Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pictures and Prayers

We've been having a blast shifting everything back to a more "normal" schedule. 

Brandon and I have always despised the typical 8-5 grind.  When we were engaged, we chose to work a "weekend wrap" which meant that we worked Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.  (Yes, we worked for the same company.  We've worked for 3 different companies together!) 

This schedule gave us the chill environment of the office on the weekends, better pay (known as shift diff or differential), and we got THREE days of casual clothing standards.  On Monday everything changed back to the straight and narrow. 

We also chose to work 2nd shifts.  Neither of us have ever been morning people and again, it paid more.

We kept some semblance of that schedule for the last 9 years. When we became homeschoolers it became even easier to live in our alternate universe. 

And then Isaiah came. 

zzzzzzzzzzrppppppppppppppppp!   *record stops* 

No really, it wasn't just him. 

*coos* It's not you baby, it's me...

and Daddy...

and your brothers...

and sisters! 

A few things changed and suddenly 1st shifts were looking mighty fine.  Brandon trained on 1st shift for his new job and we found our groove.  Then he moved to second shift and we were all a little bummed.

So when he was offered firsts back, we jumped. 

And we love it! 

Another plus of his new job is that he has off on weekends.  He works a Saturday every 5-6 weeks.  Score!

All that to explain that we got to attend an event this past Saturday. 

Here are some pictures:

First: We ate!  Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chips, soda and desserts! (Julianne was pleased that there was a cafeteria set up.  She thinks those are so fun! )

We played games:

We picked Pumpkins!
Xander, Solomon and DeLainey played in various bounce houses.  (Julianne is terrified!)

Some of us just looked around and looked cute doing it! 

We have a big, BIG appointment on Thursday... would you pray that our concerns are heard?  We appreciate every prayer that goes up on our behalf!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Just not enough...

Some days, my all just isn't enough.  These days my to do list is never ending.  Yesterday I spent hours on the phone calling from place to place trying to figure out the next steps for Xander, while overseeing the girls do their school work, being the sole food source for Isaiah, and trying to keep two brothers about 13 months apart in age from having a brawl over each and every toy that we have. 

What can I say?  My life is glamorous!  *snort*

I found out that the school district has taken advantage of my ignorance and we are no closer to help there than when we started. 

I've read special education law until my eyes can't focus anymore.

I found out that I can't get straight answers from quite a few places.  I can't get some people to even return my call or email. 

And yet, I have to keep going.  I'm knocking on all the doors I can.  I've left message after message (and as a result I'm REALLY close to memorizing my new cell number now!) 

During several of my calls, (hello 25 minute wait when calling the Social Security office) Xander was very loud in the background.  There was even a meltdown between a certain two boys *ahem* over a beloved yellow matchbox car during one of my calls. 

Last night, Brandon got off work late and by the time he got home I was spiraling into a glob of self pity and doing a fabulous job holding down the couch.  I whispered to myself that there is just not enough of me.  It seems like I could clone myself and still not have enough of me. 

Conviction came in the early hours of this morning as I was watching Isaiah nurse contentedly.  I've decided that I don't really need more me. ;)  I think the world can only handle so much of this Mama. 

If I could do it all on my own, would I have room for God in my life?   

What I needed to do was stop and read my Bible.  I needed to find a verse to cling to.  HE is enough.  God is enough for me. 

And He hasn't left.  He may be really hard to hear when you are speaking to a governmental worker giving robotic answers that don't quite answer what you are asking, but He is STILL THERE!

So today, I get up, I dust myself off and we try again. 

One of our homeschool lessons will be about perseverance. ;) 

I'm not done here yet!


Monday, October 15, 2012

As if...

(Due to the sensitive nature of the topic, I ask you to be kind with your responses.)

Anyway, as if Xander hasn't had enough to deal with in his life (a whole three years) we now have another hurdle.

Well.. actually that isn't true.  We've had the hurdles but now we have some names for them.

Xander has always been quirky.  Honestly, sometimes we forget how quirky because he is just our Xander.  But as he has gotten older, it became apparent that his quirks are interrupting other parts of his life and causing issues.

For instance, his issues changing activities is greatly affecting other parts of his life.  Changing his routine is devastating to him. 

Other quirks have worked in his favor.  For instance, Xander has the most incredible ability to memorize things set to music.  Anything.  He has picked up states and capitals just from hearing a song we use for the girls.  So if I want to teach him anything, setting it to music is the way to go.

I've always noticed differences between him and his siblings, but I've been brushed off for a long time.

"That is just a boy for ya!"
"That is boy energy..."
"Girls are just different... "
"That is just his personality, not anything physical
"Have you tried ___________ method of discipline?"

And still my mommy gut nagged at me during the quiet moments in the night. 

I thought maybe *I* was the one that had the issue.  Maybe I wasn't cut out to be a boy mama.  Maybe I just lack patience.  Maybe I am too uptight... sigh.

So when my typically laid back family practitioner mentioned that we may want to have some tests run on Xander, we took notice.  Our doctor has 6 children and majority of them are boys.  Maybe this just wasn't "boy-ness." 

Off we went to a pediatric neuro-psychologist and she watched him meltdown in the waiting room. She noticed how he flitted around the room with no focus.  She noticed how darn short his attention span is. 

After the initial intake appointment, we went ahead with testing.   We ended up starting medication shortly after testing with our family practitioner since the appointment with the psychiatrist was months away.  We have seen some improvement.   

