Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dr. Appointment {11.28.12}

Well, Sarah has certainly been incredibly busy the past three months!  She has grown an entire inch, gained two pounds and her head grew an entire centimeter.  Now, being the chart loving, fact searching person I am, it looks like this:

Height: 13th percentile (39 inches)
Weight: 7th percentile (31 pounds)
Head circumference: -4 Standard Deviation (45 cm; normal is 50 cm)

So she is still, and probably always will be, really little. And that's ok.  The doctor was very pleased with her language.  The difference between speech and language is how it comes out.  He couldn't understand much of what she *said* (speech) but her determination to express herself vocally (language) was impressive.  We were praised for our efforts in how we have been working with her. 

Doug and I began to wonder if her balance issues (or lack of them) has had to do with this crazy amount of growing.  This also could contribute to her poor sleeping habits lately.  Maybe I'll just blame it on that so I feel better about it!

Otherwise, everything else checked out just fine and she's healthy as can be! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

One Year Ago

It was this day last year that we received Sarah's diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy.  You can re-read about it at this LINK if you wish.

I think this past year has brought me to a few different places.  One has been acceptance.  I have accepted the diagnosis and I can not change it.  I can take the information that has been given to me, learn as much as I can about it and do everything in my power to support Sarah.  I have become stronger as the year has gone by.  I have dealt with looks of disapproval from strangers as I change her, curious glances as to why her speech isn't what it "should" be and my own personal struggle when I see how far from other four year olds she is.  I often feel mixed between offering people an explanation and a part of me thinks it's none of their business and I shouldn't worry about it. 

I am thankful for her laid back personality.  She's easy to please, is naturally sweet and has a huge amount of love for everyone!  She is innocent and naive.  If she is upset or crying, then something is genuinely wrong, whether she is sick, over tired or hurt.  She doesn't argue, fight or put up a fuss for anything.  She has such a wonderful little personality and I love who she is.



We have seen so much progress in Sarah over the past year.  Her speech has improved by leaps and bounds and although it's far from where other kids her age are, I know that she's gaining at her own pace. Our EI coordinator is encouraging and supportive and I really can't imagine what we would have done without her.  She is amazing with Sarah and I am so thankful for her knowledge and dedication to our family. 

I am truly appreciative of all my family who loves and supports us.  I am blessed by their words, visits and encouraging hugs.  Sarah's siblings adore her.  They are her biggest advocates and cheer team.  Even a bite of *real* supper brings on applause and praises for her!  I also am thankful for my friends.  The weekly coffee dates, sharing my fears, frustrations, joys and victories are one of the many things that has gotten me through some of the harder days.

I do think my biggest weakness at this time is that I really need to lean on God more when I'm down.  I have a tendency to want to figure it out on my own and sort my problems out by myself.  I need to have a bigger faith and listen harder to what He has to say about these kinds of things. Maybe I'm scared of the answer?  Or possibly exposing my heart...?  I don't know.  I'm interested to see what this next year has in store for us.

*mug is from CafePress*

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Family Dynamics

When we bought this house three years ago, we just assumed that the older two would sleep in the basement and the littler two upstairs.  Now over the years, we have done MANY room changes and switches.  Our basement is unfinished and it's simply not in the budget to do it at this time.  But, now that the weather has turned to winter, it's quite cool down there.  So for the past few weeks, Andrea has been bunking in the bonus room and Joshua has had the basement to himself.  Just a couple days ago as I sent him down to bed, he burst out "I don't really LIKE being down there alone."  And he headed down for the night.  I spent the evening wonder what we could do about it.

Hmm... so despite his outward toughie look, he really would prefer to sleep upstairs.  The only feasible option was for him to move into Sarah's room.  And he eagerly complied.  He quickly moved just his bed into her room.  We figured since Sarah doesn't spend any time in there, other than sleeping, it wouldn't be a big deal.  It's now the room where Joshua and Sarah sleep.  He still has all his clothes and Lego downstairs in his "room". 

I find it warming to my heart that my 13 ½ year old would rather sleep upstairs with his youngest sister than on his own in the basement.  I love how our family has come together and that the choice to be WITH someone is better than being alone. 

