Friday, April 30, 2010

Two More Appointments

Yesterday we had another reevaluation, this time from the group at ECI. They do an evaluation every year to see where he's at and to make more goals. We dropped their therapy last fall when we switched to the place where we go for PT and Speech. So we have been receiving service coordination, which means I get a call every month to make sure we are okay and check if there is anything they can do for us. So we opted to discontinue that as well since we are not going to go back to them before he turns three and after that age therapy is offered through the school instead of in the home.

Anyway, that being said I have decided that I don't like anyone to evaluate him who doesn't know him. I think that's why I am apprehensive about going to the DS Clinic (which coincidentally is next week and I am going solo for the first time since Randy can't go with me.) Without seeing him no one can truly understand what he can do. I can't even explain his ability well enough. Yesterday they scored Justin in 5 areas (with his scores in months of age):
  • cognitive 22
  • communication 16
  • social-emotional 32
  • physical 11
  • adaptive behavior 16

Nothing was too unusual. I wasn't quite prepared for their assessment because I hadn't really paid much attention to the things that they scored in previous tests. Physical was so low because he can't walk. They lump OT and PT skills together so even though he can feed himself and stack blocks he still low because of the lack of walking. And I guess anyone who knows him knows that he is a social boy. If he knows you and is comfortable with you, he goes right for you. He nearly jumps out of my arms to go to Miss Penny. And he crawls after Miss Caroline for therapy every week. He scores even higher than his physical age in social! Kind of cool to me. Communication is low because while he understands he cannot express. I hate it when the testers try to ask a question several different ways to try to get me to say he can do something. Basically they really wanted me to say that he was using some words. He still doesn't say mama. He is actually closer to saying Travis than mama or dada. Sad but kind of neat too. I love watching the brotherly bond develop. I bought them the same sandals for this summer and Justin knows he has the same shoes as big brother.

I am glad that I has this evaluation so I can be prepared for the DS Clinic next week. I know they are going to be upset that he is not cruising, but I am prepared not to let that bother me. I am excited in what he can do and I don't what to be brought down by the can'ts.

And today we went to get measured for Justin's new orthotics. They exact orthotic (or combination of orthotics) is yet to be determined. After seeing Justin the orthotist (?) is going to call Penny and see if together they can decide what is best for Justin. The SMO model works for pronation but Justin also hyper extends his knees so there is an advanced model that stabilized the knees and prevents hyperextension. The problem with the advanced model is that is inhibits ankle flexion. (It makes is hard to move the ankle.) So we could go with the SMO PLUS another brace called a HEKO which is specific for hyperextension. Our dilemma is over bracing given that he is going from never having worn a brace to potentially having two. Will he wear them both? Should we go that far already? Our agreement this morning was to try the SMO and then add the HEKO later if he is still hyperextending because sometimes just having the extra stability in the ankles corrects the hyperextension. We are just waiting to double check with the therapists at the DS Clinic and Miss Penny. Also, the advanced model requires casting for fitting and given Justin's dislike of the mere measuring, the longer we can avoid casting the better. (We probably will have to cast as he gets older for the larger models.) The very coolest part was all the different patterns we can get on the brace. It's almost too bad Travis doesn't need one because they have firemen as a pattern. He was going crazy with the choices: Cars (the movie), Bob the Builder, trucks, construction equipment, and even more. Justin is getting sports (or Elmo, we had to give a back up choice) because of his ball fetish.

And we hit another milestone today. I took the support ring off of Justin's horse and now he can almost get on it himself. And he can make it MOVE! Now he has his eyes on Travis' horse! It was a good morning!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thyroid Ultrasound

We went to TCH for Justin's thyroid ultrasound this morning. Sometimes I am exhausted by 9 am. Is it just me? We made it to the imaging center and settled in for an hour long wait before our 12 minute appointment.

For the record, Justin does not enjoy being slathered with gel and prodded with an ultrasound wand on his throat. The poor tech was trying to get a decent picture and I was nearly laughing out loud at what a hysterical picture it would have been of us laying on the bed, me holding down Justin's arms and trying to get him to calm down and suck his thumb without getting wrapped up in the tech's arm with the ultrasound wand covered in gel. I sang every song that popped into my brain, off key I am sure, and Justin would only calm for the first 4 bars or so, until he figured out which song it was, and then go back to wailing. The tech said that when Justin screamed all she got on the screen was a big blur.

