Thursday, October 31, 2013

Storybook Witch, Woody, Zombie, Pirate & Buzz

Those were our costumes. Woody & Buzz were of course a duo. When I first showed Judah the Buzz & Woody costumes he just lit up. He carried them around & wouldn't give them back. Tonight, when it was finally time to wear them out, he refused to put on Woody. We didn't get it on him until we got to Gramma & Papa's house! Once dressed he was extremely enthusiastic & continued to be the entire night through.

Buzz had no idea that the highlight of his costume would be inflatable wings. In fact, he didn't even know he was going to be Buzz until today. In fact, he didn't even know he was dressing up for Halloween until today! He rarely does. This afternoon I told him to pick up a white t-shirt on his way home for his costume. That sort of spilled the beans. He didn't see his costume until minutes before we left to go trick-or-treating. His words when he came out fully dressed: "Next year I'M going to pick my costume!" haha. We just happened to see an adult Woody with his Buzz Lightyear son while trick-or-treating. They had on the opposite costumes while walking in the opposite direction on the opposite side of the street!

Halloween was as usual, rushing to get out of the house, one trick-or-treater comes by, arrive at Grandma & Papa's, eat & trick-or-treat! Grandma & Papa had the inside & outside of their home looking particularly festive & ghoulish this year. There was even scary zombie music playing below the stairs that lead to the front door. A lit jack-o-lantern that the kids had carved with Gramma & Papa was illuminating the entrance. Inside there were spider webs strewn across the blinds!

Willow was pretty serious throughout the trick-or-treating. This was our best record yet for trick-or-treating distance walked. Sebastian had half a bucket full! We made some videos & took some night time photos. The usual family photo in front of the mantle at Gramma & Papa's was also as usual. It's the same picture every year, just different costumes & taller kids. Scott & I are each holding onto a child, pulling them back into the picture, Sebastian is standing beside Scott, posing appropriately for his costume, while Judah & Willow are cartoonish blurs as they try to escape. We discovered this year that if we take photos outside while trick-or-treating the kids will stand still! Who knew!! I doubt we will break the family tradition of stressful Halloween photo opp though. It always feels necessary.

It was a very eventful evening. Thankfully there is no school tomorrow!

This morning I volunteered in Sebastian's class for the first time. It was fun getting to know some of the other parents. As soon as the kids stepped into the classroom they went head first into their craft project. They knew where to get all of the items needed & exactly what to do. Obviously this was part of their daily routine. They colored 6 pictures in 3 seconds, each one a stage of pumpkin growth. They quickly cut them out, looked at the example picture at the back of the room, glued them on in the same order as the example & threw them all on a table. I actually heard one of the students asking the teacher what he had just made. My job was to snatch up the pile of "art", make sure the picture order was correct on each one and that names were visible. After that I was instructed to staple them down the wall in the hallway. I did this quickly because I wanted to get back in, help out & more importantly observe Sebastian & his class.

I'm sure this routine that the kids have down pat has helped bring up Sebastian's comfort level quite easily. At his old school he was always worried about what he was supposed to be doing, which made it difficult for him to work independently & also to just be himself. With the Spanish classroom, the routine gives them more time to work on learning Spanish with less time used up trying to make sense of their day.

After the craft they rushed through songs, story time, reciting the Spanish alphabet and more. The kids were loud & confident in their singing & answering questions.

Finally the dance was over & we started the stations. Each table was a different craft. I worked the candy corn station. The kids put the appropriate number of candy corn on each numbered box & then ate them or took them home. This was barely preschool level work, but at least they got good candy, right? The poor gluten free kid got jelly beans, because apparently candy corn is grown in a field? At another station kids were carving real pumpkins behind a bookshelf where no one else could see them. One volunteer was monitoring this activity. As  many as probably 6 kids were carving at a time. So that was a great idea. The challenging task of stringing large beads on a strand of yarn was happening at one volunteer's station. Each kid was handed a sheet of paper with a big skull on it at the station behind my table. They decorated the skull. One station was matching (seriously??). A lot of the volunteers brought in their babies & toddlers. Much to no one's surprise, these little ones were accomplishing some of the station activities. The teacher ran the pumpkin pudding station, where each child got a very short turn using the mixer, and that's all they did there.  But they DID end up with a cupful of pudding covered in whipped cream, so that was good. As they left class, they each received a cupcake with 2 inches of icing on top, along with a small cup of apple cider. This was their "snack". All in all it was a really fun day for them & a great opportunity for me to get to know some of Sebastian's classmates while getting a taste (literally!) of what he does in class.

The Kindergarten morning flew by. Unfortunately I had absolutely no clue about the day Judah was having at the other end of the building. His teacher told me upon pick-up that he had not been himself all day. Apparently his class time was spent screaming, crying, & hiding under tables. When he saw me arrive he was in tears as he ran up to me. I snatched him up into my arms. Why didn't they call me??! His teacher KNEW I was there! After she told me about Judah she asked how volunteering for Kindergarten had gone. She had not forgotten I was there. I could have just walked over! It was upsetting. And the teacher had no idea why Judah was falling apart. She said he was wrestling with some other kids at one point, so maybe that was it. She acted surprised when I asked who was working with him today. Very, very frustrating & just absolutely unnecessary. They could have called me, but instead allowed him to endure hours of misery. It makes me really upset just thinking about it. We will bring it up at the meeting.. along with other issues.

It was so sad- Judah was trying to tell me what had happened that day as soon as we started walking to the car. I couldn't understand a word, but even a stranger would know that was what he was talking about. I strapped him into his car seat & stood there until he was done talking, listening desperately for any word that could give me a clue as to what happened during class. I couldn't get anything from his words.. but someday I will know.

Something else that really bothered me (in case you haven't guessed it), was the sugar intake in Sebastian's class. There were probably 5 other parents volunteering, none of which seemed to have any problem with their child being fed handfuls of sugar all morning. I encouraged kids at my station to take the candy home & share it with their family. Sebastian actually did bring his home to share with Willow. End of the day snacks are typically sugar as well. We are going to talk to her about this at our parent/teacher conference coming up in a couple of weeks. There are 30 students in his class. What if one of them has parents who want their kid to eat healthy? It's kind of astonishing that this hasn't happened yet.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Farm Behavior

Today Judah, Willow, Gramma & I went to Robin's farm. Robin is a co-worker of Gramma's. Her farm is spacious, with horses, donkeys, chickens & rabbits circulating peacefully in their designated abodes. As soon as we arrived, Robin walked out of her house, greeted us & then immediately took Judah by the hand and introduced him to her jumbo-sized dogs. The smaller of the 2 dogs was twice the size of Willow. Surprisingly Willow was not panic-stricken when the massive dogs came joggling towards her. She petted them softly, instantly befriending them. To give you an idea of the size of these dogs.. The smaller of the two had an ordinary sized pumpkin that she was using as a toy ball.

Robin walked Judah into the small room that led to the goats roaming area. She asked him to step up & then pick up a carrot from the ground. He did both. She turned to us and said, "He just followed a two step command." At that point I realized she was doing an assessment on Judah as we were journeying through her animal terrain. It turns out this was a highly appropriate place to do an assessment. He was comfortable, intrigued & learning every minute of the way. As we walked along it became evident that this was actually a parade of Judah's budding abilities. His happiness & immense interest in the animals seemed to harvest this behavior.

Seeing Robin work with Judah was inspiring. I was prompted to recall his abilities & was astonished to see how far he has come. Robin is a professor who teaches Special Ed law. The youngest of her 3 children is autistic. She has bundles of knowledge in this field that seemed to unfold in different ways as she worked with Judah. She has an open mind & a passion for animals. She is a testament to the fact that special needs children have potential. Their potential is as strong as anyone else's, and is able to go in very unique directions. She spent a couple hours with my son & we witnessed his behavior blossom. I want her to live with us.

"Joooo duh!!" This was my favorite sound that came out of Willow's mouth today. She is hilarious. She calls Sebastian by a few different names : Buh Bash, The Bash & Sebash. She is constantly repeating words we say. Her words are definitely taking flight.

Halloween crept up on us. I opened our Halloween boxes today & found the assortment of costumes I had purchased on clearance last year. Thankfully there was a costume in there that everyone loved. Sebastian will be a zombie, Willow a storybook witch, Judah will be Woody from Toy Story matched with Scott as Buzz Lightyear, and I will be a pirate. Yes, Scott is dressing in costume for Halloween. I let him know this by telling him to pick up a white t-shirt on his way home for his costume. Little does he know that he is going to be trick-or-treating with large inflatable wings on his back!! :) He will likely be the star of the show! I will take lots of pictures. :)

Judah has stopped drinking his smoothies. These drinks functioned as a very easy way to get him to take his supplements. How on Earth do you give a 3 year old coconut oil??! I am Googling this tonight! He has also decided that he no longer wants to drink his strawberry-flavored fish oil straight & is now able to see the tiny white dots of Vitamin D or Probiotic in his applesauce. If we spoon feed him the applesauce he will eat it, for now. He was diagnosed with Ringworm yesterday but it doesn't seem to be bothering him.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Word Explosion!

Judah said more new words in his 45 minute speech therapy session today than I've ever heard him say in a few weeks time!

Sebastian got a cute haircut - school picture retakes are tomorrow.

Judah's class can no longer play on the playground, which was Judah's favorite part of the day. The teacher's supervisor just decided it was too dangerous. Teacher claimed nothing had happened after I asked.