I'm wasn't surprised with the results at all.  Our three year old has been diagnosed with ADHD and PDD-NOS.  The neuropsych is sending us to an autism spectrum specialist because she is hesitant to diagnose him with autism or Asperger's Syndrome at his age since that is not her specialty.   He does have a high amount of behavioral markers though. 

PDD-NOS is on the autism spectrum though.  Xander's attention span is about 15-20 seconds-- if you can catch his attention at all. 

So where do we go from here?

Well, now we go back to the Early Intervention meeting with the school system with a diagnosis and a formal testing results.  

We go to the pediatric psychiatrist to have his medications tweaked a bit.  Because stimulant use is not approved for children under 4, there are not as many options available for him.  Besides, stimulants can affect appetite and after all the work we have done to get him back on the growth chart, we are very cautious about this particular side effect. 

We have tried diet changes (avoiding red dye 40, gluten, etc) and we have not seen any further improvements. 

How can you help?

This is going to be a long road and we covet your prayers for us.  Pray that we don't lose sight of our little boy in this.  He is still the same little boy that he was before we had a diagnosis.  Pray for those we encounter as we walk this road.  Pray for us as we try to piece together a medical team for Xander.  Pray for our family as we complete these appointments.  Appointments obviously change our routine and cause a ripple effect throughout our day.  Pray for mercy and grace for each member of our family.  Pray for our insurance company to be cooperative and helpful and if they aren't, pray I don't have a flesh flash.  ;) 


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Carbon Copies...


This little boy.  Where do I start?  First, he is the carbon copy of my husband-- seriously, all the way down to their big toes.  When he was born, I struggled to find anything, anything that was "me" as I studied my newest little man. 
I found nothing. 
And then he started getting older.
I finally found something that was "ME!" 

This little gem was floating around Facebook and it made me laugh until my sides ached.  I was reminded that I *could* find myself in Solomon... 

Newest example:

Tonight, we were watching Amazing Race and I made a comment about his big toe being "just like Daddy's!"  (We are three for three for the children having "Daddy's toe.")  Apparently, Solomon sensed my lack of ability to see myself in him, so he promptly rolled off of the loveseat-- on top of the infant carseat.  Ker-plunk!

Oh, but our gracefulness doesn't stop there! 

He climbed back on the loveseat and less than 5 seconds later, he rolled off of the loveseat again.  You guessed it.. right onto the infant carseat.

Brandon said, "There you are, Steph!"  We laughed and laughed.  Solomon did too. 

Nothing like some well timed humor!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Coming up for air...

I'm sorry I've been disappearing quite often here lately.  We have a lot going on which has left me feeling vulnerable and I've retreated into my own mind quite a bit recently. 
Forgive me for the brief summary here.. but naptime is very short these days. 

Isaiah-- 7 weeks old hanging out with mama during Choir  

1.  Isaiah is doing GREAT!  He is my best nurser and best sleeper to date.  He was born bigger than my other babies and so I guess it has to do with that.  He is a quiet baby who seems to get lost in his own daydreams and thoughts.  The only time he cries is when he is hungry, needs a diaper or is fighting sleep.  He has never cried during a bath.  Several people have commented that he appears to have an "old soul."  Not sure how to reconcile that as a Christian, but I find it interesting that several other people have said that. 
He has been amazingly healing to my broken heart and made Annalise's anniversary that much easier to get through.  I was sad but busy.  Sometimes staying busy is the best place for me to be. 
2.  I left a somewhat cryptic message about Xander the last time I blogged.  We are struggling to say the least.  Xander suddenly stopped sleeping and really amped up the acting out.  His impulse control is very poor right now.  We have had serious outbursts on his part.  He has started repetitively doing things and has serious meltdowns if we stop him.  (For example, he will stand at the light switch and flip it hundreds of times.  If we stop him, he does everything in his power to get back to the switch.)  We are in the process of getting down to the bottom of what has caused this, but would you keep praying?  We are exhausted and frustrated and yet very sensitive to our little guy and all he has been through. 
3.  We have decided to pull out of our house purchase.  There was a financing snag and it pushed our closing date way out again.  Well, it gave us an out that allowed us to get our escrow money back with no penalty.  After prayer, we took it.  Not sure what the Lord is doing here, but we are trying our best to trust that it is His plan.  Interestingly, the house is listed for much less than the price we offered.  Part of me wonders if this is our house, but just not right now.
Another possibility is that the door to this house has been shut because God is keeping us closer to our support system (church, friends etc.) and the school system is better in this county than the other. 
4.  Brandon started a new job with a new company.  He actually did his final interview the day that Isaiah was born. And he rocked out that interview on no sleep.  (Isaiah was born at 2:30ish in the morning, we hadn't been to sleep when I went into labor, it took time to get us settled and Brandon had the interview across town that morning.)  He loves his new company.  The hours are much better, he is back in an office environment, etc.  I love the regular hours and benefits.  And the pay is a plus too. (By the way, this was not the financing snag..)
5.  DeLainey and Julianne have started school again and choir has started up again too.  DeLainey auditioned for a part and got one of the two parts she hoped for.  *proud mama* 
Julianne had her Bible Presentation this past Sunday.  Our church gives each 1st grader their very own Bible.  Then when they use their Bible in Sunday School everyone has the same version and the page numbers and such line up.  With new readers this makes things easier. 

Julianne showing off her new Bible
DeLainey loves Teaching Textbooks!  Finally math isn't a struggle for the two of us!

6.  Solomon is growing by leaps and bounds.  His speech is REALLY growing and we are almost ready to start potty training.  (That roar of excitement you just heard was from the mama that has three in diapers!)
I hope to start blogging more regularly!