Thursday, July 2, 2009

Six Months later...

It is amazing how much can happen in your life over the course of six months! As noted in my last post, I have a tendency not to post anything personally when life seems to be moving along smoothly. So, for the most part it has these past few months. However, I have experienced one devastating loss and an unexpected surprise.

After the new year, we enjoyed some fun times with the snow and visiting family. Tim changed jobs and was able to use some of his down time to visit his parents in Florida. I had a week to myself to read, work and then read some more! I read all four books in the Twilight series that week, and I hate to admit it but I loved all of them! Then, March arrived and we enjoyed a birthday weekend with my mom and some unseasonably warm weather for Ohio. On Saturday, March 7, we were enjoying the unexpected 70 degreee weather at the zoo when I received the call from my brother. My dad had unexpectedly died that morning from a heart attack. We were visiting the penguins when I took the call; and I didn't know what to think. It was so sudden, and the zoo was crowded and I'm crying. Charlie wants to know why, and I simply told him we'd have to go home. After reaching Tim at work and with the help of a good friend, Annie, I was able to get the kids home and begin packing for the week. I knew I'd want to be there with my siblings, and I couldn't think about teaching for at least a week. The services for my father were exactly what I imagine he would have wanted. He looked, and I know this might be morbid but it's true, great. He had his hat and little bling to go with his nice suit. The service really captured a lot of the truths about my father because he was one to tell it like it is, and he did live the life he preached. He was real and so generous with his time, laughter, and money. I remember standing with my nieces at the receiving line and mentioning the old wives tale that with death comes life, meaning babies. Well, that is the unexpected surprise.

After a good Easter and nice break with my mom and sister's family, I headed back to finish the school year. I kept whining about this flu bug that had made me ill at my sis's and just kept lingering. I felt tired. I was tired. I had decided to sell Pampered Chef and with the end of the year approaching I was busy. Charlie played soccer, and he's improved so much. He's so cute on the field and Abbi loved playing on the sidelines with the extra balls. She actually gives them a pretty solid kick. Plus, Charlie was finishing preschool and screening for kindergarten. Abbi is getting reading for the IEP transition meeting, and I was just preoccupied. Therefore, it never occurred to me that I might be pregnant. We had decided after Abbi that two children were enough for us, and I was planning to make that a permanent choice after school let out in June. So, needless to say, after doing a PC party at a girl friend's home, I immediately went to buy a test. At the party, I became dizzy and I was really unable to do the usual clean-up from the cooking show. She just joking said that I acted like I was pregnant. This really sent my mind racing. After taking the test, I was in shock. At one point in my life, I was told that I might not be able to get pregnant. Then, I easily fall pregnant with Charlie after marrying Tim. Then, we proceed to have several miscarriages. I'm delighted when I carry Abbi to term, but completely thrown by all of the intial issues she had as an infant. Then, I'm content to say that I have two wonderful children and I don't want to throw the dice again. I'm too scared of what could happen. And what happens, I accidently or unknowingly get pregnant and don't even realize it until I'm 12 weeks along! I really felt like an idiot. I had always known with each of my earlier pregnancies and eagerly anticipated taking the test. This time I didn't have a clue.

In fact, I still don't. I immediately thought of the negatives to this pregnancy, like would this child be healthy, is it fair to Abbi or Charlie, the cost, ect... Now, I'm past the inital shock and I think this is definitely a blessing for our family. Charlie and Abbi will benefit from having another sibling; no one can ever truly afford to have children; and my Dad is probably smiling because he toasted our wedding with the wish that we might have a family of at least six children! My only worries now stem from the unknown. Will this child be healthy? I thought an amnio would provide the answer, but so far I'm too chicken to find out. I'm afraid of losing the baby ( 1/200 with an amnio) and I don't know what I'd really do if I did find out something was wrong. At first, I would have said there's no way I can parent another special needs child. In fact, I still don't think I truly can, BUT I also can't imagine the alternative. So, I'm left with prayer.

