the school year this morning. He knew exactly what we were waiting outside for. When the bus arrived he hopped on & picked out a seat in the back. He was supposed to sit in one of the "car seat" seats, so I had to help him get to a different seat. He had no problem with that at all! I was nervous that he would think I was getting him off the bus. After I got him strapped in he was all smiles! He said "cheese!!" as I took his picture on the bus.

The next order of business was making the dreaded phone call to Judah's teacher about Judah hitting kids in the Kindergarten class. She seemed very surprised & said they would keep an eye out for his new behavior. I should have warned her on the first day, but I was probably too stressed out to think of it. I also had to talk to her about the bus driver trying to drop off the wrong kid at our house. She said she couldn't have been more clear about who that kid was when he got on the bus. She also explained that the bus driver was a fill-in, which really makes no difference on the first day of school. She assured me that they would make sure today's driver knew who Judah was. And he did come home this afternoon on the bus & even a bit early, whew!! The driver who dropped him off informed me that they don't have a regular driver for that route yet, so I should be expecting fill-in drivers until they hire a regular driver, ugg!! This does not put my mind at ease.

Last night I found a school supply list for Judah's class. I don't know how we missed that! They sent it out right before school so I think we just hadn't opened it yet. His classroom wants each child to either provide the supplies on their long list or send in money. I found the donation suggestion a bit odd, never heard of that one before.

Willow & I watched the garbage truck pick up our trash this morning. She was fascinated. She kept going to the door saying "trash" hoping that it would come again. All of my children have now experienced this phase. I think the garbage truck experience should be considered a milestone.

Another excellent drop-off for Sebastian today. Judah came home with positive notes in his notebook. These notes also reflected on the conversation I had earlier with the teacher this morning, which was reassuring. Apparently they pulled their class inside as soon as Kindergarten came out & are now watching for his behavior. She said they would work with him on it. I'm curious to know what that entails.

The school picnic this evening was fun, not too long and very casual. Scott, Mom, Dave, myself & all of the kids enjoyed it. It was a lot less people than I would have expected for a 10 year school anniversary. We all sang the school song, the kids sat up front and of course sang it much better than the adults. Judah probably had the best time out of everyone in the family. He was on the go! We all got the chance to chase him. He was exploring, interacting, fearless & having fun! Willow enjoyed hanging out on the blanket, having a picnic & playing. Papa & Scott enjoyed sampling the salsas that parents were making on the spot. It's not everyday you find salsa that fresh! Nightfall was coming in so we packed up. I'm guessing the kids will sleep well tonight. They went down pretty fast.

Something dawned on me when we got home from the picnic, which was a very exciting evening for Judah. He was so motivated! He helped me pull his pants down while looking at my phone. All I did was ask him. He was making a lot of effort to talk to me & using much eye contact. He was 100% motivated to pursue progress all over the place! After speech therapy he is also much like this. Now I truly realize that I need to find something that he really loves & work from there. I've known this for some time, but could never fully comprehend it until I continued to see it happen in front of me. There's no doubt in my mind that this evening brought with it a revelation, one that I've needed to see for some time.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Strep throat twice in one year?? Ugh, this is ridiculous. At least the body aches are mostly gone. The throat spray & ibuprofen help for the headaches & bad throat pain, but wear off 2-4 hours later. Yesterday was the worst. I couldn't even write in the blog. Tonight I'm starting to feel better. I think tomorrow I should be able to watch the kids. Scott had to take the day off work today.

Thankfully Gramma was able to get Sebastian to school & back home today. He had a great drop-off. She dropped him at the classroom door, she didn't even go inside the classroom. The teacher asked him in Spanish how he was doing & he very confidently said, "Bien!" Tomorrow his school is having a big picnic to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. I will be taking the kids. Gramma & Papa will join us there.

The doctor I saw today let me know that I had a viral illness. By his standards if it was not viral I would have other symptoms, like a fever. This made no sense to me because my kids have viruses all the time that are nearly always accompanied by a fever. His news was disappointing to me because, as any mom knows, viral infections are not treatable. You can only treat the symptoms. They are usually contagious as well. He took a throat culture anyway and assured me that they would not have results until 2-3 days later. This puzzled me as well, because the last time I had a throat culture done (when I had strep earlier this year) they were able to tell me during that visit that the culture was positive for strep. Today's doctor prescribed me lidocaine, which a pharmacist later informed us would numb my entire mouth. No thank you. Chloraseptic spray was instead my medication of choice. Lucky for me, this doctor was wrong about my untreatable diagnosis & my culture results. His assistant called me not less than an hour after I left & said that my culture had come back positive for strep. At least it's something I can take antibiotics for and I won't be contagious after 24 hours of starting them. I'm getting to know you a bit too well strep, it's time you move on to someone else!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Secret Donations

Last night I went to bed early, achy and tired. Today I felt okay, but night has arrived and strangely enough I feel the same as last night. Scott had it during the day today but seems fine now.

We were able to get a bag full of toys out of the playroom and delivered to Goodwill before the kids made it home today. Sebastian came home and noticed how "clean" the playroom was, shew!!

The boys had adventures with Gramma & Papa today. They went to play at Bauman's farms & then out to lunch. Willow joined them later for ice cream and brownies, both home-made. Lucky for us they brought some home!

I just found a detailed email from Gramma about all of the adventures they had today! See below.

