Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Scenes from summer

IEP- where we are at now

After starting the transition process back in April, 6 months later we are basically getting ready to start the whole process over. Here's what has happened so far.
1. In April we had a regular meeting with our Early Steps coordinator. She told me someone from the school board would be coming to it to start the transition process out of Early Steps into the school system. The lady from the school board came and left in under 5 minutes. She said she had paperwork for me to sign that would get the process started. She asked a few questions about his medical history and what type of therapy we had been doing. I told her we were specifically looking for continuing AV therapy. Point blank told her we were not looking to put him in a preschool program at that time and asked what would be our options. She told me based on his age he would qualify for in-home services or if they didn't have an opening available I could bring him to the school for his hour of therapy. Like I said, she was here maybe 5 minutes. I was told it was just a meeting for signing the paperwork to get everything going.
2. We got a letter in the mail with a time for a screening. The letter says "should the results of the screening indicate the need for an evaluation we must obtain written consent". That being said, we showed up for what we thought was just another meeting to find out it was his evaluation. I touched on this some in the previous post. I was waiting in the car with the other kids and they were gone just under an hour and Eric said most of that was them just talking and going over stuff with him. He said they started by signing with him, then started using exaggerated lip movements trying to get him to lip read. After 10 minutes of this, they finally asked Eric if were we able to communicate with him at all. EXCUSE ME??? Did they not read any of his history?? So Eric told them to just talk to him normally. Eric said by that point Landon was just looking at these people like they were nuts because they were making all these gestures,wild hand movements, and funny facial expressions he had never seen so he was starting to act timid and wanted to stay with Eric. Then they put Landon in-between two strangers who were bombarding him with different tasks. Eric said they tried to get him to do 50 things in less than 20 minutes. Example - asked him to count to 10. He didn't know what they were asking so he didn't do anything. So they said he couldn't do it. A few minutes later they took out 10 blocks and on his own he counted them 1 through 10. But because he didn't do it they way they asked he can't count to 10.

To give you an idea of how off the evaluation was, here's just a little comparison between the school board's evaluation and his exit evaluation from Early Steps in one section.
Under attention and memory, school board has him age equivalent of 14 months. Early Steps eval had him age equivalent 34 months. Reasoning and academic school board has him at 21 months - early steps has him 30 months. Perception and Concepts school board is 23 months - early steps is 34 months.
Both tests were the Battelle Developmental so it wasn't a difference in tests administered. I would expect a little difference but to have a difference of 20 months in a child that was only around 31/32 months at the time is a HUGE difference!!
I'll get into our "planning meeting" in the next post.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Summer? I think I missed it.

WOW!! Time is flying! I can't believe I haven't updated since July. It's been crazy around here - and about to get crazier :) We were busy this summer working on projects outside. Eric, with the help of my dad, put up a fence around the backyard, we tore down and rebuilt the flower beds, painted the shed, painted the swing set and made a play area for the kids, and made a bird garden (Connor's request). We've now started back to school which has been an adjustment. Connor is in 2nd grade, Garrett is in Kindergarten, and I'm doing preschool with Landon. It was definitely easier when it was just me and Connor working at the table. Now trying to keep all 3 on tasks (and quiet so the others can work) is a job!!

We are also in the middle of doing Landon's IEP and I've reached the conclusion - DO WE REALLY HAVE TO DO THIS??? It's been an experience. I had our initial meeting where I signed all the paperwork to start the process the day before Bella went into the hospital (back in April). I told her point blank we were not looking for preschool at this time but just wanted to continue speech therapy and if he qualified physical therapy. We got a letter about what we thought was another meeting to discuss what we were looking for. Showed up for that to find out it was his evaluation. Eric took him in while I waited with the other kids. He said they put Landon between 2 strangers who alternated trying to get him to do 50 things in about 20 minutes time. It was a joke!! Example-they asked him to count. He doesn't know the word count but if you start or ask him how many, he can count to 12. Since he didn't know what they were asking they said he couldn't do it. Every thing they tried to get him to do they asked directly using terminology he doesn't know yet. The result - they basically said he was only age equivalent of 1 yr 3 months and has ADD. HORRIBLE EVALUATION!!! For comparison, we just had his exit evaluation for Early Steps and the lady that conducted it kept saying how advanced he was for his age. She couldn't believe how off their evaluation was. I'll save our IEP meeting for my next post - that was an even bigger waste of time!!

Update on Landon - he knows the entire alphabet, can identify any letter and knows what comes next, and has started writing the letters now. Now we are working on learning colors and being able to differentiate between on/in/under.

