Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Accomplishments for 2009

Lauren: went to school all day and is a beginning emerging reader. She can read all basic site words and books with simple sentences and paragraphs. She is definetely making progress.

Ellie: started her second year of preschool. She is described to be a joy in the class. She is helpful to the typical and special needs kids. She can write her name and read some very simple words.

Shannon: is completly potty trained. She gave us our longest, uh I mean only, break in diapers since Lauren made her appearance in March of 2003. She is a wonderful talker and says things that have me scratching my head considering she is only 2 1/2 She will lay on the floor and say "I need a little help to get up Mommy"

Bob: only had one job this year.

Kristin: Successfully got off probation and is creating new life as we speak.

it's been a busy successful year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

36 weeks and 1 day

And I look like a whale

Monday, December 28, 2009

Thoughts on Christmas

I was almost 36 weeks pregnant for Christmas. I have never been that pregnant on any Christmas (and I never will be again). The most pregnant I have been before is 28 weeks pregnant. Much different story.

I will admit that I thought about the Christmas in a new and different way. I was just thankful that no one was making me travel anywhere on a donkey. I know I couldn't have done it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sister Sleepover

Both Lauren and Ellie got sleeping bags for Christmas. They love them and have been waiting many years for them.

Tonight was the first of many sleep overs in their room.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

We spend Christmas at my parents house. There is lots of food, dogs, chaos, and presents

Lauren absolutely loved the Fancy Nancy doll she got.

Ellie poses sweetly in front of the presents.

Shannon has a case of too much Christmas

A rare picture of the girly girls and mommy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Day

The stockings are hung on the bookcase with care

Lauren got a Belle Ornament. She really likes it.

Ellie looks at the contents of her stocking.

Shannon makes it downstairs. She's already to go.

Shannon digs into her stocking and finds socks.

Opening presents is intense work.

This is actually Lauren's favorite present, once she figured out what it was. She loved her sleeping bag and hugged it and said "My wish came true"

Fancy Nancy is always a hit at our house. Ellie could wait to have this book read to her.

Shannon love the show "Ni-How Keiland". She got little stuffed animals of all the main characters. She kept yelling "My Keiland baby, my Toli Baby, My Ho-ho baby, My Lou-lou Baby, My Rin-too baby, all of my babies". It was definetely a hit. My big baby belly couldn't be left out either.

It was good to have Christmas (well, a day early) at home this year. We had a good time celebrating by ourselves.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Waiting for Christmas

We're going to my parents house tommorow so we are having our Christmas tomorrow. We're all ready.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our year in numbers 2009

Welcome to the official year in numbers post for our family for 2009.

Members of our family that live outside Kristin's belly-5
Members inside Kristin's belly-1
Times we have referred to the baby as Omega-2093
Times people have looked at us strangely when we call the baby Omega-2090
Times people got the meaning without us explaining it-3
Number of pregnancy tests Kristin took in disbelief-2
Number of times we smiled when people said "wow, you have your hands full-145
Number of preschoolers-1
Number of big first graders-1
Number of girls who love school-2
Number of girls who wish they were in school-1
Number of letters Lauren knows-52 (26 upper case and 26 lower case)
Times we went Trick or treating-2
Pounds of candy brought up-10
Pounds that ended up at someone's place of employment-8
Times the girls went to the zoo-22
Times they went to the Splash Pad-25
Days spent at the Irish Festival-1
Days spent talking about what a good time we had at the Irish Festival-69
Amount of new jobs gotten-0 (finally!)
Number of tickly toes in our house-30
Hours Bob spent watching football- way too many
Amount of strands of lights on our house this year-3
Times a girly girl has said "our house is so pretty for Christmas- 29
Amount of ornaments currently off of our tree- 32
Amount of times Kristin has threatened to take down the tree-509
Days spent at a hotel-1
Slices of Earl's pizza eaten-6
Amount of cookies made by Kristin and the girly girls- dozens and dozens
Times no cookies have been left by the time Bob got home- at least 5
Drinks on the World Tour completed by Bob- 95, as of today! 5 more to go.
Days left in Kristin's last pregnancy-34, but whose counting.
Amount of times Kristin has ordered from Amazon-34
Amount of time shopping in a actual store for Chrismtas- way too many according to Kristin, only 1 hour according to Bob
Days when we are so thankful for each other and the many, many blessings the Lord has blessed us with this year: 365

Friday, December 18, 2009

No picture of Santa

Santa we like you. We don't go all into you like many households but we do like you. You are a fond Christmas memory for me and my husband. You also give us the chance to discuss the One who does "see us when we're sleeping, and knows when we're awake". You give us a chance to talk about the One who gives good and perfect gifts to His children.

