Wednesday, April 28, 2010

IEP Meeting

We had our 'dreaded' IEP meeting yesterday.  I don't know what I was really ready to expect.

Part of me (the Mom) wants to be Chase's biggest advocate and get him everything that we can to help him.  More frequent therapies, an aid, a specialized pre-reading program...  The other part of me (the teacher) feels the need to be realistic in what we are asking for.  Does he really need the extra therapy sessions?  Is asking for an aid really a necessity?  By getting him more now, are we ensuring that it will be harder to mainstream him later because he will become dependent on the help?

And then, another part of my mommy instinct kicks in:  is less more?  I keep saying that he is just like all the other kids, that he can do anything they can.  So why do battle for extra things that he may not need?  He is already in a very structured classroom, with a teacher trained in EC, with assistants there to give more direction if he needs it.  Don't I want him to go into school and show that he is a little rock star and that he can do it with minimal assistance so that transitioning to an inclusion classroom for Kindergarten will be a no-brainer?

But then, does the extra help NOW make it so that he will be extra READY to move on in K?


Originally I wanted Chase in a completely inclusive environment, surrounded by typical peers (like he is at his private preschool now).  Well, we don't have that option in the public school system, and frankly, I can't afford to pay for it privately.  And the classroom that he will be in really is only 7 kids with IEPs and 3 kids without,  and those with don't seem all that high maintainence.  Really, I just want him to have good role models, and they are there.  So that option is out.

The therapists recommended 30 minutes of PT and OT each week, and two 30 minute sessions of ST per week.  Speech is our main concern, and he is doing pretty well on PT and OT.  I feel like this is pretty adequate.  Also, he learns the most through imitation, and sitting in a class with 9 other kids and watching them has got to count for some learning, right?  We added a couple goals in about communicating with his peers, following 2 step directions, and using 2-3 word phrases.

I think one of the best things we did was request a copy of the evaluations that they did a few weeks ago, and also the draft copy of the IEP prior to this meeting.  That way, we could do all the emotional stuff in the privacy of our own home (I mean, I know he has delays-- that's why we are there, right?  But it IS hard to see it in print, with the official "age" that the results give you that is a year or more behind what your child's actual age is.)  Really, though, it wasn't all that difficult to deal with, because we knew what was coming, we weren't blindsided with any numbers or summaries.  Also, I didn't feel like I was being put on the spot when they asked if we were satisfied with the proposed goals or if we had anything we wanted to add.

We got a chance to tour his classroom and actually sat down with his teacher for a 1/2 hour or so to chat about Chase and his needs.  She took all sorts of notes, asked all sorts of questions, and I know that I am going to LOVE her.  I need to find a "first day of school" gift for her.  Suggestions?  If I don't think of anything awesome, I am leaning toward a Target gift card, because, really, what teacher couldn't use a gift card?  Oh, I also ordered a bunch of these books to give to his teachers...I was going to give them out at the end of the year, but this way she can have them in class while Chase is there.  What do you think?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Face time for Guy

Poor Gavin has been missing from the last few posts.  Here are some random photos because he deserves face time, too.
 Mom, I friggin' HATE this hat.
 Gavin learned the Tupperware cabinet game.
 Yes, I still have to clip his hair back for meal times...
This face makes me laugh!  I need to make it my new Facebook profile pic.

Party like you are 3- Part Two

We did a big party in the park with Chase's buddy Michael...their birthdays are a day apart, and we have grown really close with Michael's family.  And, since they both share a bunch of friends, we figured it made more sense to celebrate both boys' together.

Here they are blowing out the candles on their cupcakes, after a boisterous rendition of Happy Birthday, sung by 40 of our closest friends and relatives :)
Well, I guess, Michael is blowing out the candles...
 Chase decided it was more fun to blow the party horn (quick!  Can you spot the speech therapy going on in this photo?!)
 Luckily, Chase's friends' siblings are Ian's friends!
 Another cake shot.  They were so cute.  So were their friends.  We are so blessed :)

Party like you are 3- Part One

We did Chase's real birthday at home with just us...presents and ice cream cake, the way birthdays should be.

Here, he gives the Bilibo a try, with questionable results.
 Ian has better luck with it, but I am hoping that the more Chase watches Ian, the more adventurous he will be.
 I love that he prefers the packing paper instead of the gift.  *sigh*  
 The broom, however, THAT he knows how to handle!
Chase got such a kick out of blowing his own candles out this year.  We must have relit that candle 30 times.  It's the first time we've been unable to re-use a birthday candle, it burned down so far!  I have a video I should really upload that shows him blowing it out, then saying, "Again?"  Cute.

Hey Mister? Do you need a hand?