Who knows... maybe Sarah will sleep better now.  Or, maybe she won't...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Daybook {11.16.12}

FOR TODAY: November 16, 2012

Outside my window... The snow has blanketed my yard but it melting with the mild temperatures.  I'm hoping to get the patio table inside for the winter yet...

I am thinking... that I would love another cup of coffee this afternoon.

I am thankful...yes, I am.

In the kitchen... messy.  I got home from piano and had to squeeze in some lunch before our homeschool facilitator visit. 

I am wearing... leggings, a tank top and hoodie.

I am going... to try my best to get creative again.  Soon.  I miss making cards and scrapbooking.

I am wondering... what to make for supper tonight.  I'm thinking pancakes would be a nice treat.

I am hoping...that Sarah will sleep through the night again. 

I am looking forward to... Doug coming home after his road trip.

I am learning... that God is in control, He has a plan and His way is.

Around the house... tidy but lived in.

A favorite quote for today... "Welcome to Holland" by Emily Perl Kingsley (read below)

A few of my favorite things... coffee, my feather duvet, a hot bath, fuzzy-sleeper clad toddlers, sleeping kids.

A few plans for the rest of the weekend... celebrate my Dad's 60th birthday, my sister's 34th birthday, maybe a photoshoot and hopefully fit in some family time!

Happy Friday!

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Copied from HERE

Image taken from this site

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tired Tonight

To say that Sarah hasn't been sleeping well would be an understatement.  It seems that she is being troubled by night terrors and nightmares which, are developmentally appropriate for her now.  Arianna used to suffer from them regularly and still, on occasion, has bad dreams.  So in addition to the (annoying) time change, I am now waking up sometimes 2-4 times at night.  I feel like a brand new mom with a newborn again. 

Well, like I do every night, I'll go and tuck her in with the hope that she will sleep long again.  I can hope right?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Making Things Better

From the day we brought her home from the hospital, Sarah has fought being in her carseat.  I don't know if it's the position, the straps, the confinement... not a clue.  She will push her legs on the seat and resist for all it's worth.  Recently we found out that a gentle pressure on her legs would settle her down and she'd relax.  I am positive it has to do with her SPD (sensory processing disorder). Doug had the idea for me to talk to my dad who is in the medical industry, selling x-ray machines, chemicals and lead aprons to hospitals.  I asked Dad if he had anything lying around that might work for the van.  About a week later, he dropped off a lead apron for us to try.  It just so happened that we were able to test drive the apron on a trip to Calgary.  Like anything, Sarah was miserable with it on.  After persisting, she finally accepted it and now loves it.  There are two loops that hook on to the arm rests of the seat she's in and it was great.  This weekend, Dad said we could keep it and I was able to make a cover for it.  One of the problems we were having was it kept slipping off and medical "green" isn't the nicest of colors.  So on Sunday, I spent just over an hour designing a custom-fit lead apron cover!  I was so proud of myself and it looks SO much better!!
Cute hey?  So now it's softer, warmer and not as slippery as before.  The space between the two black straps has a strip of velcro so it can come off for washing.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Home Visit {11.09.12}

Sarah had a home visit from her EI coordinator this morning.  It's been about six weeks since we had one and Sarah was delighted to see her friend Wendy again!  We talked about all the great improvements that Sarah has made and I was able to ask some questions that have been on my mind. As a way to have a general idea of where Sarah is developmentally, Wendy asks me a series of questions about Sarah and I answer them to the best of my ability.  Based on my answers and some discussion, Sarah's developmental age is scored on a series of skills and we are then able to go from there.  Now, I'm a visual kind of person so with my tools I have at my finger tips, I prepared a graph to show me (and now you) where she is *at*.

You can see three colors.  Each color has two lines.  The thick straight line is when the assessment was done and the thinner, jagged line places her age at each developmental stage.  Because she grows slower than other kids, the gaps between her current age and her skill level are growing.  That's going to be expected.

