Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bouncin' Out of 2013!

Today we hit up the Bounce House with Gramma (her idea). A fun afternoon of smiles, laughter and energy! The kids & I got our bouncing in for the year, that's for sure!! 

On the way home we stopped at Jamba Juice (Judah's favorite). Sebastian & Judah raced to the door. Judah had a very difficult time waiting for his smoothie, especially since we were watching other people receive theirs right in front of us. He laid on the floor, kicking, screaming & eventually crawling. He went behind the counter many times & was walking through small groups of people in line while we waited. It was hard. My eyes were on nothing but him.

Jamba Juice has some all-natural smoothies on their menu. These smoothies don't contain anything Judah can't consume (gluten, casein, egg). He consumes the heck out of the Strawberry Whirl. Sebastian & Willow love the Strawberry Wild. I tried the Strawberry Whirl - delicious!! Hard to put down.

Sebastian was elated that tonight was the night he would finally get to see his "baby stuff". Every time he asks what the mystery pile is at the top of his closet I always tell him, "Oh, that's just your baby stuff", hoping to deflate his interest & curiosity. So now it's called his "baby stuff". This "stuff" has been sitting on the top shelf of his closet, apparently taunting him for years. I first started the growing pile of baby stuff when he was one almost two (when we moved in). At that time he obviously had no interest in the top shelf of his closet. He couldn't reach the sacred baby pile & it was where I felt it should be, in his room. However, now he's six. And his closet is overflowing with EVERYTHING. You can barely close the doors. He can climb onto the railing of his bed & reach the top shelf of his closet. The baby stuff mystery wasn't going to last much longer up there. So tonight we took it down & slowly looked through it. He seemed to really enjoy seeing these tid-bits from his past. The art work he had done as a toddler was his favorite part. After finally being allowed to expose the mystery that is the "baby stuff", I think he will be much less interested in it in the future. The taunting is over.

Going through this "baby stuff" with Sebastian, Willow and Judah on the floor was nearly impossible.. "Nooo don't touch the ultrasounds!! That hand print is breakable!! Don't rip the card!!!!" Everything survived just fine & now takes up less than half of what it used to on his top shelf. It has all been boxed & bagged carefully..

We were talking about New Year's resolutions on the way home from Jamba Juice. I was hoping to get Sebastian to resolve to practice his reading or writing everyday, or perhaps to eat his fruits & veggies more often. My goal was somewhere along those lines. Unfortunately he announced that his resolution was to train Mommy & Gramma. Apparently he plans on showing us some new moves & being in "total control". I'm resolving to organize... And apparently to ensure that Sebastian never discovers Jillian Michaels!!

Judah had accidents today- I don't think we were taking him to the potty often enough & he just wasn't telling us or going to the bathroom when he needed to go. He did amazing yesterday - even had one trip all on his own!! For that he earned a brand new movie, the Smurfs (which they watched that night). I'm really glad we started doing the potty-training over winter break. It wasn't planned, but I would definitely recommend it! (Or any other coinciding break from work & school)


Monday, December 30, 2013

Bedtime Stories With Elmo

Today I learned that Dad is coming to visit Jan 18-21. He'll be staying in Salem this time, which is nice because it will give him a valuable glimpse into our lives. I showed Willow his picture and told her that Pa Rock was coming to visit. She said, "Pock?" (Pa Rock)

Judah & Willow like to climb onto the TV stand. From there they reach up & bang on the expensive television hanging from the wall. They think it's hilarious. Parents should never waste money on anything new & expensive. It's just stupid. Hey, did I tell you we just bought a new car??! ;)

Judah had speech therapy today. Scott took him. The therapist would ask him to find the cow (or whatever) in a picture & he would point to it. That's huge. He was doing very well vocalizing too. In the past when I've shown him animals in books he will make the sound the animal makes, but if I asked him to point out the animal he wouldn't do it. He's much more able to show us that he understands now.

Judah had a dr. appt. today. She prescribed a medicine for reflux. She thinks it will help him sleep better. Does he have reflux? Who knows, but it is something that we've considered in the past. The problem then was that he would not take the reflux medicine - it smelled awful. We never followed through with the reflux idea & the doctor didn't believe reflux was the issue (we had come to him with this idea). The reflux medicine his new doctor prescribed today is a compound. Not sure exactly what that means, but I do know that it means our insurance won't cover it. She also prescribed a med for the constipation - this one also has to be done at the special pharmacy downtown (very old pharmacy). It has to be mixed, which apparently is something only they can do. I'm just realizing that has to be how they stay in business. The store itself is filled with an array of touristy looking toys & decorations, all over-priced. These meds won't be ready until tomorrow.

So we are hoping the new meds will help. If he felt better of course he would be more able to progress in other areas. Also his case manager said she is checking back about the family plan that sounded so promising. So there are positive trinkets to hold onto. Like trinkets they are small and you tend to forget about them. But when you look closely at them, they are inspiring & beautiful. Hope is beautiful.

I got the front seat covers installed in the van today. We are waiting on more seat covers to arrive. Scott doesn't go back to work until Wednesday, so we should have plenty of time to get this all done before then. Unfortunately this means he won't get to drive the van with the bright pink flowery seats to work! The flowers are much bigger than what I thought they would be!! He hasn't seen them yet.

Judah had no accidents all day long & finally pooped (he requested a diaper for this). This was his first day in underwear with his siblings home, noisy football in the background and Mommy gone for 2 hours. It was completely different than the past 2 days. I was nervous that he might fall back into the old habits. I pushed Scott to keep a very close eye on him while I was gone. Willow is having the constipation now.

We listened to this as our bedtime story tonight. The kids were cracking up so hard!! It was inspired by Willow's Elmo slippers that she is currently sleeping in. They have been passed down from her older brothers.


Sleeping in our house lately has been hell. I hardly sleep. I am so lucky Scott is home so I can sleep more in the morning. Sebastian is the only one who gets a good night's sleep.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Finally a Break!!!

Another day with Judah. Gramma & Papa took Willow & Bash. We had to sneak them out, as not to upset Judah. Of course it was completely unfair that he didn't get to go. He's been cooped up here all weekend with Mommy. Tonight he showed me that his desire to be in the outside world was huge! The time spent with him here has been advantageous, to say the least. We've connected quite a bit, his potty-training is going incredibly well, he's had entire days of one-on-one time and he's been working on a variety of skills.

Today we squished pineapple. He was disgusted when I stuck his bare hand into the mixing bowl, which contained about 1/2 a cup of pineapple chunks. So I decided to give him rubber gloves (he LOVES gloves) to put on. These were crazy cool gloves - black with zebra stripes from the wrist up. They went from fingertips to shoulder on him! He squished the pineapple with those for sure!! He would have gone longer had the gloves not fallen off every single time he squished the pineapple. He also got juice in his eye, ouch!! That's when I realized my sensory food of choice was pretty lousy. We'll try again with a new food soon. Ideas are welcome. The point is to eventually get him to eat the food. The squishing/painting/playing with the food gets him used to the smell & texture, making it less scary & much more familiar.

We played a Thomas matching game that Meemaw & Granddad had left for him before they moved. In the beginning he seemed to be getting the concept down, but then he started to get focused on the different trains & eventually just wanted to play with the cards. I'm thinking a matching game that doesn't involve something he loves & is fairly simple (like shapes?) might work better for him. And that would have never occurred to me had we not tried Thomas today. He teaches me a lot. I got that one completely backwards for sure.

He wanted to play Sebastian's electronic drum machine, so we did that for quite a while. It was so awesome because he could pick his tempo, style, etc. This gave me clues as to what types of music he enjoys. Our knowing this could of course allow for more opportunities of enjoyment in his life. Again, this never would have occurred to me.. again, he is teaching me. Obviously any gained knowledge about Judah's loves & personality will bring opportunities for more fulfillment in his life.  He tried many different sounds & always went back to the blues style, which was slow with a hard touch of bass. He banged on the drum pads with the sticks, doing a really good job of holding them correctly (I didn't even show him!). This really surprised me because earlier I had shown him many times how to "correctly" hold a spray bottle and he had refused to follow my directions. He had his own way of pulling the trigger. We traced shapes & letters with markers yesterday & he would not hold the marker how I showed him. But drumsticks, no problem. He loves music. And I think that is the first time he has ever played that drum machine. He just went into his room and pointed to it (on top of Sebastian's dresser). I'm really thinking he has been wanting to play it but has never gotten the opportunity. He definitely feels more freedom when his siblings are gone.

I washed all of the kid's car seat covers yesterday. Tonight Judah wanted to go for a ride so badly that Scott and I had to put his car seat back together (which we hadn't planned on doing until the seat covers arrived for the van). Scott & Judah are out for a drive now. Judah is getting his much, much, much deserved break.