*P.S.  I know that his hat is ridiculously small...Chase picked it out :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday, Chase!!

I keep telling Chase that it's his birthday, and that he is THREE (holding 3 fingers up).  Poor guy, doesn't quite have the fine motor control to put up 3 fingers, so he just waves his whole hand at me instead :)

Chasey,  you are SUCH the big boy now.  You have your own opinions on things (what to eat, what to wear, which shoes go on and which to throw...).  You make a great big brother (the best game is "Guy-Guy", in which you bring all of the toys or books or tupperware and pile it in Gavin's lap, and every time you bring a new load, you drop it in front of him and say "Guy Guy!").  You are a great little brother, mastering the art of driving Ian crazy by wanting to do everything that he does.

You assert yourself, saying "Mine!" when someone tries to take your stuff.  You are as independent as I let you be, trying to brush your own teeth, put on your own clothes, walk out the front door by yourself and wander around the culdesac...(he's FAST!).

You know a BUNCH of words.  You say them in context on your own.  We've started hearing you phrase two words together.  The language explosion...I think we are almost there.  Sometimes I even catch you singing along to the CDs in the car :)

You love school, you love your family, you love your friends.  You love your frog, sheepie (Peepish), and a little green bunny (Munny) at bedtime.  You love baths and showers, your water table outside and using a cup to dump the water out of the kiddie pool onto other people.  You love Yo Gabba Gabba (you sometimes ask to watch this by saying, "Gaaaabba...?" but other times you say, "Gabbagabbagabbagabbagabbagabbagabbagabbagabbaaaaaa?"), Blues Clues, and Jack's Big Music Show. You swing on the big swing outside and like to help me pull weeds in the garden (and you also enjoy pulling out the actual plants, too, which I don't enjoy so much).

I am so looking forward to this next year with you, which I'm sure will be full of more growth...maybe you will ride a tricycle, perhaps you will sit on the potty (pleeeeeeeeeease?!), and I KNOW you will love school and make a hundred new friends.

Love you so much, Chase.  Happy 3rd :)
(Chase is sitting on the new trike from Gaga and Papa...who doesn't love a hotwheels tricycle that makes SOUNDS?!?!  Thank you!!!!)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Endings and Beginnings

We said goodbye (really, see you later- isn't Facebook grand?!) to Chase's last therapist this afternoon.  Our caseworker also came by to "close him out."

We have been so fortunate to have therapists and a caseworker that we have loved so much and have always kept Chase's best interests at heart.  So, it has been 3 whole years with this team...and when it began 3 years sounded like such a long time.

Now, give or take 150 visits later, this chapter is ending, and instead of a sweet (albeit floppy) little baby, I have a flexy-bendy boy.  Can you believe it?  I can't.

I went through all Chase's photos and made small scrapbooks for each of his therapists, and a framed photo for our caseworker.  As I looked through all of them, it almost seemed like someone else's life.  Did that all really happen?  Was I there?  Where did that kid go?  How did we get through all that?

(I'm really proud of the photo books that I made, so I took pictures of the one that I made for our PT so I could show it off.  I tried to find pictures of Chase demonstrating the different skills each one worked with him on.)  Enjoy :)

Chase's transition to pre-K is almost the same as Ian's to K.  But Chase has been through so much more and worked so much harder in less time than Ian has.  Not to downplay any of Ian's accomplishments...but still.  Everything that Chase has done, he has worked for, and worked HARD.  And he's had a team of people behind him cheering him on.

And although I am a little anxious and a tiny teary-eyed about Ian going to Kindergarten, all day, to live his life without the umbilical cord attached to me anymore, I am more ready for that.  He will do great at school.  And if he doesn't, he will tell me.

Chase, sweet Chase, can't yet.  To think that his days will be filled with someone other than me is just, well, sad to me (and a little scary, honestly).  I gotta say, I have a teeny feeling of displacement right now.

On the upside, I am kind of looking forward to this summer-- no daycare kids, no appointments...just the kids and I and a BUNCH of open time.  The projects I have planned!  The places we will go!!  Trips to the library, to the parks, to the greenways!  It will be glorious.  Glorious, I tell you!  :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

For Goodness Sakes!

Ian is taking another sick day home from preschool today.  He is not quite well enough for me to trust him being at school without quick access to a bathroom.  Rather be safe...

But he is well enough to play Wii :)  So he is working on his golf game, and giving me updates about his swings and such, and also kind of just chatting away with himself.

This one made me laugh:

Ian (after hitting it off the green, with great exasperation):  Oh, for Goodness Sakes!  Why did it have to go in the water on the first time?!?!?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Always Happy. Never Satisfied.