Early to bed tonight - I'm dead on my feet.

Scott sat in on speech therapy today so we could both assess the assistant lady we were so unhappy with last time. She still gives me no room to talk, but other than that she did surprisingly well. That's one less huge worry to take up precious mind space. Lets hope her method continues on in a positive, helpful progression.

Judah got very upset when he could not go with Grandma like his siblings were. Another really scary behavior, similar to the other day I never elaborated on.

I opened the garage door while Grandma was with the kids outside. Sebastian came flying into the garage on his plasma car, barely making it in without slamming into the garage door as it lifted. One of the scariest moments of my life.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Migraine Frustration

Migraine, seriously?? I have too many phone calls to make today that involve USING my pounding brain. This is mad frustration!!

I got Sebastian to school this morning, as usual. I wanted Scott to do it, but unfortunately I needed the car for pick-up. I threw on my rain boots, didn't even change out of my pajamas, tossed the kids in the car and got him to school. I felt like I was driving with my eyes half open.

Judah had a big poop this morning. I didn't see him in pain at all today! Today has been his first pain-free day since his tummy problems began.

Judah went to the doctor this afternoon. She saw the new rash on his bottom (that just showed up in the past 24 hours) and said it was ringworm. Ringworm is a topical skin problem, and it is contagious. She prescribed an anti-fungal med. She also said that he has a vitamin D deficiency (very common in kiddos with his diagnosis). She saw this in the blood work results. We have been giving him 2000 iU of vitamin D since we started at this doctor. She recommended it. Now we know that there was definitely a good reason to be doing that!! He's also on a probiotic, coconut & fish oil.

Judah blew up the toy room this afternoon. The neighbors could have heard Sebastian screaming & crying. He had worked so hard to keep that room organized. I cleaned it up this evening after my migraine finally flew away. I tried to have Judah help, but that was short-lived. Willow helped some. I had no IDEA how organized Sebastian had that room. Every drawer (there are 8 total) holds a specific type of train track, size of toy, type of train brochure, etc. The block drawer is full of blocks that are stacked very neatly, with the small ones on one side & the bigger ones on the other. I photographed that drawer. He has also weeded the entire garden and the level above it completely on his own. He spent hours doing that!

Judah's school said they would provide us with the recent paperwork from Judah's file & claimed that all of the past paperwork was included in that. Scott will go in tomorrow to make sure. I don't think they understand that we want ALL therapy notes, tests, assessments.. we want it all. The meeting will be rescheduled. Judah's school occupational therapist (that we never met) is gone & they have a new one, who is on vacation this week. If it takes another 3 weeks to schedule a meeting to have the OT there we are going to demand to have one sooner. At this point we now realize that they cannot make us wait that long to have a meeting. We realize quite a bit more now.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Parental Rights

Did you know that by federal law a child with disabilities is entitled to a one-on-one qualified aide in their classroom? This is part of your child's "free and appropriate education". If this is something that may be beneficial to your child they must provide it. A few people I have talked to who have kids in special ed/early intervention have aides for their children in school. I assumed that they were paying for them! We are learning a lot about IFSP/IEP meetings and what our rights are. Last night I read that it may be possible to get the school to cover his music therapy (although this seems like a fantasy to me). We will definitely look into that! The school is not allowed to use money as a reason to deny your child a service - I'm betting a lot of parents aren't aware of this. There are a lot of rights we are discovering that a lot of parents might not be aware of. I came across a website recently that has a list of 17 parental rights that most parents aren't aware of. That's a lot!!

The kids had a fun Sunday with Gramma and Papa. They went to eat at the usual Baja Fresh & had a fun time at the mall (where the boys really enjoyed riding in a toy helicopter). Dave & Judah came to pick up Willow after her nap. Then they all spent time at Gramma & Papa's house carving a pumpkin. Sebastian's favorite part of the day was listening to scary music in the car, apparently it involved zombies.

Scott & I attempted to clean house which ended up being me doing 5 loads of laundry, Scott & I both doing some couponing, & Scott using Dran-o on a sink. It definitely wasn't as much cleaning as I was hoping for. I bought some shelves for Sebastian's closet & a new spice rack for Scott with some store credit I had. I'm excited to see what we can do with Sebastian's closet. He's a hard working, house cleaning, weed pulling, organizer lately. I'm confident he will be the star of the closet project.

Gramma & Papa let us know that Judah said, "bank" when they passed a bank on the road. That's a new word! Sebastian & Gramma made some super delicious cookies & brought a few home.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


On the way to Judah's therapy I asked him if he wanted to go see Angie. He replied with, "want".

We got to Judah's music therapy a bit late this morning. We walked into the waiting area & then into the studio, as usual. I had no idea how soundproof that place is! As soon as we opened the door we could hear Angie playing guitar & singing a quiet, soothing tune with Thymee at her side. Thymee is Judah's age & also has music therapy with Angie. This session was quite different though. There was a photographer & someone making a video! I snatched Judah & pulled him out of the room with all of my might as he fought back & began to scream. Thankfully we had the dvd player in the car and were able to sit in the waiting area & watch Thomas until it was time for his session to start.

During his session Angie showed him a bee. It was a furry little toy that moved across the room when you pulled the string. He was focused on that bee for a long time. Holding the string in the air and watching the bee fly up, putting the bee on the piano and listening to it play, putting the bee INSIDE the piano and watching the shiny metal hammers go up & down, putting the bee on the drums, putting the bee IN the drums. She was able to get him re-focused on other instruments & trying hard to get him to talk. She was able to pull him out of what could have been a pretty bad tantrum by playing with him, turning him upside down, squeezing him & singing to him. He had a fun time and said a couple new words. He let us know when he was ready to go. He handed me his dvd player and said, "take", a new word.

After therapy we went over to Whole Foods. While there Judah kept handing me the fruit in our cart, trying to get me to eat it. He took a small bite out of a pear. Judah saw chips on display that peaked his interest. They were rice & bean with a hint of nacho. He grabbed a bag & was very determined to open them while we were shopping. Thankfully he couldn't get them open. I didn't think he would like the chips he grabbed, so I grabbed some veggie chips & threw them in the cart. He didn't like that. We bought organic pears, apples, lots of strawberries and chips that were gluten, casein & egg-free. We actually had quite a few kinds of chips to choose from!  We ate there at the store. Judah ate one of his chips, had a look of contemplation on his face, ate a couple veggie chips and then went on to eat his chips for quite a long time.. I had to stop him so we could go! By the time we were home he had eaten over half the bag! It's something he's never eaten before, which is really good, I'll take it.

Willow & Bash spent time at home with Daddy. Scott made gluten-free oatmeal for the kids dinner. That didn't go over well. Sebastian ate a bite & decided he didn't like it (even with brown sugar & butter!). Willow had a few bites & got bored with it. Judah wouldn't even touch it. Sebastian ended up with Quaker oatmeal for dinner. The other two had their usual foods of choice.. baby food for Judah, apples and pieces of meat for Willow. Sebastian and I made up stories before bedtime. They all went to bed super late.

After bedtime, Scott & I watched a movie about John Cusack as a prostitute killer in Alaska. Nicolas Cage was the cop hunting him down. It was like a TV show but 2 stars better & based on a true story. I wouldn't recommend.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Awesome Friday

Awesome things happened today!
  1. I haven't seen a single ant all day!! Lately we've been finding a lot in our kitchen.
  2. Judah pooped! And pooped! And pooped!! I've never been so happy to see buckets of liquid brown poop in all my life!! Hopefully the pain is over. The last poop was before bed. We'll see tomorrow how he feels.
  3. Sebastian got an award for being respectful, responsible & working hard on his Spanish.
  4. Sebastian had his Fun Run at school today. He did so good!
  5. Judah & Daddy joined in on the Fun Run.
  6. Judah hopped in line behind Sebastian as Sebastian's class walked outside. Judah put his hands behind his back just like Sebastian & walked with them until they stopped.
  7. I spoke with the woman my mom referred us to as a resource for help with Judah's upcoming school meeting. OMG, what an unbelievable source. Add to that, she is extremely willing to help and even act as an advocate for us at the meeting. She teaches Special Ed law at the college & also has a special needs daughter with the same diagnosis as Judah. It will be like walking into the meeting with a machine gun full of law, knowledge & experience at our side.
  8. Sebastian played soccer, got his picture taken, and had Fiesta Friday (dancing in the gym) at school today.
Pretty sweet day indeed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


We just gave Judah an enema, per his doctor's instructions after he witnessed Judah in pain today. I feel like we should have just been proactive & done that a long time ago. Anyway, it doesn't appear to be working. We gave it to him about an hour and a half ago. We spoke to the doctor about it over the phone. She gave us different scenarios that could be happening. She also said that if Judah has intense pains or a hard stomach that we need to head to the ER. I feel so bad for Judah, we all do.

Judah's OT today was a much better part of his day. However, the OT assistant did not verbalize that she was an assistant and had no nametag on. If she is an assistant she is supposed to let that be known from the get-go - we read about that online. Anyway, she was much more helpful than the Tuesday lady. I won't complain. I'd like to keep her around. ;) She used to work for WESD (Judah's school district) and visited his classroom last year, but doesn't remember seeing him. Knowing that she was working WESD classrooms clued me in that she probably has OT experience with autistic children, which she clarified once I asked. That's good news!

