Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Berries and behavior

Soccer and swim lessons are done...hooray! It's sad, too. Sammy cried at the thought of not seeing his teammates again. He does not like change!

On a fun note, the boys and I picked berries for a Hope Kids event yesterday. It was fun and filled with flying beetles that were VERY attracted to Sammy. Despite that, we loved picking juicy strawberries. We picked three pints and they are all GONE! Yum!

I love these smiling faces!

We found a heart-shaped berry! 

I met with Elijah's Fraser social skills therapist by myself on Monday and had an unexpected reaction to our visit. I hadn't met with her sans Elijah since February. I explained to her what we experience daily... the fact that none of us really sleep past 4am and that we are often changing sheets and cleaning up accidents in the middle of the night and that we are constantly on edge and TIRED and we never know what to expect with behavior. C literally dropped her pen onto her pad of paper and said, "Megan...this is TOUGH stuff. Your lives are not the norm. PLEASE be easy on yourself."

Ugh...unexpected tears..

I know this, and I feel like I almost try to hide it from people. I never want anyone to feel like we think we are stretched more than anyone else. EVERYONE I know feels stretched beyond their means. Life is crazy for everyone! But things are tough here. C was validating.

I mentioned the medication Dr. M had prescribed and she felt like we should just try it. Why not?! My brain says, "Ha!" I have prayed so hard about this. Elijah is SO sensitive to meds and usually has such a negative reaction, but it is so enticing to try SOMETHING.

Dr. M thought we would know within two to three days if this med wasn't a good fit. This morning I handed E the capsule and prayed, "If he can't swallow it easily, it's a sign." He swallowed it easily. Overall, behavior today was slightly above average. We'll stick with the meds for a few more days before committing.

To be continued!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A few random things about today

- Elijah dunked his head under water FIVE times today during swim lessons! His teacher was sooooo shocked and excited. Brave boy.

- I took Sammy to kindergarten intake today and he did great. He was so stinkin' cute. He is certainly ready for school.

- While Elijah was in OT, Sammy and I ran out to the post office. On our way to the car, he started running quickly down the sidewalk in the opposite direction of our car. I yelled, "Sammy?! Where are you going?" He yelled over his shoulder, "Don't worry! I'm just takin' a long-cut!"

- The boys have been talking about the two high school graduation parties they went to on Saturday with Dan while I was shooting a wedding. I noticed today that instead of "graduation," they have been saying "congraduation." I like it!

- The boys were playing "doctor" with me tonight. Sammy was my doctor and Elijah was my mom. Sammy gave me about 10 shots and then went to test my reflexes and said, "Ok, I'm going to hit you REALLY hard now!" :) Elijah said, "Umm, I think you're a REALLY bad doctor!"

- We had mostly really great behavior today with just a few hiccups. I'll take it!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The past TWO weeks in numbers

3 trips to the swimming pool
8 swim lessons (E)
2 visits to child psychologist (E)
2 visits to Fraser - social skills class (E)
2 visits to OT (E)
2 visits to PT (E)
1 visit to pulmonologist (E)
1 visit to development pediatrician (E)
1 visit to pediatrician (S)
2 photo shoots
1 full day of wedding photography
6 blog posts written
4 soccer games (S)
1 birthday party thrown
7 trips to the gym
10 loads of laundry done
5 trips to the grocery store
2 photo sessions edited
4 parks visited

Summer has been soooo crazy! We are enjoying it, but wow! Swim lessons end this week, so next week will be a bit lighter. But then we'll be getting ready for our big trip! The little boys and I are road-tripping out east again this summer. First stop: Kentucky, to visit one of our favorite heart families, Evan and Co. Second stop: North Carolina, to visit my dad and stepmom. We are excited!

As you can see from the above list, we've been spending a lot of time in the water. I am determined to get these boys swimming! Both boys have been terrified about dunking their heads under water, so we have been working hard on it. FINALLY, after much coaxing and a bit of bribery, Elijah willingly went under water today THREE TIMES! His swim instructor is going to be soooo happy tomorrow to see this! He also went down a huge water slide all by himself six times and (kind of) jumped off the edge of the pool into my arms. Progress! And have I mentioned that Sammy is actually excited to get into the pool these days? That is such huge progress compared to last year!

We are currently in a night-time potty transition, which means...sleep disturbances. Which means...we are having a hard time controlling our behavior (all of us). Things had gotten a bit better but they are a bit rough again. Don't get me wrong, it is GOOD that night-time potty is finally being addressed. In the long run, this will be a good thing as long as we can stick with it.