Just a few notes before I forget them. Sebastian and Judah had a blast at Bauman's as usual. They did all the slides and tubes but today Judah did two new things. He went into the "gopher hole" or black tube that goes under the playground designed as a short cut for the kids. The first time Papa had to go with him and almost got stuck going around a pole (made for wiry kids) and after that, he went on his own with Sebastian in the lead. Usually he hates closed spaces but he laughed his way through and was so proud. Then he also got in the rolling barrel where someone gets a great workout pushing it. Usually he sits for a minute and wants out. Today he got in with Papa and Sebastian while Gram pushed and then some nice people had pity on me and helped push them all three. Judah proceeded to get back into the barrel with Sebastian and a bunch of other little guys and had a blast while Papa and Gram pushed. He laughed so hard! Sebastian was pretty hilarious, too. He called Papa an "old snort" and told Gram she was an "old lady." All in good fun and I don't know who laughed harder or got dirtier, for that matter! We stopped at Walgreen's to get Cars band-aids and Neosporin for Judah's owee. He loved the cars bandages. Sebastian loved the large bag of M and M's Gram got him for his M and M machine (in the bag I sent home with them.)
We ate a late lunch at Baja Fresh and I think the Bauman's workout must've given the boys an appetite. They gobbled up chips, quesadillas (Sebastian), applesauce, etc. like there was no tomorrow. Then the Farmers Market. Usually Judah wants to be carried but this time he toddled along with Papa. We discovered he doesn't like the musicians much. Wouldn't go near them for some reason. Sebastian had kettle corn and we picked out a great Halloween candle holder, handmade, cast to look like flying bats. He chose it.
Time to get Miss Willow! We loaded up the three kids and headed home to make homemade ice cream. Willow talked so much! She said "Papa" a lot today. She and Sebastian decided to clean under the rugs with the little brooms and they did a great job while Papa and Judah headed off to get Judah a smoothie to have instead of ice cream. Willow would report to me periodically and tell me what she was doing (I think!). She discovered Sebastian's stash of colored rocks and said with great excitement to me, "Grammama! Rocks!" We counted them (all four) several times. Sebastian informed me we had to be very careful as the box they were in was very special. It had belonged to one of his other Grammas a long time ago. (My mom.)
Willow and Judah played in the hammock while Papa and Sebastian discussed the garden they are planning to plant in the spring. They are plotting it this fall and will buy seeds and draw it out when the rains begin. Soon, alas! Willow wanted out after a while and later, Judah said, "Help me" when he wanted out. He's talked a lot today and made good eye contact.
Meanwhile Gram was making ice cream. I highly recommend an electric, no salt, no ice needed maker. Very nice! It takes twenty minutes to great ice cream. Earlier Willow and Sebastian had helped put together the mix. Willow thought is was so special to stir the milk and sugar! She sat on the cabinet with Sebastian and he was so proud of her. Needless to say, the ice cream vanished quickly!
Bath time! Papa and Gram finally got smart. We filled the spa tub with just water and all three kids loved splashing around in it. Willow poured water on Judah's hair washing it and Sebastian and Judah blew bubbles like they were in a swimming pool. So easy to clean them all in one fell swoop!!
As we were getting ready to take the kids home, Willow appeared wearing Papa's work satchel around her neck. She pointed to it proudly and said, "Papa!" It was so cute. We have no idea how she managed to pull it out of the hall closet or how she even knew it belonged to David but she did. Such a smart little girl.
Fun day!!!!!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Activites Gone Wrong

Today we tried a couple of new sensory activities. I'm always trying to come up with something to fill the water table with that isn't going to cost much money. Rocks came to mind today, so we tried that. I wanted to fill the table and then have them search for tiny items that I had mixed in. I used coins from Sebastian's money jar and mixed them in with the rocks. Unfortunately this activity did not work for Judah (who wanted to throw the rocks) and Willow (who didn't really know what to do). Instead it turned into a counting game for Sebastian. He had to find the 20 coins I had hidden and count them out to make sure he had them all.

Our next activity was the spider web. We used yarn & began tying it across Sebastian & Judah's room. The goal was to create a maze of sorts that they would have to maneuver their way through. However, this was much harder than I had imagined it would be. This activity turned into something completely different as well. We ended up using the yarn to make a limbo and then using another small piece to drag around the house for Pixie to chase. They had fun with both activities though, I guess that's all that matters.

Gramma dropped Sebastian at school this morning. He didn't cry! This was his best drop-off yet! He came home very happy & of course shared some things that they had done. He was very confident & excited to tell us about his day! It was so great.

Over the weekend I think we will take them to the park to make nature bracelets. The weather has been great lately & they love playing in the stream. I'm so glad it's the weekend. The first week of school was tough!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Blog by Gramma

Judah said "want out" and "want help" (a few times) when he wanted out of the car at McDonalds this morning. That was huge. He has said "want help" many times today, but we have never heard him say "want out". Someone asked him who was in the mirror today and he said, "me!!" That was also a first. He also sat down next to a boy around his age and said "hi!", and grabbed his hand and shook it twice. Unfortunately the boy did not respond. They watched tv together. The boy turned around at one point. Judah wanted him to keep watching the tv so he touched his shoulder and said, "watch!!" These were just some interesting things he did today, huge progress.

Gramma and Papa had Willow and Sebastian today while Judah, Scott and I were in Portland. I asked Gramma to write about their day. See below, very fun stuff! Enjoy!