I hauled three children to the mall last night with the assistance with my husband. You know the 2 year old and the 4 year old who just had a Christmas party and the 6 year old who babbled on about the Winter break. They were kind of excited.

I know you like to hang out at the mall. I guess you don't realize, Santa, that the mall is not a good place for my family. See, my 6 year old has Autism. There is so much stimulation at the mall. The lights, the sounds, the smell, the 1 million people there. It's kind of crazy. I mean, I get overstiumlated there and I'm considered to be neurotypical. I still don't think I've recovered from loosing Lauren at the mall in Christmas of 2007.

My kids have not always been fans of yours. You probably remember but I have photographic proof. Santa pictures in 2005 and 2006 didn't go so well. I no longer drag my kids up to see you. Very simply, what's fun and amusing when your kid is 2 or 3, just isn't as funny when your kid is 6.

You know Santa, I'm desperately trying to live with one leg in the typical world and one leg in the special needs world. It is a difficult balance to make and one that I fall off of frquently. So, when my 4 year old requests to go see you, we do. It's what typical families do. However, when your 6 year old starts screaming in agony you make promises that she won't have to have anything to do with you. That's what special needs parents do.

We arrive at the mall last night and stand in line. I walk my 4 year old up to you and watch my 6 year old wave to you at a distance. That's what parents of both types of children do.

We were doing well Santa, living in this dual world last night. But, Santa, you made one fatal mistake that I fear has put a damper on our relationship. You, pointed at my 6 year old and said "What's wrong with her? She doesn't want to come see me. A big girl like that?"

It took everything in me to say "Nothing is wrong with her. What's wrong with you?" She's 6 and she has Autism. End of story. Nothing is wrong with her.

I'm think Santa, you may need to sign up for a class in how to interact with people with disabilities. My daughter is among a large and growing group. Kids who look totally typical on the outside but aren't on the inside.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just too tired

I'm just too tired to go to the mall to go Christmas shopping. I've discovered the joy of Internet shopping in full this year.

However, we will be going tonight. My little two have a desperate need to see Santa and to sit on his lap. Big words and I'm wondering how it will play out tonight.

I've made heartfelt promises to Lauren that she will not have to sit or say anything to Santa. She does have to go to the mall with us but she can do it.

I keep joking that Bob will miss the UPS man come January. He must come to our house almost everyday. I hope it's not a hard break up. Hey, I signed up for a free trial of Amazon Prime. Nothing beats ordering a Care Bear watch that costs $4.49 and paying no shipping. I don't have to hunt for filler items to get to the magic $25 mark.

I even was late to work today because I was ordering a coming home outfit for the baby. Online, of course. It should be here in a few days and then I'll feel like I'm actually going to have a baby instead of carrying a very heavy bowling ball around.

Today, UPS and Fedex are coming. Maybe they'll show up together. I've always wondered if it's awkward for them.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mispronnunciation #2

It's not really being mispronnounced but I love how Shannon says it.

If we got out at night, Shannon will point to the sky and yell "it's darking out"

Monday, December 14, 2009


My kids mix up words so many times. I don't want to forget how they say certain things.

Ellie at 4 1/2 talks about "raths" all the time. Raths are green and have red dots and bows. You see them on houses all the time and she wants one to hang out her window but mommy just has one for the front door.

I finally discovered she was talking about wreaths.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I was walking in the lobby of my work and someone asked me when I was due and I replied with the standard end of January. They asked the next standard question "what are you having?" Thankfully it wasn't followed by the "OMG, are you sure it's not twins remark"

But when I replied and said "I don't know, we'll find out in January" she was absolutely shocked. She said "they let you do that?" It's not the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last. It always makes me laugh. People think that it must be against the law to not know and to chose to find out at delivery. Contrary to popular belief, you are allowed to not know and your doctor doesn't pin you down screaming "it's a" at the ultrasound.

Less than 7 weeks to go and I am ready!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Double Standard

I've had to rearrange my working life this week. I had a doctor's appointment bright and early Monday morning and didn't feel like coming in to work beforehand. Lauren also had Doughnuts with Dad's on Tuesday so I couldn't go to work until that was done. I almost always have to be walking out of the door at work at 4:45 because Bob starts at 5:00.