I hope you all are enjoying summer! This weather is fabulous. I'll end with a few Sammy funnies:
cardboard = "carveboard"
instead of "fall in love," he says "follow in love"

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pulmonology and dev-ped check-ups

Yesterday Elijah had a check-up with his pulmonologist, who he still sees because of croup. We have always loved Dr. K. He is one of the best doctors we have ever gotten to know. I am constantly amazed at and so thankful for our incredible doctors. As always, Dr. K blew my socks off. He is incredibly smart, relatable and kind. He always makes us as parents feel valued, validated and respected. As I talked about E's croup in the past year, he kept saying, "Very interesting." When I finished talking, he explained what he found so interesting. First of all, it is "highly unusual" for an 8-year-old to get recurrent croup (of course!). He was intrigued that Sammy also gets it regularly and severely. Also, according to him, most parents never know when croup is coming and they live in constant fear. I almost always know when it's coming, and I give the boys oral steroids to prevent or lessen an episode. Dr. K was in agreement that giving meds preventatively is absolutely the right thing to do. As for E's croup, although he is perplexed, he feels we are doing everything we can at this point.

He asked about summer plans and I shared that the little boys and I will be road-tripping out east again this year. He thought that was just the coolest thing ever and promised that he would send me a few children's books on CD that his children once enjoyed. What doctor does that? He is the best!

I have to share another little tidbit about our visit.. I brought both boys to the appointment and as expected, they started to fight. Elijah tried to head butt Sammy and a few unsavory words came out of his mouth. Then Sammy was saying, "Mommy-Mommy-Mommy" repeatedly as I tried to talk to the doctor. Dr. K looked straight at Sammy and firmly said, "Excuse me!" then at Elijah and said, "Elijah, you need to chill a little bit, okay?" Both boys quieted. At first I was embarrassed and thought he must think I'm a horrible mother. After the appointment I realized he was trying to help me. He has children. He knows children. He saw me stressing while trying to focus, and he helped me out.

Today we visited with Dr. M, E's developmental ped...another top-notch doctor! Seriously, I cannot say enough good things about his team. Dr. M took tons of time with us. Learning from yesterday, I brought Sammy to daycare so I could FOCUS. Elijah did great! We did not have even a single issue during the entire appointment, which is a pretty rare thing these days. We discussed the past few months...how school ended on a mostly good note and how summer is beginning on a mostly sour note. He suggested another med to "take the edge off," but of course I'm hesitant to try it. Elijah is so sensitive to meds, but the prospect of that "edge" being rounded out a little bit is so enticing. Dan and I have some talking to do.

Dr. M is so good at building Elijah (and me!) up and making him feel proud of himself. He uncovered all of E's accomplishments in the past few months and made sure to give him huge props for everything. This is something I feel like I don't do enough. :( It is so easy to get caught up in the challenging times when we are in the trenches. Dr. M gave me a renewed perspective and I promised myself that I will DAILY tell Elijah how proud I am of him (Sammy, too). I am SO proud of my boys. Despite E's challenges, he is doing so incredibly well...and thriving! It is easy to forget about the hurdles he's jumped over to get to the point he is at now!

As I have been saying, the past few weeks have been challenging. I have been praying so hard for a breakthrough in ANY area. Last night at 3am, Elijah called me into his room, which is not unusual. What IS unusual is that he told me he had to go poop. So he did....IN THE TOILET. This is the first time he has ever done this in the middle of the night. He stayed clean for the entire rest of the night. Maybe our new "system" of taking toys away has been working?! We did a lot of talking about it today and I'm praying last night was a huge step in the right direction. I shared this accomplishment with Dr. M today and he was OVER THE MOON and hopeful about it.

I feel like we are doing EVERYTHING possible to help Elijah feel happier and more peaceful/rested. Please pray with us that we continue to make all of the right decisions!

That's all I have for tonight! Have a great evening!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Desperate times...

What a weekend! We celebrated Sammy (again) this weekend, this time with extended family and friends. Sammy requested a COW theme for his party (I love this), and of course we complied. I love that he chose something a little bit off-the-wall. He was super excited to have a few friends attend this year. His daycare buds are the BEST!

These four cuties have been going to the same daycare since birth. The boys LOVE these girls! They are the sweetest little things and I'm so glad they have such a special bond with one another.

Birthday bro hugs. :)

The cow piƱata got a beating.