Absolutely NO ACCIDENTS today - awesome potty-training day!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Judah, Judah, Judah...

Judah & I had more one-on-one time today. We worked on vacuuming - push, pull, using muscles & following directions on which way to go. We did that yesterday too. He has gotten better at it. He followed every direction I told him while everyone was gone, with the exception of one, go potty. He eventually came around and gave me an "Ohh tay". Then he reached out & grabbed my hand, started walking towards the potty, turned around to set his cars down & then headed off to the bathroom. He had many successful trips to the potty today. I was taking him very often since he was in underwear. He had 2 accidents. He would tell me "no" if he didn't need to go to the bathroom. I thought he needed to poop so I gave him the option of diaper or underwear - he chose underwear, which he never does. He seems ready to take on this challenge. He tried to poop on the potty for quite a while, but was not successful. At the end of the day he handed me the diaper and said diaper. I think he was ready to go poop - but it never happened.

Judah helped me do laundry more than he has ever done. When he realized that it was okay for him to help, he put all of the clothes in the washer (a first) & turned the button for the washer to start (with  assistance from me). He thought it was great sitting on the washer when it was on the spin cycle. We were in the laundry room again later & he started filling the washer with clothes! He was ready to do another load! He also repeated so much of what I said today.

Scott, Willow & Bash went to the park this afternoon. After that they went grocery shopping. They were gone for a good part of the day. Sebastian got to ride his new scooter at the park & apparently got a lot of compliments on it. He told me that he didn't realize it was such a great scooter (because of all of the comments). He's a very modest kid.

When everyone got home, Judah was much more noticeably interactive than usual. He told Sebastian "Hi!" and later did the same to me. He was very social & appropriate in his actions & words - so awesome to see! That's actually one of his goals at school.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Time With Judah

Judah & I took down the tree today. He did a great job helping me tape up boxes with the packing tape. I held the box together, told him to "pull!" and then "go down!" when he got to the edge, and finally, "cut!!". He followed directions really well. We did this many times. He followed directions nearly every time when I asked him to pick something up after he had thrown it. This all happened when Judah & I were home alone. I definitely need alone time with him everyday. It is really, really helpful to him. I didn't realize how important it was until this afternoon.

I sent Scott & the other 2 kids off so I could spend time with Judah. Not only did we take down the Christmas tree & put everything "Christmas" away in boxes, but we also spent time playing with Willow's doll & the doll's new crib. Judah interacted so well with the baby, pretending to feed her, telling me which food or drink she preferred by saying, "Yuck!!" or "Mmmmm!!", and making logical decisions on his own like putting on her bib & putting her in the highchair. I didn't initiate any of that. Many times he knocked everything off of the shelf above the crib with one foul swoop (way too tempting for him), and then he would pick up all of the items and neatly line them back up on the shelf again.

We did lots of potty-training. He went to the potty when I asked him & did the full routine every time. He spent close to 2 hours in underwear, had one accident and the next time he let me know when he needed to go. Since he did not "go" in his underwear & instead initiated the trip to the potty (following through with his entire bathroom routine), he earned a Scooby-Doo DVD - his biggest reward to date. He was elated, although we never watched it, he was very proud. I really think, given a couple of days of doing this all day long that he would get it. Again, we need alone time.

I organized all of the Christmas boxes as we un-decorated the tree. I was going to attempt to put all of the re-usable Christmas gift bags into these boxes as well, since I didn't think we had many - we could hardly find any when we were wrapping! So I gathered all the Christmas gift bags from around the house & then approached our mountain of gift bags, that basically hangs off of the top of a 6 foot shelf in the garage. I went through the inevitable avalanche of gift bags & probably HALF of them were Christmas bags!! So I ended up organizing the entire mountain. I even figured out a new system for the wrapping paper rolls!

Today I finally got Willow to go to sleep without grabbing onto me. She's been doing that forever. I'm really pushing the milestones today.

Here are the details on the painstaking online purchase of the seat covers (& more!) for the van. I wrote this in an email to Susan earlier today..

So I ordered some cheap seat covers for the middle 2 seats as well as good seat savers to go under the cars eats. Am I sounding neurotic yet?? Haha. It gets worse...

For the back bench and front seats, I got seat covers a tad nicer (I hope! I have no experience w/this!). They are black ,with an embroidered pink flower montage design on a small part of each cover. The middle seat covers are black with 1 small butterfly design on each one that likely won't be visible underneath a seat saver & car seat - which was the plan.

The flower covers come with a matching steering wheel cover, which is awesome because steering wheel covers are a necessity to me.

I also bought "kick pads". These cover the back of the seats, preventing kids from getting the seat backs dirty with their shoes. They were just $5 each and even have a useful pocket on the top part. Instead of a kick pad for the seat back in front of Willow, I bought a hanging organizer to put all of our stuff in (that would otherwise inevitably float around in our van). It can hold drinks too!

All of this was Prime shipping on Amazon - 2 days. The flower seat covers were a different company so we got expedited shipping. Hoping to get this all done by Sunday!!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Super Mario is Back!!!

Sebastian played the 2013 version of Super Mario on our brand spankin' new Wii tonight. Scott was gloating, nostalgic thrill was whirling all around him. He had to be Dad, but I could tell he wanted 2,000 times more to be a kid with Sebastian. Sebastian asked me to play. He wanted to teach me. Man, it's crazy how fast Super Mario Bros comes back to you after years of not playing! He tried to instruct me for about 10 seconds.. and then, "What?? You can go down the pipe?!" Sebastian is 6, he will blow that game away in no time. He doesn't need us to show him. I wonder if technology comes so easy to kids for the same reason that language does...

I spent hours on the Internet trying to figure out car seat covers and all the details that go along with them. Finally got it done! Within the next 3 days it will all be here & the kids will finally get settled into the van.

Sebastian built Willow's new doll crib this morning while the rest of us slept. He was very proud. One side was kind of leaning, holding the crib up, haha. It was demolished about an hour after his siblings awoke. Sebastian needs morning projects. He is up at least an hour before everyone, every single day.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Santa Cleaned House!!

Christmas morning.. Sebastian wakes me.. "Mom!! Santa was here!! And he cleaned the house!!!" Not much will get me out of bed early on Christmas morning, but that one.. absolutely. Apparently he was just talking about cleared floor space in the living room. Scott and I had to clear the floor to wrap presents last night. We were up past 3 am wrapping (tons of gifts & Sebastian got horribly sick). I barely made it through the unwrapping this morning. I napped with Willow soon after the big event. Scott cooked a wonderful meal - he worked on it all day long. The kids LOVED their gifts. We spent some time outside so Sebastian could ride his new scooter. Judah rode his Krazy Car & Willow rode her new ride-on from Gramma & Papa. They all shared their toys - although Willow was not happy about that!!

Sebastian woke to a note from Santa, in response to his note. The gift he had asked for specifically (Star Wars Lego) was wrapped and sitting next to his stocking. He's never been into Legos. This gift request could likely be a result of persuasive peers at school, but he did work on it for some time today. I set up the Lego table for him & helped. Friggin' DIFFICULT toy! You basically need tweezers, a magnifying glass, mountains of PATIENCE and a huge gate to keep everyone away from the table. Before bed I separated the Lego groups into Tupperware and Ziplocs. Then I labeled them and placed them up high, out of reach. I should have time to save the Legos if the kids are climbing furniture to get to them. There is NO WAY I'm risking those Legos being thrown. I should probably have them under lock & key. Our kids are smart.

"I'm exhausted." - Scott.

I realized tonight that we forgot to put half of Willow's gifts out. I was wondering why she only had a handful of presents this morning. I let her open many of Judah's, some of which she boldly claimed as her own. Don't know what to do about the forgotten gifts! She's 2, she won't remember that she didn't get a lot. But it's completely unfair & she would love them right now (she might not months later). Of course if we give them to her tomorrow her brothers (Sebastian esp.) will not understood and will be fuming with jealousy (probably easily put out with bribery though).

Off to enjoy my coffee dessert, Merry Christmas. Love, Molly.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Painting With Pixie's Paws

As Christmas nears I ALWAYS find myself in a pleasant rush to make gifts, buy gifts, wrap gifts.. gift, give, gift!! If this isn't happening, then something is terribly wrong in the world.

For Christmas I got Scott a gaming ottoman (made to store games, controllers, etc.) & a gaming bag. He never reads this blog, don't worry. Sebastian's big gift is a scooter. Willow's doll furniture set from Meemaw & Granddadd will likely be one of her favorite gifts. Judah will be receiving enough Angry Birds/Thomas/Planes/Cars stuff to keep him excited for months to come.