Quickly, now that I've monopolized this entry with my own stuff, let me update everyone on Abbi. She's doing beautifully. In fact, she is beautiful. I'll update photos this week. We just returned from visiting Sesame Place and we all had a blast. She hugged every character and loved all the music and dancing. She kept trying to get on stage! She' s starting to have about 30+ words that she uses regularly and a few phrases as well. She's still mostly delayed in language but I'm beginning to see some improvements. She's learned to jump recently, and she loves the water. Her health is good. She's growing like a weed. She's 23 lbs now, and over 31 inches tall. Her CVAS is stable and she's eating us out of house and home! She loves chocolate and popsicles! I'm really proud of her determination and sense of strong will. At times, this makes life difficult but I know these traits will serve her well down the road. She wants to be like her big brother, and her cousin Allison. She's even sleeping in a big girl bed now, and gave up her binky for one night!

Sorry this was a long one; I'll try to keep it updated this summer. I always take time during the week to read about everyone else's lives, but I don't always write about mine. Unless, of course, things are a little rough or on a downward slide.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome, 2009!

I must admit that I'm embarrassed that I haven't updated my blog in five months; I wish I could say that I've been overly busy with school, the kids, family, and the holidays. Of course, I have been busy with those things like so many others; but, I know the real reason I haven't blogged is because life has been going so smoothly. I have a tendency to write as therapy; therfore, if things are going well, then I might not post. I apologize to all the WS mommies who are so dedicated to journaling not only the valleys in this journey but the mountain tops as well! Despite my lazy attitude to updating my own blog, I do stay up-to-date with everyone else's. I loved reading about many of the milestones so many have shared! So, here goes.

Abbi & Charlie are having a wonderful school year. Charlie is really enjoying his last year of preschool, and I'm amazed at how grown up he is already! Each day he tells us how he can't wait to go to school next year and ride the yellow bus! He loves looking for letters in signs and asking "What letter does that word start with, Mommy?" He had a wonderful fall season of soccer; his coach was sooo wonderful with the kids. He's currently taking swim lessons and an introduction to sports class at the YMCA. He's still into super hereos; this Christmas he said that he got everything he ever wanted- Moonsand, Optimus Prime, and more Batman stuff! It's also great to see a relationship evolving between him and Abbi now. He loves to run and have her chase him around the main floor. Of course, he never lets her catch him so eventually she loses interest! I get a little nervous with the wrestling, but she seems to give it as good as she gets.

As for Abbi, I can't help but smile when I think about how far she's come since last year at this time. Last January, she wasn't quite crawling yet. Now, she's mastered that skill and moved on to walking and almost a full run! She' s growing, eating well, and sleeping for the most part all night! Yeah! Life is so much better! We're still struggling somewhat with getting all the services I think she's entitled to thru the county; but overall, I'm so pleased that we decided to enroll her this year in the MRDD preschool program. She's making such improvements! She's definitely stronger and bolder in trying new things. In fact, during the holidays, I was amazed at how she kept up with her older brother and cousin Allison. She wanted to be a big girl, and she attempted to do everything they did! I loved it; them not so much! We've had her fitted for orthotics and her walking as greatly improved. But, I'll have to check in with some of you on the challenges of finding shoes that fit the orthotics. Her current tennis shoes, Saucony, are okay, but it is a tight fit! I wish she were talking more, and I know that is something I'm constantly worried about but I try to remember that though her speech is delayed, she will eventually chatter constantly. She's working large puzzles and has managed to manipulate several of the buttons and levers on her various toys, which shows that her grasp is maturing. She's becoming a little bit of a princess, with her colorful beaded necklaces and love of bangle bracelets! I loved to see her push her doll stroller and love on her bunny. She was a riot at Build a Bear!bilder
Finally, after almost two years, I'm beginning to see my little girl rather than the syndrome. Ocassionally I'll digress, but I try to stay focused in the present and the wonderful little girl she's become! With all that being said, we're looking forward to a great year in 2009! Tim is still in school, and we're busy again with all Abbi's therapies. I'm hoping to get involved in a small play group with some kids (girls especially) her age. Anyway, I'm hoping to stay on top of this blog a little better - that was one New Year's resolution. Since I basically never scrapbook anymore, at least this blog can become a written, visual document of our family.

