Friday, November 26, 2010

The importance of Communication

Oh my goodness my kids crack me up. Their humor makes up for all the frustrating times. Tonight was no exception. To get to tonight's story I must give some background.

A few days ago Alina came home from school saying she was going to marry a boy named Erik. Well Erik isn't in her classroom which means he is at least in 3'rd grade. I have ever since then been trying to get complete information from my daughter regarding how this transpired. I mean is there really a 3'rd grader interested in a kindergartner or did Alina just pick him out of a hat and decide he was going to marry her.

Then yesterday we spent the day making it about the kids. One moment we were just sitting around the table and I asked Izabella what she was going to be when she grows up. She says, "a Mom, but I'm only having once gets too noisy if you have more than that." Well there is truth to that statement. Alina pipes up with "I am going to have a lot of kids and animals on my farm. I'll have 20 million baby and grown-up cows, 30 million, baby and grown-up sheep, and 20 million baby and grown up dogs." Izabella did not like the idea of that many dogs as they would jump on her so she told Alina she would not visit her farm. Alina with her very sweet, sing-song voice, that just wreaks of "there will be consequences if you do not do as I say",says, "Yes you will."

Fast forward to earlier today where Alina elaborates that she will have 100 children. Maybe by then Medical science will be advanced enough to do that...but why? (I guess maybe she realizes she would need that many children to help on her overcrowded farm) I tried to explain that it's not a good idea but there was no reasoning with Alina she is determined to have 100 children.

Tonight at dinner Alina brought up Erik again. I tried to get out of her how this marriage thing occurred. I said, "Did you ask Erik to marry you?" she told me that Bridget wanted to marry him but she told Bridget she was going to marry him...ahh the battles begin already. So thinking I would deter this questionable union I asked her, "Alina, does Erik know you want 100 children?" She says in a sweet, innocent voice, "well, since I didn't tell him probably not." John and I chuckled at that. Then ALina said the best thing ever, "Well, I'm not going to tell him yet, but after I have 100 kids...then he'll know." My typing it out does not do justice to Alina's tone of voice. I just about had mashed potatoes coming out of my nose.

Later towards the end of dinner I overhear a conversation between John and the girls. Some how the topic of age came up and John said he was older than his kids. Bella pipes up with, "You're upposed to" And Alina copied her sister. so John says, "I am not opposed to it, I should be older than my kids." Alina says, "No your uppose to." So John says "Alina I'm not opposed to it why do you keep saying I am." She says, "I didn't say opposed to I said upposed to" Mind you both sounded exactly the same but to Alina there was a clear difference. A little bit of Pa channeling through.

I hope you laugh as hard as we did.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Millstone Coffee and Folgers Gourmet Selections K-Cup (and Keurig Brewer) Giveaway

So I am breaking with my traditional entries to Blog about a giveaway on my friends Blog. I have been eyeing a Kuerig brewing system and she is giving her fans a chance to win one along with samples of Folgers and Millstone K-cups. What a cool Christmas present that would be. Anyways if you follow this link:

You can enter for your chance to win too!!

Good luck everyone

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

God's many blessings

As I sit here and reflect on our year I realize though we've had our ups and downs, we have had probably more than our share of blessings. I was reminded of that today as we had our meeting to determine whether or not Jasz would continue to receive services through California Early Start.

The beginning of November they actually did the evaluation. Trina, our early Childhood specialist who has worked the most with Jasz, did not feel he would still qualify. She felt like he was doing so well that they would probably do the 6 month phase down.

Over the last three weeks I was asked many times what my remaining concerns were. I kept saying that I didn't have any. I mean lets look at where we came from. 5 months ago we were told by 2 Dr.'s that Jasz had the muscle tone of a 2-month old and that his reflexes were almost non-existent. We were told it would be a long time before he could walk. So, my goals were meek. My goal for Jasz had been that by his second birthday he would walk using a push toy. Well he blew that goal out of the water. He surpassed EVERYBODY'S expectations for him. So why would I feel there was more to work on? Sherry, the OT, last week said to me, "we are heading into the weekend and we meet with your service coordinator on Tuesday. It might be good if you spent time this weekend thinking about what goals you want to work on over the next 6 months. Because even if they say he should be phased out we still need something to work on."