She finally thought she had gotten enough pictures and she was going to check with the radiologist to make certain, I just prayed that either it was enough pictures or that God would send me some more songs. Thank God I didn't have to hurt the poor tech's ears any more! We should find out something from the doctor soon. Justin fell asleep as we pulled out of the parking garage. I sure wish I could have.

(On a side note, I made an apt. with the ENT for June. The pediatrician said that is the place we should start to get Justin's sleeping problems assessed. I didn't even make it through the week!)

Lessons Learned

Our spring Bible study has come to a close and I am feeling a profound sense of loss. What will I do on Tuesday mornings? Okay, there is plenty, but still. We have had the best teacher this spring, Cassandra Martin, teaching her own study on Elijah and Elisha. She often begins each class with her trademark question, "Where did you see God today?"

She considers it to be the most important of all questions. If we are looking for Jesus, we will find him. If we find him, we will encounter him. If we encounter him, we are changed. If we are changed, others will see the change. They will then begin their own journey of seeking Jesus. It is amazing the lives that can be impacted by one life. That's what God promises. Jesus' one life changed one life at a time and began the changing of lives forever.

Cassandra challenged us to think of a time that we saw God and then to think of what we learned through that experience. I had been thinking about Justin's surgery and the hurricane and so that popped right to the front of my mind. I came up with 8 lessons that I can say that God taught me (or reinforced! Sometimes it takes several times for lessons to sink in!)
  1. God's timing is perfect. Justin's surgery was rescheduled twice, each time for someone sicker than Justin to take his place. The second bump was at the door of the OR after a miscommunication required us to delay the start of surgery. While disappointing, it was clearly God's hand as the OR was available for a child with a life-threatening emergency. And Justin was not too sick to wait. And I wouldn't have asked to be in the hospital during Hurricane Ike, but if someone had to be there, it was okay for us. God took care of everything so all our family would be safe and Justin could heal.
  2. God's planning begins WAY before ours. We called home Thursday morning with the list of things for my mom and sister to do to prepare our house for the storm. But God started his list for us before the beginning of time. He arranged for our food, water, clothing, and communication at the hospital. He provided for Travis, my mom and sister refuge and peace during the storm so no one would be scared or worried. They all slept through it! And God arranged for power to be restored quickly to their shelter (the TD family) so I could get messages from them and they could house our deep freeze and I wouldn't lose my frozen breast milk!
  3. Look at God and the problem doesn't seem so big. There were many times during the time we were in the hospital and then homeless while we waited for power to be restored to our home that I would look at everything around me and my chest would tighten. Literally! Looking at our surroundings and at Justin so small in the bed so big would scare me. But just looking up and remembering who is in charge of every step of the process calmed me and reminded me that God is bigger than the storm we were facing.
  4. God uses his people to do his work. This one still makes me smile as I remember all the people who ran errands for us and brought us food and cleaned our yards and housed us. God knew exactly what we needed and he provided for us through his people. I want to make sure that I am available when he calls me into service for him!
  5. God gives us rest. We slept in at least 6 different beds during the hospital stay and our subsequent homeless journey. Even during times of stress and worry, we were able to sleep. In crazy positions sometimes! But still comforting and peaceful knowing there was nothing else I needed to do but hold my baby or make a call for someone to know we were okay. Taking us out of our ordinary routines allowed us to focus on Justin's healing rather than on cleaning the bathroom.
  6. God takes care of the details. God even made a way for Randy and me to be together during our anniversary! He saved my breast milk. He provided gas so we could see Travis as soon as they reopened the hospital. He made sure we had laundry soap to wash our clothes.
  7. Share what you learn/share your story. This kind of surprised me. Not long after we settled back in after all our adventures I received a call from a friend who had a foster baby going through heart surgery in another city. I was able to talk her through the process and she could see our pictures and know what to expect. She received rave reviews from the nurses who were impressed by her preparation and comfort during the experience. She laughed when she told me and then said, "We know what's really behind all that wisdom, don't we?!" And I am happy to share the marvelous way God worked for us and how he wants to work for you!
  8. There is peace in the middle of the storm. I do not have to be consumed by worry. I do not have to see only the obstacles. I have the choice to look at the problem or to look at God. I stood looking out of the window at TCH during the storm and it was bad, but I knew my God was greater. Choosing God meant I could look through the storm and know that I was in the perfect place because God was holding me in his arms. During surgery when I was waiting to see Justin I knew that God was taking care of him even better than I ever would. I struggle with always making the choice to look out or look up, but I hope to get better with practice!