While we were at OT, Judah was working hard to get into the inventory room. He gave the OT a run for her money as far as his attempts at escaping & going into forbidden territory. She wasn't able to get him redirected quickly by any means, but she WAS calm, patient & trying different tricks to distract him (since she really doesn't know him she doesn't know what works). I was more involved in this therapy than I was in speech. The OT believes that Judah likes being squeezed & having pressure on his body. She said he runs around and jumps everywhere because it makes his body feel good, which I'm positive is correct but not something I think about often enough. It's hard when you have children who are wired so differently. When they do something they shouldn't, you have to send one to time-out & give the other a bear hug. Imagine how confusing that must be for them!!

Sebastian & Willow spent most of the day with Gramma & Papa. After that, Scott, the kids & I went to the doctor & bombarded him with questions. He was helpful for the most part. We'll be seeing the other doctor soon too. That will give us even more info to work with.

Basically I was just on the run all day today with appointments & school. I told Judah's teachers to please write in his notebook on a daily basis. The teacher said they would "try". Most of the day in class he was having tummy troubles & in need of hugs & comfort. They called to let me know what was going on. He was letting them know that he needed to go to the bathroom, but he couldn't do anything when he was in there. Asking to go to the bathroom is great though.

He said some new words today. He told the OT lady to "move!" when she was obstructing the road he was driving on with his toy car. He is signing & saying "more" still. He said, "star!" and pointed to a star on a sign. When I was looking for Pixie he copied me and said, "Pissseee! wee! wee!" The wee was him mimicking my whistle. Even the teacher at school told me that he is talking so much more! While I was with him for 10 minutes at school he said, "blue!" after the aide asked him if he wanted the yellow scissors or the blue ones. His "t" sound is getting to be very clear. You can hear that when he says "Thomas".

We may have one more therapy option, I should find out tomorrow. If so, details to come!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Few Notes

Just a few notes as it is really late. Scott was gaming late & I let the kids stay up. We read books, went outside to look at the "night", had a late dinner & watched some SpongeBob.

During dinner I told Judah his nuggets were hot. He said, "hot!" He hasn't eaten those nuggets in forever. Thank goodness we can add them back to his shrinking diet!! He also said, "more" when he wanted more nuggets. He pointed to his plate & then signed more. He did all of this twice! He never signs more! Although he did for the speech therapist who assessed him on Saturday. During dinner he also said, "spongebob squarepants watch!" to let me know he wanted to watch what he usually calls "bob".

When Judah was on the changing table (where he lays to make his tummy pains go away) he was looking at the picture cards, found the picture of the toilet, pointed to it and said softly, "want help" over & over. So we went to the toilet! :)

He's been playing with the dog a lot lately. This is new. He calls her "dog".

Willow is pronouncing words very clearly. She says "applesauce", "help" and "play" perfectly. It must be the "l" sound that she has recently mastered.

Sebastian likes to sing his Spanish songs when he is by himself. The teacher let me know recently that his confidence level in class is just booming. After class he always says bye to the classmates he sees. They will approach him as well. Today he did a little dance before he got into the car & he was in the middle of everyone! This morning when I dropped him at school, he said "hi!" to a friend and then raced him to the door! haha.

Judah had a very bad behavior today. I will write about that later.

Also the real therapists at the place I mentioned yesterday have offered to work with Judah on Saturdays, but only every other week.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Judah's pains are about the same. He is pooping though. We are hopeful that this is his body healing, but of course only time will tell. Recently we saw a doctor that we had been told was a GI specialist. When we got there we learned that she was a pediatrician who used to specialize in that area. There are no GI specialists to be found here. It's likely we stumbled upon the next best thing. She ordered a bunch of labs after she examined Judah. Some of them must be back because they called today to let us know that he has an egg whites allergy, therefore he can no longer eat eggs or anything with egg in it. I have no idea what he eats that has egg in it. His diet consists of such a small amount of food, taking away one more thing feels cruel. We'll learn more about this allergy when we see her on the 28th.

Judah had his speech therapy with the new therapist today. Oh wait, did I say therapist? Make that Speech Language Pathology ASSISTANT. She didn't introduce herself as such, I just happened to catch the tiny writing on her name tag. The people who assessed Judah were therapists & they were great with him. Another thing about them, they never told us that we would not be working with therapists (people who have Master's degrees & have gone before the board). Apparently the OT person is an assistant as well. We haven't met her yet. Assistants can have anywhere from an Associate's to a Bachelor's degree. Discount in price? No, the patient still pays therapist prices. To make that even worse they told us that they were cutting us a "deal" by knocking $10 off each therapy, which still kept it in the range of therapist prices.

The therapy assistant was loud. She talked non-stop the entire 45 minutes (which was supposed to be an hour). She would take toys from Judah & do things for him, never giving him 2 seconds to succeed at something. She lifted him probably 3 times & placed him back in his chair. She continued to redirect him to his seat, giving him no freedom to be comfortable. I sat in a wooden chair for 45 minutes too - it was not comfortable! He said a few new words though, pop, down & something else. When we were done I asked her about her title, experience & success rate (some questions I got out of the Autism Speaks handbook). She acted as if she was threatened by my questions (that any patient should be asking). I asked her one question that she could not even answer - basically what type of teaching/program she is doing with Judah. Just frustration all around. I don't know what we are going to do.

Sebastian spent time with Gramma today running errands, writing & working on Spanish. Willow continues to repeat so much of what we say & do whatever her brothers are doing.

Monday, October 21, 2013


The kids are chowing down the gluten free cookies like there's no tomorrow! We have 3 different kinds - graham crackers, snicker doodle & animal cookies. They love them all! Sebastian had a gluten free bagel with jelly this morning. Judah is gluten & casein free. He tried the almond milk today & loved it. They all had smoothies tonight. I made Sebastian & Willow's separate because they can have milk. I also added coconut oil to theirs. Willow loved it. Sebastian didn't like it. He told me I was not good at making smoothies and that it didn't taste like a McDonald's smoothie. He saw me putting honey in Judah's smoothie & asked for it to be added to his. Once re-blended with honey he had two big servings. Judah's smoothie actually had all of his supplements in it - fish oil, vitamin d & probiotic. I added coconut oil to his as well. It is a natural laxative. He also had 4 doses of Miralax today. He was uncomfortable & in pain all morning until he pooped. The rest of the day he was completely fine! He will be going to school & starting his new therapy this week.

Sebastian is also having bowel issues. He's on Miralax as well, just not nearly as much as Judah. It hurts when he poops, but has been getting much better. However, today there was blood in his stool, again. He showed me the toilet paper after he wiped & there was blood there too. It's worse than the last time it happened, which was fairly recent. He did the fecal tests last time & everything came back normal. We will see the doctor on Thursday.

Back to the smoothies.. Judah is usually very picky about his smoothies. Lately he has loved the smoothies I've made. There is no banana in them, so I was worried he wouldn't drink them. They are a fantastic way to get coconut oil & fish oil (strawberry flavored) in him. He is on almond milk now, so I use that in his smoothie. Organic strawberries, a sliced apple or pear, ice cubes, coconut oil & honey make up the rest of the ingredients. We go through frozen organic strawberries like crazy now. They are 5 bucks for a 10 ounce bag - we must find a solution to this & many other pricey food items that are entering our lifestyle.

Sebastian almost tripped in class today. When this happened, a small group of kids laughed at him. One of the boys didn't like it and said, "Don't laugh at him, you're just going to make him mad!" Sebastian said he had his angry face on & was so upset he approached the teacher about it.

The crib bed came out again today. It was turned into a work of art. Sebastian & Willow colored it with crayons. Sebastian wrote his name across the bed as to secure it as his. After the coloring was complete Judah decided to use it as a trampoline. He did that for quite a while & had a lot of fun. Eventually I had to remove it from the house.

The kids watched no TV all day today.

Potty training has been rough lately. This has mainly been due to Judah's persistent pains, but today it was just pure refusal as his pains only happened in the morning. I got him in a couple of times. He was cooperative & did everything on his own. But this morning it was awful. He screamed, kicked, cried & just wouldn't stop. Scott comforted him. I comforted him. We had to get to school. It was a difficult situation! I gave him his first cup of almond milk when we really needed to get going. Suddenly happy Judah appeared. Very strange.

Scott bought a massive amount of beef from a co-worker today. Apparently the co-worker has a family member who slaughters for a living. We won't get it for a while. I don't remember how many pounds he bought, but it was enough to bring the regular price down considerably. And he says it's the good kind of beef.. I forget what that is called. I'm seeing lots of hamburger helper & tacos in our near future.

Speaking of meat.. Yesterday I threw away a big hunk of meat that had expired. As I was taking the trash out this morning I noticed it laying beside the trash can with bees sucking on it. I tried to use the kid's shovel to get it into a bag, but the bees didn't like that. Scott came home on his lunch to deal with it. He had no luck with the kid shovel method either. He tried Raid next. That approach also didn't work. Tonight he was able to get it done, as the bees were gone.

Sebastian continues to throw out death questions at random times in the day. I wish he would stop thinking about it. It's a scary thought for anyone - for kids it's 100 times worse. Today he asks me, "How do you get in the ground after you die? I mean, who do you call?" haha! I would have replied "Ghostbusters", but that's not funny to a 6 year old, just confusing.. and he's confused enough about all of this business as it is. Unfortunately I'm no help.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Homemade Bed Put To Rest

Judah had his music therapy at Mom's today. It went well. His therapist was in town for a meeting, so she offered to do his therapy here in Salem (since we couldn't make it to see her in Portland yesterday). He didn't leave the room to go play - I was worried he would. And he was fine with doing his therapy in a different environment. He wasn't as energetic as usual. Angie asked him if he was okay, she could tell he wasn't, even though he wasn't crying or holding his belly. They have a unique connection. And she understands his condition - she is very good at her job. When we were done Judah played upstairs for a few minutes.  When it was time to go he went right to the car! That was way too easy.