Blog by Gramma-
Today Willow and Sebastian arrived at Gram and Papa's house at about 6:00 a.m. Sebastian, of course, had been up even earlier! And Willow was ready to start the day, as well. It was a wonderful morning. We've never played stair ball at our house before 7:00 a.m. but today was a first. While Gramma cooked waffles and sausages, the stair ball team's energy escalated. At breakfast, Willow had waffles which was a first and Sebastian and Papa read the local weather forecast. Sebastian can read forecast temperatures and loves the weather videos.

After Papa left for work, Gram, Sebastian and Willow set out to take Sebastian to his third day of kindergarten. Sebastian told me before we went in that he might be a little scared but he'd be fine in a few minutes and that's exactly what happened. He found his folder and sat down with some very friendly classmates, all writing their names and coloring with quiet enthusiasm. Senora Stewart, the head teacher, seemed very in touch with what was going on with all the kids, calling them by name, and even taking time for a few hugs with former students who stopped in to say hi. Sebastian had a few tears and didn't want Gramma and Willow to leave for a few minutes but then he bravely waved goodbye as Gram assured him she'd be back in just a couple of hours.

Willow and Gramma then went to Fred Meyers for a little girl shopping. Willow tried on Hello Kitty sunglasses and picked out a shirt she liked as well as a few headbands. It was so much fun to see all the little girl smiles and hear her chatter on. She started saying Granmama about that time and seemed to be having fun. She mentioned from the back seat on the way to pick up Sebastian, "Granmama, no shoes and socks, bye, bye." This while clutching the new baby she also picked out at FM who she didn't put down for hours!

Sebastian greeted us after Kindergarten with a big smile and tales of what he'd done and mentioned he had a friend. He sang the ABC's in espanol and even had a cute story/song about colors he later sang. He's really picking up the Spanish quickly! We hurried to pick up Papa and got everyone lunch at Marco Polo, Sebastian's favorite. Willow and Sebastian shared french fries and chicken strips. Yum! We had a window table overlooking the park where after lunch, we went out to feed the ducks. Willow had a special duck friend who followed her around. Sebastian loves to point out the intricate spider webs we see on the water works there at the park. They are truly works of art glinting in the sun.

The afternoon was energetic, except Willow slept for two hours! Sebastian swiffered and cleaned with me and then made delicious brownies. He reminded me I owed him $5.00 for the last time he helped me clean so now I owe him 10.00! I promised him a roll of quarters for his bank where he's saving up to buy an RV for a family vacation!

Papa arrived about 4:00 and more fun began. Willow and Sebastian swung in the hammock, laughing and giggling the entire time. It was pretty hysterical. Willow stayed in the longest, running her fingers across the grass fearlessly as she swang. She talked a lot today, several two and three word utterances and loved the play time. She took my phone and was holding long conversations with someone!

I learned something new, today. Sebastian had a donut earlier, after helping clean, just about the time Willow woke up. I walked out to the deck where I saw him giving her bites of the donut. "Willow loves donuts, especially chocolate," he explained. I also caught him giving her a big hug and the two of them giggling like old buddies.

Baths, more stair ball (in which Willow participates and will not be left out) then home to parents and Judah who we missed today.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

2nd Day

Judah goes to school twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, so he hasn't had his second day yet. Sebastian had his today though. Scott took him in this morning. We thought one parent going with no other kids might help things, but apparently it did not. Scott said he had to peel Sebastian off his leg and the teacher took him from there. Sebastian was horribly upset. He was the only kid in the class who was crying. I wish there was some solution to get him through this quickly. There's no doubt in my mind that it is going to take much more time, but if you have ideas please feel free to share!

I took Judah to speech therapy while Sebastian was in school. He was so talkative! His therapist was shocked. It was a lot of mumbo jumbo and then understandable words here and there. Today he had his most verbal day so far. He's been energetic, animated & trying to say so many new things! In therapy he tried to name all of the colors of the markers. He colored more (with markers) than I have ever seen him color, picking his colors carefully. He looked out the window and told us what he saw. It was a very comfortable, interactive & verbal therapy day for him!

We picked up Sebastian not long after. We got there early. I had to call Scott for assistance because Judah was having a meltdown, running away and refusing to wait for Sebastian. Scott is going to try to help me with pick-up on the 3 days a week that I have Judah.

Sebastian reported that he had a good day & his teacher told me that he did "fabulous"! He waved goodbye to another kid as he was leaving, although he claims he has no friends at school. He told us about his day and shared a few more new Spanish words. His favorite parts of the day are recess and snack, shocker. He said his feelings about going back to school have not changed, unfortunately. Grandma will be doing drop-off and pick-up tomorrow since we will be taking Judah to OHSU for his second appointment. He will miss school tomorrow.

Willow was helping me put dishes away this evening. She told me what each dish was as she handed it to me. Bottles were of course "ba ba", the cups Judah uses were "Judah", bowls were "bowl" & apparently she doesn't know what plates are called. It was so cute.

We have to get up crazy early tomorrow to drop Sebastian & Willow off across town & then get to Judah's appointment in Portland by 8:15! Goodnight.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

First Day!