Update on Bella - crawling all over the place!! Nothing is safe now :)

Update on Garrett - loves Kindergarten. He asks for more work every day after he finishes his lessons.

Update on Connor - we went ahead and put him in catechism classes this year. Because our homeschool curriculum is Catholic based, we can do his religion classes at home, which we've done the last two years. This year he'll be making his First Communion so I figured it would be easier for him to do his first confession if he did it with other kids. He loves going to the classes so I asked him if he wanted to start regular school instead of homeschool and he said no, that he loves religion classes because they just do activities and crafts. He doesn't want to have to sit in a class all day doing "boring" work as he calls it. The thinking of a seven year old :)

I'm going to make a slide show of all our projects this summer. Which leads to our next announcement - we are moving:) We are busting out of this house with 4 kids so we've decided to sell the house; get into an apt for a year or so to give us time to decide where we want to build/move, if we are building to plan the house, and save up a good downpayment. We've been talking about it since before Landon was born but kept putting it off. We've finally decided we need to do it now while they are little and it won't be so hard to be crammed into an apartment. Plus after all the problems with Landon's IEP, we are looking at moving to another parish/school system that will hopefully be better (yes, that is how bad it's going with his IEP). So it's even crazier around here with trying to pack stuff up and get ready to put the house up for sale. We had a garage sale Saturday and could probably have another by the time we go through everything.

I'll do a post about our IEP plan later.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wow - time flies!!

Where did May go?? We've got so much going on the time just flies by. Here's a quick recap of what May held for us. I took Bella to the doctor this past Friday for her 2 month checkup and shots. She's up to 11 lbs 8 oz and 22 in. long. She had dropped to 7 lbs 8 oz when she was in the hospital for her surgery in April so she's put on 4 lbs in 2 months.

We took a spur of the moment trip to Disney World the week before last. We didn't tell the boys we were going. Eric's parents let the boys spend the night at their house the night before Eric's graduation, so we could pack and load the car without them seeing. When we left the graduation, I put their Disney guides on the back seat of the van so when they got in they would see them. Needless to say they were excited!! Of course we ended up being at Disney the week they got all the rain but we still had a ball. I'm working on a video from it so I'll post more about the trip later.

Eric graduated with his Masters of Education in Technology Leadership with a 4.0. Next will be his doctorate. Way to go - we are all proud of you!!
We had a crawfish boil for Mother's Day - they were GOOD!!! The boys liked playing with them before they were cooked. Of course after being played with by a 2 yr old, this poor little guy was pretty much dead before he hit the pot.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We just started the process of transitioning Landon out of Early Steps - totally confusing process. We had our first meeting - just signing a bunch of paperwork so they could start the process - the day Bella started with her stomach issues so I haven't even had a chance to go through the brochures she gave me. There is not a whole lot we can do right now. We go in June for his evaluation to find out if/what he qualifies for so I have until then to start researching and finding out about it.

Bella is doing much better now. We went for her check-up with the surgeon Monday and she said everything looks good. She is definitely starting to put weight back on - she's made it out of the newborn size and into the 0-3 months. She has started smiling and cooing. We are still trying to get used to being quiet (as quiet as it can be with 3 boys) when she's sleeping. Puts a slight crimp in my housecleaning - I can't vacuum when she's napping like I could with Landon.

Landon is in another growth spurt with his language. He'll make a lot of progress then have a plateau for a while then start back again. We've been working on getting him to repeat 2 sounds because there are a few words he says that he's leaving off the front or back syllable so this works on him listening for two things which will get him to catch all the syllables in a word. The other day in therapy he didn't want to do it but in protesting was actually giving us what we wanted. His therapist would say "Ah Oo" and instead of just repeating it, he said "No Ah Oo, read book." She said "Oo Ee" and he said "No Oo Ee, read book." He thought he was getting out of doing something since he didn't have to drop the block in the bucket but he was still saying what she wanted. This week we started working on directions - like identifying if something is in front of, behind, on top, etc.

The boys had a pizza/movie night the other night - watching Bolt.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Back to normal - not!