I spent some time today (not much - it's hard to do with 3 kids!!) working with Judah & Willow on counting, animal sounds & puzzles. Judah can do the jumbo knob puzzles practically in his sleep (when he's motivated). Sebastian & I used the jumbo knob animal puzzle to make up an animal sounds game. Unfortunately this quickly turned into a race to see who could get the pieces into the puzzle the fastest. Judah suddenly had motivation & he went to town! He won, easily.. even beating out his big brother (who will never admit to that). Willow, Judah & I were working on counting by using Willow's new toy piggy bank. It counts out the large, plastic coins as you drop them in. I incorporated the cars Judah was playing with - hoping this would hold his motivation, but it just annoyed him. This activity somehow became a race too. It was a race to see who could get the coins in the fastest. Judah always won & then scrambled to steal Willow's remaining coins, which she quickly learned to hide behind her back.

The kids and I have been working on a messy/fabric paint project in spurts, because the paint takes so long to dry & we are doing both sides of two pot holders. It is also in spurts because we can only do it when Daddy is gone (it's his present). Again, don't worry, Scott doesn't read the blog. Today I dipped poor Pixie's front paws into a puddle of green fabric paint and got her John Hancock on there too. She's become his 4th child, so this activity seemed necessary. She didn't mind until I dipped her paws into the large bowl of warm, soapy water. THAT is when she freaked out. She knocked the entire bowl over in a matter of seconds, soaking my pants & the balcony, but thankfully the imprinted pot holder survived. Sebastian & Willow found this incident to be HILARIOUS as they watched from the other side of the patio door.

The packages are continuing to come in.. we have to keep them in our room, otherwise they become blocks for the children to climb on, throw, kick, etc. We have an assortment of boxes which has slowly grown into an ocean.

While doing our usual routine of the kids laying in bed with me before bedtime, Sebastian created a completely non-understandable game of "perfume in the wind", haha. This involved holding the covers and quickly lifting them into the air & pulling them back down. Then he would sit up & lay down very fast. Each time he would say, "Oh, you got me!!" No idea, but I loved the title.

This morning Sebastian made me breakfast. "I made you breakfast!!", he exclaimed. Then he tells me, "I tasted it, it was horrible." hahaaa. Later in the day he heads off towards the bathroom and says, "I'm gonna go see if that poop will come out now." hahahaaa

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Santa Photos & Decorating the Christmas Tree!

My Granddad's sister passed away last night. She was the last survivor of their immediate family. I saw her last at my Granddad's funeral in 2009. Her stories of growing up with her brothers were interesting, to say the least. Those stories gave us new perspective into Granddad's past, specifically his childhood.. I think because she spoke about him from a sister's point of view. She was always such a talker. I remember sitting with her in my Granddad's hospital room many years ago. She interrupted a moment of stillness to tell me that she talked a lot because the quiet made her nervous, haha.  See my dad's blog for more stories on Betty. She was a very sweet lady.  http://pa-rocks-ramble.blogspot.com/2013/12/betty-lankford.html

She passed away in December, as did Granddad's wife, as did Granddad.. and I wonder who else? Granddad passed on Christmas day. Betty died 3 days prior to Christmas day.

Today was Santa pictures!! We got the kids very dressed up. Sebastian wore a red sweater & corduroys. Judah wore a forest green sweater & corduroys. Willow was adorable in a shimmery, velvety red dress with white fur around the arm cuffs & trim of the dress. Her matching velvety red muffin hat, also trimmed in white fur, made her look like a gorgeous, albeit tiny, Mrs. Claus.

We arrived at the carousel to find no line of children to see Santa! Typically we go to the mall to visit him, and we pay way too much money for a picture and a CD with one photo on it. You can't just get the CD, you have to buy an expensive photo too. There is no getting out of this experience without spending a completely unreasonable amount of money. But you'll do it, and you'll pay whatever they ask, because it's Santa pictures. This year I looked online for other Santa's in town & found the one at the carousel, that we had actually been to before. Why were we still going to the mall?? The carousel Santa is much cooler- he's in his sled!! And there are real elves! And the price? 10 bucks total. This will get you a 5x7 and the freedom to take photos with your own camera (unheard of these days). Much, much more reasonable.

Two out of three tolerated sitting with Santa. One out of those two looked at the camera. Judah had his arm covering his face during much of the sitting. The photographer spent more time with us than she typically would for Santa photos. She was just trying to get a decent photo. Willow immediately screamed bloody murder when she realized Daddy was getting ready to place her in the lap of Santa. I tried as well, putting her in Sebastian's lap instead. There was no way she was having any of this. I tried to get carousel photos of her. She had no interest in smiling the entire time we were there. However, the minute we were home & out of the car she was smiling & dancing for pictures, begging to see them on the camera! I wonder if Santa makes house calls (other than the usual I mean). ;)

Sebastian was so pleased to get extra time with Santa. When we walked away he kept looking back at him, as if he were wishing that moment would never end. We rode the carousel and his eyes lit up when he spotted Santa, "Santa's waving!! Look!!" This year, at the age of 6, he has truly started to believe and is fully experiencing the excitement of Christmas. If only he had parents that started the holiday festivities at the beginning of December! I feel horrible about that. Tonight I decorated the tree with the kids. This was the first year that I really just let them have at it. This was the first year that they could ALL put ornaments on. They did nearly all of the work, Sebastian especially. I came to find out later that he was running off periodically during the decorating to furnish his room in Christmas adornment. I found this out because he walked me back to show me how he had brought Christmas to his room.

Scott & Bash did grocery shopping for the Christmas food ingredients.

12/22/2013 Carousel Santa (Willow was terrified to be near Santa, but she was there.)


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Break the Rules

An 8 letter word can take your day, crumple it up like a sheet of paper & slam it into a trashcan. This word can also make your head throb, keep you in bed for hours & cause you to miss your children badly. That word found me today- MIGRAINE.

The kids were with Mom & Dave most of the day- riding the animal machines at the mall, visiting the coin store, playing at Bauman's (the only ones on the play ground), out to lunch at Baja Fresh.. and more. Sebastian said he raced Papa on the tricycles. Papa held Judah's hand while they raced. Willow continued the growth of her newfound independence. She told Gramma & Papa "Me do it" or "do it" when she wanted to be the one to complete the task at hand. She does the same here, more & more. often.

We've decided to try and get the testing done on our own that we are asking the school to provide for Judah. That battle will live on, but I don't have the heart to sit around and wait to see who wins. I don't want to waste that time & energy on them, when it needs to be used on him.

The school sent home paperwork stating that we want Judah to have a sensory eval to determine if he is still eligible for services. ??? We are doing it to have a current eval in his file. We told them this at the meeting. Are current evaluations not important?? The old evals will always be there.. we aren't asking that they be erased. Current evals would help us to see his progress - which should be a gigantic priority to them. Obviously it is to us.

Their policies and procedures seem to be based around something other than the good of the child. The child's progress & services are definitely not a large-scale part of their system, when they should be the most important part! It's as if these things are perceived to be there.. but once you start digging you realize that you are just trying to work around crazy rules, rather than working with people to help your child progress & live a better life. I have no desire to fight with people over regulations & company protocol. I only care about what you are going to DO to help my child. I would guess that every parent involved in this process feels the same.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Crafting With Gramma

So apparently someone hacked Target's system, scored 400 million credit card numbers & then began selling them in another country at just 20 bucks each. ??? Come on, my favorite store, really??! Couldn't they have picked Radio Shack or something?!? Target has literally become a target. Hackers may flock to it. Couponers of the world would viciously attack these inhumane theives, if only they knew how...

Well, today was the first day of winter break. Crafting with Rita was set for 10:30 this morning. She came in the door with craft supplies up to her neck. Willow sat and diligently worked alongside Gramma, naming the colors of the jingle bells and agreeing with Gramma on where to put them on the pine cone. (Willow agrees by repeating a word or words within your question that will answer your question in the shortest possible way. Otherwise you just get a "no".) It turned into a pine cone ornament event for the most part, until Sebastian finally sat down & got concentrated on creating. He used nearly all of the items in one way or another. Judah & Willow savored in the fun of destruction. They both pulled the scotch tape out of the dispenser as far as they could numerous times. A lot of their more destructive fun involved pulling. The multi-colored ribbon spool was much too tempting for Miss Willow. Judah sucked on some jingle bells and got a bit too focused on the hot glue gun, motioning to touch it a few times. Hot glue guns & kid crafts do not mix. They are wonderful for the gluing (Elmer's just doesn't cut it most of the time!) but so dangerous to have around little kids!!