The purpose in thinking of these lessons is to share with subsequent generations. I need to remember what I have learned so I can teach others. And there is nothing more powerful than a story! Travis remembers visiting the hospital and seeing Justin. I can try to wipe away that memory or I can boost it up with the ways that I saw God working while in the hospital. The Bible is full of times that God's faithfulness is recounted for other hearers. It gives Travis an incredible testimony to share to his kids. The way God plans things, too cool. Sometimes it just takes me a while to catch on!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sleep Seminar

Randy and I went to another "Evenings with Genetics" seminar this week to hear Dr. Dan Glaze speak about "10 Reasons to Talk About Sleep When your Child Has a Developmental Disorder". You know that we were intrigued as soon as we heard the title given our constant sleep issues. The seminars are free and open to the public. I am not sure how exactly we got on the e-mail list, but we hear about the seminars every month. Some are interesting to us, and others not so much, but I am glad that they offer them. They even offer snacks and this time we were serenaded by some very talented musician-doctors! Some of the past seminars are available to download, and this one was taped so it should be available sometime soon.

Dr. Glaze began with his "Top 10" a la David Letterman about the importance of sleep. Here's his list:

10. Sleep problems are very common in children and teens.
9. Sleep problems are a common parental complaint. (That is us!!)
8. Childhood sleep problems are chronic.
7. Sleep in necessary for children's best functioning.
6. Sleep affects all aspects of a child's functioning.
5. Sleep problems of children impact the entire family.
4. Sleep problems exacerbate co-existing medical, psychiatric, psychosocial, and developmental problems.
3. Sleep is a public health issue.
2. Pediatric sleep problems are treatable.
1. Pediatric sleep problems are preventable.

One point that seemed so obvious that I never considered it is that your brain control sleep so if there are developmental delays and issues it can take longer for your brain to learn proper sleep techniques. Sleeping is actually learned. We teach our children how to sleep just by how we plan and execute their sleep: the preparation for sleep, the environment of the bedroom, timing, how we respond to night wakings, and signals for waking. He said that sleep is something that should be discussed during pediatric doctor visits, but even if it does get discussed, we as parents often say, " Oh, it's normal" because it is the child's normal. It's usual for us, but it might not be as good as it could or should be. He uses the acronym BEARS when discussing sleep:
  • B= Bedtime problems
  • E= Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • A= Awakenings during the night
  • R= Regularity and duration of sleep
  • S= Snoring

Those are the areas that we should talk about when talking about sleep. The best way to monitor and track these things is with a sleep diary. We did this with Travis because his sleep was so crazy when he was younger. (I tried to find a template online but nothing good came up in the first few pages.) The diary should include the BEARS information at least. If a child is little, especially too young to talk, you might want to include what he is eating and drinking since that is important too. When we charted for Travis, we found that he wasn't sleeping near as long as we thought he was!

With your sleep chart you can discuss what to do next with your doctor. The steps that Dr. Glaze listed are as follows:

How do you manage sleep problems in children?

