Tuesday, August 27, 2013

CADERYN SAYS

But first, a little story for your weary Tuesday eyes.
I love going for walks. Walks allow me time to think and reflect if I am by myself, or solve the problems of the world if I'm with a friend.
I especially loved walks now that I have kids. At the end of the day, when the boys are both cranky and bedtime is still too far away to be legal, I load those kids up and take a stroll around our neighborhood.  We bought this super nice double stroller just so I could continue my walking tradition and then something strange happened. Caderyn grew up. He decided he was too cool for the stroller and absolutely refused to sit in it. If I forced him into the stroller, he would torment Gib to no end so I just gave up and let him walk with me.
I used to pound two miles out in no time when Caderyn was younger and he would sit peacefully in the stroller. I can do the same with Gibby, but now adding Caderyn into the walking equation it takes us 30 minutes to go 3/4 of a mile. Why you ask? Well let me spell it out for you:

1. He has to be convinced that walking is worth his while. Can we talk about LAZY? My goodness! As of late, I have just stopped asking him if he wants to go and I just tell him he is going. If he doesn't have a choice in the matter, it makes it a little easier to get him out the door.
2. Then he has to choose if he is going to walk, ride his bike, or ride his scooter. These are very big decisions for a four-year-old and one that can take up to five or maybe even eight minutes to decide.
3. Once he has made his choice and we finally get moving, he gets maybe a block away from the house and decides a) his legs are tired b) he is hungry c) he is bored. Doesn't matter to me, I just keep on going and eventually he follows.
4. After about the 30th a) "Mommy, I'm so tired" b) "Mommy, I'm so hungry" c) "Mommy, I just don't want to do this anymore" I am at my wits end and will eventually turn the corner at the next street to start heading home.
5. Then, all the way back, even though I'm telling him we're heading home I hear "Mommy, this is too far. Why did we have to go so far? My legs just aren't that strong." Aaaaaaaaaaaaand I'm basically going cross-eyed.
6. Did I mention that I don't even get a moment to think about my day on this walk because I spend the majority of it saying a) "You are so strong! Look at your leg muscles--they are like Hulk muscles!" b) "Keep up buddy and you can have a snack when you get home!" c) "Caderyn be thankful you can be outside right now on a walk, in a few months there will be snow everywhere." d) "Knock it off and keep moving." That last one is reserved for the very end of my patience when all I really want to do it throw him over my shoulder and march him home to bed.
7. Oh and I usually take the Corgi with me who is usually just as challenging since she likes to stop frequently to sniff or tinkle. Then there are the moments when she puts those swarthy haunches of hers to good use and completely stops. For a little 25 pound dog, she's got some breaks in those glutes and I will generally have to stop or I keep going and her collar flies off from around her neck (she's recently lost some weight). Then if we come across another dog I have to deal with a little ball of corgi-stress as she flips out. Last night a big dog charged at her and she helicoptered herself on the leash in an effort to try and escape.
8. Gibby is just a little angel during the walks.
9. Did I mention my town doesn't have sidewalks? Er, they don't have sidewalks in my neighborhood. Or, they have sidewalk in front of two houses but not the other five on the block. Makes no sense. So we are constantly navigating in and out of the street with crazy teenagers (oh my gosh I'm sounding like a cranky old lady) driving by in their hand-me-down cars.
10. But stuff like this generally makes up for it:

Caderyn: Mommy, the next time we go for such a long walk (six blocks) make sure you fuel me up really good so I don't get so tired.
Me: Fuel you up? Like a car?
Caderyn: Yep, but not real fuel. Food fuel. Like candy and cookies.

Caderyn: I never want to go for a walk again. Never!
Me: And if I get you presents for Christmas, you won't open them? (This is proof I'm turning into my parents)
Caderyn: I would go for a walk if you got me presents.
Me: Nope, doesn't work that way.
Caderyn: Then I won't open the presents.
Me: Okay, that saves me a lot of money.
Caderyn: Can you just give me the money and we won't go on anymore walks?

What...does he want a bribe?


Monday, August 26, 2013

WHAT IS AUTISM BROAD SPECTRUM DISORDER

Well...what is it?
I am still trying to figure it out as we go.

Here is a pretty good definition that I took from this website:
    
     "Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are developmental conditions that cause children to have   
      problems with communication and interactions with other people. They're a diverse set of
      disorders: Each child who has an ASD has a unique set of challenges and strengths."

Even though a little vague, I like how this definition points out that each ASD child is unique.