We woke up with plenty of time to get ready this morning, but of course we were flying out the door at the last minute. I don't know how that happens, but it always does. We did the obligatory first day of school pictures by the house before we left. Those were rushed & somewhat chaotic. I'm hoping we got some good ones. The boys were pretty relaxed about heading to school. Sebastian was concerned at times, but not too bad. However, once we made it to school Sebastian's worry set in. I was so stressed I nearly forgot to bring in their backpacks & Sebastian's bag of school supplies! I didn't know how I was going to get Judah in & out of Sebastian's classroom and still give Sebastian all of the attention he needed. On top of that, of course I had to take pictures! We went into the classroom (I had Sebastian show me the way). We found his hook & cubby. Judah hung his backpack with everyone else's and immediately started interacting with the other kids. He was ready to get started! Sebastian was nervous. I tried to keep him busy with finding things & putting school supplies away. We couldn't even really check out the room there were so many parents!! Judah sat down at one of the tables with the other kids & grabbed the crayon tub. The other kids were writing in their folders with crayon. Judah sat there waiting to get his folder. I helped Sebastian find the folder with his name on it & tried to get his mind off the fact that the teacher was talking in Spanish and he didn't understand what she was saying. He was really worried about what he was supposed to be doing. He is very much a rule follower. I guided him through her instruction (which was pretty easy to understand just by watching her actions). He started writing in his folder like the other kids. But it didn't take long before the tears really started & I was receiving many hugs that were tough to end. I felt particularly awful because Sebastian wasn't getting 100% of the attention he deserved to get from his mom. I had to keep a watchful eye on Judah. Judah did hit a couple kids on the head & write with crayon on a couple of kids' folders. Man I felt bad about that, their very first day of kindergarten, their very first work & my kid has put stray crayon marks on it. My kid who obviously should have ridden the bus this morning. Then I could have come to see him in his classroom directly after dropping Sebastian.

Sebastian received many hugs & kisses from me & much reassurance that he would be just fine. He was one of the only children that I saw who was upset, and he was really upset. It was hard to leave him but I knew from past experience that he would be fine once I left & if I stayed he would just have a harder time. So eventually I left. I was the last parent to leave because Sebastian was so upset & because Judah did absolutely not want to leave. I promised Sebastian many times that I would come back to check on him. I tried many times to pick up Judah. Eventually the teacher's aid offered to help. I warned her that it would be difficult & hoped he wouldn't hit her. She was able to carry him out & I was able to have 2 seconds with Sebastian for more hugs, kisses & reassurance & then I left.

Judah didn't understand why he wasn't starting school in Sebastian's classroom. After all, that is where I had brought him, wearing a backpack. He was able to sit down at the table with the other kids & somewhat participate. Of course he was confused, and upset I was making him leave. That made perfect sense. He laid on the hallway floor screaming & crying, refusing to get up. There was no one else down the entire hall. It took a while but eventually I was able to pick him up and carry him, while I also had Willow in the ergo. Thank goodness for my weight lifting practice! As we were leaving I noticed the principal having a meeting with all of the other Kindergarten parents, handing out papers & motioning to things on the walls. There was no way Judah was stopping for this & not causing a scene, so I had to walk on by.

We went outside & headed to Judah's classroom. Once we hit the ramp outside of his classroom he was suddenly just fine & excited to go to class. We were going to the same classroom he was in last year. We walked in & everything was rearranged. They no longer have the amazing sensory room (his favorite). He has a brand new teacher with almost all new teacher aids. Thank goodness there was one there that knew him well & immediately started working with him. Judah played sort of well with the other kids. He played cars, stealing some from other kids & crashing many of their toys. It was then that I noticed how many (if not all) of the other kids were more advanced than him. They were talking & following instruction & being much more gentle than him. At first this made me very sad, but later that morning I realized that their progress might motivate his progress. He made his first transition okay, but then wanted to leave the area many times. At that point he started coming to me for support. Finally it was time for the re-made sensory room area. THAT is where he wanted to be. He went in and found some of the few sensory areas in the room & began playing. I contemplated leaving him. Many of the other moms were planning to stay for the entire day. If I stayed he might expect me to keep doing that. If I left he might realize that he was back in his old routine. I opted to give him a goodbye kiss & a hug instead of sneaking out (daring I know!). Much to my surprise he said, "Bye!!!" back to me. So I left and headed back to the main school building to find the principal.

I was emotionally exhausted & stressed. I found the principal & questioned him about the previous meeting (which was a COMPLETE SURPRISE). He filled me in & gave me what he called the "very important" paperwork that needs to be given to the office asap. Good thing I went to see him, sheesh. Back home!!

We just got home from dropping the boys off for their first day of school & Willow grabs Judah's old backpack, motions for me to help her put it on, grabs Sebastian's new lunch box & says, "cheese!". She wanted her picture taken just like her brothers did this morning. Then she grabs my keys and says, "bye!!". When I don't take her to the car she says, "car!". Hahhaaa. She's ready to go to school!

Sebastian was happy at pick-up. Scott showed up to surprise him. Sebastian told us a lot about his day. He said his class did a scavenger hunt that took them all over the entire school & even outside! He shared with us some Spanish words and phrases he learned. It was quite a bit of Spanish to remember after one day. He said they did all of the sounds of the alphabet (in a song I think?) & counted all the way to 20, both in Spanish! We played on the playground until it was time for Judah's class to end.

So we get home from school and I see a school bus sitting outside our house. I pull the car into the garage & wave at the driver. She does not wave back. She does not smile. She does, however, open the bus door. I walk over, get on the bus & she tells me that she has a drop-off at our address. I tell her that Judah isn't taking the bus this week. I had informed transportation of this, a woman at WESD AND his teacher & aids just this morning, so I didn't know what she was talking about. She points at the kid across from her and says, "Well isn't that Judah??" The ridiculous part (as if this wasn't ridiculous enough) is that I check to see if it's Judah! I tell her, "No, Judah is in the car." She tells me firmly that the teacher told her that was Judah, as if she is right! Scary, isn't it? I can't imagine how that boy's parents would feel if they knew this had happened. Obviously I'm very nervous about their transportation system now. Last year we had great drivers. He starts riding the bus on Tuesday, next week. I will be calling on Monday to re-affirm that with them.