I took that advice to heart. Our first meeting where I was to state my goals I hadn't actually thought about it all...I was just happy he would receive services. So when seeing what I said written down....I felt a little sophomoric. So this past weekend I spent the time really observing my son and trying to figure out what I wanted for him.

It had been mentioned to me by Trina that technically he was still below age level because he wasn't jumping and climbing stairs independently. So this weekend we asked him to jump and he bent his knees and bounced. I took them to the park and Jasz spent a good amount of time walking back and forth over a very small lip in the pavement, and he had to muster the courage to do so EVERY time. Alina tried to play kick the ball with him and he would look at the ball at his feet and then pick it up and throw it to her. I tried to show him how to kick a ball and he scraped his foot along the ground and moved the ball an inch. When I went to MOPS on Monday I realized that I still have him in the baby room because his peers can out play him in all things physical and he tries to join but is still scared to at times.

I also encountered three nights in a row where he did not eat dinner because he couldn't deal with the texture of the food I made. Now this may not be abnormal, but in context of the Dr. saying he had low muscle tone in his jaws at the start of this may not be completely normal. He picks out the textures he doesn't like even if it's a tiny piece...he will spit that out. I don't want my sons diet to consist of overly processed foods.

Today Natalie, our service coordinator and the one who decides if Jasz is to get services or not, came late. While Sherrie and Trina came on time. This gave them time to talk to me alone. Trina told me that she had had an appointment earlier in the day where it did not go how she wanted...and it was also with Natalie.
So, she says, "if you want more time than don't be afraid to ask for it." She also threw in that Jasz is her favorite child to work with. She says she wasn't supposed to tell me that but she just can't help it...he makes her day fun!! So nice to hear. Sherry then piped up and told me that I was her favorite parent. She says, "I see a lot of parents so don't take the complement are a good mom and it's really hard to be a good mom!!" Also nice to hear.

So in a way they helped mentally prepare me and let me know it was okay to have more services. They empowered me to ask for what I felt was right for my son.

We went through their whole assessment. On most things he is at level. On social/emotional and spoken language he is around 2.5 years. On gross motor and toileting he is about 6 months behind. After the report was done. Natalie says, "well we completed all our goals so do we have new goals or do you feel good?"

I told her, "Don't get me wrong, I am so happy with where John is today, but my goals were small in the beginning because I hadn't been given much hope. But I spent this weekend really watching my son. He can't do things his peers can. Therefore he can't interact with them on the same level, and it still puts him in a fearful position. I want him to be able to kick a ball to his friends and run on the soccer field. I want that for my son and he isn't there. I also feel like he still has issues with food and textures. I'd like to be able to fix my son a kid-friendly but healthy dinner and have him eat it. I'd also like him to be able to sit with me and read a book. He looks at books, he brings me books to read . But the minute I open the book to read it to him he closes it on me and walks away."

I think I shocked all of them by how well I was able to communicate my sons needs. So Natalie said we should write down some goals. She also mentioned that due to the nature of the program he would be reevaluated on his 2'nd birthday but it wouldn't effect his stay on the program and it wouldn't be a full evaluation. So, Trina and Sherrie were a little unsure of how to proceed. they asked if they were making 3 or 9 month goals..they had assumed he would only be getting 6 months. Natalie says, "no make them for a year."

I would never want to take services from a child who requires them more than my son. However, I want my son to be able to do what his friends can already do. Last week I felt like there must be children worse off than him so if they remove his's okay. Then I remembered Trina telling me how many people continually cancel their appointments with her...not due to illness, they cancel every week. So I figure my son can benefit from the services others refuse to utilize.