Bob was off on Monday so I worked until 6. The only problem was I had scheduled pictures for the girls at 7:00. It wasn't the challenge most people thought. Bob gave the girls a bath, brushed their hair, had the outfits ironed. The only thing he did "wrong" was putting pink socks on Lauren. He is black/white color blind. I arrived home at 6:15 and put a barrette in Shannon's hair, a head band in Ellie's, and looked for one lost shoe (there is always at least one lost shoe in our house).

When I told this story to people at work, they were shocked. They were shocked that he could do that all. I'm convinced if I had done it no one would have batted an eye. It would have been expected at me.

He stays home with the girls during the day and works at night. He takes such excellent care of them. Not exactly how I would. No one would be in the "catpiller jamas" at 12 if I was home. But excellent care of them. They go to the zoo, the Y, play outside in the summer. When we tell people he stays home and will stay home with 4 kids (the oldest being not yet 7), it elevates him to sainthood.

He takes all of them shopping. I do too but there is a notable different. When I take the girls and they act far less than perfect, people glare at me. When he takes them and they act like the wild hooligans they are, people stop and smile sympathetically and offer to help. No one has ever offered to help me even on our worst shopping trip. I think they just mutter something about some people not knowing what birth control is.

I have yet to figure out why this double standard exists. Is it that we hold mothers to such a high unattainable standard? Or is it that we expect so little of fathers that merely do something is "good enough?" It's probably a combination of both. Sadly, neither shows kids a proper model for mothers or fathers.

Friday, December 4, 2009

OT issues

Lauren needs OT services. What are OT services? Good question! Everyone knows what a physical therapist does and what a speech therapist does. Occupational therapy remains a mystery. My best friend, Cathy, from college is an OT and I had some idea of what she was studying to be but I never really got it until I had a child who desperately needed those services.

Cathy has explained it to me this way and it is a simple explanation but it's the one I've found that makes the most sense. She says "We help people get back to doing their job--- whatever their job is at that moment in time". My job is to go to work, type on a computer, do housework (sooo wish that wasn't my job), and care for my job. Lauren's job is to play, write, do school work, and be a 6 year old.

Lauren has been going to this OT since around the 4th of July. I've never met her but I have to be at work at 7:30 on Fridays and OT starts at 7:15. I was going to go in February, one of the many things I'm going to do on materinity leave. I rarely take time off because I'm saving all my leave for when I have Omega.

All is going well, so I thought until today.

The private OT (Holly) has been working with Lauren has come to the conclusion that Lauren has a processing problem in her brain which is why she has such difficulty writing. She is able to draw straight (relatively) lines but gets confused when she has to switch directions. Since there is only one letter (I) that you can make and go only one direction, she doesn't think Lauren will ever be able to write or even form basic letters.

Problems with this: Lauren is still considered a VERY young child in regards to writing. I will admit that next to her focus/attention problems her fine motor skills are her absolute weakest skill (she scored at age 6 in the 2 y ear level on the VMI (visual motor index). Lauren has never been diagnosed with an underlying neurological disorder which would lend it self to such as statement. Now, I'm still not convinced that Lauren doesn't have an underlying neurological disorder besides Autism. We just haven't found one as of now.

Anyway, when I heard this I decided to not sit at my desk and cry which was my first response but I called her OT at school who has been working with her since 9/08. She does not agree at all with that assessment. Teri (school OT) even said that even if she believed that it is still way too early to make that type of assessment. They do a lot of Hand over Hand( HOH) exercises with Lauren. Teri has noticed a difference in her this year as Lauren is now attempting to force her hand to go a certain way making letters. She knows which way an F is suppopsed to go, she may not be able to make it go that way independently but she knows which way it is supposed to go. Secondarily, she can now make an L. It is readable and legible. Not on a 1st grade level but it's there.

I also called Cathy. We had a quick conversation as there were six young children screaming in the background. Three of mine and three of hers. She always makes me feel normal. She's never woked with Lauren on a clinical level but also indicates that based on Lauren's diagnosis and test scores and age, she would not be able to make that type of assessment at age 6. She said she would feel uncomfortable making that assessment at age 10-12 let alone 6.

Anyway, I have Lauren's school OT calling her private OT. Maybe I'm missing something. Holly also said she doesn't think OT should continue due to the above reason. Teri (school OT) also said if we are going to jump to this conclusion we absolutely need to get her neurologist involved. That's not something Holly has suggested either.