God Bless & Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

August brings back to school blues

I can't believe its been a month since the convention in California! Wow! Summer is flying by so fast! For the first time in a long while, I really don't want to go back to work. I'm having an amazing time with the kids, and Tim & I are really in sync right now with each other. Perhaps it is all the sleep our little princess is giving us this summer! Well, let me catch everyone up a little. First, I'm sorry I didn't blog right after convention. But honestly, I just wasn't ready and I've been so busy trying to get through my to-do list that I created while I was there. The convention was wonderful, as you know if you've read so many other entries by other participants. It was very emotional for both Tim & I and a little overwhelming at times. But, overall, I'm so glad we went. For the first time, I feel like we're a team when it comes to Abbi. He more than participated in the sessions, and we met some really nice families. We enjoyed socializing with the WS adults so much, and we've definitely made some friendships that I hope continue to grow. The best part of the convention for me was that it gave me HOPE! I really believe that Abbi will have a bright future, and that I CAN handle all that goes along with being a parent of a special needs child. Plus, it reassured me that we're on the right track with what we're doing with Abbi and also gave me some insight as to what we've got to fight for in terms of her therapies. So, that's where the list began. I've been following up on some yearly tests, like the blood calcium level. I'm planning to see Dr. Mervis in Louisville at the end of the month and we're also having her visit the eye doctor and dentist as well. We had her eyes checked last year, but at the conference they mentioned doing it yearly for awhile. So, I've scheduled that and we're looking for a good pediatric dentist. I thought we'd wait another year, but once again in one session they suggested the sooner the better.
Anyway, besides those appointments we've continued her other therapies and she's really blossoming this summer. She's saying about 10 words now; some more coherently than others! She's trying to walk!!! She cruises everything and will stand on her own in the middle of the flooor. And, much to my chagrin, she's climbing everything! She climbs out of strollers, shopping carts, her feeding chair, ect... She's making me work a lot harder these days, and as you can probably tell, I'm loving every exhausting minute of it! Charlie and Abbi are interacting more as siblings and actually wrestling over some things! My sisters did a wonderful job with the kids and returned them to me with healthier habits. Charlie is trying vegetables and eating more than cheeseburgers and pizza! Abbi is sleeping through the night in her own crib and drinking beautifully from a sippy cup!! She sings E-I-E-I- O with Barney, which is the only fault I can find with her Aunt Veneicia for introducing her to that purple dinosaur!
Okay, I'm done. I hope you enjoy some of the updated pics.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Well, it's almost 3:30 in the morning and I just can't sleep. I'm so anxious about this trip to CA! I'm nervous about what I'll learn at the convention, and how I'll handle it. Will I be pleasantly surprised and reassured? Or, will I be even more worried about Abbi's future? PLUS, for now, all I can think about is leaving my two beautiful kids for almost a week!

I've never been away from the kids more than two days, one night! And, that was leaving them with their Daddy. So, the thought of both of us being gone from them this long has me worried. I totally trust my sisters, but I just can't help thinking about what might happen... I'm afraid of Charlie running off while they're at the beach and possibly getting in the water w/o them knowing! Or, how much sand Abbi is likely to eat? Actually, I know Charlie will miss us, but he loves his Aunt Veneicia and cousin Allison. He'll be too busy playing with Allison to miss us much! Plus, his Aunt Canessa will keep him entertained with stories and songs! But, what about Abbi? Yes, they've been around her since birth and basically know how difficult she can be at night. But, they've never had to care for her for six nights! Thank God she is sleeping well now. At least, for the most part! Tonight, she's been cranky and up twice so far! I think she's teething again. But, I worry how she'll do without us. She's such a mama's girl right now. I haven't even left yet, and I'm already missing the kids and thinking that I should try to fly back earlier! A few months ago, when Abbi wasn't sleeping more than 2 hours at a time and I was busy with work and stressed about Tim's job situation, a vacation without the kids sounded just right. Now, I'm not so sure...