Sebastian shared with me something that happened at school. His class was outside in a line. They were supposed to stay in line. Judah's class happened to be outside at the same time. I think maybe Judah was still upset that he couldn't be in Sebastian's class. Apparently he went down the line, hitting many kids. Sebastian said they couldn't do anything because they weren't supposed to leave the line. Sebastian told a girl near him that Judah was his brother. She let him know that she would not be his friend this year. I can't even imagine how this must feel for Sebastian. It breaks my heart. Sebastian was holding back emotion when he was telling me this story. He didn't tell me until late this afternoon. I think he had just worked up the courage to tell me. Judah can't help his behavior. It's an automatic response. He becomes very sad after he hits people, usually to the point of crying. Sebastian said none of the teachers were looking when Judah was hitting children. Judah has 3 aids & 1 teacher in his class and Sebastian has 1 teacher & 1 aid.. which makes SIX adults who happened to miss this?? I will get too emotional if I call, so Scott will call tomorrow. It just breaks my heart.

Although Sebastian was in good spirits after school, this evening he has told both Scott & I that he does not want to go back. However, I think the good is still outweighing the bad, and I think the good will continue to grow. Scott will be walking him in tomorrow morning. Judah will not be there. And of course it will be Sebastian's second day so he will know more of what to expect. I hope these things help him have a much more positive experience tomorrow. The first day was so hard!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Last Day Of Summer Break Fun!

Early this morning I took Sebastian to meet with his teacher in the Kindergarten classroom for his assessment testing. He was scared when he found out I wouldn't be in the room. He started crying and clinging to me. I was scared for him. We hugged for a while and then the teacher said very calmly, "Okay, now you want to just peel him off of you.", as if she was teaching me a yoga position. And, like yoga, it wasn't easy. I don't know how I'm going to survive tomorrow! I'm not worried about him. After I left the room today he was comfortable & laughing with the teacher in all of 3 minutes.

I found out today that Judah will have a new teacher this year. Hopefully she will be as good as the last! He has been super playful today, interacting wonderfully with everyone! He told me "want juice" earlier when prompted. Later he wanted juice again and got confused saying, "want phone". I said "juice" and he quickly corrected himself saying "want juice". When he was done he handed me his sippy cup and said, "All done!" That is pretty amazing too! Today he has been repeating words and doing what I ask at times! I don't see any issue with eye contact anymore.

We were home most of the day. The kids have all been so happy & playful. They must know this is our last day of summer break. They are getting in every last minute of fun!

Just some added notes..
I can ask Willow to do something and if she understands me, which she usually does, she will do it! Tonight I asked her to pick up a bath toy and get the water out of it, and she did!

In addition to Judah's other hard work today, he also ate an entire bread stick at dinner! I set part of one by his plate, like I sometimes do with other food, and as soon as he was done with his usual food he picked up the bread stick, looked it over and ate it!! Scott gave him more. We gave him a small slice of pizza after that. He contemplated eating it for quite a while, even almost getting it to his mouth, but finally decided against it. We celebrated his bread stick accomplishment by giving him tons of praise. Scott and I both sat there staring at him in just utter shock while he ate his bread stick. That was HUGE. Later he showed me that he wanted to go outside. He unlocked the bottom part of the door and then pointed to the higher lock and said "lock". We went out for a minute, the dog ran out and Judah did NOT want to let her back in, haha. Then he wanted to go out the front door, so we did. Outside he pointed at the light and said "light". He also said "night". He has been responding to his name most of the time today and talking a lot, trying so hard to communicate. He is very animated and excited when he talks. He also said "Itchy" (the name of one of his trains). He said "trains" a lot today. He has had such an INCREDIBLE day! Hopefully he will be happy & excited to be at school tomorrow, fingers crossed!!


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Possibly Ready For School

I'm not sure what changed. Maybe it was affirming school drop-off and bus pick up times? Maybe it was washing new school clothes? Or perhaps it was Judah getting a haircut? But I'm beginning to look forward to the school year starting. Thank goodness!

Judah and I are laying together. We were just having a conversation. I was only catching tiny pieces of what he was saying but we were definitely having back and forth communication. It was pretty cool! He was keeping to himself a lot when Mom & Dave stopped by today. That made me curious if it may take time for his summer progress to show at school, which could mean that they won't be able to teach from the point of his current level. I don't know. That was what Judah and I were talking about, school. His eyes lit up when I mentioned the bus. The rest of the time he looked like he was thinking about what I was saying.

Sebastian helped me work on cleaning Mommy & Daddy's room today. He cleaned the top of the fridge too. His main focus was anything that required climbing to dust. He climbed everything today, including me!

The dog is back into routine and had no accidents in the house today. Yesterday she was so excited to be home. This caused her to potty more than usual and not always remember to tell us that she needed to go.

Today I was able to get my dresser cleaned off. That in itself is reason enough for the blogging today! I've been meaning to do that for years!


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Spider Bite!

Today was predictable- unpacking, laundry & a long trip to the grocery store. Scott is out picking up the dog from the kennel now. The kids were so good at the grocery store (he took all 3!) that they each came home with a brand new toy!