It boils down to us needing someone convinced that Lauren can succeede despite her limitations. Lauren doesn't know what she not able to do and she doesn't know that there is anything wrong with her. I don't ned someone working with Lauren who has come to this conclusion at such an early age.

Bob also asked multiple times if she felt that Lauren was going to have a hard time writing and she stated that she was never going to be able to write.

I remember when Lauren was under 1 and had been diagnosed with Failure to Thrive. There was one doctor at our practice that made me feel horrible. I kept going to see him until I was a crying mess. I then made new appointments with a new docotr within the practice. I was so scared to say something to him or to switch right away when I felt uncomfortable with him. That's not the case anymore. It's amazing how mcuh more confident I feel advocating for Lauren at age 6 then I did at age 1.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

First Haircut for Shannon


During. Shanno's take on the experience was "I watch Einsteins on a pony"

I didn't really get an after but her hair is much shorter with a lot of the toddler "fluff" taking out.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Things I am thankful for

1. My husband, Bob
2. My first born Lauren
3. My second born Ellie
4. My 3rd born Shannon
5. The unknown baby in my belly
6. That I have a job that pays decently well
7. The willingness of my husband to take a job that most people feel is demeaning
8. For Lauren's neurologist
9. For Lauren's special ed teacher. Her willingness to find new and creative ways to teacher Lauren never cease to amaze me.
10. For Lauren's 1st grade teacher. It's nice to have her treated as one of the kids in the classes instead of that kid with Autism
11. For everyone in Lauren's school who has taken the time to realize that while Lauren has Autism, she is not Autistic.
12. For You have made Christmas shopping so much easier this year.
13. For the genetic testing that gave us the answers that we were so desperately looking for but didn't know we wanted

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Don't tell a pregnant woman how she's become giantic in the last week. No good can come of that!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

30 Weeks Yesterday

I am 30 weeks pregnant as of yesterday. It means several things to me such as I only have 10 more weeks of being pregnant. I am always pregnant until the end (or the bitter end as I often refer to it as.

However, more importantly I feel more relaxed as of 30 weeks. The cusp of viability has been pushed to almost 23 weeks. I've reviewed many claims of 23 week micropreemies. I always stand in amazement at the fragility and preserverence of life.

But I don't want to have a micropreemie. I am thankful for every day that I am pregnant because it is one more day for those organs and lungs to develop. At 30 weeks, I feel confident that I would eventually bring home a baby even with a NICU stay.

I'm still shocked that I'm having another baby in a mere 10 weeks. Maybe I should consider buying somthing. It might make it real.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Things I've learned doing disability claims.

1. Don't smoke!

2. Don't do drugs

3. Don't do crack when your pregnant (ok it could be a subsection of #2 but I felt it needed it's own number)

4. Wear your helmet!

5. Your health is ultimately your responsibility.

6. Somtimes people get a raw deal in life. You still have to make good choices with what you have.

7. No matter how bad or good your childhood was, it is now over.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A house of her own

I'm constantly telling Ellie to stop jumping on my couch, stop climbing on my chairs and so on and so forth.

Today she said "I'm tired everything being your stuff mommy. I want my own stuff" I told her that when she had her own house she could have whatever stuff she wanted.

She then said "Then I'm going to have my own house and no one will be able to come over to it"

Sadly, that's how I feel some days too.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Interview with Dad