When I look at the above description, I sometimes am not sure if Gabriel fits that mold. He is definitely very social and interacts fairly well with people. He just has not hit his developmental milestones in accordance with what is "normal." He is 14 months and he just started crawling--army crawling. He is very behind as far as communication goes, but he has started to communicate with us using sign language words like "all done" and "more." When working with him in therapy, I get the sense that there is something, cognitively, preventing him from just getting the hang of developing his normal movement skills. It really takes work for him to stay up on his knees or stand for longer than three minutes. But we are working toward strength and comfort with him so he can continue. He has also hit a plateau as far as development goes. He did so many things so quickly, we were told to expect a plateau period with him where he would need some time to regroup and strengthen. Sometimes I look at Gabriel and think he looks just like a normal child his age, but then we get him around other children and I am reminded of his differences, his gifts, that set him apart from other children his age. I don't get sad about it like I used to, now it just makes me determined to work with him to get him where he needs to be. 

To be honest, Gabriel is still a mystery to me. I wish I knew what was going on in his mind. I wish I knew why he screamed. I wish I knew why he is perfectly fine in some social interactions and has meltdowns in others. I wish I knew why he isn't sleeping like he used to, or why he only poops in the morning (is this weird?). I wish I knew why he desperately needs me in certain situations and appears to absolutely loathe me in others--man that kid can scratch worse than a cat!

When we took him to the neurologist in May I was so full of dread with how far behind he was developmentally. As a mother and a perfectionist, I just cringed and cried thinking that my child might never crawl, walk, talk, etc. Gabriel has proved us wrong and hit many milestones in these last three months. We are continuing to work with him every day, and see small improvements each week.

But again, he is still a mystery.
With ASDs,  the spectrum has grown over the years and has become so broad most doctors/specialists have trouble pinpointing just exactly where certain children will fall.
This is probably going to be the case with Gabriel. We just don't know what his limit will be, and, hopefully, there won't be a limit for him. All of the doctors we have met thus far say there is really a lot of hope, especially with how far he has come since May. Most will tell us that on the spectrum for autism, he appears to be very high functioning and will hopefully grow up to have a normal life with some personality quirks.

Gibby is just the sweetest little guy I know. He is full of the dickens (yes, I just used that term) and loves being a goofball. He is currently obsessed with cars and page turning in books. He loves...no, he ADORES food and eats so fast we sometimes can't get it on his tray quick enough. He is a snuggler and he also has a very feisty temper. He starts every morning with a big, toothy grin that makes it so worth the early morning wake-up call.

We are going to be making another trip to Spokane here in the next couple of months or so and I am really hoping for good news.
 
 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

IPHONE LATELY

Not too much going on here. I'm still slowly working on a redesign of my blog with some help. It's coming, I promise! I have some planned posts coming up here in a bit, but I just need to figure out how I want to write them. So, until I am able to get my words in order, I give you...some pictures.
Visiting family in Great Falls two weeks ago we had a crepe party. IT WAS DELICIOUS.  
This kid screamed the whole trip home from Great Falls...unless we were looking at him and then he was a goof. 
Evening walks are my sanity with these two.   
 
Caderyn got to come and have lunch with me last week. He chose Applejacks cereal and ice cream (I did make him eat some broccoli). He was my buddy. He though he was pretty cool getting to eat lunch with all of the college football players. He kept asking if they were watching him eat his broccoli...I might have told him they were really impressed with how he ate the broccoli and how his muscles grew. The things we parents do. 
Lucy has not been enjoying the heat.  
 
Gib has been practicing standing. 
Gib has also decided he will feed himself from the squeezy pouches now.  
My heart! 
Date night with mom to go and see Shrek at the local theater.

Monday, August 19, 2013

CADERYN SAYS

While listening to "You Are My Sunshine"

Me: Caderyn, this song is about what you are your brother are to me. You are my sunshines!
Caderyn: No Mommy. We aren't yellow.

He was actually quite upset about this for a few minutes. It took some explaining.

Friday, August 16, 2013

THINGS I LIKE

My posts lately haven't been all "butterflies and sunshine," have they?
Well today, I'm gonna pull an old switcheroo and I'm just going to have kind of a random post about stuff I've been doing or using lately that I really like. Not sure why I felt like doing this, and it is completely random, but here you go!
 
1. Fer mah herrr (For my hair):
                                    Source
I'm kind of in a weird place with my hair right now. I'm in a "fight" phase with my hair where I am constantly angry with it and really don't want to talk to it or spend time with it, so I will generally just put it up. It is basically being a beast...which is funny because my hair does kind of have that beastly texture.
I have noticed my hair has been tanglier (is that a word?) than usual, so I grabbed this at the store about a month ago. I like the way it smells. I'm not sure it has really done anything to my hair except make it smell pretty and untangle the snarls, but I like it.
 