Sebastian, Willow & I spent the day at home while Scott had Judah at the ER. Judah's pains just keep getting worse this morning. There was a lot of screaming today. They did blood & urine tests & an x-ray. The x-ray showed that he was very "stopped up". They gave us a prescription for Miralax (supposedly much higher concentration than over the counter). I called the pharmacist to see about getting it filled at a different location since our pharmacy was closed. She let me know that the prescription Miralax was the same as over the counter. We will ask the doctor about this tomorrow. Judah's blood tests came back normal & we don't have results on the urine (which would show infection). The Miralax should have him going a lot throughout the week - doctor advised us not to send him to school. What caused this stoppage? Apparently the doctor told Scott that children with Judah's condition just don't know when they need to go to the bathroom (complete crap). Children with his condition have a LOT of medical issues that are often in that area of the body. They don't do anything to cause them! MANY of these children have constipation & numerous GI issues. That doctor is lucky I wasn't there, what an a-hole. His comments just got worse as he continued to stereotype & make ignorant statements.

At home Sebastian & I researched paper airplanes & made one called "the glider" which worked really well! On the website it was considered to be origami, but it really wasn't difficult at all to make. Sebastian wanted to CREATE all day long. He made a big soup filled with many edible ingredients (that no one would ever combine). The soup ingredients also consisted of items that he found laying around the yard. He didn't want to stop making his soup - it lasted for quite some time. Later he used the old crib box to make a bed that he could close himself in. This bed was in the middle of the living room, complete with his Spiderman sheets, Spiderman pillow, Pillow Pet for a nightlight and a cup of water next to his head. Willow enjoyed it very much as well. Unfortunately he had to put it all away after he screamed in Willow's face because she touched his money jar. She was crying & scared. I had to yell at Sebastian to stop (otherwise he wouldn't have heard me). Needless to say, he went straight to timeout after that. Then he had to dismantle the bed & put it away. When Scott got home Sebastian told us that he was leaving to find a new family and attempted to walk out the front door! He was back to his old self in less than an hour though. I think he really understood why he was getting that consequence & how extreme his behavior was.

Willow walks around talking on toy phones, lotion bottles, food etc. She mimics what we do on the phone, saying things like "uh huh, yeah hahaha!!! She'll walk into a room where I am while she is on the phone & won't even acknowledge me. Instead she will say a few words on the phone & walk out! It's so funny.

Judah ate an organic strawberry smoothie with coconut oil and a dash of Vitamin D today. He loved it! Another way I use coconut oil is in my coffee. Scott is continuing to buy gluten-free & we are slowly starting to change our diet. This morning he made gluten free pancakes. And have you tried Almond Milk?? Oh my goodness! Milkshake in a box!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

New Therapy

The highlight of today was definitely spending time at Judah's new therapy location with a couple of the therapists there. We didn't get to meet the two he will be working with, which was quite a bummer. But I can say that we were MORE than impressed with the two therapists we did meet who completed his assessment. Judah said more new words in the 30 minutes the speech therapist was working with him than he typically does in 3 months time. He was even signing "more"! He hasn't done that in years! He signed for both therapists. He was also saying words consistently, like more. Often you might get that once or twice, but never as many times in a row as he did today. The occupational therapy will be held in their gym. They can help with toilet training, eating more foods, writing, behaviors (hitting), attention span & more. Talking with the occupational therapist gave us both insight as to how much Judah could benefit from this type of therapy - a lot. He will have speech on Tuesday and OT on Thursday. This starts in 3 days!

These therapists are autism specialists. His current speech therapist is not.

Sebastian & Willow spent a lot of the day with Gramma & Papa. They went to the Farmer's Market, Easy Orchards & out to lunch somewhere I'm sure. All of the kids are at Gramma & Papa's house right now. I gave Gramma the picture cards & showed her different ways to use them. They also have a potty routine chart to keep Judah's potty routine consistent.

Judah has had pains again today. He had none at the new therapy location. The pains also disappear when I lay him on the changing table (and do nothing). He always wants to go to the changing table, but we are still consistently taking him to the potty every 2 hours. I was reading about colitis last night & the different types. I read that some types of colitis cause abdominal pain when the person thinks about going to the bathroom. I wonder if that is what is happening with Judah. The blood test results should give us a good idea of what is going on, we hope.

Scott went to see Gravity, so I am having some alone time right now! Gotta go! :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Fish Make It Fun!

Another needle poke for sweet Judah bear today. He was so excited to look at all of the fish when we got there, "fishy" as he calls them. He studied the blow fish intently. He would get very excited when he found other kids checking out the fish, always interacting with them. One little girl was begging her Daddy to let her go around the corner where we were so she could play with the "little boy" some more, haha. Judah had watched the fish with her, touched her face & then shook her hand. He had also approached her Daddy, who was covered in tattoos. Judah looked at his arm, studying the tattoos for a minute, then gave him a low 5. The blood draw wasn't bad, just one poke. The kids are scheduled for flu shots next week. All those pokes in a little under 2 weeks could give Judah a phobia of the doctor's office. I hope not. I showed him the doctor picture card before we went today. He looked at it, somewhat puzzled. The next time I hand him that card he will know exactly where we are going.. and he will find the best hiding place ever.

Today was gorgeous. We played outside. Willow loves to get in the stroller, it's often her ride of choice. She likes to be pushed around the yard & down the sidewalk. When it was time for Judah's turn she got very upset, as usual. Judah felt bad for her. He kept trying to hold her hand as he rode. He said, "Oh no!" many times while pointing at Willow. At one point he got very worried that I had run over her hand & had to get out & check. I didn't run over her hand, just so you know. He has been making gentle attempts to physically relocate her lately. She hates it. One day he tried to get her to stand up because it was time to go. Today he tried to pull her inside by grabbing her hand. They were on the balcony & he was ready to go inside. He didn't want to leave her out there. He gets worried if she is far behind when we walk into the house from the garage. He will wait to make sure she gets in. Sometimes he waits by her car door to make sure I get her out. When he hears her cry on the monitor during her nap, he always rushes to her door and tries to get in. If I take too long he comes to find me & pulls me to her room. Once I let him in he tries to get the railing on her crib down for her. Today he was reaching through the railing to touch her & even tried to climb in! It's very apparent that he loves his little sister very, very much.

Scott told me this morning that he woke in the middle of the night last night to find Judah in the living room, playing. Judah had turned on all of the lights. Apparently he had just had a bloody nose. Scott found bloody toilet paper in the bathroom. Judah must have gone in there first to clean up his nose. He's never done anything like this before! He was talking a lot today! Unfortunately he was also in a lot of pain, trying to move his bowels. Once that was done (in the late afternoon), he was completely fine.

I finished all of the PECS cards & visual schedule today. All of the kids like to sit & study the pictures. There is a ring of photo cards waiting for Mom & Dave to pick up. I will also give them the folders when they have him. There are cards velcroed inside these file folders that enable Judah to communicate emotions, wants, needs, etc. to them. He seems to understand the point, but the process is not completely clear to him. He is taking little initiative in picking out his communication. The visual schedule does not make sense to him yet. It will take time, but I doubt it will take long.

I called Sebastian's teacher today after he let me know this morning that I was making him late to class every day. He said he had to catch up on 3 pages of his workbook because of this. This afternoon he let us know that everyone in class got a prize today, except him. He believed it was because we had not sent in his current activity in time. I checked on that - it isn't due for a week. When I talked with the teacher she told me that he has never been late. Kids just start working & playing as soon as they walk in the door, which makes him think that he is late. She said a few kids got prizes today because their family had done fundraising for the school & the principal had drawn their names to receive prizes. After explaining all of this to him he told me that I had not yet sent in his other activity that was supposed to be in by today (again not accurate). This year may be rough!!

We have a new car - insured as of today. The insurance on the truck is gone, saving us much more than I knew we were paying for car insurance.

Tonight Scott visited Life Source to pick up some coconut oil & almond milk. I've been reading about all of the incredible benefits of coconut oil. We must try it! Judah took his fish oil liquid for the first time tonight & drank it down with no problem! Thank goodness. He's also taking vitamin d & probiotic every day.

Willow & Sebastian had lunch with Papa & Grandma at Dairy Queen today while I was at the doctor with Judah. DQ is Sebastian's favorite place to eat.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Today was a whirlwind. I was running all day. This morning consisted of dropping off the boys at school, running 2 errands with Willow & picking up the boys at school. It was non-stop.

Today was Sebastian's snack day at school. My mom met us there to help Sebastian in with his snack. He let us know that he did not need help carrying a bag of raisins into school. That had actually never occurred to any of us. I asked him if other kids brought snack inside on their own. He said that most do. Who knew! At his last school snack typically consisted of 2 food items - at least one had to be a fruit or veggie, a gallon of water, napkins & cups -  so we were used to carrying the snack in on snack day. At this school, snack is handed out at the end of class & many kids walk out the door either eating it or they have stashed it in their backpack for later. A lot of the snacks the kids bring in are sugar. In fact, every snack he has told me about has been sugar. Our snack must be a real downer for those kids, we never bring sugar. I really don't understand why parents would send their kids to school with 30 bags of candy for snack day.