Papa showed up with Jamba Juice smoothies for the kids during crafting hour. Just FYI, Jamba Juice has a smoothie that is all natural. It is also dairy, gluten, & egg free. Judah LOVES it. He could suck down 3 medium sized ones in one sitting.

Unfortunately, Willow dumped half of her smoothie on herself during crafting. The dog began licking her outfit & I suddenly heard Gramma yelling for me, "Molly.. Molly!! Oh no! Molly!!!" After Gramma left, Judah spilled Elmer's glue on his pants. I stepped in a puddle of Elmer's glue that Sebastian had left on a project that had slid to the floor.

Our tree now has pine cone & pipe cleaner ornaments scattered throughout it. It's become a very kid-friendly tree, with barely any ornaments and lights that are attached to the tree. We learned quickly that, with kids, putting up the tree a month before Christmas can instantaneously cause mountains of frustration & endless moments of questioning why you ever thought that was a good idea in the first place. Presents under the tree before Christmas? NO WAY. We're at a point now where we don't even get the tree out until about a week before Christmas. Decorating seems to be happening in spurts this year.

Sebastian has already seen all of his big Christmas presents. He went to get a cardboard box out of the garage after I told him I didn't care (forgetting the presents were next to them) and that he needed to check with Daddy. Daddy gave him a firm "no" and Sebastian was out the garage door, digging for a box. He came across the presents, started lifting items that were covering the presents & discovered the bounty. He came in and announced to everyone that he had just seen all of his Christmas presents. Eventually he apologized. He lost a bunch of TV time over that. What was strange was that he didn't seem overly excited.. and his presents are pretty damn exciting. Scott & I were beyond frustrated. I was really sad. We still don't know what we are going to do. Sebastian is begging us not to take any of them back. We definitely aren't adding to them and would really like him to be surprised on Christmas morning but don't want him to be horribly upset that he didn't get the gifts he already knew about. What do you do in this situation??! And what the heck is Santa going to bring him, socks?!?

Scott & I took turns playing air hockey with the kids on the wooden floor in the boys' room tonight. Willow had a blast. Sebastian cleared out the bottom of his closet so I could put up locker shelves for him. He's very proud of them. We played school. Of course I was the student. Sebastian spoke to me in Spanish. I didn't learn a damn thing.
Willow was communicating so well today. She let me know that I needed to have my pajamas on this evening. She communicated other interesting things throughout the day that I never even knew she thought about! Judah had a good trip to the potty while Gramma was here. She wasn't in the bathroom with him, just in the house. He did the entire potty routine & then brushed his teeth! Talk about a time when I need much more than a Cars sticker!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Learning Through Imitation, Frustration, Rewards & Smashed Peas

Judah did well with his "all done" box today. I do it some but it just doesn't seem like a method that is going to help him learn not to throw or destroy items when he is finished with them. Today his OT advised me to repeatedly tell him to set things down, and if he did so many times then reward him. I will try that tomorrow. Keeping all of these new ideas consistent between Scott and I is really difficult and at the same time really important!

OT went well. I'm pretty sure she knows we have spoken with the owners about doing 2 speech sessions a week and eliminating OT. She was all over the map with Judah today! They played with peas, squishing them, driving cars through them, etc. She helped him practice listening and waiting for his cue to "go" in the gym (safety practice). He has never gotten frustrated with either of the 2 therapists there. I've seen him melt down with Angie (music). She was able to help him through that beautifully. Jennie (OT) said they also practiced wiping hands. Judah did some shirt and some hands.. We're getting there.

Judah was more confident with his dressing today. Undressing is a snap - its just getting him to do it that is a challenge fairly often. With dressing, I assist him with getting his head through his shirt & he does the rest. Yesterday and today I've set his pants down on the floor and walked away. If I am present he's likely to melt down because I am not helping. He will get them on, it will be very frustrating and he may put 2 legs in the same pant leg, but he is realizing he can do it, which is all that matters. I need to come up with some good rewards for him. Putting on socks is the only really difficult task as far as dressing goes.

Sebastian spent the day with Grandma. They put up Christmas decorations at her house and shopped for supplies to do crafts tomorrow.

Willow did everything Judah did today. He loves having a little puppet friend. At night before bed they are all 3 such playful, excited, daring (sigh), inventive, happy kids!

Willow wants to do certain things on her own now - wipe when we are doing a diaper change, take her clothes off, put her clothes on, put her shoes on, etc. She is a good learner and a consistent imitator!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

COUNTING Down the Days to Winter Break!

Sorry about the delay in yesterday's birthday post - I'm still working on it.

The kids start their long anticipated WINTER BREAK the day after tomorrow. Sebastian refers to his days off from school as "stay at home days", but hopefully we will be doing much more than that! He's excited because he sees his upcoming "stay at home days" as 2 breaks in one - Christmas & New Year's. I'm sure he's envisioning a break the size of summer.

Bastian got the tree up almost entirely by himself today after I finally granted him permission to open the box. He's been asking & waiting for a few days. In the mean time the box has been used as a slide, a teeter totter, a balance beam and who knows what else. I put the tree base together for him and popped in the middle section of the tree. He took it from there, adding to that task emptying out Christmas boxes and spreading Christmas joy with random decorations throughout the house. I probably haven't seen half of them yet. We have our wreath up too, that's a big one. ;)

Since tomorrow is the last day of school before break we are sending the boys in with cookies for their teachers and a laminated photo for each teacher. See below.

We came across the Rudolph countdown to Christmas. Such a bummer we are just now discovering that! We've been using their advent Cars calendar to count down the days. This mostly seems to be a reason for Sebastian & Willow to have guaranteed chocolate on a daily basis.

Sebastian walked out of class today wearing big paper reindeer antlers that he had colored himself - including a pattern he came up with around the bottom edge, (interchanging colors). His coloring skills & capabilities have taken a big leap this year. They color every day at school. The end of his nose was painted red. He was one of the Rudolph's in his class, other kids were just reindeer. The parents were all so excited to see their reindeer children at pick-up!

When we arrived home Judah ran to the driveway, hoping to feel rain, and when he didn't he started a funny dance. Willow & Sebastian joined in. They were hopping from foot to foot, looking very bow legged. I was lucky enough to snap a fuzzy pic before Judah bolted. Most of the time he hates being photographed.

Sebastian built a train track around the Christmas tree tonight. All of the kids played trains on it. Daddy was gone all night and made it home just in time to get the boys to sleep. I made a somewhat poor attempt at cooking dinner. Sebastian & Willow enjoyed the white cheese pasta. Judah had nuggets. I overcooked the chicken and used too much garlic on it. The carrots were great, Sebastian even thought so!!

Judah has been counting EVERYTHING lately. Today we did a counting activity with cups, basically just stacking them & counting them. We are doing so much counting that Willow is even learning to count! I could search for at home learning activities for hours online, but in the end simple is always best. By using what your kids are currently enjoying, it becomes much easier to teach them.. Especially in our standing, having no clue where to begin & what to teach.

Sebastian's memory helps remarkably throughout the day. His memory seriously keeps me on track sometimes. I've just got way too much on my plate.

Judah got himself dressed in his pajamas tonight. Willow is learning that as well. It's nice that they can learn these things together. They all mimic one another, especially Willow, she watches what her brothers do & does the same. Although tonight she had some alone time in the bathroom and tried to flush some cardboard down the toilet. I'm pretty sure nobody taught her that one. She's mischievous, especially if she knows what you don't want her to be doing or if it will gain your attention.

Molly milestone- She finally put photos in her blog!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Tree Location : Attic

Willow continues to sing the "happy birthday" song. Her song is more of a , "hap buhday". In bed this evening she sang "hap buhday" to Bastian, Judah, Mommy, brush teeth, ear & nose. She is hilarious. All of my kids are!!

Scott made it to work today. He said he was able to sit a lot. His leg is still hurting him but the fever seems to have passed.

Scott took Sebastian out for a late night run to Wal-Mart for my birthday gift this evening. I had completely unrealistic expectations of starting the Christmas tree build while they were gone. I was going to do this while watching 2 children. Didn't happen.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Leg Infection

Scott woke up with a very sore leg this morning. It was so painful he couldn't even get out of his pajama pants. I took him to Urgent Care as soon as they opened. Doc says he has an infection in his leg. He's had a fever throughout the day and is now on antibiotics for the infection. He won't be going to work tomorrow. Apparently the doc had no clue what had caused this. He said that sometimes people just get infections! That's helpful. It may be a few days before Daddy is feeling back to himself again.