Just when we were starting to get back to normal and settle into a routine things had to get turned upside down. Last week Bella started having trouble keeping her bottles down. She'd take one and be fine, then the next one would all come back up when I would burp her. I took her to the doctor Wednesday afternoon and left with a diagnosis of reflux and a new formula to try. He said it would take 72 hours for her adjust to the new formula to see if she could take that or needed a different one. He had also mentioned something called pyloric stenosis but since she was keeping some feedings down she wasn't fitting the typical symptoms of it. As soon as I got home I started doing research on both and got some tips for feeding a baby with reflux. After trying them along with the new formula she kept down the next few bottles so we thought we were on the right track. Wrong. By the next afternoon it started again and we were starting to worry about her getting dehydrated. Eric called and they said to try and get her to their office for 4:00 so he could check her again before they closed for the day. By 6:00 we had gone from seeing the pediatrician, to the hospital for an emergency ultrasound, given the diagnosis of pyloric stenosis, told she'd be having surgery either that night or the next day depending on the surgeons schedule, and were in the process of being checked in to the NICU. They found out she was very dehydrated so they couldn't put her to sleep for the surgery until they got her electrolytes back up. Finally at noon on Good Friday the numbers were in the acceptable range so they brought her to surgery at 3:00. She was back in her cubicle around 4:00.

The pylorus is the ring of muscle that controls the passage of food from the stomach to the small intestine. In pyloric stenosis the muscle starts to thicken (no one knows why) shortly after birth until it completely closes. Once it closes, nothing is able to leave the stomach so the baby is constantly vomitting. It is quite common in newborns, typically between 4 and 6 weeks, but is 4 times more common in boys and typically the firstborn. The surgery is fairly simple - they just cut the muscle so it reopens the passage. The toughest part for her was not being able to eat. She had a bottle at the doctor's at 4:00 on Thursday (which she kept down until late that night) and couldn't eat again until 11:00 Friday night when they gave her a little pedialyte. They start the feedings off very slowly because you have to retrain the stomach muscles to bring the food down instead of up so it wasn't until 5:00 Sunday morning when she was up to 2 oz of formula they could take out the IV and start looking at discharging her. We got home yesterday after lunch - definitely an Easter blessing to be able to bring home a once-again healthy baby girl.

Thanks to all our family for all their help the last few days. From taking care of the boys to bringing clothes/food to the hospital for us - we were able to focus completely on taking care of Bella and didn't have to worry about anything else. The boys were excited the Easter Bunny found out they were going to be at Nanny's and brought their baskets over there for them.

Our little boxer just after surgery. They wrapped her hands in gauze so she couldn't pull the nasogastric tube out.

As Pooh Bear says - think, think, think.

Coming home from the hospital. Daddy went to get a bite in the cafeteria and ended up making a detour by the gift shop.

Had to post this picture

Landon and Bella

And we were worried how he was going to handle her arrival. He has to watch and help me whenever I change her.

Happy Birthday Connor

Last Saturday we had Connor's 7th birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's. The kids had a ball! I can't believe he's that old - it seems like he was just born! He's become my big helper bringing me things for the baby. We've started letting him do more stuff around the house and he thinks he's big stuff now. His favorite thing is being able to fix his own sandwich or making toast for his brothers. Happy Birthday Monkey Boy!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Isabella Grace

I realized after several people asked, I forgot to mention in the previous post that she passed her hearing test with flying colors.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bella is here!

Isabella Grace
6 lbs 13.2 oz.
19 1/4 in.

Monday, March 2, 2009

End in sight!!

Looks like someone is going to be just as stubborn as her brothers. Unless she decides to come on her own this week, I'm scheduled to be induced Saturday morning. It's going to be interesting to see how Landon reacts since it's hard to explain to him what is going on. He's still a little young to get it. I don't know if the older ones are more excited about the baby coming or that they get to go on a sleepover. Of course the idea of getting a present is also at the top of the list. Each time we had another baby I would make a little gift bag for the others of things to do while they wait at the hospital, from their new sibling. Connor was old enough to remember getting this when we went to have Landon so one of the first things he told me after I told him we were going to have another baby was what he wanted her to get him. Hopefully she'll decide to come on her own this week but at least there is a deadline now.

The other evening I was cutting the boys hair outside on the patio, and the way our house is situated on the corner, you can't see our neighbor's driveway but you can see the street from there. While I was doing Landon's, our neighbor left. All of the sudden Landon kept saying "Car" but I wasn't sure why. Then, when they drove by, he said "there it is". He had heard them starting the car, backing up, and driving away and was able to identify what the noise was. We start taking his hearing for granted since we are so used to it now, until he does something like this and we are reminded of what great technology CI's are.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Countdown to #4

We're in the countdown for the arrival of #4. When I went Friday I was 1 1/2 cm dilated so hopefully the end won't be too far away. Landon went to the doctor Friday for his 2 year checkup. He's been off the normal schedule ever since his surgery - he had to have a couple of the shots before they would do the surgery but there was some he couldn't have until he had passed 12 mths so we got off schedule. He got 3 shots - he had an extra one because with the implants he has to have the pneumovax after he turned 2 for meningitis. He's now caught up and doesn't need anymore shots until he'e 5. He's been pretty lousy feeling since - running fever, laying around, and not eating much. Today he seems to be bouncing back some. He hasn't had any fever since during the night and is actually playing in his room right now.