We've totally had an awesome summer thus far. Abbi is doing great at her new PT/OT/Spch therapy. I'm glad we made the switch, and I increased her therapies to once a week for each. I figure when the insurance runs out we'll worry about it then! She's just making such progress! She had her yearly evaluation at the Williams Clinic in Cincinnatti. Dr. Lamphear was pleased with her progress; she's made 6-8 months progress in a ten month time span! I'll take that! She's starting to finally say a few words; and more importantly in my opinion, I'm beginning to think she understands a few of them! I've been really concerned about her speech, so I'm really happy that we've got her into therapy now. At her speech evaluation, they said her expressive language was mildly delayed, but as I suspected, her receptive language was moderately to severely delayed. I've really been concentrating on working with her in all aspects this summer and we've seen such improvements! She's saying at least 1-2 more words each week, she's finally got "Hi!" and "Bye,Bye!" down, and I think she's starting to understand nose, toes, and "NO!" She's definitely more independent! Today, she fed herself almost a bowl of carrots using her fork and spoon! She's also been standing independently for about 30 seconds or so several times a day. She's getting so strong and really starting to problem solve, like I can see her thinking and concentrating when she's climbing and playing at the local play area in the mall. Plus, she's finally improving her grasp, which was a concern of Dr. Lamphear's. She's able to grasp smaller objects and place them in and out of the bowl/containers. Okay, you get the picture! I'm just so proud of her!!! Sorry to go on about it so long...

As for Charlie Bear, he continues to grow up! He's starting to abandon his obsession for dinosaurs for a love of super heroes! Lately, he insists on wearing his Batman costume everywhere! He's loving the pool and hanging out with friends.
And, I think he's starting to interact more with Abbi. They're cute cuddled together watching Baby Einstein and laughting together at the same silly parts! Plus, he's actually jealous of all her therapies- he really thinks they're just indiviualized play time with really cool toys that he doesn't have!

Okay, I'm off to bed and I hope I get some sleep! We're arriving in CA via Las Vegas on Wednesday! I'm really looking forward to hopefully meeting you all! I might not post as often as I should, but I try to read up on everyone else every few days!

Safe travel to everyone!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Time has a way of slipping away...

I can't believe that I haven't posted in over a month. A lot has been happening. For the most part, we were busy with the usual- soccer games, family events, birthday parties, and day to day mundane chores! I'm really looking forward to school letting out next week and spending some time with the kids. Charlie has already voiced his desire for swim lessons and wants to know daily if its hot enough for the slip-n-slide. Surprisingly, Abbi also seems to have taken to the water this year and really enjoyed her float at the pool. She looked soooo cute in her cherry swim suit!

I've been battling lately with not only my own mood swings, but the bureaucracy of private insurance. My employer has changed providers, and Abbi's therapy group is no longer in network. Ok. So, I switch to one that is, right? Easy enough. BUT, (and there's always one) the waiting list in our area for OT and PT is between 6-8 months at the groups within network. SO logically, (mistake there) I would think my insurance would provide a waiver for my current OT until a place within network became available. I'm on three waiting lists. Because anyone should know that a child with a syndrome noted for developmental delays should not forgo therapy for any length of time!!! Suffice it to say, that I've been blessed once again. After battling this for almost two weeks, I received a call on Monday that a local (5 min drive) group has vacancies for the summer in PT & Speech. But, OT is still a little questionable. In the meantime, I'm thankful we have those two set, and I'm especially excited about the Speech therapy since she's never had this before and I think she will benefit the most from it right now.

While I'm venting, may I also just state that I'm sick of every physician and agency spouting off the wealth of support available to families with special needs children. Why? Because though support and services are available, they are very limited in their outreach due to the lack of funding and manpower. Therefore, for the most part, they offer a band-aid type fix!

Whew! Enough! As I stated, I'm battling my own moods right now. I'm just a little more quick tempered lately and I tend to focus too much on the negatives. When, I really have a lot of positives right now and should thank God for answering our prayers! Abbi is finally beginning to sleep for 6-7 hours at a time, and she is also starting to turn the pages of books and really cruise the furniture. Her sweet, bubbly and playful personality is starting to shine through. I'm amazed at how determined she is and curious about everything! She's Miss Nosey!
AND, I finally made our reservations for the National conference and confirmed some travel plans. I'm really looking forward to it!

Finally, the title of this blog- it has recently struck me that my baby boy only has one year of preschool left before he goes off to Kindergarten- I can't wrap my mind around that! And, that means that Abbi, my baby, is going to turn two and with some timid steps become a toddler any day now. Already, the struggle with her sleep is becoming more of a memory (still rather vivid at times :) and I'm focusing more on the joys of having both Charlie and Abbi. Time does have a way of marching on...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

I can't believe its been three weeks since my last post. We've been so busy with Charlie's birthday, the start of soccer season, work and life in general that I've not had time to really blog. So, here's a quick update.