Sebastian & I did the weekly grocery shopping today. Man that kid is a whirlwind. Apparently when shopping I need to own the 5 feet of airspace encircling him so others don't get knocked down or hurt. He ran across the parking lot looking back at me, gah!! It's usually a very bad idea to run forward looking backwards - especially in a parking lot! Even worse, a Wal-Mart parking lot in the middle of the weekend!! Realistically, it would be equally as dangerous if he were let's say near a geyser soon to erupt or perhaps along the edge of a cliff. Ugh, kids!!!

I'm thinking we need to buy car seat covers. This idea has never occurred to me before. Honestly I just became aware that I subconsciously thought car seat covers were just something superficial teenagers took pleasure in. But when you have kids constantly spilling stuff on your seats it would obviously be a very good idea to have covers on your seats that you could take off and wash. Before we get the child car seats into the new van I want to cover it in car seat covers, preferably superficial teenage looking ones - because I never got to do that, and it looks cool. ;) Sebastian is going to be so upset that his extremely anticipated wait to ride in the van is now going to amass, all because Mommy wants car seat covers.

Today we had planned to get the Christmas tree up. With Daddy very sick that didn't happen. I suppose I could have climbed into the attic & tossed the Christmas tree down 6 feet for Sebastian to catch. I doubt the danger of that would ever transcend the hazards of his daily activities... he would be totally fine. ;)

HILARIOUS Sebastian quote today..
Me- "Sebastian do you want to sleep in shorts or pants?"
Sebastian- "Pants! Sometimes I wake up cold & feel like an old man."

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Hobbit Souvenirs

The kids spent much of today with Mom & Dave. They went to a holiday celebration at Bauman's farms. They had a great time - I saw this through the pictures Mom shared.

Scott took Judah to his music therapy in Portland for his first time this morning. Angie had him wait on the couch outside of the studio, so he could hear the session, but Judah couldn't see him. That was Judah's first session alone with her. He was in a very playful mood when they finished. Scott said he heard them playing the piano quite a bit, which is usually a very interactive part of the session involving her iPad. That component of the session has good potential to bring the promise of speech.

Scott spent 3 hours in a theater watching the Hobbit (the 2nd in the trilogy) this afternoon. A lot of my friends have gone to see this movie. They talk about it as if it is something that of course everyone will experience, as if it's an irrefutable milestone of life. They talk about it not in the sense that people typically talk about movies. There is no need to ask how it was. They talk about it sharing their favorite parts of the story & expressing their enjoyment of seeing how the movie uniquely paralleled these parts. I've now fallen into the background of life. Hopefully the celebration of everyone's mental Hobbit souvenirs doesn't last long.

Instead of my Hobbit experience, that could quite possibly materialize in the unforeseen future, purely because I live in society, I couponed. I sometimes wonder if the word "couponed" was conceived in my head. I never hear anyone else say it. It always comes up on spell check, but sounds so naturally legitimate to me. Scott came home from his landmark Hobbit experience not feeling well, limping and taking his temperature. He went right to bed. That evening the couch and covers became his next lengthy experience of body at rest.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Adapting to the World

Scott worked from home today. It is Friday, another opportunity for us to catch the play date my friend Dynee hosts every Friday. It's a play date centered around children with disabilities. She's been having these play dates for about a month. We have missed every single one, and we will miss today's. Our life stories as of the past couple of years have both touched on some very similar happenings. Her son was diagnosed, she has been struggling with WESD and she is unbelievably frustrated at the lack of services here in Salem. Our sons are just months apart. She spoke at the capital during an ASD event. The head of WESD was present. She told her story, which centered around WESD failing to give adequate services to her son. The WESD man was pissed. This did get her son 2 days a week of intensive classroom time through the rest of the summer (I would say therapy but what they do doesn't constitute as anything near therapy to me). She caused a wave & got some short-term change. That is extremely difficult to do when it comes to WESD. Honestly, I didn't think it was possible. Our recent, similar life events will forever change our lives, our family's lives and the ones we love. These conditions are unexplainable.  They pose a million questions you will never find a definitive answer to. Our similar circumstances over the past 2 years are ones that have rained more change on our lives than anything else probably ever will. I never expected these things. And for a long time the thought of, "It shouldn't be this way" lived in the back of my head. It still lingers, and it's true. But nothing is "wrong", our lives just aren't the same as most. We have to rearrange our lives & do things in entirely new ways now. We are presented with challenges I would guess most people will never have before them. BUT, we get to see the world through new eyes, not many people can say they get to do that. These eyes give us an entirely new perception of life as well as a new meaning to life. Judah has been presented with more challenges than any toddler should ever have to deal with in a lifetime. We are told time & time again that his difficult life will always be present for him. The world adapts to us, we have created many things to make our lives easier and more pleasurable. But the world does not adapt to him. He needs different things than most to live a happy & full life. The world does not adapt to him, he has to adapt to it. Take a minute to imagine that.

The case manager stopped by today, an hour early. I was outside, wrench in hand, while Sebastian held his bike. He needed his seat raised, he has outgrown that bike. I scattered to collect all of the kids & got them inside. Pixie was out of her cage & jumping all over the lady. I felt like we had a social worker present making an unexpected house call to see what the "real" living situation was like. Realistically, she got out of her last appointment early & just came over without calling. They may be providing diapers soon. I'm still curious to hear about how the new "K" plan is going to change things - we are very hopeful.

We went to Judah's therapist appointment  (behavioral) today. Scott and I had a session with this therapist a couple weeks ago to talk about Judah & to decide if she was a good fit. Today was Judah's first time meeting her. Unfortunately bringing Willow along was a bad plan. We left as soon as we got there & now have to reschedule. She had told us to bring only Judah, but I figured it wouldn't matter if we brought Willow along. At least this lady wants to be 100% focused and seems to take her job incredibly seriously. I respect her & am hopeful in this situation as well. Scott, not so much, but not because of today.

Scott went to game with friends tonight. I worked on family calendars (Christmas gifts) for quite a while. The kids sort of went crazy. They stayed up much past their bedtime because I needed to get the calendars done before 10 or 11pm. Eventually they were climbing my chair, Willow took off her diaper & peed on the floor, Sebastian walked in with his scissors and cut a big chunk of his bangs off right in front of me. It was hell. That was the first time one of our children has cut their own hair. I knew it was going to happen at some point.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Not a great start to the day as Judah, Willow & I were asked to leave Judah's classroom because we arrived 10 minutes before class was to start. It was probably 24 degrees outside. I didn't comply, but instead tried to corral Judah & Willow into the area near the front door. Judah put his things away and walked around the classroom, disturbing no one. The staff continued to ignore us, as they had when we arrived. Judah began to notice this & eventually threw his arms around one of the aides, desperate for her attention. He was so excited  to see those ladies. It was really sad & completely unnecessary for him to experience this treatment. The aides went to get the kids off the bus (all the other kids ride the bus) and I was asked to stay in the classroom with Judah. Staff are supposed to be in the classroom any time students are present. They also had the door propped open when we arrived and even after we left, another safety concern that doesn't sit well with me. We plan on bringing the classroom door issue up at the next meeting. It's almost regularly cracked open, undoubtedly solely for staff convenience. Salem/Keizer has a policy regarding locked school doors when school is in session. You would assume that an early intervention program would definitely have these policies in place.

Judah came home with a cut on his finger. The aide who did this apologized to me profusely. She filled me in on his day & wrote in his notebook. Judah's teacher was gone today. I was extremely appreciative of the aide keeping me informed. This never happens.

Sebastian was cornered by a kid who was holding scissors up to his face and opening & closing them. They had a substitute today. He said he tried to get the sub's attention numerous times as this was happening. He said this kid had been chasing him around with the scissors before he cornered him. I will be talking with his teacher in the morning.. face to face.

The kids spent some time with Gramma & Papa today. Sebastian & Gramma went out to lunch, went shopping & did some reading. Judah has been talking a lot today. I've found that it really helps to repeat the sounds & words he says right after he says them. This makes him happy & he continues to talk.

Forgot to mention that Willow is now facing forward in her car seat. Today I looked in the car window expecting to see her facing me from the other direction. When there was no car seat or Willow to be seen I panicked, but then I looked the other way to see her waiting patiently for me to open the door. It's strange to see all of the kids facing forward in their car seats. In under 2 years Sebastian won't even need a car seat!! When did that happen?!?

Judah's OT therapy went well today. Jenny gave me a list of different types of activities that will work Judah's joints. As much as I think of this lady (she is great), I think we may be dropping her to get more speech for Judah. Although neither of us understand exactly how OT works & what kind of progression we should be seeing, it just feels like the best thing to do. After coming out of his last IFSP meeting feeling completely defeated, we are looking anywhere to get him immediate help. If we win any battles with WESD, it's clear that it won't be soon & crystal clear that it won't be easy.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fresh Start!