2. For my face: 
Since I am a Target addict, I recently came across the line "Yes to." They basically use everything from cucumbers, blueberries, carrots, tomatoes, and grapefruit in their eco-friendly product. I have the blueberry refreshing face wipes and those are nice, but they aren't my favorites. I also have the cooling eye cream with cucumbers which is great if I'm having a particularly groggy morning. I tried the tomato product and did not like it at all. It made me break out and didn't smell all that great. I absolutely love the grapefruit product. I mostly use their exfoliating wipes and I love how much brighter my skin feels. I got my mom hooked on them too!
 
For the last seven years I have been using Body Shop's Vitamin E night cream. But I ran out this summer and didn't feel like ordering it online, so I trekked on over to the Tar-jay (Target) and got sucked into the magical, evil red eye all over again.
I must have stood in the "natural" aisle of Target for about 20 minutes looking over every product before I chose this. I like the smell and so far I like the way my skin feels. No breakouts yet due to the change *knock on wood*.
 
3. For my belly
I have recently discovered a new passion for popcorn, This here little treat is a natural/organic snack and the serving size is 3 1/2 cups. Whaaaaa? It isn't super sweet, but has that kettlecorn taste that makes me feel like I'm getting a little sweet treat.
 
 
4. For my eyes and entertainment
New Girl made me laugh out loud for a week straight. Jess reminds me a little bit of myself and a whole lot like my friend Bryanna. After I would watch an episode or two I would have to madly text her everything Jess did that was similar to what she did.
 
And that's all I've got for you!
Stay classy this weekend.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

WHAT NOW

Last week was a difficult week. I pretty much just did the bare essentials to get by while processing that both of my children have genetic issues. I went through the anger and mourning stage. I am pretty comfortable talking about it now without crying, and I feel an intense desire to share our stories and experiences so other families out there know they are not alone.

Each morning when I wake up, I sit for a few minutes and think, "What now?"
What do we do now?

Being that I am an impatient person, I have been trying to force everything. Calling doctors and therapists and pharmacies and programs, at least twice a day. I'm pretty sure I'm at the top of some people's "Annoying Person List." But I don't really care. I want my children to get the help they need as soon as possible.

Gabriel has been cruising along these last couple of weeks. He is eating food like a champ and we are really just trying to transition him into crawling on all fours and pulling himself up on furniture. He went so quickly learning all of the other things, I had hoped he would catch on to this just as quick. Gabriel, however, has reminded me that he will do all things when he is good and ready and it is really important for me to just work with him every day.
Once pay day rolls around, I am going to purchase this book:
This came highly recommended from the Family Outreach program we are working with in town.
She brought me a copy to look through at our last meeting and I thought it would be really good for Jeff and I to read this.
We are still waiting to hear back on an appointment for Gabriel's blood test to determine if there are any deformities in his chromosomes. It takes some time to get approval from insurance companies.
 
Since Caderyn was diagnosed with mild Tourette's Syndrome, my spare moments have been consumed with reading everything I can on the disorder, possible treatments, and how to work with my child to try and contain or minimize his tics. In doing this, I have reached a number of conclusions:
 
1. I would like to get a second opinion, especially on the medication use at his age. All of my readings have stated that we aren't even in at the worst stages for Tourette's. Middle school and high school are when the tics will be at their worst. Do I want him on this type of medication right now? Would it be more beneficial to wait until he reaches this stage and try another outlet of treatment?
 
2. Another outlet of treatment I have been reading about is behavioral therapy. Here is a link to one of the many articles I have read. This intrigues me and has motivated me to talk to my pediatrician and hopefully get a recommendation for a good behavioral therapist in Montana.
 
3. I am going to buy these books:
 
 
 
4. I have also decided that I am going to be very open with Caderyn about his tics. I don't want him to stress about them, but I want him to know what he is doing is okay and that he will be okay.
 
5. We have noticed his tics become much worse when he is stressed or upset, so I have been working on rerouting Caderyn when he isn't listening, whining, or disobeying. Yelling or spanking--which I don't like-- makes it noticeably worse. I also am going to take an old grade-school friend's idea about positive reinforcement that she posted on her blog and see if this decreases his negative behavior.
 
We have gotten many kind messages and comments from friends and family. I know that we will get through this because of them. I apologize if I seem a bit more distant than usual, I've just got a lot on my mind. I would love it if you stopped by or called me up to go for a walk. I'm always up for those!
In this last week, I have become increasingly aware of how many people support and love us. This is something I am so thankful for and why I think it is important for me to continue writing. There may be a family out there who doesn't have the love and support that we do, and I want them to know that they are not alone.

Friday, August 9, 2013

IPHONE LATELY

Miles and miles and miles of wheat fields on the way to Bozeman.  
Stopping in Bozeman to take Caderyn to the Museum of the Rockies and eat dinner at Olive Garden with Jeff's brother and fiancee.  
A blurry picture but an example of how excited Caderyn was to be there. He could not sit still and bounced around from exhibit to exhibit using words like, "Oh wow!" and "How neat!" 
 