Grandma also visited Judah's classroom while she was there. She was lucky enough to witness him doing his work. He was matching colors basically with his eyes closed. It was very apparent that he needed something more challenging. Grandma was extremely impressed. She is going to help me get materials together to make file folder tests for him at home (what he was doing today). Obviously matching colors has been mastered, so we will not be doing that one. If you have any ideas let me know!

The one teacher's aide in Judah's classroom that has been with him from the beginning is transferring to a new classroom tomorrow. What a bummer!! She let me know how much she will miss Judah & said he did extremely well in class today. The speech therapist was very excited about all of the 2 word phrases he was using today. A lot of it was "want.. car, train, etc." She asked me if he did that at home. I told her that yes, he has been doing that for some time. He learned that in his private speech therapy. He also peed in the potty for his 4th day in a row at school!

Meemaw & Granddad watched the kids while I went across town to a doctor's appointment this afternoon. Pixie (the dog) barks at them all the time, but they don't seem to mind much. She also snuggles up to them & tries to lick them. She gets incredibly excited when they come over. They also came over this evening & brought dinner from La Hacienda Real. We are very sad to see them go. It's always so fun to see them. The kids absolutely love having them around. We will miss them very much.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Meemaw & Granddad Have Arrived!

This morning was spent trying to figure out what my 3 year old was saying & trying to help him feel better. "Help" was about the only word that was crystal clear. His stomach pain seemed to be unremitting all morning. It got really bad for a short time, which was directly followed by a ginormous poop that went everywhere. Thank goodness for that. As soon as he was done he acted as if nothing had happened, as if he hadn't been in agonizing pain for 2 hours, no complaints. So that's how we spent the entire morning while Sebastian was in class.

Meemaw & Granddad arrived in Salem today after a 4 day road trip from Oklahoma. The kids were ecstatic to see them, especially Sebastian. He of course started by taking them into his room over & over showing them some new things & things they had likely seen before. He put together floor puzzles with Meemaw in his room and later she read books to him at the kitchen table. She looked through all of his class work from this year as he narrated. Meemaw and Granddad brought gifts for the kids. One of Judah's gifts was a car (from Cars) that could run in the water! This was so perfect for him because he is always plunging his cars & trains into the water. They are not water toys.  I'm not sure if he saw the picture on the box or if he heard me say that it could run in the water, but as soon as it was open he went straight to the bathtub! Then he came to get me to turn the water on. It's a pretty cool car, he loves it. Sebastian got a game that is very similar to Jenga. We all sat at the table & built wooden towers with the game pieces. Judah was using the pieces to set up Angry Bird scenes & knocking them down with his little plastic Angry Birds & green pig. I was continuously stopping him from knocking down the tower Sebastian & Meemaw were building. When I took the dog out Sebastian soon came out after me & told me that Judah had just gotten all of his phone time taken away (by him of course), haha. That's a consequence we use for Sebastian. It works really well. Apparently Judah was inside crashing Sebastian's towers. Crashing is something Judah seems to feel compelled to do, but of course Sebastian has a hard time understanding that - and it's a hard thing to explain to a little kid! I told Sebastian that we just needed to find something else for Judah to do. Distraction is a fantastic tool.

Potty-training was a real chore today. Judah kept dragging me to the changing table all morning. His diaper was always dry, so I'm not sure what he wanted me to do. For the rest of the day that's where he wanted to go. This evening I carried him into the bathroom to go potty. He was kicking and screaming. He laid on the bathroom floor & I took his diaper off. I figured well, at least we got to the bathroom, that was good enough for me. Then he suddenly got up & did the usual potty routine with no fuss - even smiling during the hand washing!

Scott came home from work and cooked chicken tacos for everyone. Willow sat at the dinner table shirtless. She had refused to wear her shirt most of the evening. The other day she felt the same way. She was out in the yard in nothing but her jeans & my black purse over her shoulder, strutting around in the grass while her brothers played. She is so funny. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Judah's First Blood Draw

Today was the big day. Judah was going to get his blood drawn, a lot. Four tubes had to be filled by a 40 pound, 3 year old boy. The lady doing the poking let me know she had no help today, so it was basically my responsibility to make sure he didn't move while she was sucking out his blood with a needle in his arm. He was energetic & getting into things when we were just sitting in the room, before we had even begun the process. I couldn't imagine how bad it was going to get when she stuck him with a needle. I covered his face trying not to let him see. I knew if he saw he would try even harder to free his arms & pull out the needle... because it hurt and because it doesn't belong there. After the first 2 tubes she said she could no longer use the vein and began looking for a vein on his hand. Knowing how much that hurts I suggested she try looking at his other arm first. She took this suggestion & quickly found a vein in his unused arm. Scott said you could hear the screams in the waiting area. It didn't take long for this woman with "no help today" to have help - nurses were walking in to see what the heck was going on. When all the poking and prodding was done every adult in the room was scrambling through the bucket of stickers trying to find any that he liked. He would look at each one and say, "no". They offered to let him have handfuls of stickers after what he had just gone through. It was pretty funny. "Do you like this one? How about these 3? Here take them all! What about these.." Strangely enough Judah skipped over the Cars and Hot Wheels stickers before finally deciding upon the Halloween themed stickers. It was interesting. He got a sticker of a monster, a jack-o-lantern and one of a black cat that read, "Happy Halloween!"

We were driving home & Judah saw that I was going in the direction of our house. He began crying & hitting Sebastian. Not wanting him to go through any more anguish & not wanting Sebastian to become a punching bag, I turned around & headed to McDonald's. Strawberry Banana smoothies & French fries coming up! That stopped the anguish.

Grandma & Papa came over shortly after we arrived home. They had just gotten back from their really long trip to Idaho. Sebastian let them know that they were gone for too long. They came bearing presents. Willow got 2 pairs of new shoes. She liked the bright, shiny pair best. Judah got a rainbow slinky & a tractor. Sebastian got a Spiderman watch with matching wristbands. This made for some very happy children. Sebastian showed Gramma & Papa his newly decorated Spiderman wall. He had decorated his wall by applying reusable Spiderman stickers that he had received from Meemaw & Granddad. He had done this  completely on his own. I had offered to help many times, but he wouldn't allow it. He is very proud of his wall & it looks awesome.

Willow walked around with a large bag over her arm the entire time Gramma & Papa were here. Her bag was filled with many small bags. All of these bags were the ones Gramma & Papa had brought with gifts in them. After Gramma & Papa left she continued to carry this big bag on her shoulder most of the night! She would put random items in the bag, take them out & then put them back in again. I think this is a stage most kids go through. She also does this with their plastic shopping cart. Also while they were here everyone played in the leaves. I have a few really good pictures on my phone from that.

Tonight we had gluten-free spaghetti for dinner. I liked it better than our usual spaghetti. Willow & Sebastian enjoyed it too! We couldn't get Judah to try it. I crushed vitamin d and put it in Judah's food this evening. We started the probiotic yesterday. We just need to get some liquid fish oil to add to his supplement list.

Today was the third day in a row Judah has peed in the potty at school! They said he stood up and clapped for himself when he was done. Tonight after he did the bathroom trip with Daddy, he came out smiling ear to ear, looking so proud. I think he was very, very pleased that Daddy was so proud of him & was praising him so much. Daddy rushed in to give Judah the sticker he had forgotten to give him. Judah was again all smiles. Today all I had to do was show him the potty card & he would get up & walk to the potty, even if he was busy doing something he loved!

I was up until 2am this morning making PECS cards (picture cards to help Judah). Tonight I will clip & punch them & hopefully finish his visual schedule as well. I think he will do 10 times better with the help of these cards. I will be making more eventually - there are so many to choose from! I found a free program online that has thousands of pictures to use. It makes the process so much easier.

Judah hardly had any stomach issues at all today.

Alvin & Susan will be here early tomorrow afternoon. There are staying in Medford tonight.

Tonight I was helping Judah get his pajamas on by himself when Scott comes in. He saw that Judah was holding his Angry Birds and said, "Judah can I have a turn? My turn Judah!" We always use "my turn!" Judah knows it well. Scott thought that freeing up Judah's hands would make things easier for him, which is usually a great plan. However, Judah had been setting the Angry Birds down to get dressed, so it really wasn't an issue. I let Scott know that. He apologized and left the room. As he was leaving Judah says, "Doe! Away!" (go away) hahahaa. This is a phrase I've heard before but it rarely comes out. I guess this was an appropriate moment to use it, haha.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Sebastian's First Time On The Bus!

Why are there no medical specialists in Salem? Or maybe Salem just doesn't have the specific specialists we need? From what we are learning the doctors who specialize in certain areas all seem to be practicing in Portland. We are currently looking for a new pediatrician for Judah that will specialize in the care he needs. Today we were in need of a GI doctor because Judah's stomach issues were so, so awful. The closest we could find was a pediatrician who used to specialize in GI issues. She was very helpful though. She is actually ordering blood work & checked him thoroughly today. She also gave us lengthy information about nutrition, GI issues, testing Judah may need, etc. We learned more from her today than we've learned from Judah's usual pediatrician in 2 years. The usual pediatrician treats Judah's constipation issues like they are minor, when they are actually quite extreme. The nurses there are no help either. Both the doctor & nurses tell us to give him a warm bath or more Miralax or perhaps a laxative. It's just got to be more than constipation. There were two times today when it was so bad I was considering calling an ambulance. Judah & I were both crying. Scott called the doctor with this info & we got the same advice we always get - just give him a bath. I'm so thankful we found a pediatrician who is knowledgeable & very proactive in sharing her beliefs that are not considered to be fact in the medical world, but have tons of proof behind them. Not all doctors will talk openly about these things. With Judah's condition there are so many different roads to take & none of them are proven beyond a doubt to be effective. There is no known cure for his condition, so it's imperative that we have a doctor who can help us navigate these roads. His usual doctor basically tells us to try whatever we want & see what happens.