There is a really funny line from the movie "The Other Guys" (Will Ferrell & Mark Wahlberg as cops). I can't remember which one it is, but something awful happens to him. When the other character sees him later he asks him where he's been. He says, "I had to go home & start my day over." hahahaa. When they disagree they learn to stop and agree on a "fresh start", disregarding everything that had just happened. I thought that was great. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could do that with your kids..

I really wanted today to be a fresh start, but that IFSP meeting last night just plagued me. Are their hands really tied? Is the therapy they are using common to be done at 20 minute intervals per month? Basically a lot of, "Am I wrong??" questions. But right & wrong is not the issue. He needs help & we need to do all we can. That's all there is to it. They said other people have challenged their system, after my mom asked them if that had occurred. I wonder what the outcome was for the people who continued to fight. I wonder what they went through. I applaud them & wish I could be there to support & gain support from them in this struggle to gain fundamental educational nourishment for our children. Our kids need help in different ways than the typical kid, yes, but that should not diminish the degree of assistance they are provided. It should enhance it. Why would we not do all we can? Are kids not the future anymore? And if so, I'm curious when that happened.

Sebastian had his snack day at school today. The kids sang to him in Spanish, thanking him for the snack. They do this every day for the kid who brings snack. We never knew this until our parent/teacher conference. Sebastian doesn't tell us much. I suppose that's just 6 year old behavior. At the meeting last night they told us that we were used to hearing about Sebastian's day.. we knew where they were going with this & stopped them short. "No, we don't hear much, if anything from him a lot of the time." No, we are not used to that & expect the same from Judah, sorry to smash one of your assumptions/attempts at manipulation. That was one was too easy.

Sebastian had his picture taken with Santa at school today. I'm excited to see the photo. He told Santa he wants Star Wars Lego. Scott asked him where that came from - Sebastian doesn't ever play with his Legos! Sebastian said, "Everyone in the class wanted that!" Oh boy. That's definitely not a habit I want him to pick up on. He's a unique & extremely creative child, so we were very surprised about the Santa situation. He creates more inventions in one day than I could ever keep up with. He is ambitious, bright, fearless & open-minded. I hope he never feels that he has to stray from who he is. We grow strongest when we focus on our strengths & our passions, not someone else's.

Sebastian quote today.. I asked Sebastian if his classmate Corey had moved. He said, "Yeah, he moved. He went to Oklahoma to live his life."

Willow was very sweet all day. Judah was upset, tantrumming on the floor in the bathroom over not wanting to wash his hands. Willow came in and said, "Judah!!!" and then motioned for him to come over to her. When he didn't come to her she went up to him and touched his bottom lip with her finger, which was covered in a lump of Vaseline. It was so funny!!! His expression turned to, "What is going on around here?!?" and he tried to rub it off.. which of course is not going to happen with Vaseline. She is so funny! Tonight she asked me to turn on the flashlight she was holding and then proceeded to open my mouth and say, "Ahhhh!!" as she shined the light into my mouth. Where did she even learn that??! We were both laughing so hard. I caught her talking to Pixie today. She didn't know I was watching her. She touched his nose and said, "nose", then she touched hers and said the same. She did this a few times & then gave Pixie a hug. So sweet.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Some things aren't fair in life, I get that. But some things are downright shameful. Five adults fighting to give a child minimal help when he desperately needs an immediate multitude of assistance is excruciatingly painful to witness. And none of these seemingly coherent and otherwise knowledgeable adults seem to carry an ounce of remorse, guilt or humiliation to be a part of this poisonous clan.

Judah's IFSP was a quick review of goals we had agreed on, which flew by so fast I couldn't even keep up with where we were. Once we get a copy of the finished IFSP my brain will get a chance to comprehend that scattered pile of thoughts & ideas.

The meeting was extensively discouraging. Another 2 1/2 hours and still didn't finish. We won't finish at an agreeable place. That was distinctly evident to me when the coordinator in charge, aka the person with all of the authority, opened up the parental rights book and plopped it down in front of me, pointing to a section of the page saying, "This is how you file a grievance." I hadn't asked.

My hopes of him getting what he needs have melted away and slid out the door.

Scott had a hard time pulling back. He got upset and said something to the effect of 'How could you POSSIBLY believe this is anywhere NEAR giving him services?!' I was beginning to see the reality of voicing our thoughts as pointless and broke down crying a couple times.

They said he won't qualify for their services during the summer unless he shows regression over Thanksgiving or Christmas break that we can all agree on. Basically the rule is that if the kid is significantly doing worse then he can get summer services - makes me wonder if any of these kids get summer services. They all agreed at this point that he does not qualify. I challenged this a lot.

Since the head honcho was present we asked for laws, policies, basically proof of what they were telling us. They had nothing to show us. This was largely why her presence was needed at this meeting, we had all agreed on that at the first meeting. This is why she was invited, but it felt like she was there solely to shut us down, in every direction.

Have you ever heard of "consultation" therapy? This is what they use. The speech therapist said that this gives Judah 20 minutes (his IFSP states he should be getting 30) of therapy and then the therapist uses 20 minutes to consult with the teacher. The rest of the month his "therapy" is integrated into the classroom through the very busy aides, who are not therapists. His therapist does "push-therapy" (done while he is in the midst of class) on her monthly visit. We have requested pull-out therapy in writing since we have seen benefits from this in his private therapy. We were told Judah cannot handle over 20 minutes of therapy. I told her he does 50 minutes of 3 different types of private therapy every week. After that amount of time he is "done". He needs 45 minutes of therapy minimum. It is extremely difficult to hear other people who see your child for 20 minutes once a month, or once every THREE months (OT) and have only worked with him twice, tell you what he can or can't do. It's insulting. It's a question to ask the parents, not tell them.
The communication we have with them is less than minimal. At every meeting Scott & I reiterate how important communication between everyone on the team is, & to include his private therapists in that. Every example the teacher & therapists gave of Judah at the meeting ended with me asking questions about it, because we had no idea! The program coordinator (the lady invited who can authorize the big stuff) said.. "What is it that you want to know? Do you want to know every detail of his day??" The teacher claimed at the meeting that she just doesn't have the time to write in his communication notebook on a daily basis. There are 6 students in Judah's class. She has 3 aides, so a total of 4 adults working with these kids. The coordinator suggested a weekly note in his comm book. I told her that we needed daily. Did I need to remind her that Judah can't talk? Or the random events that I've just happened to find out about? I have no idea what happens, how he progresses, works on his goals, etc.

I've picked him up and he's crying.. the teacher tells me he was like that all day and can give no explanation... and of course tells me not one detail about his day and is insulted that I asked who worked with him that day. Or how about when I just happened to find out (after drilling the teacher over the phone about what had happened at school when Judah came home an hour late in wet, summer clothes on a cold day) that they had to carry him inside doing a 2 person lift because he had a huge tantrum in the rain. I'm his mom. I want to know. I need to know. I ask them about his day every single time I pick him up - sometimes I get one word. Sometimes I get a few sentences. 
It's as if they don't want to share what is going on at school with us. It's really bizarre. 
The autism specialist told me that I wanted to know what activities & skills he was using in school so that I could turn our home into a school environment (which she doesn't recommend by the way). Immediately after that uncalled for & ridiculous statement, the OT asked if I was planning on homeschooling. What?! I'm asking how my child is doing in school & what is happening there because I care about my kid, that's all there is to it. And perhaps if he is given the opportunity to share his school progression at home he could experience confidence & pride, which leads to growth.
We were given excuses as to why assessments & evaluations were not helpful at this time after we requested them in writing. Terrific, we still want them. After digging through his file, I found that a speech assessment was never even done at eligibility - I'm assuming it has never been done at all. They said their consultation data shows this info. We asked to see this & that stunted them. They didn't give us any indication that this would be happening.
We were told that he doesn't qualify for summer services because he is making progress. Apparently qualification for summer services is determined by how he is doing after he comes back from Thanksgiving & Christmas break. Who knew! We were told that there is a "mathematical" equation involved.

The help they are presenting him with and limiting him to is mind-boggling. It is unimaginably unfair. It's inconceivable.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Miniest of all the Minis

Today we took home a Mazda-5. Its a mini-van, very likely the miniest of all the mini-vans. But the kids will have room & a bit more comfort. We might be able to fit 2 bags of groceries in the "trunk". Thus, the other car will continue to fill a big purpose.