Caderyn says, "Look Mommy the dinosaur is giving a piggyback ride. " 
T-Rex!
Goofing on in the Exploration Room
 
Mountains. I love mountains.
Someone was wiped out and slept in the next morning.   
Woe be-ith me 
Huge evil meth deer that charged at me and then Jeff chased him out of the yard with a shovel.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

SUMMERTIME SADNESS

Let me just take a moment to tell you that I am a positive person. I try, every day, to be as positive as possible no matter the situation. My parents brought me up that way, and for that, I am thankful.
No matter the doom and gloom, it is always important to be thankful for what you have and to remember that tomorrow is always another day. Thanks parental units.

But, just for this moment, I am going to grumble. So, bear with me here.

This summer has flat out stunk.
Seriously. I hate this summer.
But Sarah! Summer is the best time! you say.
Well, yes, summer is fun. My parents are here, I get to travel some, the weather is wonderful, and there is usually something going on all the time.
But for my family, this summer has been a struggle. 

We started in May with Gabriel's neurologist appointment. That appointment and his potential diagnosis of Autism Broad Spectrum disorder was just a real bummer of a way to start the summer. To put a positive spin on this situation, Gabriel has come very far and is still progressing. It just wasn't how we wanted to start our summer.  

Then in June, my Grandma got news that her lung cancer was no longer responding to chemotherapy or radiation. Since then, she has steadily declined and, I believe, will soon be leaving her life here on this earth for a much better, pain free, eternal life. But still...it just sucks. It really does. I adore my Grandma. She is the strongest and most generous woman I know. She can pretty much fix or mend ANYTHING. To see this gradual decline in her and to basically see that she can no longer do any of the things she loves to do has been tremendously hard on my emotions and my heart.

July arrived and Jeff left us for the whole month. That wasn't too bad since my parents were here, so July was actually okay.

But now August. Monday and Tuesday of this week we traveled to Billings, MT so Caderyn could meet with a neurologist. Yes, we had to take our other child to a neurologist. Yesterday, Caderyn was diagnosed with mild Tourette's Syndrome. We kind of knew this was coming, since he turned two he has had a vocal tic and over the last two years it has started to turn into an ocular tic where he does some eye rolling. I'm glad we got him in for a diagnosis. I am glad we are able to start him on medication that will hopefully help control the tics. This is not the generally assumed form of Tourette's where he will scream, or cuss, or flail arms/legs at random. This is a Tourette's that is mostly vocal and ocular. He makes noises with his throat and mouth--think throat clearing and lip smacking-- and rolls his eyes. It is worse when he is stressed or becomes aware that he is doing the tic.

I just feel very disheartened right now. It feels unfair for both of our children to have issues. I thought we were doing everything right. I try to be as healthy as possible during pregnancy and as a parent, we eat fairly clean and healthy meals (most days) and do as much as possible with our children to show them we love them and want them to be healthy and happy boys.
I feel many emotions right now and I am especially feeling a little spiteful. How is it a mother can smoke or do drugs her entire pregnancy and birth a perfectly healthy child?
Children are supposed to be children. They are not supposed to struggle like I feel mine are struggling. Children's biggest worries should be what toy to play with next, whose birthday party they are going to on Saturday, or how they can get out of eating their broccoli. I feel an overwhelming sense of unfairness that my children have to struggle with obstacles that they have no control over.
Sometimes I feel like life, in general, is just really piling a lot on my shoulders. Someone must really think I am the right person for this job, but man, there are sometimes when I feel like I just want to scream or crawl back into bed and bury myself under the covers.

And yes, I realize that there are people and children so much more worse off in the world. My eyes have been opened to that, especially this summer, as we have met and read about people around the world who are going through similar experiences.

But, since this is my blog, and this is also a time to emote my feelings, I am allowed to share with everyone my selfish thought of "unfairness."

So there you have it, a gloomy post by me. And that's really all the gloom I have on me today. I needed to vent and I can easily do that by writing.
So now we move on. We are thankful for our lives and that we have been given this opportunity to share and explain our children and their life experiences. Our children are amazing, and, most importantly, they are still children.
It is my job to educate others about them, so people won't make fun of them or not include them. I want people to embrace my children's differences and know that they have no control over what life has handed them. I am going to raise them to be positive and happy little boys who embrace their differences as a gift.
Look at that smile...

Friday, August 2, 2013

IPHONE LATELY

 
 
Mr. Goofball acting up on the way to Great Falls last week.  
The cutest "Monster" themed baby shower ever! My cousin Sharva is having a baby! 
Bath time wonders 
Rockin' some SWAN earrings  
 
Caderyn came down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth this week so he has been home eating popsicles and reading lots of books.  
This kid is a comedian.
 
And Jeff is home after a month of being gone!