Part 1: (Preparation for managing problems)

  • Treat medical problems (These can include GERDS and medications)
  • manage daytime behavior problems
  • review and change medicines as needed
  • give information and set reasonable goals with parents

Part 2:

  • treat sleep problems (apnea, insomnia, hypersomnia)
  • sleep hygiene (routine, response to night wakings, position, etc.)
  • behavioral approaches (cry it out, Ferber, etc.)
  • medicine (specifically to help with sleep)

One area I will elaborate on is sleep hygiene:

  1. Expect the right amount of sleep for the child's age and development level.
  2. Routine lasting about 20-30 minutes before bed.
  3. Put the child to bed awake but drowsy.
  4. Ensure a regular bedtime and nap time.
  5. Bedroom environment: Dark, cool (less that 75 degrees), safe, electronic media free (only for sleep)
  6. Pre-bedtime meal: light snack
  7. No caffeine/alcohol- this includes medications!
  8. No pre-bedtime exercise (finish at least 3-4 hours before bed). This includes roughhousing!
  9. Light: bright light in am promotes earlier onset sleep, pm light delays onset sleep

For us, night wakings and early risings are our biggest problems so I wanted to know what is normal and when to be concerned. Dr. Glaze said we should be concerned when there are more than 3-4 wakings/night, they last longer than 20 mins., they require parent intervention, and they are associated with any of the following: snoring, movements, injurious or unusual behavior, or pain. The other area that should cause concern is if there is daytime sleepiness. If these problems last more that 2-4 weeks it is worth addressing.

Other things he discussed were: specific problems in specific syndromes (including ASD, Rett syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Prader-Willi), sleep studies, narcolepsy, and melotonin. If you are interested, I would suggest you check out the download when it becomes available.

There was a wealth of great information even though a lot of it specifically concerned developmental delays. I really think that we need to have an assessment done of Justin's sleep. He is awake during the night but he plays by himself and doesn't wake us so we don't know it. Randy wakes early for work and closes Justin's door so he doesn't disturb him while he gets ready and the other day he went in and Justin was wide awake! He sat up and smiled and put his face against the side of the crib. We have no idea how often or how long he is awake. But Justin has been really crabby the past month or so even when he just wakes from his nap. He is only happy when I hold him and that cannot happen every day from 3-7 pm! A couple of days this week I have had to put him down for a morning nap AND an afternoon nap because he was such a crab apple! I don't understand what is happening so as soon as we get through this week of three extra doctor appointments and I am feeling up to committing to the trek to TCH I will call about the sleep clinic.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I was going to to do "Wordless Wednesday" but I know you have no idea what this is about so I will have to explain. This is Travis' cooking outfit. You notice the book opened on the play kitchen next to him? That's his Bible aka his cookbook. And apparently fire boots and a hard hat are required for cooking. Dangerous stuff! He is wearing his "worker" apron that he got for Christmas (it has John Deere tractors on it!) And he is wearing his oven mitt on his hand as he takes orders on his scribble pad. And the floor is littered with plastic food because Justin was his assistant and that's how Justin cooks.

We have some major creativity going on it our house. Justin doesn't always know what to make of it, but he plays along quite well!

The Stones Can Take a Break

Luke 19:37-40 (New International Version)

37When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"

40"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

This has been an amazing week. I cannot tell you how I am shouting for joy right now! Leaps and bounds of progress, God appearing in undeniable ways, and answers to prayer coming from all sides. I am so excited to share the awesome ways that God is working in our lives.

Justin started his OT reevaluation last week, and Caroline finished this week. She had given us a bit of an idea how he was doing, but this week she showed us the numbers and I can do nothing but praise God and stand in awe of what He is doing. OT tests in 2 areas of the Peabody Scale: grasping and visual-motor integration. Grasping is fairly self-explanatory. Visual-motor integration is seeing something and then sending the right signals to the brain to then cause the arm/hand/fingers to respond appropriately. This is things like putting the right pieces of a puzzle in the right spaces, stacking blocks so they line up and don't tip over (without help :)), and putting pegs in holes, for some examples. In grasping Justin was given an average age of 7 months (chron. age 18 mo.) now he is up to 13 months! That is 6 months progress in 6 months! Therapists aim for 2-3 months progress in 6 months. We blew that out of the water! And in visual-motor integration he was given a score of 12 months (chron. age 18 mo.) and now he is at 18 months! I'll let you do the math yourselves....oh yeah, that's another 6 months progress in 6 months! I am loving it!! How great is our God to do more than we can ask or imagine!