This afternoon we had a double-birthday party for Willow & Judah, since their birthdays fall only 2 days apart. Mom & Dave hosted. Meemaw & Granddad Skyped in to witness the excitement of the birthday duo as they unwrapped gifts. Willow was back to her usual somber birthday girl self (how she was at her first party this week). But by the end of the night she was singing "happy birthday!!" all the way to the car and clapping her hands in the air, having a very smiley, belated celebration.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Older Brother is Sprouting

More snow time today. They were all excited to get out the door & back into the snow! Judah was extremely excited. He handed me the closest pair of rain boots he could find, which were Willow's boots that are 2 sizes too big for her. He squeezed his feet into them and chased me around the house, still in his pj's, refusing to put on clothes. He just wanted to get outside! Sebastian heading out before us didn't help matters any. Today it took much less time to get everyone ready as I didn't have to hunt down gloves, hats, warm pants, etc.

Judah loves slamming his body down onto the snowy earth, rolling down hills, sliding on his bottom.. it's really good sensory for him, makes him feel good. Willow walks around holding her bag when she's in the snow. She observes. Sebastian seeks out the most action he can create. Unfortunately snowboarding & sledding were even less of a success today. I pushed Sebastian down the driveway on the sled. He inched along. Yesterday they could actually sled, but snowboarding was a challenge. If there were adequate snow I think Sebastian would pick up snowboarding quickly.

Scott & Bash did the grocery shopping today - for hours. Apparently there were Christmas shoppers clogging up the place.

Willow, Judah & I had a fun day at home. They are such cute friends. Willow brings Judah his food & drink when she has the opportunity. Judah steals her Rice Chex from her bowl, but smiles when he watches her eat. It's a love/annoyance relationship.

Sebastian was on the Krazy Kar 82% of the time he was home today. He loves that thing more than anyone. Willow didn't ride it at all when Sebastian was gone, but once he got home & got on it she was right back to, "My turn!! Mommy!!" Yesterday when she was having her turn, Sebastian started saying things I'd never heard him say before. "Willow you better get off. Willow, your snack is on the table. It's going to melt Willow. You better get off the Krazy Kar and go eat your snack. Oh no Willow! It's melting!!" Her snack was crackers. He suddenly became the older brother in the sense that we can all relate to. That was my older brother for sure.

Settling in to watch a movie called Extraction with the hubby.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thin Blanket of Snow

Snow is a full body experience. You can jump in it, lay in it, throw it, slide in it, sled down it, make angels in it..  I'm so happy my kids got to have that today!

Between playing in the snow until our toes & fingers were numb and doing a boat rowing motion for an hour on the Krazy Kar, I would think the kids would crash quickly, but the boys are fighting sleep.

Sebastian was ecstatic that Daddy got the Krazy Kar put together. Sebastian gets up early every morning. For the past 4 days he has used this time to try & put the Krazy Kar together on his own. It doesn't matter how many times we tell him not to. It was a birthday gift for Judah, who got to ride it some tonight, but was definitely not up for the fight, just up for the FUN. Sebastian had a very hard time letting Judah have the first turn and waiting on his turn every time. "My turn!! My turn!!" That's actually the first time I've ever heard this from him. The worst part about it was that Willow quickly picked it up. She began screaming it as well. They both got very upset with one another, while Judah wandered away to get some crackers & have a snack at the table. Eventually we had to put the Krazy Kar to bed for the night as Willow & Sebastian just could not take turns. Willow is too short for it but she still makes it work. She continuously refused to get off of it. I had to pick her up every time. Sebastian can spin it around extremely fast. Maybe now he will stop spinning the lazy boy! It will be fun to get it outside.. when the weather warms up!

Speaking of weather, the snow started coming down as soon as Scott got home from dropping Sebastian off at school this morning. It was beautiful. Judah HAD to go outside & experience it, just like he has to when we get a good rain. Willow was up for it as well. Once outside Judah was in big dislike of the wind & snow, "Yuck!!" he said as he hid his face & rubbed his eyes. We went inside quickly. It was frigid. Judah stared in absolute wonder out the living room window, looking up to watch the snow float down from the sky. You would think that was his first time seeing snow.

When Scott left to pick up Sebastian (thank goodness he worked from home today!! I HATE driving in this stuff!), he couldn't even get out of the driveway. He had to shovel. Apparently many parents were late getting their kids though, so it wasn't as big of a deal to Sebastian as it was the last time, when he got put in what he called the "lost & found". This actually meant that he had to hang out with the secretary at the front desk for a while. Scott said he slid through a red light, having absolutely no control of the car. On the way back they saw a string of cars in a ditch alongside the road. Sebastian talked about this "crash" a lot at dinner this evening. Sebastian came home very excited about all of the snow that had fallen while he was in his windowless classroom all morning. He was especially excited about the crazy driving in the snow. Usually he is concerned about driving safety (more so than most adults I know), so I was surprised that he was enjoying the danger rather than freaking out about it!

The kids & I played in the snow this afternoon. Sebastian & Judah rode the sled down the driveway & not too successfully into the garden. The snowboard was fun for them. It didn't work too well in the small amount of snow on the ground, but they still got some use out of it. Today was their first time using it. Willow walked around with her "bag", as she always does outside. I think she sees going outside as "going somewhere", so obviously she needs her purse - just like Mommy. Today her purse of choice was a plastic bag full of scarves, gloves & hats that I keep in the coat closet. The scarves came in very handy for the frozen noses! Judah loved the impact of throwing his body onto the ground into the snow. He did lots of running, jumping and was the only one who thought to lay down & make a snow angel. I took a bazillion photos of this rare snow event. It was awesome, although it took probably half an hour to get 3 kids adequately dressed for the weather!!

Video of our snow play time here:  http://youtu.be/n8YuatTMTWw
I asked Sebastian about his day during dinner. Judah looked at me and started talking as Sebastian talked. After that I asked Judah about his day and he didn't say a word. I really felt like he wanted me to ask him since I asked Sebastian. Sometimes that gets overlooked. There is definitely no reason to not treat each kid equally, especially when it comes to communication. Willow can understand everything & communicate with a lot of words, looks and gestures. Judah communicates through single, double & sometimes triple utterances with words that would not be understood by a lot of people, but are perfectly understandable to friends & family. He also definitely communicates through expression, affection & actions. Sebastian communicates in all ways; often very loudly, physically, always creatively and sometimes dangerously.

Speaking of communication, I talked with the Social Sibs lady today about the study they are doing that would provide Judah with a lot of free therapy. It would involve Sebastian in every session as well. The first thing we did over the phone was go through all of the qualifications. We were hitting them all, until she got to verbalizing. Judah would need to be able to speak three word utterances pretty consistently throughout the day. Damn it! She said she will put us down to be considered for their next study/project, which will be a couple of months from now. She doesn't know the qualifications for that one yet. If only they could just give us a chance to see what happens! We could have the kid that challenges them the most & gives them much perspective & knowledge.

The Eugene prospect sent paperwork. This would also be working with college students as an aid to help them learn. It turns out it is not free. It's $32/hour for speech therapy with a student supervised by someone certified to do speech therapy. That plus the 3 hours of driving to get there & back for every session is a hard decision. We would also have to get accepted. At least it's another option, and if it's feasible and beneficial to Judah we will do it.

Off to find hot coffee & chocolate.. The chicken dish was delicious Susan, thanks for the help! They all enjoyed it, Willow especially! Judah didn't eat it but he tolerated it being on his plate, so that's something. ;) Hope everyone is keeping warm, safe & doing well. I hope Dave gets his car back up from the bottom of the hill tomorrow! He had to walk home!!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Meemaw & Granddad Aren't Coming.

Judah went into OT on his own today. He did the same with speech on Tuesday (I was the only one to watch the kids). His OT therapist assistant had heard about him doing speech on his own and asked if she could try it. I could hear some of his OT. He did good with the blowing (we need to do more of that!). The therapist assistant that works with him, Jenn, asked me for details on how he was doing/progressing. She gave me more handouts. She was a bit shocked when I told her that his school had just now started communicating with us, giving us a helpful amount of information about Judah's day.

We met our developmental disabilities case manager today. She was here for about an hour or so. The kids did well while we talked with her. Pixie was caged, and crying. The case manager delivered hope. We didn't expect anything helpful after the first DD meeting. She explained the "K Plan" and how we could qualify. With that plan they look at the child as an individual, not a kid living at home with parents who make such amount of money. They basically see him as if he was an adult on his own. This gives us much more opportunity for help - although we (including the case manager) aren't clear on what that will be since this plan is brand new & still changing. I'm hopeful. That combined with the possible opportunity of Social Sibs, possible addition of services to his IFSP and perhaps some Eugene students working with him next year brings me back to a place of promise.