This doctor also told us that supposedly 2 out of 3 autistic children who go gluten-free have progress, and usually right away. She has motivated us even more to go gluten & casein free. We also talked about television and have decided to take her advice on limiting their TV time to 2 hours a day. Judah will be taking vitamin d, probiotics and fish oil from now on.

When we left the doctor Sebastian said that we were going to make some really cool pens today. He had been studying the pens at the receptionist's desk. They had big, fake flowers taped to the top (so people wouldn't steal them). He explained to me exactly how we were going to make these. He is so creative & inspired. I love it.

Sebastian's class took a field trip to Bauman's today. He's gone on this same field trip at his old school many times. This didn't keep him from being any less excited though! This was his first field trip with no parents tagging along & his first time on a bus! There were 70 people on the field trip bus, which had a maximum capacity of 78. When I picked him up I asked him how his first field trip without Mommy or Daddy was. He exclaimed, "It was GREAT!!" When we came home he let me know that the day would soon be even greater. He said today was going to be the "best day ever" because we were going to set up a lemonade stand! He showed me the table in the garage that we would use. He's been hoping to do this for some time. Sadly it's just one of those things that is difficult to make happen, but we'll keep trying to figure it out.

I took Willow & Judah on a morning play date. They both acted surprised that we were out so early on a play date, haha. We missed the walk part of the play date but did make the playground park. Judah & Willow both enjoyed the swings a lot. Trying to get Judah out of one of those baby swings proved to be very difficult though! One of the moms there today was new. She introduced herself to me & shook my hand. Judah then stuck his hand out & shook hands with her, haha. He was very social with the adults today. He was so excited when our play date group arrived at the playground after their walk. He ran up to everyone and said, "Hi!!!"

Sebastian climbed the tree in the front yard as I put up Halloween decorations outside today. At one point he had his small plastic chair on a lower branch. "Mom, is this safe??" he yelled. Apparently he was going to make it his "sitting branch". Thank goodness he called my attention to it! He doesn't usually do that lately.

Yesterday I mentioned that Judah's diapers were still wet throughout the day. Today he had a dry diaper all day long!! I don't know if I was taking him to the potty more, but I was trying to. He was also saying "want" and adding another word to the end. When he wanted out of the swing he said, "want out". When he wanted to eat he said, "want eat". There were others wants that I can't remember right now. It makes me so happy to see such progress. I think "want help" was in there today too. And "help me" happened as well.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Progress, Progress, Progress!!

Gosh, lots of Judah progress today! The boys spent time outside playing in the leaves - I made a cute video. While I was taking photos I accidentally knocked my coffee over on the ground. Judah found it, looked inside the cup & said, "Oh no". Then he brought it to me and said, "Mommy look!" - a completely new phrase for him. I responded with something like, "Thank you SO MUCH Judah!" and hugged him, haha. It was incredible, and he didn't even seem to realize that it was the first time he had ever said that to me. He was effortlessly putting two words together that he already knew in an appropriate way. Incredible.

This evening I asked him if we should count his trains. He pointed at the first one & went down the line pointing at each one. He knew exactly what I was asking him to do. Again, incredible.

When the boys were throwing leaves Sebastian kept saying he was going to make his pile "really big". Judah said "big" quite a few times after hearing this. He also said "help" a lot. I think he wanted to help Sebastian. Unfortunately Judah's idea of helping was jumping into Sebastian's pile & rolling around, haha.

Today Judah said "mine" & "me" a lot, & appropriately every time. I had told him before going potty that he would get his Cars sticker when he was done. When he was done he got his sticker and said, "Cars!" He was also saying "watch" when he wanted to watch something (usually a movie), or when he wanted me to watch something. He says "watch" sometimes, but today it was much more often. He said "look" a lot today, but that is pretty typical for him. That too is always said appropriately.

Judah is doing so well with going to the potty. He doesn't even fight me anymore. Sometimes it takes him a while to get up & going. If I just give him time (sometimes a lot) he will either come find me & take me to the bathroom or he goes with me after I ask again. Today I showed him the potty card & he took the cards, flipped through them and found the eat card. Then he went to the table & sat down, haha!

At this point I am really seeing how much helping Judah really gets his progress moving. And I love doing it. He is so patient & sweet.

Judah is wearing pull-ups now. He has gotten into that routine effortlessly. The only issue is that his pull-up usually isn't dry when it's potty time. Either he isn't able to hold it until it's time, or he doesn't know how to, or maybe he doesn't understand that he needs to do this. I will take him to the potty more often & see if that helps any.

Scott did the couponing today! Clipping & finding deals took me hours last night - I will start doing that during the week from now on! I couldn't believe it when Scott offered to do the shopping. He knew it was stressing me out. He was so motivated to do it well that he spent HOURS at 2 separate stores getting it all done precisely. He came home with a stock of pull-ups & bags of other items we needed. After that he did the grocery shopping at 3 different stores. His entire Sunday was spent shopping & he didn't complain once. He hit up the natural food stores & got lots of gluten free foods. We are slowly moving food to the garage that is not gluten-free. We also eat it to get rid of it. ;) Willow loves the gluten free cookies. I think Scott is reeling the kids into this much healthier world with gluten-free sweets. He got quite a few today. Unfortunately gluten-free is more expensive, which is even harder because you have no idea if you are going to like what you are buying!

Sebastian has a field trip to Bauman's tomorrow. This will be his first field trip with no parents tagging along. This will also be his first field trip taking a bus! He is so stoked. Scott is putting together Sebastian's field trip lunch right now.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Music Therapy in a Group Setting

Couponing just stole away an hour and a half of my Saturday night. I really don't enjoy it much anymore, just because it is so time consuming. I've put it on the back burner for quite a while, but now I have to bring it out again because our stocks are either running low or are completely depleted. On top of that, we will soon have the cost of Pull-Ups (aka the most expensive diapers you can purchase). We're thinking these could help with Judah's potty training. We are also preparing to go gluten & casein free for the benefit of our entire family. This too is another good reason to cut corners. There are tons of reasons to cut corners around here, those are just the 2 most recent. Oh and also the recent vehicle costs & parking ticket. And of course driving to Portland and back once a week too. Man, there are a lot of recent reasons to save money! It's not something I want to think about.

The free music therapy group was 50 minutes long this morning! Angie is so great. She just played until it felt like everyone was done. It was actually scheduled for only half an hour. There were only two kids in this session, Judah and Tymme (pronounced time). Tymme is four years old, strikingly colorful, very interesting & can sing on key without even trying. Judah was very attracted to her shoes & her big, fluffy purple pillow. He would pet the pink plastic on her shoes & steal the pillow away as often as he could. He would shove his face in the pillow & then throw it across the room. So that was great. Tymme is very kinesthetic (as Angie puts it) like Judah, so Angie had them doing a lot of movement. She was twirling, jumping & swinging Judah around for a long time. It was very impressive for someone who doesn't do that every day. He's probably a good 40 pounds by now. She told me that he is just irresistible. Judah approached another lady there & gestured for her to pick him up. He gave her a good workout as well. At one point Judah dimmed the lights & the room suddenly turned so peaceful & calming. Tymme was in her mother's lap, swaying to the sound of Angie strumming her acoustic guitar & gently singing. It was a neat experience. Judah said the word "stomp" very clearly when we were stomping. I don't think he was as verbal as last time, but obviously that's understandable given the new situation & faces. He was definitely as active as last time though!

Judah & I spent some time in Portland. The Swindell Resource Center was closed. It may be open just M-Fri. I saw fliers about free childcare that can be used while you take care of your business at the hospital. I'm curious to know if I could do that with the kids while I take advantage of the resource center.

We also went to McDonald's for lunch & play time. Judah didn't want to stay nearly as long as usual. He made a friend while we were there (the only other kid in the play area). They compared Angry Birds stickers. Judah walked up to the kid's dad to show him his Angry Birds bucket. While we were eating Judah grabbed my hand & started walking in the direction of the playroom door. It seemed as if he wanted to go potty, and that's exactly where he led me! Later at home he did the same thing! That is amazing progress, absolutely amazing. Maybe it's so amazing to me because it was just so surprising, definitely out of the blue. Just days ago he was fighting me, running from me, hiding from me & doing everything he could to avoid going into the bathroom.

Sebastian & Willow had lots of time with Daddy today. Willow's enunciation is really coming along! Today she said "play" just perfectly & was so happy with herself! Sebastian helped me organize some things in his closet. Later I found him in his room with Ziplocs, organizing even more! Recently I gave him a binder filled with notebook paper. He was thrilled to have so much paper. The next day he wrote a book, on each sheet of paper was a drawing. Each drawing was something completely separate of the preceding one & very creative. Each time he reads it the drawings become something different. It's really cool. He is such a motivated little guy. I love it.

Well, I better get to clipping, sigh.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Where Did They Park?