We've got a couple of videos we've found that are actually helping him with his language. I'll usually put one on while I'm doing Connor's school to keep him occupied and when we are riding in the car it keeps him entertained but is also reinforcing words we are working on with him. He's been watching the ABC video from the Brainy Baby series and Baby Wordsworth from the Baby Einstein series. They both have a lot of vocabulary words and pictures. At first he would just repeat the words after they would say them, but now he is starting to say the words before they do - just by seeing the picture.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Putting words together

We've noticed in the last 2 weeks or so Landon is starting to put more words together. For example, instead of just pointing at my bottle of water and saying either drink or water, he said "drink mama's water". We went to Chuck E. Cheese's for a birthday party Saturday night and when we switched him over to his P4 program (the one that takes out more background noise for him), Eric asked if that was better and he said "Yes, better". He always says thank you when you give him something, but today he was helping me put the water bottles in the refrigerator and I told him thank you, he said "your welcome". He'll pretty much repeat anything you tell him to so it's the things like this - where it is something he speaks on his own - that really catches our attention.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New words

Landon's new word last week - chocolate. He likes to add Nestle chocolate to his milk. He also does shake-shake-shake after you put the lid on. We went to Target Sunday morning and I got a reminder just how much of a "therapy baby" he is. When we were going down the aisle with the kids bedding, he kept going "who's that?" and then would answer himself with Mickey Mouse, Cars, etc. It was hilarious. He's also started when we are leaving a store will say "where's the car" and then when he sees the van says "there it is". Connor got a Nerf dart tag game for Christmas and I'm not sure which one likes it more - Connor or Landon. He's already figured out how to slide the top back to make it shoot. The boys don't like it because he's still learning not to point it at people. It doesn't hurt them - just annoys them when they are trying to watch tv or play on the computer.

Just for fun, I got on our Wii fit the other day ( I haven't done it since I found out I was pregnant) just to see what it would tell me. There is no where on there to put in things like that so it just thinks I gained XX pounds in 8 months. Amazingly I was still in the normal range for the BMI but it did tell me I hadn't reached my goal and needed to try to work out more to help me lower it. I told Eric I was going to get on it right before we go to the hospital then do it when I get home and see what it says about losing 20+ pounds in 2 days. It should be pretty funny. Only a few more weeks to go.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

Where did 2008 go? This past year just flew by. I can only imagine how fast time is going to fly with a new baby in the house. Landon's personality has just blossomed this past year as his language has grown (as has his temper.) It's so much easier now that he can tell you what he wants - or tell us yes or no to what we ask if it's something he doesn't know the words for. The boys have been bouncing off the walls with all the Christmas activities so there has been a lot of correcting going on around here. Landon picked up on it - and now if Connor doesn't answer him fast enough he will call "Connor Matthew" instead. He's also picked up on one of the boys bad habits. He was in his room the other night and Eric called him - he used to come as soon as you would call his name. Instead all we heard from his room was "What?". I looked at Eric and we both busted out laughing. We did manage to stop long enough to tell him he needs to say Sir instead but at the same time it was neat to hear him do something so normal for kids. I'm not sure the other boys are happy about his expanding language. He's now able to come tell us if something happens (like they take a toy away) and which brother did it.

It seems he's finally growing into his "ears" too which is making life a lot easier. He now wears the full BTE setup (processor and controller) all on his ears. It's a lot easier not having all the wires and controllers on his back like we used to. We have also switched to using the snugfit that came with his start up kit. Initially it made the ear piece too big to stay on so we had switched to the mic lock tubing and toupee tape. Now we don't even have to use the toupee tape. They stay on pretty much all day by themselves with the snugfit.

Now that Christmas is over we are trying to get the baby's room finished and get everything we need for her arrival. We are assuming she'll probably make an early appearance - Connor was at 39 weeks and Garrett and Landon were both during my 38th week. Which would mean there is only 8 more weeks to go - scary thought. The older two boys are excited - they love feeling her kick. Landon still doesn't have a clue what's going on - but neither did the other two when they were his age. The other night he was laying with me and must have pushed too hard on the side of my belly and she gave him a big kick. He sat up, put his hand on my stomach and said "Uh-oh" 2 or 3 times. When he layed back down he made sure he wasn't laying up against my stomach - guess he didn't want to get kicked again :)

This is the picture that Eric wanted me to use for our Christmas card. It pretty much sums up the three boys. Of course the picture right before this explains it all.

(Connor picking on Landon just before Landon got him back.)