Willow enjoys her "Mommy time" 2 days a week when the boys are both at school. She is also doing a lot of activities that most 2 year olds would never do, and doing them on a daily basis! She puts her dishes in the sink (which she can barely reach), helps out by putting dishes away (handing them to me, telling me who uses each one), tries very hard to sweep, loves wiping the table down, will take food/drinks to her brothers, helps throw away & take out the trash, and more! She is a very useful toddler! =)

Scott's parents had to cancel their trip out here. They would have arrived this afternoon, but unfortunately the angry winter weather is upon us. They said they barely made it back home from the airport. We may see them next month if the weather calms down. The kids weren't upset, although they would have been completely ecstatic to see them & spend time with them!

Since Meemaw & Granddad won't be here this weekend we began wondering what to do about the Willow/Judah birthday party that was supposed to happen on Saturday. We had also planned to visit the Kroc Center after the party so the boys could climb the rock wall, and they could all do art & play games. We decided to keep our current plan and then Scott and I will find time somewhere in that day to look at cars. I'm seriously leaning toward the van.. same price, more room.. I'm thinking it's a no-brainer. Unfortunately it may take a lot of persuading the hubby!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bells & Whistles

Walking around in a very dark parking lot in 20 degree weather trying to make a very expensive decision about which car to buy is not a smart idea. So that's what we did this evening. We didn't look at them from the outside, we got inside & turned the heat on, which resulted in a close & personal, cozy, uncomfortable chat with the sales guy. Cars come with the coolest features now. Pandora? Honestly I never even knew what that was. Pick all of your favorite bands and it will play only their songs. You rate the songs (thumbs up or thumbs down) and it will play the ones you rate positively more often than the others. There are no commercials and no monthly payments! It just comes with the car. If you think too much about features like that they become selling points - which is ridiculous because they won't be nearly as cool to you 3 months from now. All of the new bells & whistles really complicate the process! The lot we were in today only had 2 cars that started by turning a key, all of the others turned on by the simple press of a button. Touch a door handle, the car unlocks. Can't see your blind spot? Use the blind spot detector. Getting too close to the car in front of you. The car will let you know. Can't see to back up? Look at the screen on your dash (rearview back up camera). Need to make a phone call? Hit the button on your steering wheel and tell the car who you want to call. Don't know where are you going? Use the built-in GPS that you don't have to pay to update. And the best one.. Is your butt freezing, perhaps because you have decided to do some car shopping in 20 degree weather? No worries, your heated seat will toast your rear nicely.

We went to a "snow globe play date" today. Willow made her snow globe (construction paper shapes glued to a sheet of white paper with puffy white glue as the snowman). She refused my help and refused to finish it. Later, when she agreed to finish it, I stood by her just watching. She began to hand me cotton swabs, asking for my help. Judah had a super, awesome time! He was so excited. Luckily I spotted his pants looking funny & checked his diaper, which he had ripped halfway off. He was still dry, thank goodness. After we were there for a little over an hour Willow was trying to open the front door and Judah was starting to play with the glass candle holders and later started banging the ceramic plates together. That sound means that it is time to go. It was really good seeing all of my mommy friends again. We haven't been going to enough play dates.

Willow had her well-child check today. She got her 2nd Hep-A shot. She didn't cry, just winced. She doesn't cry when she gets hurt a lot of the time. The doctor says it's nothing to worry about, which seems to be his opinion about everything. She is 33 inches tall (35th percentile), 26 pounds (46th percentile), with a BMI of 17.04 (66th percentile). The doctor said we could give her half an adult dose of Miralax for her constipation. When I asked him what the 2 year milestones were he told me that they jabber a lot at that age. He can be incredibly unhelpful. Something I say to Scott sometimes is, "Well, you're about as helpful as Dr. Griffin!"

When we picked up the kids from Mom & Dave's tonight we had to take Judah to the potty before we left. He said "No" a couple of times and then he said, "Ohh tay." It was pretty unreal. He's never said "Ok" like that before and NEVER just gives in to going potty once he has decided to refuse. So that was pretty amazing.

Sebastian spent a lot of today with Gramma. They did some secret shopping and I caught a hint that their could be a love note floating around in the classroom. Willow got many piggy-back rides from Papa this evening. She is so little. It is really funny to see her little body spread out on his back. She has such a gorgeous smile when she is getting a piggy-back. Judah was in a very cheerful mood most of the day. He was independent, cooperative and very friendly at the doctor's office. He continues to maintain his new words. I've got to get him out on more play dates. Today (at the play date) I could really see what we needed to work on and why we needed to do it more seriously.

Judah's teacher really wrote in his communication book for the first time yesterday. I was a so pleasantly surprised, it was so helpful.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hilarious Baby

Here are some little bits of Willow's day. She is such a serious little lady, but oh my is she funny!!

Willow & I went to $1 day at a consignment shop in town after we dropped the boys at school this morning. She was excited when I told her we were going to go shopping. "Shopping??" she said, smiling. She knows exactly what that means, thanks to Gramma, haha. We shopped for quite a while in the $1 day section outside. It was really cold & little Willow was being so patient, never once getting upset or trying to escape. She just wandered around and let me hold clothes up to her from time to time. I paid for our pile of clothes, and then we had to head into the toy room to return a baby stroller that Willow was casually attempting to push out the front door & take home. We looked around a bit and then headed over to the shoes. When I was ready to go I looked down and saw that Willow  was carrying a big stuffed animal dog with a matching puppy attached to it. This dog was nearly as big as her, but she was determined to hold onto it. In her hand she held a shiny pink purse. When I examined the purse closer I saw that there was a tiny puppy inside - it was a purse/dog carrier! Haha. I never even saw her pick this stuff up! Willow was very serious about getting her dogs home. She held onto them tightly. She calls them all "doggy". The entire way back to school I could hear her talking to her dogs in the backseat.

When we were outside looking at the dollar items I found a pair of polka-dot pink shoes. They were a size too big for Willow, so I held her foot up to the bottom to see if they would even come close to fitting her. They didn't. That made no difference to Willow. She sat down & began to take off her pink clogs with a very serious face. She reached up to me gesturing for me to hand her for the polka- dot shoes. She wore her new shoes the rest of the day. There was no smiling, but I could tell she loved them to pieces.

As we were leaving I tried to get a picture of her buried in her dogs as she walked down the sidewalk. I tried a couple of times. Every time she saw me holding my phone up she would set her big dog down and turn it to face me. Then she would step back, to be out of the photo, with a very serious look on her face. She wanted me to photograph the dog, not her, and so I did. Immediately afterwards she would say, "Look! Look!", grabbing for my phone. She had to see the photos right away.

I brought Sebastian's pajamas into the bathroom for him while he was showering this evening. Willow saw me do this. She then went to his room, opened up one of his dresser drawers and continued to bring him more clothes (all long-sleeved shirts). She would set them down in the bathroom saying "There.." every time. She went back to the bathroom at one point to grab a shirt she had left him, saying, "Sorry" as she took it back, haha.

Sebastian was yelling for me at the end of the hallway. I yelled back from the kitchen, "Yeah? Yeah??" and Willow bends over facing the hallway and yells, "Yeah??? Yeah???!" Later tonight she was yelling for Pixie. When Pixie did not come she cupped her hands around her mouth and started yelling louder, "Pissie!! Pissie!!"

Judah came out of class bouncing and smiling today. He told me a few words when I saw him, one was "ball". I'm pretty sure he was trying to tell me about his day. I asked one of the aides about his day and she said it was "wonderful". They never give any real clues, & absolutely no details. Then I chased the kids to the car. Judah was imitating a LOT today & did very well in his speech therapy. He was imitating words I've never heard him try to say before, like pickle.. ? It really felt like he was starting to talk today. He sat in the backseat and counted to 8 several times before Sebastian left the car to head to class this morning. We all sat quietly and listened. Sebastian said, "Judah's voice is changing!" Sebastian asked me questions about Judah's speech on the way to therapy. I think he finally really understood that Judah needs a lot of help with some things. After he was done with his questions he gazed out the window in deep thought.

Sebastian also had a good day at school. His class will be taking photos with Santa. The teacher has offered to burn Cd's for parents that want to hear the music they listen to in class. She is also the one taking the Santa photos.

We are currently in the midst of getting ready for our 2nd IFSP meeting (the other half of the 1st), planning a birthday party for Judah & Willow, Scott's parents will be here in two days and trying to buy a car. All of this is happening in the next 7 days.. with the exception of the car most likely. My head is spinning.

One more Willow funny...
She fell off of the lazy boy & began crying and screaming. I picked her up, she cried for about 2 seconds & then pointed to the kitchen yelling, "Ice! Ice!" My first thought was that she wanted ice for an injury, but then I remembered that she was 2. I opened the freezer and handed her the ice cube tray. She pushed it back into the freezer and grabbed the ice cream! haha. Sneaky baby. She had been asking for more ice cream all afternoon.. that was her final/biggest attempt.