1. What is something dad always says to you?
L- go to the potty
E-Stop it!

2. What makes dad happy?
L- when he puts me on the bus
E-When I tell him I love him

3. What makes dad sad?
L- I don't listen
E- When I do things that are wrong

4. How does your dad make you laugh?
L-say funny jokes
E-doing funny things

5. What was your dad like as a child?
L-he was a baby
E-this little (meaning short)

6. How old is your dad?
L-I don't kn ow
E-I can't know

7. How tall is your dad?
L-I don't know
E-this tall (hand over head)

8. What is his favorite thing to do?
L- watch football with me
E- watch football game

9. What does your dad do when you're not around?
L- sleep with Shannon
E- watch football game

10. If your dad becomes famous, what will it be for?
E- being fancy and a star. He likes to sing

11. What is your dad really good at?
L-getting good tips at his work
E-helping me ride my bike

12. What is your dad not very good at?
E-playing with toys

13. What does your dad do for his job?
L-he serves
E-he srves food

14. What's your dad's favorite food?
E-peanut butter jelly sandwich

15. What makes you proud of your dad?
L-he wins at video games
E-he say nice things

16. If your dad were a cartoon character, who would he be?
L-on Suite Life
E-Max Ruby

17. What do you and your dad do together?
L-sleep together
E-watch TV together

18. How are you and your dad the same?
L-have freckles
E-have the same hair

19. Htow are you and your dad different?
L-he's big
E- he's really tall but I'm tall too

20. How do you know your dad loves you?
L-because he loves me
E-he gives me kisses and hug

21. Where is your dad's favorite place to go?
L-Bob Evans cause it's like his name
E-to McDonald's

22. Why does daddy love you?
L- because I love him
E- cause he give me a hug and a kiss

Friday, November 13, 2009

A realization

I love to read blogs. It's my hobby or past time.

I specifically love to read blogs about kids and happy normal boring families.

I also like to read blogs about kids with medical or developmental issues. I'm drawn to them and can blog hop to find them. I like reading about different treatments and different therapies and how people change and grow in spite of life altering news.

In reading these blogs, I've realized that there are families and moms that are totally at ease of who their child is and what their child's abilities are. Sadly and honestly, I'm not just one of them. I also don't know when or actually if I ever will be.

It is a constant and daily struggle for me and little things can set of my tears of sadness. Ellie was recently invited to a birthday party. She was so excited and I was so sad. Lauren's never been invited to a birthday party or even over to play. I'm not sure if she ever will be.

I love taking my girly girls to ballet. They've talked about ballet for so long and we've been unable to let them go until now. With my recent raise and the plethora of overtime now offered to me, it is now within our grasp to given them this. They love it. I love watching them get dressed and love hearing them ask "is today ballet?". However, my heart breaks a little everytime I see Lauren in the class. Lauren towers over everyone as she should. It is afterall, a class for 3-4 year olds. Lauren is 6 and this is the best fit for her.

Everytime I go to an appointment, my heart carries a secret wish. See, I don't want any therapy to make her better, I want it to make her normal, just like everyone. I know that despite everything we do, Lauren is never going to be like everyone else. Things are never going to be easy for her.

At the end of the day, it's my issue. It's not Lauren's issue and that's a good thing. Lauren is happy and thriving. She loves her sisters and she loves us. She loves school and could go everyday. She comes home with great stories about what happened at school. She fights with her sisters just like any other 6 year old.

I work very hard to find peace and acceptance and I hope I will.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A request from Shannon

Bob and I were sitting on the couch and Shannon came up and looked at me and said "Mommy, you pick my nose please?"

Um, sadly no.

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's a baby! In a belly!

Shannon has a baby in her belly. It can be a boy baby, a girl baby, a Barbie, and a titty-tat.

Lauren had a baby in her belly when I was pregnant with Shannon and she was four. I asked her if she had a baby in her belly now. She looked at me like that was the most ridiculous question she had ever heard. I guess the answer is no.

Monday, November 2, 2009

No visitors

Omega will not be having any visitors at the hospital. A new policy was announced recently at our hopsital stating no visitors under age 16 due to H1N1. I'm thinking that it will not be lifted by the end of January.

The good thing is that Lauren doesn't do well with hospitals and she flipped out when she came to visit Shannon. I know don't have to worry about that and wonder if I should just not have Lauren visit. Descision made for me.

Since the kids can't visit, I'm out of there at 24 hours. And since the kids can't come visit then no one else is coming either except Bob of course.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

In everything

In the midst of everything, we believe He is there and He has a plan for our life.

He was there when Lauren was simply two cells and her chromosomes were already enhanced.

He was there when Bob told me he was being arrested.

He was there during the sentencing.

He was there when we lost our house to foreclosure.

He was there when we moved in with my mother in law.

He was there when I had an inkling that things weren't quite right with Lauren.

He was there when my pregnancy test turned immediately positive as I was trying to juggle a 18 month old, a 3 year old with no money and no home of our own.

He was there at Lauren's first IEP meeting.

He was there when I felt otracized by His church.

He was there after every job loss.

He was there when we packed it up and moved.

He is there with every note home about Lauren.

He is there with every medication change and therapy trial.

He was there when Lauren looked at me and said "I wish I do that like them but I can't"

And then,

He was there for the birth of all our children.

He was there when I realized their was no one I'd rather be with them Bob.

He was there when I was hired back at a job I love.

He was there when I completed probation.

He was there when we fought our insurance company and finally won.

He was there when Lauren rode a bike.

