Our Family

Our Family
"These are the children God has graciously given to me. (us)" - Genesis 33:5

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Winter/Spring Flip

This is how my kitchen looked yesterday, as I attempted to put away winter coats, hats, boots, and slippers.

This is how my boys looked as I was pulling out and trying on various spring and summer time jackets, sneakers, sandals, and hats.

I remember dreading this time of year when I was a child. I hated trying everything on, and finding out my favorite sweater no longer fit me, but fit one of my younger sisters. It took ALL day. Well, nothing has changed. I still don't enjoy it. Especially since I'm now on the buying end of things. Fortunately for us, our children don't grow very fast, but the many friends, and relatives, and in some cases very giving strangers' kids do...so we have LOTS of hand-me-downs. LOVE THAT!! Unfortunately, I still have all of their clothes to do. If you don't hear from me for awhile, I may be buried under a large mountain of kids clothes, and unable to move. Gotta love the change of seasons! :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!

Easter was celebrated a little differently at our house this year. When I say different, I mean due to some food issues...we didn't do a lot of stuff we did last year.
First of all there was breakfast. I think that if I were a first time mother, I might be appalled at the thought of what it was that these kiddos ate for breakfast. But since I'm not, and we have so many limitations now in their diets, we figured it wouldn't kill them to break the rules when it comes to a "traditional breakfast".

Ahhh...breakfast of champions!

Yes, that would be a plate with a purple bunny Peep, some Starburst Jelly Beans, and yes, an incredibly delicious chocolate covered donut. Mmmmmm....yummy! Did I mention that they also had some slices of ham immediately following the sugar breakfast? And, before we left for church, I did make sure their belly's were full of bananas and apples, so if you are the candy patrol...back off! :)

We traveled to my brother-in-laws house for dinner this year as it is the last holiday we will be spending with them before they move to Ireland for at least 2 years! So, we did like we did for Thanksgiving, and just made our entire dinner before we went over, and just had to warm it up and eat. It works out so much easier, because I don't have to question everyone about everything they did to their food, before my children can consume it.

All-in-all, it was a very tiring, but truly wonderful Easter for us. Ethan is going to have a difficult time when his cousins and Aunt and Uncle leave the country, so hopefully we will have this memory to carry him through a little while.

(We're finding Ethan to be the more difficult one to photograph now!)

Saturday, March 15, 2008


For those of you who aren't familiar with Early Intervention (EI), IFSP stands for Individualized Family Support Plan...and we now have one for Joshua.

Upon a recommendation from Ethan's OT, as well as our own observations, we decided to have Joshua evaluated for sensory issues and developmental delays. He will be 3 yrs. old in July, so as far as EI goes, we don't have a lot of time. However, after going through what we have with Ethan, the earlier when can intervene the better it will be for Joshua in the long run.

It was hard for us to decide to have him evaluated because we just didn't want to "jump the gun" every time one of kids seems to have an issue. Since Ethan's development was anything but typical it has been hard for us to determine whether or not Josh's development was right on track or a little behind. Mostly because in so many ways the issues that Josh has are completely opposite of what Ethan had.

For example, Ethan was talking quite clearly and "intelligently" before he was 2 years old. Joshua is really difficult to understand by just about everyone else, except me...and even then, I struggle with understanding what it is he is trying to communicate to me. Ethan has slept through the night since he was 4 mos. old, Joshua hasn't slept through the night since the day he was born...(okay, maybe 5-6 times since then!) Ethan has/had many issues with upper arm strength, Joshua has issues with lower leg/foot strength. It took him much longer to walk, and still he's just gained confidence in doing some more jumping and running...inside.

That's just a few...and I know that many people may look at it saying..."well not all kids are the same"...but when you are in a family that has experience with sensory and developmental issues, it's never far from the realm of possibility that other children may have similar issues.

We saw Ethan's neurologist last week, and she's been following him because she is doing research in the area of connections between gluten and neurological problems. She found Ethan's case intriguing and wasn't surprised that we were having Josh evaluated as she pointed out his speech delay before I said anything. She also said she wasn't surprised because Josh had been on gluten for the first 10 months of his life, and it may have caused enough of an upset in his digestive system to throw off some of his neurological developmental. Obviously, not to the extent of his brother who went three years on gluten!

So, now we have a plan written up to help work on Joshua's speech issues, and motor planning. They feel that his speech issues may have to deal with low oral sensory input...which would explain the pocketing of food, over stuffing his mouth and then not swallowing or spitting it out, as well as his speech. As for the motor planning...they believe he has it all up in his head, he just can't make the smaller muscles in his body do what his brain is telling them to do. In testing him, he flew through the tests up to 24 mos. old. But once they added in another step to bring him up to a 24-30 month old, he started to fail the testing...he is 32 mos. old. Again, not far off...but enough that if we don't intervene early (see Early Intervention), that testing gap may get bigger. They also noticed he has low to normal muscle tone in his lower leg and feet muscles. This may explain why he walks and stands toed in all the time...it could also explain why it has taken him longer to achieve some climbing, jumping, and walking milestones.