And this one just humbles me in so many ways: I cannot go into all the details, but suffice it to say that we have been having a few insurance issues lately. And by that I mean, maybe the last 2 months or so. Our claims have been being denied and Melissa, our insurance champion and guru has been talking me through what I need to do to get things worked out. It has been phone call after phone call and endless frustrations, but Melissa has been great, as usual. So I thought things were worked out, but I got a call yesterday from the insurance company. The insurance company said that the way we were filing claims was not the right way and that Justin had used up his visits for the plan year. But there was a feature in our insurance plan that allowed us to ask for additional visits. Really? That shocked both Melissa and me. And the insurance representative had already begun the process to ask for additional visits AND to arrange for a case manager to sort through all of Justin's claims. The rep said that this person would be calling me within the next week or so. Well, the next morning I received a call and the first thing that the case manager said was, "Don't stop going to therapy. We will work this out." Whoa! That was beyond perfect! She said that she had never been denied additional visits when she asked. She went on to say that we have a great group insurance plan and they do not want Justin to go without the things he needs. I am singing for joy and bursting with thankfulness! God planned this job for Randy to have these benefits to provide for Justin before he was born! And already later that same day I got a message that everything is approved and we are good to go. I had no idea all of his was going on, but you can bet that God did. Not only that, He was working to make it come out in Justin's favor. God knew before I even had to ask. God works (present tense, today, right now!) before I even know I need him to work. It keeps happening and I am thrilled! I don't know about you, but my experience with insurance companies has never had them bending over backward to provide services that there is any way they can wiggle out of providing. And to pave the way to make the experience easier for me is not of this world either. It is totally a God thing! Part of what amazes me so much is that all this happened without allowing me one ounce of worry. I didn't even have time to worry about what was going to happen and imagine all of the negative outcomes. God works fast sometimes! And he didn't even need my worry to make it happen. My fretting would not have made one bit of difference! Goes to show me, doesn't it? And as a side note, we are close to meeting out out-of-pocket max for the year and so now therapy will be free! Those additional visits: 100% covered. And the orthotics that Justin will be receiving soon: 100% covered! Praise is flowing from our household tonight!

And lastly, one of my very good friends just learned that her sister who has been trying to adopt a baby just got word that they were matched and she has the baby! So many prayers and petitions and yearnings culminate in that one beautiful moment when that baby is placed in her mother’s arms. She looks at that precious baby with a mother’s love and the bonding begins. Another girl to add to the family! My friend is ready to buy some girly dresses and we are rejoicing with them.

Randy and I went to a sleep seminar last night and I was describing it to a friend earlier today. She listened to some of what I said and then just sighed, “How can anyone hear the amazing ways that our bodies are put together and not see God?” I agree whole-heartedly! Some days every detail of life just announces His presence and I can’t help but soak it all up and bask in Him. It is lovely and beautiful and I can’t keep it to myself.

God is so good!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Here's some of what has been happening around our house:

  • We have been working! The last of our windows were installed last week, but don't think that's the end... One of the screen was ripped, requiring another one to be ordered. And the screen from the first set of windows that had to be ordered twice and took 2 hours to install after some fixes were needed? Yeah, it turns out that one was made wrong so they need to order another one and then reinstall again. Plus (this just keeps getting better, I tell you!) they didn't insulate the first set of windows well enough so they are going to pull them all out to add more insulation! Oh yeah, this is going to be fun.

  • Justin spends more and more time every day on his feet. He pops up with no problem now. I can tell him to stand up, and he does. This morning he wanted to get into the tub of blocks and he was on one knee with one foot up and I told him to stand up, and so he just pulled himself up the rest of the way! Then he could get all the blocks he wanted.

And I was trying to take pictures of Justin, but Travis got in this one and I just had to share Travis' work outfit. His fire boots, tool belt, drill, and his name tag from VBS last summer. You can't see his face in this picture so I will just have to tell you that he is wearing his miner hat with the light and his hard hat on top of that. It's beyond funny!

  • Justin loves to bear crawl. This is from when we took bluebonnet pictures, and this was him going after the rock you see in the background. This really shows how pronates his feet are when he walks, and that is why the visit to the orthopedic.