Sebastian wanted to go outside & ride his bike late this afternoon. I took him out & the other two kids joined. I pushed Willow on the small bike for a while & then later in the little red car. Judah ran. We all went around in a circle, up the driveway, down through the yard and back around again, over & over more times than I could count. Judah & Willow helped me water the plants. After Judah watered the little tree he took a break and sat underneath it, the leaves of the tree were in his hair. I bent down to check on him after a few minutes & caught him holding his hand out, staring at it. I looked at it & saw a spider on his wrist, no bigger than a nickel, with scraggly, skinny legs like a Granddaddy Longlegs. I also noticed a tiny bit of blood underneath the spider. I quickly snatched it up and squished it between my fingers. Judah started saying, "Ow! Ow!" as the spot on his wrist started to get pink. We washed it well with soap & water & called a nurse. Scott looked up spider bite first aid on the internet & we followed what he found. We elevated it, put a cold compress on it, gave him Tylenol & waited on the nurse to call. His pain went away not long after we gave him the Tylenol. Eventually the nurse called. She told us that we did everything she would have recommended. His bite looks like a barely raised oval, about 2 inches long & 1 inch wide. She said it may stay like that for a few days & to call back if anything got worse. He's reclined on the couch watching videos on my phone now, not a care in the world. This was our first spider bite. It was a bit nerve-wracking waiting on the nurse to call, not knowing if it was an emergency or nothing to worry about. Thankfully it was the latter!

Tonight is movie night for the kids. They picked a really old film to watch, Willy Wonka. They enjoy old Sesame Street too. Old or new seems to make no difference to them, they just watch what they like!

I've caught Judah trying to say so many new words today. It's pretty amazing. He's in awesome spirits & trying hard to communicate. It feels like we are at a turning point.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Our Trip Home

The family & feast of food last night was terrific! Scott gave his parents some tips on making fajitas. Susan, Alvin and Scott all cooked. Alvin handled the barbecue. Aunt Nancy, Uncle Arnold, Uncle Mike and Nanny all showed up to eat. It was another scorcher outside, so we ate inside. Sebastian kept his Great Uncle Arnold (born in the 1930's) very busy. They spent lots of time riding their bikes up and down the street while dinner was being prepared. Nanny complimented Scott as he cooked. He looked up & told her lovingly, "Everything I know I learned from you." However, it's likely this was Nanny's first fajita! Nanny sat beside Willow and I at dinner. She held Willow a couple of times. Willow mimicked her saying, "Eat, eat, eat!" Nanny enjoyed eating and chatting with her great grandchildren. I think everyone had a good time & the food was of course delicious! It was a huge meal! We took lots of pictures to capture the evening.

We arrived at the ticketing counter at the Oklahoma City airport early this evening, only to find that our biggest piece of luggage was 57 pounds (7 pounds over), and would no longer be free but instead would be a hefty $75! We asked if we could rearrange things and ended up emptying much of the suitcase into the car seat bags until we hit 49.5 pounds. Who knew you could stuff items in the car seat bags??! They just have to be 50 pounds or less too! And of course they don't count as luggage, so even better! While all of this was going on, the boys were fighting and Judah was periodically taking off. And of course there was a line behind us. Stressful.

Oklahoma security can't be as bad as Portland, right? WRONG. We made it quickly through the short security line and reached their checkpoint. From there we were immediately directed down a hall and into a secluded security area. We had no idea why. At this point we had to empty out most of the items in our carry-ons. They inspected our items using machines and other methods. They confiscated an ice pack because it was partly melted.  I struggled to keep Judah under control while they had me open sippy cups & milk bottles and checked my hands for bomb material. Scott had to go through a completely separate search, including a full pat-down. His items were separated from ours and taken across the room where they could be inspected more thoroughly. We were told his search was just "routine". Was there really anything "routine" about any of this?!? I was beginning to wonder if the recent "We're The Millers" movie was being taken seriously by security officials. (It's a comedy about a diverse group of characters posing as a family to transport marijuana.)

After a long, insane trip through security, we finally made it to the gate. We spent the next 20 minutes trying to corral the children. Judah nearly made it on a plane at one point. But at least we could all relax when we made it on board our flight. The boys could watch a movie and Willow would likely sleep. Unfortunately, during the flight we were told that the boys needed to use headphones for the DVD player (even though it was turned down to a volume equal to conversation on the plane). This headphones rule had not been enforced during our last two Southwest flights, so it came as a bit of a surprise to us. It was very disappointing.  As any parent will tell you, the DVD player is a saving grace on long journeys when you have children. Lucky for us, the boys didn't seem to mind their silent movie. Judah filled in the silence with loud chatter & noises. It was actually noisier with no movie volume.

At the Denver airport we played the same routine that we did last week - McDonald's to eat, refill cups & bottles with juice, diaper changes and get on plane. A two hour layover is the perfect amount of time for us to get through our routine. While In Denver, a worker strolling through the airport with a huge trashcan began heading straight for me as I stood holding Willow in my arms and holding Judah by the hand. "Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!", I said loudly. Too late. She bolted right into me with her gigantic trashcan on wheels. Judah fell to the ground while I struggled to catch my balance, stepping all over him. People stopped to watch. Sebastian was enjoying the show, as if he was watching a comedy act. He had many laughs. A woman stopped to pick up Judah for me and quickly walked on.  The lady who hit us apologized. She asked if we were okay a few times and walked on. Scott didn't see a thing, by the time he turned around it was all over. So anyway, just one more catastrophe to add to our day.