So here is the gratefulness part. God has put the right people in our lives. He gave me two good coaches who gave me the strength to trust my own insights. He gave me Dr.'s who helped my son immeasurably with the least amount of invasive testing possible. He put me on a path I went down kicking and screaming, but has since been revealed to me as the right path. He gave us two therapists who love and adore my son and were nearly in tears today with joy at him being able to continue to improve.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye." Psalm 32:8

So Thank-you God for all the blessings you have rained down upon this family. May we continue to let you direct our path.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thinking of my past helps me understand today

Boy I tell you I do not know what is going on with my house but we can not seem to stay healthy. Just when I though it was only me left sick as all three children have had this virus already...Alina throws up again. unlike the other times she is still feeling sick today. So I guess I will take her to my Dr.'s appointment tomorrow and try to see what's going on with her. There is no fever and it's not severe tummy pain just a little and not throwing up...just nauseous. It could be a reaction to something she's eating but I have yet to figure out the pattern.

All I want is for my family to be healthy. Yesterday I began the unattractive trait of feeling sorry for myself. I've gotten a lot of "you can celebrate another time". Which I understand...however as many of us adults have lives revolving around our children...finding the time when we can all get together is tough. Plus we are heading into the Holiday's. I think by the time we find time again it will be spring and even that is iffy.

Don't get me wrong I am thankful for the blessings that have been shown to me. I have a loving husband who will always take care of me. I have kids who love me and want to do their part too. My husband was able to have a four day weekend....we had no idea how much of a blessing that would be until Thursday. And I had the less severe form of Meningitis...that's a HUGE blessing!!

It's funny I have always been scared of meningitis. I studied a lot of Biology in college and we talked about this illness in many of my classes. I always thought...well hopefully I never get that that sounds horrible. I have also met people who got it as an adult and years later were still suffering back pain and severe headaches (obviously not constantly) as a little reminder of the disease.
So when the Doctor said I likely had Viral meningitis I said "CRAP!!" Literally. I was scared. As far as we have come our Medical science is still bested by microscopic viruses. They are the most dangerous life form on our planet. They are like the Borg. They don't want to play nicely with our cells, they want to make our cells like them literally changing their DNA. And resistance to some of these guys is in fact futile. Scary stuff!! That's worse than any terrorist. Yet we have no way to commit mass specicide (not sure if that's a word). Medical science tells you to go home and ride it out they've got nothing for you except pain pills.

For me personally I think my Birthday is a little cursed. My 28'th birthday was my only birthday where I was seriously depressed. It wasn't because I was getting older. It was because it was exactly 2 months to the day that my brother Mike suddenly passed away. He always sent me flowers of some sort on my birthday. And I woke up that morning and realized I would never hear from him again. My six month old Izabella is the only reason I ever got out of bed that day...she needed me.

Not a curse but my middle daughter was born 2 weeks before my thirtieth. I think that was an awesome Birthday gift!! But I was in no mood to celebrate me. So on Alina's 1'st Birthday I threw a 30'th +1 party. It was technically before my 31'st. It was a lot of fun. But on my actually birthday I had a mean virus attack my optic nerve of both eyes. I spent that Thanksgiving getting lumbar punctures and MRI's. My vision returned long enough for me to renew my drivers license.( I had gotten a 60 day window to see my Doctor.) But it returned when my girls got the stomach Flu in January. It only attacked the left eye that time....but left me with permanent damage. Another round of MRI's showed not MS which is what all Dr.'s had suspected I had. To this day I am a Medical mystery. He believes it to be a virus that attacked my optic nerve, perhaps related to the flu shot. So I am never to get the flu shot as in all cases the second reaction has resulted in death. To be safe my kids are not to get it either. However, research I did shows that 70% of all cases of recurrent optic neuritis result in the patient developing MS within 10 years. I sort of always feel it hanging over my head. I constantly watch for other symptoms.

So when on this last Thursday, 4 years later, I had a headache that seemed to stem from my eyes. I was scared it was rearing it's ugly head again. And although I said "CRAP" in the ER a minute later in my mind I thought "Phew" it's not MS.