It also looks like this:
Fine Motor: 39-40 months (13-14 months behind)
Gross Motor: 38-39 months (13-14 months behind)
Receptive Language: 38-39 months (13-14 months behind) 
Expressive Language: 38-39 months (13-14 months behind) 
Auditory Memory: 33-34 months (19-20 months behind)
Visual Memory: 27-28 months (25-26 months behind)
Self Help: 37-38 months (15-16 months behind)
Social: 51-52 months (1-2 months behind)

You can see how that in most areas of development, aside from her social skills, she is considerably behind the majority of most kids her age.  To Wendy and I, this explains why many people think Sarah should be with other four year olds... her social skills are right where they should be and that's the outward appearance that *you* see.  What isn't seen, are the inside things, like what's going on in her head.  The words she says and understands, what she sees and remembers, hears and remembers and her ability to self help are the skills that aren't quite where her peers are at.  In fact, her visual memory ability is just over where a two year old is at.  This is why (in my opinion), that a school setting isn't where she needs to be or where I want her to be.  I was assured that her arm flapping is most likely just a reaction to excitement or frustration because she doesn't have the vocabulary to express herself in words. 

Overall, Wendy's visit was wonderful.  I love having someone who supports me in all my decisions and understands me.  She has become a great source of information for me and has always been able to answer my questions.  She also supports my decisions and encourages me, including (and especially) the area of homeschooling. 

For tonight, I tuck my precious little girl into bed and thank God for the blessing she is to me.  I wouldn't trade her for the world.  I will fight for her, ensure that she is happy, safe and feels confident in the places she's in.  I will protect her to the end and I can see the same protectiveness from her daddy, big brother and older sisters.  Her grandparents, aunts and uncles adore her.  She will be encouraged, challenged and loved every day. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday {11.8.12}

1.  I am thankful for my husband.  He works crazy hard to ensure that I continue to fulfill my dream of being a stay at home mom and be with our kids during the day.  He is my friend and my lifelong support system.  We were truly made for each other. 

2.  I am thankful for each of our kids.  Joshua who is growing more and more each day.  Andrea who is less and less of a little girl, and more of a young woman.  For Arianna, who although is growing up, is still so young and carefree.  For Sarah who delights me on a daily basis.

3.  Alicia.  My sister, my best friend.  Their recent move to Calgary has been exceptionally hard on us as we are so close and tight-knit.  Talking on the phone is alright but nothing quite beats a face to face, cup of coffee in the midst of our kid-chaos.  We miss seeing each other weekly and I keep praying for a peace to surround us both as the miles are keeping us apart.  Love her SO much.  I am thankful that my parents encouraged strong sibling relationships.  Although we don't see each other as often as we'd like, when we do get together, we have a great time.

4.  I am blessed with amazing in-laws.  They are encouraging, supportive and loving.  I feel like one of their kids and that I belong in their family.  I am so grateful to have them in my life. 

5.  I like my church.  I appreciate (more than words can say) all the fantastic children's workers.  I know that they love the kids they work with and I am thankful that on Sundays, Sarah is able to be in a safe (age appropriate for her) place.  (Debbie, Karen, Corine & Janet)

6.  I appreciate the free services available to Sarah.  Access to an AMAZING early intervention coordinator who makes me feel like Sarah is really special to her and not "just another client".  She has supported my decisions and done everything she can to help me on this journey.  Sarah's pediatrician is wonderful.  Maybe not fantastic bedside manners but he is good at what he does and he has paved the way for most of Sarah's diagnoses

7.  I have a few of the greatest friends in the world.  They listen to me vent about anything and they support and love me in what I do.  They share a love for coffee and homeschooling and they are a very important part of my life.  I am thankful for the friends who may not educate in the same manner as me but are still supportive and encouraging.

8.  My freedom to educate my kids as I wish.  I love being with them and being the primary educator is very important to Doug and I.

9.  I am thankful for my country and the men and women who faithfully serve us overseas.  May they all be remembered; past, present and future.  I am fortunate that I can worship freely. 

10.  For today.  No sounds of war in the back ground, no fear of natural disasters, and no illness to make me wonder about my future. 

I'm exceptionally blessed and I am remembering to be thankful today.