  • Justin was reassessed yesterday at OT using the Peabody scale (I think that's what it's called). There are a list of skills and then the child gets either a "0" for not being able to do it at all, a "1" for doing it partially, and a "2" for doing it completely. It has been 6 months since we began OT and thus the re-eval. She didn't finish because he wasn't totally cooperative, but there were lots of things that were 0s and 1s and now he gets 2s, plus he's moving into new skills that she didn't even evaluate before and he can do them great! He can stack blocks 4 high (Getting them lined up to balance is the challenge, although the tempatation to knock them over is big too!), he can color (using the right amount of pressure) he can string beads and put them on a post. For some reason, there seems to be a large gap in age before the next set of skills, so he is no where near those yet (like buttoning a button- Travis can't even do that yet! Boy's clothes don't have a lot of buttons; we are working on that though...) She should finish the assessment next week. He should do great!

  • I have lived in Texas for more than 15 years now and every year I am more aware of the culture gap between here and Wsconsin. I never "fix to" do anything. I park in a stall, and I call my friends with "Hey, you guys!" Ya'll just isn't going to happen. I drink soda, and water from a bubbler. But this morning my son said, "We're fixin' to go fishing next month, me and Pop." I chuckled and then heaved a deep sigh. Both of my sons are Texans, which makes me the misfit of our family. Randy already laughs at me. How long before Travis does too? And then Justin? I need another cat! Or maybe just a visit to the motherland would do me some good.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Be the Church

Today was our church's third annual "Be the Church" day. It is the first year we were able to participate and our family had a great morning! "Be the Church" is serving in our community and doing practically the things Jesus taught. Some of the projects included serving meals in an inner city church and then canvasing the neighborhood to share some of the church's programs. (They do some great things there! I am amazed at how alive they are!) Some people handed out water in a local park, others organized care packages for our soldiers serving abroad. Some people visited our home bound members and did some minor repairs and yard work (that's what we did!) And others worked with the Meals on Wheels program and with an assisted living center visiting and bringing communion. We met at the church for a short service and then we were off!

Our family weeded some flower beds and trimmed bushes for one of our home bound members. I had just been there earlier this week taking one of our Meat Day Mission meals since they had both just had surgery and some health problems. That was really good for the kids to know where we were going. Travis enjoys working outside with Daddy, so he was great. We brought his tools and gloves and he dug up the weeds and hauled them in his wheelbarrow. Justin did some raking too, but mostly he just watched. I was support staff, getting supplies and calming a crying Justin. It took about 1 1/2 hours which was about our littlest one's attention span. We wore him out! He fell asleep on the way to eat lunch.

I had so much fun! And I think the guys did too. Our flower beds need weeding and on our way out this morning Randy and I both mentioned how badly our bushes need trimming, and yet this was the perfect morning to do it for someone else. We don't have this chance very often in our society where independence and self-sufficiency are exalted. These people couldn't do it themselves. They both mentioned how their yard used to be the envy of the neighborhood. People would ring their doorbell to comment on how beautiful their yard was. And it was very clear to me that they wish they could do more, but they just can't. They have filled in their flower beds with rocks and placed small statues in them so they are low maintenance. Pulling the weeds took about 30 minutes because there were so few! But their yard was still a tribute to God's creation, even with their limited ability.

I was shopping at a resale shop this week looking for a few things for the boys and I found this shirt for Travis. This was the VBS program that our church did the summer after Justin was born. We weren't able to attend because we were keeping the boys away from other children in an effort to keep Justin healthy for surgery. But we heard awesome things about it! Rather than just teaching children about Bible stories, the week was about service and serving others. If the church is Jesus' home, then the rest of the world is his backyard and it is the place where we practice what God teaches us. Travis was so excited to wear it for Be the Church Day. It was the perfect thing to remind him that pulling weeds is service just like praying for people and bringing them meals. Everything that we do is service. As the church our purpose is to serve. And it's crazy how good it feels to serve!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Almost, Nearly, Sooooo Close

I took Justin to the doctor for his two year check-up this week. I had been hoping he would break the 20 pound mark so I could finally turn his car seat around. No such luck. This is the age that they stop stripping for weigh-ins, and he still didn't make it. For the record he tops out at 19 pounds, 15 ounces. Yeah, pretty sad, I know. Maybe next month.

