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.