And today we broke out our pool for the first time this year. The boys had a blast! Sammy is so much braver than ever before with water and trying new things. I'm proud of him!

In all honesty, it has been rough going for our family. Elijah is really struggling again, the boys have not been getting along and it seems like there is often some sort of turmoil in our home. Potty issues have regressed hugely, which has all affected sleep and sanity. I know that better times are in store, but until then we are spent.

This will be another crazy week, including three doctor's appointments, three therapy appointments and swim lessons. I think I just need to accept the fact that life will always be nuts!

Elijah started seeing a child psychologist on Friday and I will take him to see her weekly for the next few months. She is AWESOME! Our hope is that she can help him learn some coping techniques that will lessen anxiety and frustration.

You can see from these photos that we had a few moments of summer-time peace today, thanks to Dan and his bubble-making.

Dan and I have had to get extreme recently. Behavior, potty and sass have been OUT of control, so we have taken away ALL technology until we see an improvement in behavior and sass. And every time there is a potty accident, we take a toy away from E. To earn one toy back he needs to use the toilet successfully all on his own. We are going to keep with this until we see improvement!

Early to bed tonight. Thanks for peeking in! Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Desperately seeking sanity

Today will never be forgotten in this mama's mind. It was one of my most challenging days being a mother. Elijah's behavior has escalated to a degree that I never imagined it could. I don't know how many more days like today I can stomach! Please pray for my sanity and for Elijah to feel peaceful! 

We have stayed very busy and that likely has been a contributing factor to the madness. On Friday the little boys and I were able to go to the zoo for a few hours, courtesy Hope Kids. We had fun!  We scurried around and saw as many animals as we could before bedtime crept up on us. Here are the boys in the "stinky jungle." :)

Dan made it home safely from DC on Tuesday night. The following pics are moments the boys asked me to capture and send to him while he was away. 

Elijah re-started OT/PT this week! We decided to take a break back in February when life was really overwhelming, so we will see how it goes starting back up. Both his OT and PT did testing on Wednesday to see how much service he will be able to receive. His PT called me back at the end of the session to show me Elijah's new accomplishment! He never would have done this a few months ago!

The boys and I have been loving on a few plants this spring. It has been fun watching them grow. Elijah and Sammy get so excited to water their flowers and veggies!

We made it to the pool for the first time early this week. Elijah is so much more capable in shallow water. I worry much less than I did last year about him wading around. He starts another round of swim lessons next week, so things will only improve!

And guess what?! Sammy did not even hesitate to remove his shirt and socks. WOW! He got into the pool right away. WOW! He even got upset when I told him to stay a little bit closer to me. In fact, I believe he said something like, "I'm going to swim away from you FOREVER!" See how that works out for you, Sammy!

Elijah has his first appointment tomorrow with a new psychologist. The timing is great. I/We need her more than ever. Thanks for checking in!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Time of transition

I am always amazed by how much bigger and older the boys look when I do these photo collages. Look at that growth!

Saying good-bye to second grade has been a bit tough! Elijah has come to me nearly in tears a handful of times in the past few days talking about how much he misses his teacher. This morning he told me that he was nervous for third grade. I've never heard him verbalize being nervous about anything. I think he really understands how great of a teacher she is and how much she did for him. Next year is going to be a change, just like every year is!

His teacher sent me an email about E's last day of school. He had forgotten a letter he had written for her at home and he was devastated. He cried and cried and after a few minutes he whizzed by her mumbling, "I know what I can do.." and ran to the scrap paper drawer. He composed the following letter right there in class:

Not only is this just the sweetest letter, but it is impressive that he thought of a solution to his problem! This is a new thing and we've seen it happen at home a few times in the past few weeks. Progress!

On the other hand, behavior this week has been challenging. Elijah has regressed on many levels and we are seeing behaviors that haven't been around since February. I don't think he has been sleeping very well, but I would need to have him wear the fitbit again to know for sure. I'm not sure what exactly is going on, but I'm going to give it another week or so before I start to worry. Maybe the end of the school year caught up with him and he's spent. Maybe the end of second grade is weighing on him.

I have also noticed another slight runny nose, which always interferes with sleep juuuust enough. Tonight he laid down on his pillow to go to sleep and immediately began wailing in pain! His ear is bothering him, which could be an ear infection. I gave him pain medicine and lightly pressed my hand on his ear until he fell asleep. I am PRAYING for that to just GO AWAY. No thank you!