Dr. Lapis was very impressed with his communication skills. She asked if he could follow commands, and so I asked Justin to open his mouth, which he did immediately. Then she asked him something, but before she even got it out of her mouth, he started blowing kisses. His "blowing kisses" involves putting his hand to his mouth and blowing through his nose. I translated his actions and she laughed because that's what she was going to ask him to do! So he's way ahead because he can read minds!

He had an eye infection (and so did Travis) so we got some eye drops. That has been going really well. You'd think we were sticking our fingers in their eyes when we put the drops in! I had to go to work and Randy was so looking forward to doing the drops all by himself. Travis actually ended up doing better with Randy than with me. Daddies are so talented!

Other than that we are doing well. Justin is on the low end of the DS growth charts, but he is consistently at about 5%, so she (Dr. Lapis) is comfortable with his growth. All his labs are good, so we don't have to do any more for a while. We have the DS clinic appointment next month and the thyroid ultrasound coming up. We also go back to the cardiologist, maybe for an echo. That is still a possibility we are hoping to avoid until he's old enough to be unsedated.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bluebonnets- Attempt Number 2

So the plan was to get some pictures when we went to Blue Bell last week, but that didn't work after playing at the playground and eating lunch so we tried again today. I think the pollen was getting to the boys as both of them had watery, drippy eyes, and Travis complained about his eyes itching. Not good. We did get some pictures though.

Since my goal is never photographic perfection, these pictures seem to fit the bill. (Randy actually asked if I told the kids on purpose not to look at the camera!) There were bunches of families trying to get bluebonnet pictures today since it was a school holiday. We saw the cutest family of three girls in long ruffled white dresses. They looked absolutely precious. We mentioned how adorable they looked to their mother and she said that she just hoped she could get good pictures because they are at that fake smile stage. I commented that it would be what they truly are, and that has memories that are treasured just as much as perfect portraits. I am not sure if it made any difference, but that's what bluebonnet pictures are to me. Trying to take pictures out in the sun while sitting in tall grass is not the makings of perfect pictures. At least not for this completely amateur photographer!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Fun

It was a great Easter season. The weekend was filled with parties and egg hunts. With Justin's birthday party, Travis' Bible class party, the family Easter/birthday party for Randy's brother (his birthday is ON Easter this year!), and Sunday actually being Easter, we lived on a constant sugar high all weekend long. And there is still lots more where that came from!

Our church had our Easter egg hunt in the building because of rain in the morning. The hallways were filled with kids and adults madly trying to snap pictures. Travis picked up the eggs and shook them to see if there might be something worth opening it to obtain. He only liked the ones that made noise because he has become a jelly bean fiend. And Justin enjoyed throwing and/or rolling them. Randy had to work pretty hard to get him to put them in the baskets. In the end they did pretty well. In the beginning there was a 12-egg limit, which was quickly lifted and a free-for-all ensued. "Frenzy" might be a good word! The remnants were sad and we spent some times collecting abandoned eggs and scraping smooshed jelly beans off the carpet. Cleaning people really deserve their pay after something like this!

Last year we were able to get Justin to go to the Easter bunny and I had to hold Travis, but this year both boys screamed like we were torturing them. Thus the parent buffer between the rabbit and the boys.

And we managed one decent family picture in the Easter duds. Some day Justin will look back at all the pictures and ask why we took those pictures of him with his mouth open like that. I am counting on all of you to substantiate my story about my efforts to alter this with little success!

Justin's Birthday Party

We had Justin's birthday party this weekend. It was a lot to do with Easter and several other parties we had to attend, but we couldn't let Justin's day pass without a to-do. I wasn't sure what sort of party to have since Justin doesn't show much interest in any one thing, so the only thing I could think of was balls. He loves to play catch and shoot baskets and all things that roll. (That includes Easter eggs- why put them in the basket when it's more fun to roll them??)

We don't have big parties for the kids anyway, but we cut down even more so we wouldn't overwhelm Justin and we all could enjoy the time. It was just grandparents and the TD family. Just the right amount actually. Justin enjoyed the party I think. He opened his presents, and even tasted a few. They all seemed to meet with his approval!