Charlie's dino party was dinomite! He loved being in the center of it all! I think we started celebrating on April 5, and he was still asking if we had any more presents to unwrap on April 10! His birthday is actually the 8th!! In fact, the morning of his party, he sneaked a present early. We had placed two wrapped gifts on top of the kitchen cabinets, which he saw and devised a makeshift ladder out of the kitchen drawers and counter to reach. He's never been a climber before that morning! Anyway, I loved having the party at COSI. The kids loved the hands-on activities like making a star gazer and shooting a bottle rocket. Plus, they made their own ice cream! It was delicious along with the dino cake! I think everyone enjoyed themselves. Abbi kept crawling into the session circles for each activity. She was so curious, and after the party, several families stayed to enjoy the large play area, which has a water table. Abbi loved playing in the water! I have such cute pics of her playing in the water and the little girls pushing her around on the push toys.

Soccer has started and Charlie scored two goals the first game. Or, I should say session since score isn't really kept ( except by proud moms like me when their kids score!). However, today he decided that he wanted no part of team play and we had to sit him out. It was rainy and he was whining! Both weeks, Abbi has slept thru the whole event!

As for Abbi's PT, we've found a new person! She's evaluating Abbi over the next two weeks and deciding if a recommendation of increasing her therapy to once a week rather than every other is necessary. I'll have to battle that one with our insurance if she decides in favor of every week. Abbi's doing really well with her mobility. She's pulling up on everything and has officially began cruising the couch and ottoman. Today, while I was doing laundry, I noticed how quiet she was being and decided to investigate. I found her in the bathroom, and she'd pulled herself up by the toilet and proceeded to play in it! Thank God my son flushed it! Needless to say, I think toilet locks are on the list for next weekend. Despite all this exercise, she's not sleeping well these days. She's cutting her back teeth and is very fussy. So, we're getting even less sleep. I really hope she outgrows the sleep issues, and I know teething has an end in sight! Despite her nightime crankiness, she wakes up in a good mood. Friday morning, she woke up giggling and laid in the bed for at least 10 minutes just rolling and playing with her feet. Then, when she realized she had an audience, she decided to play a game of peek-a-boo. She's a charmer!

Well, as for work, my student teacher has started and she's wonderful! So, I'm hoping to coast into May. I might even read a book. Of course, not one for leisure, but for the class I'm teaching next year. But nonetheless, a book!! Sorry this entry was long, but I wanted to recap what's happening with Abbi. I'm hoping to post new pics this week and catch up with everyone else's lives.

Take care!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Break's Over

I hope everyone had a joyous Easter! We had a wonderful time visiting with my sis in Virginia, and my parents loved spoiling Abbi some more! She took a few steps behind her walker and tried pushing her cousin Allison's Pooh car around the dining room. My dad was so proud of her; in fact, you would have thought it was the first time he's seen a grandchild take a few precarious steps! Of course, Charlie also received plently of love! His grandma happened to buy him a Tshirt with a Triceratops on it! He wore it even though the temps were only about 50 degrees. He looked so cute in it with his cool, new blue jean jacket that his aunt Veneicia bought him. He even dragged us to the National Natural History Museum for the Dino exhibit! My little niece wasn't to be outdone by her older cousin and demanded a souvenir dino as well. Except, her's was a large TRex and she kept calling it her "dinaho"! LOL!
Yet, despite a restful week, the stress of going back to work is pressing down on me. I have a million things to do, like grade, since the quarter is ending this week. Plus, I still need to find a closer OT and our PT just left and there's no replacement yet. And, I really need to address Abbi's sleeping issues with our Pediatrician. She's so restless at first and she never self comforts. She's sleeping better now that we're using Melatonin, but she's still up every four hours or more often if she loses her bink or jerks awake! Will we ever sleep thru the night? Will Tim and I ever sleep in our own bed again? Well, those questions will remain unanswered for now, and I'm off to bed. We have our first soccer lesson tomorrow and I've got to email the guest list for Charlie's party. I can't believe he's almost 4! By the way, I finally gave in to my overwhelming exhaustion and perhaps utter laziness, and ordered his birthday Dino cake. But, I'm still planning to make cupcakes for preschool! I had planned to make his and Abbi's Bday cakes from scratch until they're five; but, I think really cool dino cupcakes should still count for something!:)