He was there when we found a great house to rent.

He was there when I got a raise.

He was there when Bob got a new job.

He was there when Lauren shouted "I see a cross, Jesus die for me and you"

He was there when she wrote her name.

He was there when Shannon says "I love you mommy"

He was there when Ellie says "You my best mommy ever"

He is there in the valleys and the mountains, in the cool summer breezes and the frightening storms, and the highs and the lows. For this I am certain, He is there.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Farley comes to visit

Farley is Lauren's 1st grade teacher's watch dog. He watches all the students and then confers with her and goes home with someone with very good behavior that day.

Well, he got to come home with Lauren today. She walked around the house and introduced Farley to all of her friends and gave him the grand tour.

We took Farley to the mall and ate in the food court. He then went with us to play in the playland.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This picture

is of Lauren but I see my sister, Caitlin, staring right back at me. It's kind of eerie.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


We love going back to our old college (now university). We try to go back for homecoming every year. The girls like the stroll down memory lane as well or at least they don't complain. The highlight of the visit for them is staying a hotel.

It was so cold sitting and waiting for the parade. It did get warmer as the day went by.

Shannon was so excited to get candy that she kept yelling "I got candy Daddy"

We made them suffer through a football game of course. Guess that's what happens when your daddy played football until he was a sophmore in college!

They had bounce things for the kids set up. This is where the girls and I spent most of the football game. Shannon was being tough stuff that day.

It was great to get back to the hotel. The school we went to is built into a hillside. We can honestly tell the kids how we walked uphill to school both way (and be honest). Now, the five feet of snow would definetely be an exaggeration!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The beginning (for someone else)

On February 2nd 2007, I sat at a meeting with all these professionals. Besides the principal and a special education teacher, eveyone else had some type of initial behind their names.
I listened to them speak and my life as I knew it on that day stopped. It was Lauren's first IEP meeting and they were going over the results of her MFE. I fully expected to hear about her speech and language delays as that is what I had called about it. The big problem was they kept going. I heard gross motor delay scattered scores mostly in the 20 month range (she was 47 months old) with some scattered up to 27 months. Deficits in social development. Significant fine motor delays. Seriously, it was the end of my world.

Yesterday, my husband relayed a conversation he had with our neighbor. Her son is about 6 weeks younger than Ellie so almost 4 1/2. She has started having signficant concerns about her son's development and she afraid almost terrified that he may have that dreaded disorder, the one that starts with an A, Autism.

There is so much I would love to tell my neighbor. So much that goes beyond the practical what to expect at an evluation and what the letters in MFE and IEP. But I don't know if she would believe me. I know I wouldn't believe me.

First of all, high functioning Autism is not the end of the world. I can't speak for classic Autism but high functioning Autism can make your world a lot harder but it does need to be life ending or defining. It takes advance planning to live your life but it can be done.

Second, there is relief in finding that professionals agree with you. I can't recall how many times I looked at Lauren and thought "There is just something wrong with this kid" but nobody listened. As difficult as that MFE meeting was, there was a relief in knowing someone else saw it to and that I was not crazy.

Third, the people you meet on this journey are amazing. I've met doctors that would give the world for my child. I've met doctors whose deisire to help different kids shine through their words. I've met therapists who shout with joy when Lauren cut a straight line.

Fourth, it gives you perspective about the world around you. I used to think that everyone was like me. I never realized the how much some struggle to do what comes so easily for me. I've learned that there are special hearts in minds and bodys that don't work exactly like they are supposed.

So, Neighbor, welcome to the journey. I hope you are ready for it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Reasons not to potty train

1. You spend so much time in the bathroom that all you can think about is how it needs to be clean.

2. You need to buy more and more bags of candy because everyone lines up for candy once they have gone on the potty. This includes the people that have been going on the potty for 2 and 4 years.

3. You now have to get up in the middle of the night because your two year old is screaming "I have to go potty".

4. You have to plan shopping trips around when said child has to go potty.

5. Strangers stare at you because you spend so much time discussing bodily functions.

I should have read this before I decided to potty train Shannon. Diapers are so much easier.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Since I haven't talked about Meds in forever

I figured I should now.

We took Lauren back to the neurologist on 10/5 and we decided to dramatically change her medication. This is what she was on prior to that appointment.