I guess part of me is a little pessimistic. I try hard to fight that bit of Satan in me. I try to always see God's blessings. Right now I feel though my back is hurting that I dodged a bullet and I think that is why I have been emotional yesterday and today...Viral Meningitis = dodging bullet!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Short and sweet

The title says it this entry will be short as I am not feeling well. After a week of nursing Jasz through the flu and having Alina and Izabella come down with it too, I have succumb. I understand now how Alina would be fine one day and then be sick the next. I felt horrible Sunday, but ok yesterday until last night. Then the crud hit again.

What's funny is I think kids just don't know what to do when mom or dad are not feeling well. I spent a lot of Sunday in bed. John had to chase the kids out of our room a couple of times. On one occasion they listened to the letter of the law but not the spirit. They left our room as dad had asked. But then the three of them made camp literally outside my door. They even began talking under the door through the crack...just to see if I would respond. Part of me was frustrated, part of me was touched and part of me was also amused.

Well I made it through the PTSA meeting yesterday and then my body gave in once again. I feel horrible, but hopefully it's temporary...moms don't have time to be sick. But I literally feel non functional. If you ask my family they will likely agree that mommy is not doing her job!!

Well, here's to forced time-outs...may my body return to normal soon!!

Monday, November 1, 2010


So this year Alina chose our family costume theme. She wanted to have all of us be in the Bob the Builder theme. Originally she wanted to be Lofty and all the rest of us to be the vehicles as well. John and I said asked if she would be ok with us being Bob and Wendy. She was. then not knowing how we were going to make lofty let alone any of the other vehicles we asked her if Jasz could be scrufty. She agreed.

Then over the last few months Alina had been trying to get out of Bella who she was going to be. Bella kept changing her mind. She finally asked if she could be Daphne from Scooby Doo instead. I reminded her how when she wanted to be the Star Wars family we all went along...shouldn't she do the same for her sister? She looked a little shamed at that question.

A few days later she says as we a re driving just she and I, "you know mom there are other things in Bob the Builder besides vehicles. There are bushes...I could be a bush!!" "Yes you are correct," I responded. She continued, "I could be a board too!!" "This is all true, Izabella." After a moment of silence she says, "well then I want to be Pilchard the cat." I thought it was a great idea. We still hadf yet to figure out how to make Lofty. Although we had visions fo cardboard boxes strapped to Alina.

One day John was day dreaming and came up with an idea. We could have Alina be a little Bob riding in Lofty. And make our Radio Flyer into Lofty. I thought it was a great idea. So we went on the hunt. I took a Saturday and tried to find Cream sweat hooded sweat suit for Jasz to make a scrufty costume out of, and a periwinkle suit Bella's size to make a Pilchard. I never did find one for Jasz. So I took his old cold weather suit that is really fluffy. I twas too small so I cut the feet of and hemmed the legs. used brown felt to make spots, ears and a tail and boom scrufty. I was very proud as it was my first ever sewing machine project.

My second one was harder. It was very difficult to find a periwinkle sweat suit for Bella. I never found a hooded on, so I used one I found that had a kitty on the front. I turned it inside out so it would look fuzzy. I then bought a cheapy blue shirt and cut it into strips. I sewed these along the back and arms. I made a tail out of a trouser sock. And made cute paws out of another pair of socks. Then I made felt ears and attached them to a periwinkle headband I found. It turned out really cute and she loved it.

Lofty was good too although he got damaged in trying to transport him to Arroyo Grande. Unfortunately we have no good family pictures because there was a spot on the lens we didn't know about and it blocked our faces and distorted the light...arghh!!! We do have a couple of individual pics of the kids but not of Jasz.

He ended up being really grumpy. We didn't realize he was getting sick, plus he missed his nap. He spent the whole time crying either in my arms or laying on the ground. Later that night after dinner I took the girls Trick-or-treating while the 2 John's stayed home. Jasz went to bed early. Alina got soooo many compliments. People got a kick out of this little girl dressed up as a construction worker. The LOVED it!!! They also loved Izabella as a cat. No one really thought of Bob the Builder when they saw them without Lofty, but I think because they were home made costumes they won points.

It was a fun night. Above are some pictures that came out good.