The play date went really well! I didn't lose any children. I was able to take Willow out of the Ergo & let her experience over half of the play date. The kids had fun (although Sebastian was very on edge - had to have me within sight at all times). Judah held my hand through the difficult climbing structure, while Willow rode in the Ergo. When we got to the open playground they were freed. During the play date Willow & Judah were mostly on their own, but always staying close. Sebastian made a video of the train in the train room that Judah loves so much. This may act as some kind of positive tool at home, I hope. Judah decided when it was time to go - and we walked out, just like that. As we walked to the car I was thinking about how well the play date went & how good the day was going, only to find a $50 parking ticket on our car. Ugh!!!!! Apparently the only Discovery Center parking is the small area under the bridge. This area was full today. So I parked in the huge lot adjacent to the one under the bridge, the lot that we often park in, the lot that has always been free to park in.. the lot that appears to be an overflow lot because how could all of the employees and customers fit in that tiny parking area under the bridge? I have no clue where else I could have parked that would have been near the Discovery Center. Anyway, the lot we parked in is now "permit parking only". That was a $50 play date - $50 to the wind!

When we got home Sebastian walked up to me with his money jar in his arms. He looked up at me and said, "It's yours." I asked him why he wanted to give me his money jar & he told me that I needed it because I got a parking ticket. Such a sweet kid. This is the one time he has wanted to use the money jar when the money jar could have actually covered the expense, haha. Usually he wants to use it to buy a mobile home or a new car. Very sweet offer though, very sweet kid.

I found a visual schedule online that I am working on at home. We now have some visual cues on a ring that we carry around at home. Judah had an amazing trip to the potty this afternoon. Usually it's a struggle to get him headed in that direction. I show him the potty card & he runs & hides! This time I showed it to him after I told him that he couldn't have juice. Obviously I wasn't thinking. There was no way he was going to cooperate in that mood. He looked at the card, thought for a few minutes, looked at the card a couple more times & then took my hand & walked to the bathroom! He did ALL of the steps & was happy to get his Cars sticker at the end. I've started to be consistent with those. I think he's figured out that they are a reward, not just a random gesture. That potty trip made me so hopeful. Scott couldn't believe it.

Music therapy group is tomorrow, followed by Judah's session, followed hopefully by a trip to the Swindells Resource Center in Portland.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

4 Days!

Sebastian has a 4 day weekend! I don't know why I put the exclamation point. He really doesn't seem to have any interest in having 2 extra days off, which is almost a full school week! Life is truly one day at a time to little kids. Why can't it be that way for adults?

Tomorrow we are going to a play date at the Discovery Center. I'm thinking positive. I'll keep them there until they seem exhausted just to avoid a meltdown when it's time to go. Fully worth it.

What do you do when your kids hit one another in the backseat while you are driving & there is no way to put space between them? We seriously need a realistic solution to this. Perhaps I could build a wall between them? Perhaps I could tie a car seat to the roof? Sebastian would enjoy that.

Judah peed in the potty for the first time at school today! They were so excited that they took a moment to write it down in his daily notebook. It is the second entry of the school year, sigh.

I've got to rest up for tomorrow, goodnight.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Picture Cards

We got the kids to bed an hour and a half late.. This will be a short entry.

Judah put his pants on by himself for the first time ever today! (tight pajama pants) He had his best speech therapy session to date this afternoon! It was really good, 7 times better than usual. Last time I had shared with them how they use PECS (picture cards) in his classroom & that we would be doing that at home too. Today they decided to use consistency to help him progress & had made their own picture cards to try. Since Scott was running late to watch Sebastian & Willow, the therapist asked if she could just go ahead & start therapy with Judah. He looked back at me a few times as she held his hand, walking him out of the room. I kept telling him it was okay. Leaving the room with them was another milestone in itself! When I walked in to join them later he was in the middle of the room laughing & dancing in the bubbles the therapist was blowing!

All of the toys were out of sight at therapy today. Judah was shown 2 picture cards, each had a toy on it. He was asked to choose which toy he wanted. He would be given the toy he chose & we would all play with him. He let us know when he was all done with each toy (except for the cars, that was a tough one). At this point he was again shown 2 pictures of 2 separate toys. This was done the entire session. He LOVED it & made good progress. He was extremely comfortable, happy & trying his best to get words out. It was very exciting to witness.

The intern seems to be behind the wonderful new ideas that were used at Judah's therapy today. He explained to me that they are going to make a visual schedule for Judah. The schedule will be kind of like a video game, each time he achieves one level he goes onto a harder one. At the end of the schedule will be a great motivator (like an Angry Bird). It's a creative idea & a visual idea. Visual is always good for Judah. I'm really looking forward to seeing this in motion.

Sebastian still gets out of the car at school & does a dance on the sidewalk. Today at pick-up he smiled & threw his arms up in the air before he got in the car. He says bye to other kids every single day. One day there were probably 6 or 7 kids waiting to be picked up. Each one of them waved & said, "Bye Sebastian!!" It's pretty awesome to see.

Willow is saying whatever she hears other people say. It still surprises me sometimes. I forget that I have a parrot. :)

We are doing an entirely new potty routine with Judah now, very much like the one he has at school. It's going okay. I think he is getting used to it & it will definitely put us closer to potty-training than our old method.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Unseen Possibilities

A note that goes with yesterday's entry: I got an email from my friend that I had mentioned who shut down the glucose & witnessed her son's speech come back. She filled me in on another phenomenal development that had taken place in her son's life. Four days after she removed dairy from his diet he began talking in paragraphs. Apparently dairy is very inflammatory & add to that her son's dairy intolerance and obviously something will change in him when you remove dairy from his diet. In the past I would have assumed that, in his situation, giving up the dairy would cause him to feel better & correct issues within his body. But it never would have occurred to me that it would help his brain function better, which is what happened. It's really interesting stuff!

The kids & I made a card for cousin Olive today. We hole punched & tied yarn & used photos & came up with something pretty awesome. When she opens the card three photos will fall out (one of each kid). With the help of our hole punching & yarn tying, these photos will hang from the card, one below the other with the name of each kid also hanging on the photo. This is essentially to tell her visually who the card is from (in a very awesome way). She will be turning two years old on Columbus Day.

I met Judah's school speech therapist today. Judah was absent the day she was there last month. She only comes once a month to do therapy. From what I gathered talking to her this morning, he has now lost that time. He has been absent twice, once because he was very sick, which of course he can't help. The other time he was absent was when he was doing testing at OHSU, which relates COMPLETELY to his school. We are not told what day she will be there. How could we have POSSIBLY stopped this from happening? The amount of time he gets for speech therapy at school is 20 minutes a month. This is the maximum amount of time he can get, even if we added 7 different issues, he would still be at the max. So that's helpful. Obviously EVERYONE should be at the max, because the max is 5 minutes a week!! She pointed out that she is in the classroom the entire day when she is doing speech therapy with each child, so she is able to continue to observe him for a full day, one day out of the month. Again, super-duper helpful. The therapy he gets from WESD is such a joke. I think his occupational therapy is even less time, because they felt at his last meeting that he didn't need it much. ??! At his first meeting it was decided that he didn't need OT at ALL. ??! Yesterday I received books from my dad (a social worker) on how to prepare for these meetings & how to get the best result for your kid. I can't say though that I am very hopeful WESD will do anything more for him, but maybe get an extra 5 minutes a month of OT added to his file. I hope he doesn't have to go to the bathroom during his therapy time - he'll miss the whole thi

So that leads us to looking at private therapies. Obviously he really needs a private school as well. Without insurance I don't know how anyone would be able to afford the ABA therapy, which is working with a therapist 20-40 hours a week. Right now he has speech once a week for 45 minutes & music therapy once a week for 30 minutes. Add to that his class time at WESD which is 2 days a week for 2 hours & 45 minutes a day. They won't give us 3 days because they say he is making "progress". The fact that he is the most delayed child in his class doesn't matter. All of his therapies & school time are all helpful, but can you imagine the possibility of progress he would have if trained professionals were working with him on a Mon-Fri basis? Talk about feeling defeated & frustrated. Our child NEEDS this help. Insurance companies are so corrupt. This is the most my life has ever been affected by an insurance company, and it's not just me it's affecting, it's our entire family & everyone that cares about our son. We are doing all that we know we can, but there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not desperately researching for just one more possibility of hope.

1 hr 15, 5 1/2


Monday, October 7, 2013

You Are What You Eat.

Remember that saying? It turns out there is a LOT of truth to that statement! Or perhaps it's a coincidence that Judah started progressing strongly about a week into his new gluten-free diet? Or perhaps it's a coincidence that my friend's son (who stopped talking for a year) turned into a completely different child after Mom stopped the gluten? We just purchased a cookbook filled with gluten & casein free recipes & a wealth of knowledge surrounding this subject. I've read the first 2 chapters. It's a whirlwind of information! I'm learning a lot. We are planning on starting this diet as a family. If anyone needs a large quantity of food that we can no longer eat just let me know.

I'm feeling much more positive & relaxed today. The kids & I did a fun rainy day project this afternoon. Sebastian couldn't believe it when I told him he could get his scissors out & destroy the side of the playpen. We cut out the mesh on one of the wider sides of the playpen & I pinned baby blankets on the top edge of the playpen to act as curtains. We then put a fitted sheet over the top of the playpen & wa-lah! The kids now have a cozy reading/relaxation area. Pixie thinks it's her new luxury doggie bed. It's very cute & much more usable & beneficial than the playpen as it used to be. Sebastian can now have his "secret hideout" that he has tried to have in the closet, on top of the kitchen cabinets & in a kitchen cabinet. None of these were safe. Willow's finger got smashed in the closet door when they were using the closet hideout. Thankfully now we have a safe hideout where we don't have to worry about them!!