We are currently on an airplane heading to Portland. I think this may be the first night time flight for the kids. Willow instantly passed out. Judah & Bash were excited about the dark and are currently watching a Sesame Street video with no volume. This flight is pretty empty. Sebastian is now asleep. Judah is still up and talking. He has been riled up all day, saying new words, trying new foods, physically active every second of the day & at times hasn't even seemed to notice when I'm not around (usually a meltdown moment).  He dropped his sippy cup as we stepped off a moving walkway at the Denver airport. It was so funny. He chased after it, kicked it away on accident and then dove to the floor like a football player going for a tackle. It was hilarious.

Home soon. All kids now asleep.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Chocolate Delight To Top Off Our Stay!

A week of sunshine & memories made with Oklahoma family was so nice. Today Sebastian & Granddad took their morning bike ride. Arnold joined them. Sebastian picked up his morning donut along the way. Willow woke up with a runny nose & lots of demands for Mommy to get "up!". Judah had lots of play time this morning & gave me a great surprise when he approached me and said, "want phone". Meemaw is in the kitchen preparing yet another amazing dessert. We've had strawberry cake, coconut cream pie & now she is crushing pecans to make the infamous family Chocolate Delight.

Today we are getting packing done, doing a bit of last minute shopping & preparing for a small family get together tonight where the family will get to experience Scott's amazing cooking. He's making fajitas, one of my favorites among his delicious meals.

We'll leave on our flight to Denver late tomorrow & arrive in Portland late in the evening. This will likely ensure that the kids sleep on the last flight & definitely on the drive home. It should be a pretty easy day of travel, besides the luggage haul at the beginning & end of the journey. I'll update on the family gathering tomorrow. It's been an awesome visit. We will be sad to go.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Slip 'N Slide!

Today the kids had some summer fun in the backyard. Alvin blew up the swimming pool & set out the Slip 'N Slide. Now when I was a kid a Slip 'N Slide was essentially a long piece of flimsy yellow plastic that you would lay on the ground. A garden hose would be placed at the top of the Slip 'N Slide to ensure it would stay wet. To play on it you would step about ten feet back, get a running start, jump up and belly flop on the Slip 'N Slide, sliding all the way to the bottom and landing in the muddy grass. We thought it was awesome! The Slip 'N Slide the kids played on today was blue with an inflated shark archway at the end that the kids could slide through. Water shot out of the mat every 6 inches or so, taking away the necessity of a garden hose. So much for simplicity! Even the kiddy pool was eccentric. Alvin inflated a slide that fit over one side of the pool. There was a giraffe head on the other side of the pool that had a fountain of water squirting out of its mouth. Judah's favorite was the pool slide. He loved it when I put him down head first. Sebastian liked the craziness of the Slip 'N Slide. I got some good action shots of him flying down & off of it. We couldn't get Willow to do either, but she was in the pool a few times. She isn't much for being sprayed with water.

Susan made a fruit pizza for lunch today. She also made a salad filled with assorted veggies. It was the best lunch I have ever had. We must get the recipe for the fruit pizza! Willow and Sebastian really enjoyed it too.

Scott and I went to see a horror flick this afternoon called You're Next. I have no idea why they titled it that. It was a good movie, lots of creative murder scenarios, a strong woman figure, a family filled with an array of dysfunction & personalities all over the map, and of course suspense. There were a few spots of comedy throughout the film. I think that may have served to remind the audience of the complete impracticality of the movie. It was fun, shocking & definitely scary. There is no one name-worthy in the entire flick. I would totally recommend it.

After the movie we headed over to a restaurant called Sante Fe for dinner. It was excellent! We had fish, steak, baked potato, rolls with cinnamon butter, veggies & a bucket full of peanuts. Mmmm mmm!

While we were gone the kids got in a 30 minute Skype with Grandma & Papa. Sebastian caught them up on all that's been going on here.

Tomorrow Scott is making fajitas for everyone in the family that can come. Quite a few people have other priorities tomorrow night, unfortunately. But we did get to spend lots of time with each of them while we were here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Long Night

Last night was long. It lasted all the way into late morning today. All I wanted was a sleeping baby & something to cure my aching head. Scott, Willow & I didn't get much sleep. Today was a rough start but eventually got much better. Sebastian, of course, was up at the crack of dawn, 6:30am to be precise. He went for an early morning bike ride with Granddad, their morning routine, in his pajamas. I guess this is the second day in a row he has done the morning bike ride in his pj's.

At lunchtime we hit up the hamburger joint Scott has to eat at every time we are in Ada. It's called Folgers and has got to be amongst some of the smallest restaurants around. It can seat maybe 20 people, most of these spots are barstools at the counter. Employees consist of 2 old men flipping burgers & 2 waitresses (one old, one young) taking care of each and every customers. It's old too, which makes it pretty cool. This was the first time Sebastian & I had gone. Alvin, and of course Scott, went as well. Everyone else stayed home. Aunt Nancy came over to help watch the kids. Folgers has big greasy burgers, shoestring fries, hot dogs and grilled cheese. I'm pretty sure that's their entire menu, plus fountain drinks. When we walked in there were a few barstools open in one spot & a couple more near the end of the counter. People gladly got up and moved so we could all sit together. Sebastian had a hot dog, I had the grilled cheese, while Scott & Alvin ate hamburgers & fries. We had their entire menu. At one point I looked over and caught Sebastian staring in wonder at the woman scooping ice. His ice machine fascination is hilarious! Folgers was an interesting experience. There was definitely a diverse collection of people, all were friendly & a lot of them seemed to know one another. Folgers restaurant in Ada, Oklahoma is now checked off on my bucket list.