I thought by this point in the year things would open up for us and I'd feel much more relaxed, but that is not happening. This week is going to be crazy. I'm ready...let's do this.

I'll wrap this post up with a few funnies!

Tonight as the boys were crawling into bed (before Elijah began screaming), Sammy informed me that he was NOT going to bed tonight. He would lock himself in the bathroom and hide in the cupboard. He would NEVER sleep again. He would get up in the middle of the night and LEAVE THIS HOUSE. I continued the routine as usual and acted like everything was wonderful. I asked if I could tuck him in and he said, "NO!" I asked if I could give him a hug and kiss and he began to look sad at the thought of that not happening, so he held one thumb pointing straight up and the other pointing to the side. He said, "Do you know what THIS means?" Ugh, I didn't want to know but said yes. "It means, 'Yeah, maybe.'" This boy! So clever. Later when I came in to deal with Elijah's ear, Sammy said, "Remember earlier when I said I didn't want you to ever snuggle with me again? I changed my mind. I'd like you to snuggle me tomorrow."

Dan is in DC right now, so the boys are always asking questions about what he's doing and seeing, etc. Today Sammy referred to DC as "George Washington DC." :)

Last week Sammy got upset with me about something and told me that he didn't want me to be his mommy anymore (this happens often, sadly). I heard Dan say to him, "Sammy, you could search the entire world and not find a better mommy!" Sammy replied, "Then I think I'll travel outside of Earth to find one."

Have a great week!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sammy-Jammy's FIFTH birthday!

Five years ago I was in a hospital room snuggling with the cutest, sweetest newborn. I fell in love with him the second I met him. I remember not wanting to put him down...to the extent where Dan would pry him from my arms so that I would get some sleep! Sammy has always felt like the most perfect addition to our family. I can't imagine my life without his snuggles and constant stream of hilarious antics. Happy fifth birthday, my PRECIOUS youngest boy! I love you to pieces!

I can't help but spoil my boys rotten on their birthdays. I do. Today was no exception.

I stayed home from work to spend the day with my cutie pie! The two of us went to the Mall of America and rode a couple rides, followed by lunch, visiting Dan at work, quiet time at home, making cupcakes, opening presents, family dinner at Applebee's (always his favorite!) and dessert at home. Whew! What a day!

Isn't that the BEST, happiest birthday face?

At dinner tonight Sammy doused me with "colossal hugs" (as he calls them), smooches and snuggles. He kept saying, "I will never EVER leave you! I love you soooo much! I'm going to snuggle you FOREVER!" And in standard Sammy fashion, he finished by saying, "But...I'm leaving for Russia tomorrow."

I have to share another funny from today. I said to him, "SAMMY! How do you feel about being FIVE years old?!" He said (without skipping a beat), "I am powerful and impressed with male pattern baldness!" Wha..?! I had no idea that "male pattern baldness" was a part of his vocabulary!

Today was Elijah's last day of second grade! There are a lot of emotions wrapped up in that (for me). Dan leaves for DC on Saturday and the next few days are PACKED with fun adventures for the little boys and me. It is officially summer break, which is such a strange feeling. Yay and yikes!

Have a great rest of your week and thank you for checking in!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Boy funnies!

I was tickling Sammy from his toes up to his head. As I got close to his armpits, he raised his elbows up in the air like a chicken and said SO cutely, "Are you looking for THEEEEEEESE?!?!?!" Elijah and I laughed SO HARD. We have rehashed the line a hundred times since!

Sammy is not officially a "reader," but he can read many small words and spell them, too. He has been sorting out letters and sounds and often asks me about specific sounds/words. The silent E on the ends of words has been hard for him to understand. In standard Sammy fashion, he has defied it. "WHY don't we say the E on the end of DONE?" So now, every time he says the word "done," he pronounces it DONE-eh. "Mommy, I am DONE-eh with my lunch."

After giving him a big hug, Sammy said to me, "Thank you, Lady of Confidence!"

Sammy writes his initial on EVERYTHING that is his. He does NOT want Elijah to invade on his territory. I see a huge letter S on so many things in our house!

When we leave the club, we walk through two big double doors. Elijah has started pushing them both open at the same time and saying, "Welcome to the FUTURE!"

Tonight Sammy was being super sassy, so Dan talked to him and had him sit in a time-out. Sammy does NOT like being in trouble. He told Dan: "I'm leaving this house and going to NOWHERE. I'm not gonna miss ANYONE."