We have been fighting our insurance for a while now. We will likely be appealing to the state soon to hopefully get ABA treatments covered for Judah. Our insurance won't even cover speech therapy - most do. Of course these are therapies that will be helpful to some kids & may not be so helpful to others, so it's a tricky area & could potentially boil down to personal opinions from the people we need to help us. The governor recently passed a bill that will soon force insurance companies to cover these services. Our insurance is somehow exempt from this. I've gotten in touch with a very large organization that has a department that works specifically to advocate for families in this situation. They sound very confident that they could get these services added to our plan. For right now we are maneuvering through the "proper channels" and hoping for a good outcome.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Wearing Shorts In October

Tonight I'm feeling rather blue. I'm trying hard to stay positive & productive. I've been productive for sure. Good things are going on around here & there's really not much reason to be sad. I'm just thinking about our difficulties & what the future may hold.

Scott was a whirlwind of shopping today. He spent a lot of time at 4 different stores getting us our surplus of goods for the week. Sebastian & Willow went for part of these boring adventures & then they were done.

It was a gorgeous day - no rain and warm! The kids had on shorts! We were going to take them to the park but didn't have a good chunk of time to do so. Sebastian didn't even want to go to the park because he can't ride his bike at the park we go to, it's a bit dangerous. The kids have been playing in the water table a lot lately. I'm not really sure why. At this point it consists of a few cups of dirty water, so I'm not sure what they are doing in it. Willow thinks it is hysterical when she gets to stay outside by herself and play in the table. It seems to relax Judah when he plays in it. It's a very simple toy that's getting a lot of use, which is great.

Everyone slept in until 9 this morning, except Sebastian of course. It's unusual for Willow & Judah to allow us such late sleeping. Scott attempted to let me sleep in late, but I wasn't able to. I was too used to being up!

Judah made some incredible progress today. He said some new phrases, albeit not happy ones, but still progress. He said his first four word sentence - "Help me go poop." The other two new phrases were "help me" and "help mom". Yes, we are still having pooping issues, but at least the pain doesn't happen nearly as often (just once today for quite a while). Judah & Sebastian are both getting Miralax at this point. Sebastian is having a different issue. Miralax is a wonder. It dissolves in liquid & is taste free! This is probably the only over the counter cleansing medicine that we could ever get into Judah. If medicine has the tiniest bit of flavor he catches it, and typically hates it.

Tomorrow Judah, Willow & I are going on a morning play date walk around Bush Park. I am hoping for more sunshine!

Oh! Another great moment of progress occurred this evening that I forgot to mention! I told Judah it was time to brush teeth and I pretended for a couple of seconds to brush my teeth with my finger, as I sometimes do with him. With Willow I just say " Chi Chi!" That is her way of saying brush teeth. I only told Judah ONE TIME and then he disappeared down the hallway. Thinking I was on my way to find him doing who knows what, I passed the bathroom and saw him standing on the stool that he had moved to the sink. He was waiting on me to get his toothbrush ready! I told him he needed toothpaste as I was putting on the toothpaste. He then said something that sounded somewhat like paste. He is changing so much and so quickly!

Judah and Sebastian both use Crest Pro-Health now. We no longer have to buy fruity smelling toothpaste with Jake and the Neverland Pirates on the tube, it's a miracle! It's also nice because adult toothpaste is easy to get for free when you coupon - which I need to start doing again because our stocks are running low. We kept forgetting to buy the boys their toothpaste, so we tried Pro-Health since it tastes good. Apparently it's not as good as Jake because Judah no longer wants to brush his teeth 4 times in a row - seriously. But at least they use it!! Judah has really been enjoying brushing since we gave him an electric toothbrush.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Everyone Is On The Run!

The music therapist was on the run this morning! She chased Judah from instrument to instrument, trying to keep up. Even in a small studio he seemed to be exhausting her! She would get in maybe 30 seconds of singing & playing on each instrument before he dashed off. There were moments when he danced, moments when he played & moments when he tried to sing along with her (that was very cool). I was in a corner filling out paperwork & trying to stay behind the scenes the entire time. He only came to check on me a few times. He was comfortable with Angie & definitely having fun! That's when we see progress, when he is excited, happy & motivated. That combined with the power that music has on the brain could possibly have an amazing outcome, we'll see.

One of Judah's favorite instruments at the studio is the ocean drum. It fascinates him. She said that most of the kids she works with have no interest in it. She was surprised when I told her that he was talking more than he ever does & that I even caught a few new words (frog & 2more). That was a very productive 30 minutes for sure. Next weekend we go for the free group session followed by his regular session. It will be interesting to see how he does with a group.

Judah was requesting my phone as usual tonight by saying "want phone". After I handed him my phone he would say a 3 word sentence. It was very surprising to me but seemed very natural to him. I wish I could remember the sentence! It was appropriate to the situation.

Judah ripped the phone out of my hand tonight when I was talking to my dad. He chitter chattered for a bit to Pa Rock and ended with a "bye". He's never done that before. He handed the phone back to me & Willow was of course at my knees holding her hands up & crying "want! want!" Sebastian quickly distracted her with the noisy ice machine experiment he was performing on the fridge. Willow did get a chance to use the phone today. She requested to call Papa, as she often does.

The speech therapist intern had an Angry Birds pig yesterday that Judah did NOT want to part with. When Judah was playing with it during the session he would periodically stop to look at me with very sad eyes & say "want, want". I could see in those sad eyes that he wanted so much to take this toy home with him. Much to my surprise, he didn't throw a big fit at the end of the session. He just held onto that little pig tightly & cried. The intern told me that he had found this toy at Bi-Mart, so today we stopped there on the way home. I was hoping they would have one left since it was a clearance item. Judah spotted it as soon as we turned the corner down the toy aisle. "Look!! Look!!" he screamed as he pointed to it. There was exactly one little Angry Birds pig left. It was sitting there as if it was just waiting on Judah to find him. What a perfect reward for his amazing progress today.

Immediately after arriving home from music therapy, I took Sebastian to a pool party at the YMCA. He wasn't too comfortable in the pool since I wasn't in it. He held onto his noodle & floated around, interacting with another kid from time to time. It's hard to watch your kid hanging out on his own when the rest of the party is having an awesome time. However, when we hit the party room he did a 180. He was energized, social & eventually nearly out of control. He was on the run. Scott & I are both unknowing as to how to help him balance out his energy. It has really popped up a lot lately. Today I began to wonder how much his personality expands at school. I'll find out the answer to that when I volunteer in his class, which I hope to do soon.

I also picked up an ant farm (a real one) at Bi-Mart as a gift to the birthday boy. It turned out to be his favorite gift!. I was afraid it would be a dud in the procession of gifts as we watched him open bags & boxes of very cool toys that all matched the Lego/Star Wars theme of the party. After the party Sebastian decided that he too wanted an ant farm. He was in tears when we got home & kept asking me why I had not bought him one too. Because I do not want ants in the house perhaps??! This happens every single time we go to a birthday party.

Judah's potty training is going well today. I laminated a bunch of pictures last night to use for communication. I also laminated a step-by-step potty routine, which is now posted in the boy's bathroom. He is very interested in all of these new pictures & has been progressively doing better at the potty routine today. Scott just took him in & he did all of the steps AND had a dry diaper! That is the best trip yet! I found a free potty app on my phone. It reminds me every 2 or 3 hours to ask him if he needs to potty/take him to the potty. There is a checklist of steps. If he gets most of them he gets a star. When he gets 10 stars he gets a reward, although I try to give him a Cars sticker when I can (he runs out pretty fast sometimes). Everyone is on the run.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Where Does the Poop Go?

Sebastian was so excited about me giving him money to go on his field trip (Bauman's farms) that he hopped out of the car (when I dropped him at school), gave me a big smile, did a twirl and threw his hands up in the air! He is such a character! He smiled at the girl watching him as he bounced down the sidewalk.

The student intern at Judah's speech therapy session was useful today. He told me some important information about the Star Program (the program Judah's school is starting next week). I told him I didn't see how it was really that much different than the others when I had looked at videos of it online. He said that the videos would have had the adult & the child working together, which they did. The next part he told me about was something I had not seen anywhere on the Star Program website. Apparently the adult works one-on-one with the child for about 10-15 minutes every 1 1/2 - 2 hours. They go to an area with absolutely no distractions, nothing in the area, nothing on the walls, sometimes a room with white walls & nothing else. He said the program was "extreme" and "intense" but has research behind it. What I read was that the child says what is on the card that the adult is holding up. If he is right he gets a reward. If he says nothing or gives a wrong answer the adult does nothing, doesn't say a word. John, the intern, told me that was correct & pointed out that the frustration builds in the child. I could definitely see that happening in that situation. Now I'm unsure how I feel about this program that his teacher & aides are so optimistic about. I wonder if they all know exactly what it entails? I do know that I am going to utilize the intern for more information since he is learning all of the current methods & his brain is fresh with details.

Sebastian's poop sample came back normal. When I shared the news with him he smiled. Then he thought for a minute and said, "What are they going to do with it now?"