10 mg of Ritalin (works for hyperactivity but is not a long acting drug. I believe it stays in your system for 4 hours)
40 mg of Straterra (works to improve focus)

5 mg of Ritalin

0.2 mg of Clonidine
6 mg of Melatonin (not actually a drug but a supplement)

Ritalin is a stimulant and can wreck havoc on a child's sleep cycle. We were the lucky winner of that. She had been on 5 mg in the afternoon for a while and we bumped it up to 10 mg. She then slept for 1 hour in a twenty four hour period for several days. We went back to the 5 mg dose but her sleep never returned to normal. Normal for Lauren is about 5 to 6 hours a day. Normal for a 6 year old is about 10-11 hours.

Clonidine is actually a very old high blood pressure meds that help some kids with impulse control and makes the tired. I never noticed any difference in impulse control but

On October 5th, we switched to this regiment.

5 mg of Adderall XR
40 mg of Straterra

50 mg of Trazadone (Trazadone is a very old, very cheap anti-depressant that is used primarily for slep now)

The results almost 2 weeks later. Trazadone good, very, very good. She is now sleeping 10-11 hours a night on a consistent basis. I don't think she has had this much consistent sleep since she was 2. I feel safe to care for my children and operate a car.

Adderall XR bad, very bad. She is falling apart at school and almost every note says that she cannot focus and cannot pay attention. She is struggling to do things that she did last year with ease. This suddenly started when we gave her the Adderall. We have even given her 10 mg the last two days with no improvement.

I've left a call for the neurologist and I'm waiting for him to get back to me. This really is trial and error.

Monday, October 12, 2009

On Columbs Day

I went to my 25 week appointment with a cute little 4 year old.
Out to lunch with said 4 year old.
Cleaned our room.
Cleaned the downstairs bathroom.
Had some subs with my husband.
And spent most of the day sitting in the bathroom with a delightful 2 year (it's potty training season at our house)
Some times it is more relaxing to go to work.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My big ultrasound

It was a few weeks ago. I had the big, middle of the pregnancy ultrasound. It is now the 4th time of had this ultrasound. In scientific, doctor and insurance type terms, it is an anatomical ultrasound. That's why most insurance companies pay for it.

But it's not why most people have it. Most people are concerned with finding out what type of baby they are having: a boy baby or a girl baby.

We've chosen not to find out so I was only concerned with how healthy the baby appeared to be. I've learned much since I had Lauren and I can see that health is a relative term. I've seen that disabilities are on a spectrum, some disabilities simply make life harder (which is where, on a good day, I consider Lauren's to fall) and others are life altering and sadly life ending which my friend Joy has experience first handed.

I've learned that the health of my baby is something that I took for granted at one time. I never expected to have a child with issues. My perfect child was going to follow those developmental milestones to the T. It was going to sit up at exactly 6 months, walk at on it's first birthday. It would do this all, on its own without any intervention from anyone let alone me. I was only going to clap and beam in admiration as my perfect child did what it was supposed to do when it was supposed to do it. And that's generally what happens. I have two typically developing children and they have done that.

Obviously, that's not what happened with Lauren. She didn't do what she was supposed to do. She did meet those milestones but on the late end. I always joked at 15 months that she waited for the last hour to be in the normal range. It was funny at 15 months but at 4 not so much. There was just something off with Lauren, something that I couldn't quite put my finger on but it was there. I closed my eyes and shut my ears. But I couldn't do that forever.

Eventually, I ran face to face with the fact that Lauren had obvious (to everyone but me) delays. I can vividly remember her first IEP (Individualized Educational Plan- a lay out of special education services a child will receive) I sat at that meeting and waited to hear about her significant speech delays. They talked about her speech delays of course but they just kept going. She had significant fine motor skills delays, gross motor delays. She was socially where she was supposed to be.

I still remember leaving that meeting and feel like I wanted to jump off a bridge. I hadn't signed up for this and I was suddenly thrust in a strange world that I wasn't exactly sure I belonged. I desperately tried to explain that this was all a mistake. I mean, she just had speech delays.

That was just about 3 years ago now. Lauren has made dramatic improvements. We've made choices that I never thought I would have made. I never would have dreamed I would have put my just turned four year old a narcotic. I never would have thought that my life would be ruled by therapy schedules. I never would have thought that I would have put her in a dance class for kids 2-3 years younger than her and just been happy that she's dancing and now what her ability is.

Anway, when I stared at Omega on that screen, I thought about all of this. I simply sighed and was thankful that his or her brain appeared normal, its heart appeared normal, and all its vital where there and in the righ places. Seven years later and that's enough for me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My animal lover

This is Shannon. She's my animal lover. If she sees an animal, she'll love it.