And then the cake. True to form, Justin ate all his cake and wanted more. He will never turn down cake! I think it runs in the family.

We even got a good picture of the kids. Our kids always have fun together, and Justin is starting to get involved too.

It was a good party and an even better sleep that night! I love wearing kids out when it doesn't involve wearing me out too! Oh, and we took some family pictures this morning too, so those should be coming out soon!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Justin is Two!

Really? Can it be two years already? I guess so!

Of course we had a mommy/Justin day since it was his big birthday. We had to go to the ophthalmologist first thing in the morning, which wasn't the best thing to do, but he made it through like a trooper. She said that his eyes still look the same, which is good. Randy and I have been concerned about a little bit of eye-crossing, which of course he didn't do for her. She said just to watch it and see if one eye was more affected than the other, when he did it, and how often. And then we got released for another year! I love the longer stints between appointments. Justin put on a little show of screaming when his eyes had to be dilated. I laid him back and he screamed while she pried his eyes open to put in the drops and the minute I set him up he stopped crying and smiled at her. Quite the little manipulator!

When we checked out at the doctor's office they were giving away some books that had been donated to the hospital. They were some books about colors and animals. Justin has really enjoyed reading it! When I out him in his seat in the car he reached for it and he actually held it and looked through it while we were driving home. At home he searches for it and plunks down on the floor with it in front of him. He flips through it several times, forwards and backwards and then even upside down. It's a bit of an impressionist painter book, and all sides are somewhat equal!

Justin has learned to master the sit and spin! He goes very...very...slowly, but still, he knows how to pull himself around! And he thinks it is tons of fun! It sits in the corner and sometimes he will try to sit on it there and make it spin. Then he yells when it doesn't quite work.

It was a pretty quiet day actually. Whenever it's mommy/Justin or Travis day I take a nap with whichever one I have. Travis loves it and Justin isn't quite sure yet. But I love being with him the whole day and not trying to cram extra stuff into the time. And we made it through the day with no practical jokes! Happy April Fool's to us and...

Happy Birthday Justin!

March Prayer Request Follow Up/ April Requests

Another month has passed! It's so hard to believe how quickly time goes by! Here's where we stand:
  1. Justin's constipation: Improving, but slowly. We have made a few more changes, but we haven't found the "magic" cure yet. We went out to eat for Mommy/Justin day and he screamed off and on for most of the meal. Since it wasn't McDonald's, it was difficult to put up with the stares. He is eating more veggies- he discovered dipping. Anything that can "dip" is okay to be eaten. He loves carrots, and he even dipped his chips in the meat/salsa mixture I created out of the mexican meatloaf we had for dinner. He liked it!

  2. We survived the dentist. Justin did fine. He screamed and the dentist was able to look at his teeth. I was worried because Justin's upper teeth appear to overlap and his bottom teeth are very spaced out. The dentist said that the lower teeth are gaping because Justin hangs out his tongue and pushes them out. The upper teeth are pulled together because of thumb-sucking. So competing conditions cause the odd look. He didn't seem too worried yet. Travis was another story. He at least opened his mouth and let the dentist look inside, but that's about it. He sucks his thumb too, and that is more of a problem for him. Randy has bad teeth, large teeth and a small mouth, and Travis has that too. The thumb-sucking isn't helping. We are trying to cut down on that, so that's one of our prayer issues for April.

April requests:

  1. Travis' thumb-sucking: We are trying to cut down on this so he only sucks at night. So far, not so good. We have a penny system in which he has to sacrifice a penny every time we catch him with any other finger in his mouth, and we will slowly work our way up to getting the thumb out too. We have a book about a little bear who sucked him thumb and how a dragon helped him stop. Travis enjoys the book, so now we have to try the method.

  2. The rest of our windows have arrived and this week is the big install. We pray that it only takes the three days it is supposed to take without any lengthy drag-out. Randy is taking the time off of work (and I am going to work) so we really hope it doesn't take too long.

  3. Justin is really making lots of progress in pulling himself up. The next step is, well, taking steps. He lifts his leg to climb stairs, so we know he can balance on one foot, but he needs to learn about shifting his weight.

Thank you all. We are so blessed to have people praying for us!