*Picture at the top taken from HERE

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Day In My Life - Monday

If someone were to ask me what I do in a day, I'd have to invite them over for a coffee because it would take so long to get through.  So just for the sake of it, I decided to write down everything I do to see what it looks like. 

5:00 - A gentle whisper from my four year old (who was sleeping in my bed) "I need eat Mommy."  Ummm.... no Honey,  go back to sleep.  I spend the next 20-30 minutes pretending to sleep in hopes that she'll doze off.  She's laying still so I slip out and head to my treadmill. 

5:50 - Hop on the 'mill and beat my previous distance in 30 minutes and feel good about that.

6:25 - Make my way back to the room to shower and find TWO girls in my bed, watching TV.  I take a quick shower and bring the girls downstairs for breakfast.  On my hip is mine and Doug's laundry which I will begin.  Sit down with coffee #1 and catch up on my Facebook, Blogs and such. 

7:45 - After making something for Sarah to eat and resume tidying from the night before, I head down to rouse the older two kids.  They get to wake up early because they kept ME up till 11:15. 

8:30 - Three kids at the table ready to do school.  I get them started and I continue to clean the kitchen, after I've switched laundry loads.

9:00 - Refocus the distracted children and begin to vacuum all the stairs and carpet upstairs.  Find that Sarah's room is messy so I clean that up, then vacuum it too.

9:30 - Bring the vacuum down and switch the laundry loads and fold some quickly.

9:40 - Grab coffee #2 and sit with Joshua to spend some focused one on one with his math.  After about 30 (long) minutes and many problems, he begins to see the light.  One really great thing about homeschooling is celebrating his victories together.  We stop for a break. 

10:30 - Vacuum entire main floor.  I like to vacuum.  I love hearing the stuff rattle up the hose and I have such a satisfactory feeling when I can see a difference.  Weird?  Maybe.

11:00 - Wash the floors in the front of the house and then begin lunch while the floors dry.

11:30 - Feed the kids, switch the laundry and realize I should have vacuumed AFTER lunch.  Good thing I didn't put it away yet. 

12:00 - Hang some laundry to dry, start another load and then think I should get my undershirt-clad daughter dressed.  She fights it, I give up.  The house is warm anyhow.  Start the dishwasher. 

12:30 - Wash the kitchen and dining room floors.  I threaten my daughters with washing the now clean floors with a toothbrush if they even THINK about walking in the house with their boots on. 

1:00 - Sit down for coffee #3.  Remember, I have now been up for EIGHT hours.

1:15 - Hang wet laundry.  Start. Last. Load.

1:30 - Enjoy the slushie that my sweet Arianna brought me from the 7/11.

2:00 - Sit. Down.

3:00 - Change another diaper, fold more clothes, tidy up the kitchen (again).

4:30 - Doug comes home and we start supper prep.  Steaks, sweet potato fries and snap peas. 

6:00 - Kitchen and dining room are clean, counters are cleared and floors are swept once more.  

6:45 - Chase Arianna into the shower.

7:00 - Doug brings Andrea to her Bible study and I tuck the sweet toddler who woke me up at 5:00 this morning into bed, praying that she sleeps a few more hours longer than today.

8:00 - After some time visiting with Doug on the couch, Arianna gets tucked into bed. 

8:15 - Doug heads off to hang out with his friends for the evening.  Now, I would like to think that after being up and constantly busy for 15 hours, I could think about going to bed but since Andrea won't be home till 9:00, I will wait till then.  

9:15 - My oldest daughter will come home and I'll lovingly and patiently listen to her tell me all about her evening. 

9:30 - I will send the last two of my children to bed.  I am always hopeful that she won't wake up crying but I'm sure Sarah will need me to get her at some point in the night.  She won't leave her bed and so I will get up... once more.  And maybe, just maybe tomorrow won't start quite as early. 