Besides all that, they will be looking into some sensory issues like tactile and vestibular motor problems. After a few weeks of therapy they are hoping to give us a better picture of exactly where he stands...is it developmental...is it sensory...is it something else...or is it all of the above. At least, for now, thanks to EI, they come to us to do his therapy. Currently, Ethan goes out on Monday for OT, Tuesday for Speech Therapy, and Saturday for a Social and Communication Class. I am ever grateful, at least for a little while, that they will be coming to me.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

As Requested...

I was asked today to post some more video of the kids doing stuff...more specifically, Rebekah walking. I think some of her "Aunties", (more specifically Jaime), enjoy watching their little girl growing up! So, enjoy!

Friday, March 07, 2008

First Quarter Review

Yippeeee!! We successfully completed the first quarter of Kindergarten! Ethan did excellent. I submitted his grades and other than a B in Science/Health and Art, he had all A's. Pretty simple grading system really, and I'm so proud of his success. It took us 16 weeks to complete the 10 week lesson plans, but keep in mind we had a week for potty training, Christmas, New Year's, as well as various sick and snow days. All in all, not a bad timeline.
His new schoolroom is working out well also. One of Mike's coworkers donated the old wooden school desk, and Ethan's Tripp Trapp chair fits perfectly. He loves to store all of his "scissor work" inside the cubby of the desk!
We now look forward to starting the second quarter work next week. I'd like to finish up before the summer even though I know Ethan may want to continue to do his schoolwork. I'm hoping that once we get rid of the snow, and start seeing some warm weather and ground, he may change his mind about sitting at his desk to learn his numbers and letters! :) We have plenty of time though because he technically doesn't begin Kindergarten until September and Seton gives you up to 2 years to complete the program anyway. By the time we get through everything it should time out just right for him to begin 1st grade in September of next year if not sooner.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Notice Anything Different...??

Pictures...As Promised

Emma has an overnight!

The Potty Training Prize...a farm tractor (shocked I know!)

This little girl is crazy about her beans!

All bundled up for a snow day...nice and warm.

My nephew Jack...on guard!

Joshua...lounging...it's a lot of work walking around in that suit.

See...I think we found E.T.!

"The Snow Boyz"

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Potty Training Diary...Catch Up

The reason I haven't posted in a few days isn't because of potty training. Nope...not at all. Actually, it's because the "morning" sickness I've been having has been down right nasty. To the point where I'm having some difficulty being vertical for too long!! Thank God for my husband. He's been great!! Since he's been home, I've been able to take advantage of some much needed rest. In fact, on Thursday I slept for a large part of the day. The only time I don't feel nauseous is when I'm laying down or asleep. Other than that, it pretty much feels like I'm coming down with the flu every minute of every day. To make it even worse, I'm starving! All I want however is red meat, fruits and vegetables. Nothing too salty. My only other craving has been peanut butter cups...by the hand fulls...can't seem to get enough. Anyway, it's been interesting. Again, thankfully, my Mike has been absolutely awesome with everything!!

As for the potty training...it has gone much better than we anticipated. Ethan has just been awesome about it. He absolutely refuses to be in a diaper now, and for the first time on Wednesday, he actually did a BM. I gave him three choices...big toilet, little potty, or the diaper. He flat out refused the diaper, but was struggling with the big toilet. So, I told him to try using the little potty. It worked. I think it was a matter of body positioning. He's still pretty small, and his knees and feet don't really have any where to go on the big toilet to help him out. Now, he's been using the big toilet for urinating, and the little potty for BM.

Mike took him out on Wednesday, so we put a pull up on him. He came home dry! We were amazed. Not so amazed that we will be putting him in the car without a pull up on quite yet, because he does tend to fall asleep in the car and I know he can't hold it while he's sleeping.

Josh has no interest at all. Not even for choc. chips. That's okay...I think he'll change his mind in a few months...he's not quite three, and I'm not worried about him right now. It's actually easier for me to keep track of one "underwear boy", right now rather than two.

All-in-all...we will call this week a success. I know we will still have our ups and downs, but it's great to see my little guy really grow up and make some progress this week. He's had a lot of struggles with everything that is bathroom/diaper related that this is long overdue.

I'll post some pictures later...must go eat the red meat that my hunter-gather brought home...from Outback...mmmm