I got in a nap with Willow when we got home. That was the final cure for my headache (plus migraine medicine).

During the early evening we went to the Lazer Tag Family Fun Center. We met up with Scott's cousin Amy, her daughter Lucy & her sister's daughter Gracie. The kids played in the indoor play area. It was really fun - I was in there with them. Judah & Willow were able to do pretty much everything in the play structure. They only really needed my help with the Tarzan swing. Willow walked a tightrope made out of rubber & did amazingly well. She did it over & over. Judah loved the slide. He went down & climbed back up many times. There were only 2 other kids in there with us. We also played in the arcade. Sebastian, Lucy & Gracie played many of the arcade games together. Judah was fascinated with the one that simulated a roller coaster ride. He loved the shaking chair & the gushes of wind throughout the ride. It was really cool. Lucy had to get to soccer practice so we only stayed about an hour, but they got in a ton of fun for sure.

We ate dinner at Braum's. I've decided that they have my absolute favorite salad. It's called the strawberry poppy seed salad. It has spinach, strawberries, blueberries, poppy seed dressing, pine nuts, pineapple & more! It's awesome. Sebastian, Daddy, Willow & I shared a hot fudge, brownie, lava cake sundae.

Sebastian talked all day about riding the bike trail with Granddad & I. Of course, I don't have a bike, so my plan was to go along & snap pictures. He ended up riding this evening with Scott. The rest of us walked behind them. The weather was perfect. I was able to get in a few pictures. We headed back when it started to get dark. Judah enjoyed walking up to the lake. He said "water" when he saw it and many times after. He was jibber-jabbering away that entire walk. I caught words here & there. He was definitely enjoying himself & when I heard words they were usually about what we were doing or seeing. Willow nearly fell asleep on me during the walk. I'm really hoping that means she will sleep good tonight! I know Scott & I will!


Monday, September 2, 2013

103 Degrees

6am and Sebastian is up & rarin' to go! He talked Granddad into an early morning bike ride. Daddy was soon awaken and the boys all headed to McDonald's for some play time and breakfast. Apparently the sidewalk there was black, completely soaked in crickets! Judah found a cricket inside and chased it through the restaurant. When he finally caught up to it he smashed it dead! While they were out having breakfast, Susan and I spent time trying to keep up with Willow and chatting.

The guys made it home and we all headed outside to play. Sebastian got to throw his first water balloon. He has been talking about water balloons all summer. He also practiced tennis in the driveway with Granddad. Judah gave it a shot as well. Sebastian seems to be a natural! Willow enjoyed being pushed around on the bikes. She helped me pick up the tennis balls that Sebastian had hit into the yard. Judah loved playing with the animal water guns. The heat took a toll on us after a while and we had to head back indoors.

Scott & I got out for a bit today. We spent 5 dollars at Braum's for 3 scoops of ice cream & a medium shake! What a deal! My Granddad used to take my brothers & I to Braum's all the time when we were kids, so it's always a bit nostalgic when I go into one. Apparently I have forgotten how to order ice cream there though. Today I asked the lady at the counter how big a medium was. She said it was 2 scoops. I told her that I would like mint chocolate chip. She said, "Two scoops?" To which I replied, "Yes, a medium please." She pointed at the ice cream and said, "You want 2 scoops of this?" I said, "You said a medium was 2 scoops, right?" She told me it was. So I said, "Okay, that's what I want." At this point Scott chimes in, "I think what she is trying to ask you is if you want both of the scoops to be mint chocolate or if you want the second scoop to be a different flavor." Thank goodness he was there to end our ridiculous conversation. Perhaps I should have just told her that Who is on first. At least it would have been more entertaining.

After Braum's (crickets there too by the way), we drove around ECU, where Scott got his first degree. What a beautiful campus! The buildings were almost cathedral looking.

We toured Nancy & Arnold's house today. It is immaculate & somewhat similar to Susan & Alvin's. Arnold showed us the bike I mentioned in my last entry. He has tinkered with it for many years to keep it in good, working condition. It's pretty cool!

Later we went to the splash pad at Wintersmith park. Sebastian & Granddad had a blast. Willow & Judah weren't too interested in getting wet though. It was 103 degrees out. Scott was so hot he decided to go stand under one of the buckets of water (some of the splash pad play equipment) & wait for the water to drop on him. He was fully clothed. After that we went to explore the gorgeous park & have a Mazzio's picnic. Judah saw the train tracks that run throughout the park & said, "Mama! Train! Let's go!" Judah, Sebastian & I walked the entire track, all the way around a pretty good size park. On our way around we stopped to look at the ducks in the water. Judah said, "Quack, quack, duck!" Some of the ducks got out of the water to walk around. Judah pointed at them and said, "walk". Willow joined us to walk the track & run over bridges along the way. After that the kids explored all of the playgrounds there. It is a very pretty park. There is a train that you can ride that runs though the park (along the tracks we walked), but unfortunately it has shut down for the summer.

Exhausted, we made it back home. Granddad & Sebastian went on another short bike ride. The kids got baths & went to sleep pretty easily. Needless to say, we did a lot in that 103 degrees of heat!