Now, to our credit, most days, we do more school than we did today... it was simply one of those *off* days.  Yes, I am busy and often tired but I do love what I do.  And like I told my in-laws this weekend, I firmly believe I was put on this earth to be a wife and mom.  Life for me, began the day I got married and I am so happy doing what I do!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday's Thoughts

1.  With Daylight Savings time occurring last night, I noticed that the sun was up earlier than yesterday.  So much nicer for a morning person like me!  Sarah did not get the notice about sleeping an extra hour though and was still up at her normal time, except that the clock read 5:15.  Good thing she's just so crazy cute.

2.  I was honored this weekend when my nephew Ben wanted to call me about his accident on the treadmill.  Poor little guy has quite the injuries on his face but I know he's a toughie.  He makes me proud and I love him lots!  I also got to say hi to my beautiful nieces at the same time... I miss and love those Calgary babies.  xoxoxo

3.  We bought the game Risk this weekend.  Quite the steal as it was only $6 at the checkout!  We are now onto day THREE of playing and no real winner in sight.  I was sure I was toast but I made a bit of a comeback.  It's exciting that the kids want to keep playing it too!

4.  As we were driving to Doug's parents for a coffee this weekend, I was just checking some old photos of the kids on my iPhone (love technology) and came across one of Arianna at 4.5 years old.  The same age that Sarah is now.

Two, very beautiful girls, one just looks so much younger.  I was taken aback when I realize how baby-like Sarah is yet, especially when two photos are placed side by side.  I KNOW Sarah is who she is and is supposed to be and I wouldn't trade her preciousness for anything but every so often I have little twinges of sadness.  I watch her peer bypass her and now kids are even beginning to talk down to her as if she IS younger.  I can understand their child-like thinking but it still hurts inside.    I remember when Doug and I decided our family was complete and that Sarah would be our last.  I also remember thinking how badly I wanted to hang on to the sweet baby-days.  I always wished I could hold on to their little-ness just a bit longer.  And now I can.  For today, I have a daughter who looks, acts, behaves and is so very much like a two year old.  Almost like we are stuck in time.  Now, don't get me wrong, she is growing and changing day by day.  She talks so much more than she did a year ago and her thinking is becoming more and more complex (for her).  She delights and challenges me on a daily basis and she is all that I could have ever wanted in her.

 5.  It's Sunday.  The beginning of a new week.  Now, time for another cup of coffee and we'll get this day started.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Five on Friday

1.  The snow started to fall two days ago and it really doesn't look like it will be going away anytime soon.  It seems our winter is here to stay... for the next few months anyhow.

2.  I am reading The Purpose Driven Life.  I've been a Christian for pretty much all my life and yet I love finding something that is so spiritually refreshing.  I can learn so much from this book and I'm looking forward to applying it to my life and seeing what God has in store for me.

3.  As I fought off flu-like symptoms, I was very thankful for my older kids.  They kind of ran the house, made sure everyone ate meals and kept things running. Arianna was the biggest help by watching my friend's son while I was supposed to be.  What an amazing blessing they are to me.

4.  Tonight, we are having a gadget free night.  The kids, Doug and I are putting our devices away for a few hours while we reconnect with games and hanging out. 

5.  I love my family.  God has blessed me with so many wonderful people in my life and I am thankful. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

We Do Things Differently

When my siblings and I were growing up, Halloween was never a big event for us.  We didn't go trick or treating but rather, watched movies and had treats during the night.  As Doug and I had kids, we didn't take them out either.  For the first few years, we visited his parents with the kids costumed up but we never made a huge deal of it.  Four years ago, our church began to put on a Fall Festival on the 31st.  This is a chance for the kids to have fun, dress up, all in a warm and safe place.  This year, we didn't go.  Sarah's SPD is a little tricky yet and she wouldn't dress up and she'd just sit in her stroller with the canopy down so she wouldn't have to see anything.  So, the kids and I went to Superstore, stocked up on HUGE amounts of treats and hung out.  At home.  Afterwards, Arianna thanked me for not taking her out because being at home was way more fun. 

This morning, we woke up to lots of snow on the ground and freezing rain.  Our day consisted of pajamas, school, some house work and staying warm.  It was just a nice way to spend the first snowy day.  Soon I'll get brave and go outside with the kids!!

Happy November 1st!


Related Posts with Thumbnails