Pumpkin Patch

It was a great day to go to the pumpkin patch (and yes they do wear dresses or skirts everywhere, even the pumpkin patch).

Shannon and Ellie love being sisters.

Lauren loved finding corn.

We rode on ponies.

We found some pumpkins

We saw some sweet little cows

I think we spent most of the time just sitting with the rabbits. Shannon kept saying "come here bunny, come bunny". They all thought the rabbits should come home with us. However, the Bob and I disagreed.

As an added bonus, a picture of the three girls and they are all generally looking in the same direction.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I must be desperate

for silence that is. I also have an overwhelming desire to talk to my husband without being interrupted for more than three stinking minutes.

So, what does one do when they can't get a babysitter? One hauls her family into Applebee's at 7:30 (on a school night no less) and orders everyone ooey, gooey desserts.

What follows is a blissful sound of absolute silence and then a five minute conversation with my husband.

And then Lauren knocks her drink over, Ellie yells that the lights are in her eyes, and Shannon starts yelling "I Shannon".

It was well worth the price for those 5 minutes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sick Kid

Lauren is sick. We sent her to school and she was fine. However, they called and 10:00 and she had thrown up.

That brings me to my biggest fear in school: throwing up at school. I spent most of my elementary school years terrified that I would one day throw up there. There could have been nothing worse then throwing up to me. I remember thinking that if I threw up at school one day I would simply never come back.

I know exactly where that phobia came from. It was a Ramona Quimby book where she throws up in 3rd grade.

I never did throw up at school and I think I've gotten over my phobia as of now. It's a good thing that we haven't read any Ramona books to Lauren. We might be looking for new schools now.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Becoming a Big Family

We have officially crossed the line into a big family. Two is typical. Three is larger than two but we know many three kid families.

However, four children is a large family. There is no way around it. We are very happy to be headed into the large family range.

Anyway, I am 23 weeks pregnant and due on January 25, 2010. No, we don't know what it is. Yes, they do still let you not know. Yes, I'm sure it's not twins.

But don't worry we call the baby: Omega. That means the end.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

She's Not!

Me (after Shannon's bath): You are a clean smelling girl.
Shannon: I not cleaning smell girl. I Shannon.

Me: You are a stink pot.
Shannon: I not stnk pot. I Shannon

Me: You are so cute.
Shannon: I not cute. I Shannon.

Me: You are snuggly.
Shannon: I not snuggly. I Shannon.

I guess she knows who exactly she is.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I'm sitting on the couch listening to Shannon tuck in her babies and singing "twink, twink leetle star, how i wonder what you are, up above the stars twink twink little star"

I don't think you can really appreciate typical or normal development until you witnessed development that veers off course or stalls all together.

Seriously, looking back, how could I have not known when Lauren was 2 1/2 and had a vocuabulary of 20 words with no word combination, that there was someting wrong? I spent my entire working career evaluating children. How did I not know? I guess the answer is simple, I didn't want to know. I couldn't face it in my own child.

The more important questions is when am I going to get over it?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Never going again

Ellie has decided she is never going to preschool again. From what I understand of the story, her arms hurt from then monkey bars. She doesn't want her arms to hurt anymore so she's never going again.

I tried to resolve the situation by telling her she didn't have to go on the monkey bars. She sighed and said "oh, mom" and gave me that look. You know the look girls have been giving their moms for centuries. The one that said "you just don't understand nor will you ever".

It only came 10 years ahead of schedule.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ballerinas reside in my house

We have entered the world of ballet. It took them two years of begging but the big two are now taking ballet lessons on Friday night. I was going to take Lauren on Friday nights and have Ellie take another class. It took me about 15 minutes of Lauren's class to figure out that was a horrible idea.

They do have another class for Ellie and it's AT THE SAME TIME! I only have to chase one child down a hallway. I was thinking tonight that if I never believed that time could stand still before then I certainly do now. It was the longest 2 hours of my life.

The best part is Lauren's class. It is an adaptive dance class. I think there are only a few kids in the class. Her teacher also used to be a special education teacher and will incorportate Lauren's IEP goals into the class.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

She is so much more

She is a:
1st grader
girl scout
ballet student
good friend

She is:
full of life
good memory

Oh, yeah by the way she happens to have Autism. But that's not who she is. It simply a diagnosis that allows her to get certain services.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009