My friend Becky, who has known me longer than I care to share (like, since before I wore a training bra!), and her other half, Ed, have started a new company, Always Happy Life.  You can check it out here.

Basically, it revolves around the philosophy of "Always Happy.  Never Satisfied."  They will be selling shirts, onesies, bibs, etc. with that logo on it, benefiting certain charities each month.  It was just launched this week, so only the standard shirts are listed, but look out for special editions soon (I am especially looking forward to the blue/yellow Ds Awareness ones!).

I think it is a great philosophy for life, but honestly, when Beck asked me to be on their blog roll, I was a little skeptical about being there.  I mean, seriously, The Mad House definitely has its ups and downs, and always happy is not necessarily how I would describe us.

Then I started thinking about it, and the meaning of happy:
hap·py  (hp)

adj. hap·pi·erhap·pi·est
1. Characterized by good luck; fortunate.
2. Enjoying, showing, or marked by pleasure, satisfaction, or joy.
3. Being especially well-adapted; felicitous: a happy turn of phrase.
4. Cheerful; willing: happy to help.
a. Characterized by a spontaneous or obsessive inclination to use something. Often used in combination: trigger-happy.
b. Enthusiastic about or involved with to a disproportionate degree. Often used in combination: money-happy; clothes-happy.

...and although I don't believe I go about life spewing sunshine and roses every day, I do know how to laugh about my days, to find joy in the ordinary, and to find the positive even in the negative (most of the time...!).

We have been hit by our own doozies, definitely.  And any of them could have sent us into a downward spiral.  But what good what that do?  Much better to put on my big girl panties, write a sarcastic, self-deprecating blog post about whatever happened, and move onward and upward.  Right?

Always Happy.  Never Satisfied.  Ok :)

Go buy a shirt.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Isn't it amazing what fresh sheets, a coat of Lysol, and 9:30-7am of sleep (only one interruption!) can do to your mood?!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

In and Out (or the sick week from Hell)

I am writing to you from prison the sick ward.  It is now nearing a week that we have been battling yet another stomach virus.  I don't know if we have weak constitutions, or if we are just amazingly good at picking up the most virile bugs.  Ready yourselves, because this is long and probably a little gross, but I feel like it needs to be recorded (for therapeutic reasons, because I am ready to go insane).

Chase started in last Sunday, becoming just 'eh' and weirding us out a little with his quiet ways.  Then it hit full force, and I changed (not exaggerating here) close to 80 diapers of his in 2 1/2 days.  I think the combination of his already weak intestinal make-up plus the Germs from Hell compounded things a little.  And to add insult to injury, you know how he gets a terrible diaper rash on a normal basis?  Yeah.  To the hundredth power.  The bright spot is, though, that I found something that works- Calmoseptine.  It is over the counter, but probably only found at specialty pharmacies.

Oh, and I forgot, he refuses to take any Immodium or even his daily Levoxyl (hypo-thyroid drug) he is even more off his game.

Then, before Chase even started to exit the Doo-Doo Train, Gavin got on.  His, thankfully, was not as bad.  He is better now.  He has a most excellent immune system, that one.

But wait!  Then I started feeling iffy.  But you know, I'm the strong momma, so I can deal.  I made it through all of Thursday alright, and even got everyone ready to go to church for a mid-week special engagement.  We got to church, and I kept feeling more and more ill.  My whole body ached.  I had zero energy.  Queasy.  So, we packed everyone up and went back home, me not wanting to tempt fate and not only get my friends sick, but also run the risk of vomiting during the sermon  (Sorry- this is Real Life.).

*Side note- Bryan was hungry on the way home, so we stopped at Sonic.  Here is the definition of Love:  I sipped my coke while smelling Bryan's Frito Chili Cheese Wrap all the way back- barf.*

I spent the rest of the evening in the fetal position.  Props to Bryan who took care of me, and to Tiffany who brought me a magic anti-nausea pill :)

The next morning, I felt GREAT!  A new woman, I tell you!  I didn't have any daycare kids, so I was free to run errands in the morning.  We made two stops, were out about an hour, and when we got home, Ian crawled out of the back of the van and thew up in a cup in front of the house.  (Thank you, thank you GOD for giving him the strength to hold that in until he got out of the car!)

Round 4!

Ian was up and down all Friday, feeling great, then feeling terrible.  We ran another errand (what is wrong with me?!) and he threw up again on the way home.  But because I am a genius, I made him keep a bucket in the back seat with him, so no mess again.  What a little trooper.  By bedtime, he was ok, but uncomfortable.

He woke up at about midnight, restless, so I offered to let him sleep with me (Bryan was on the couch because he thought he may be coming down with it, too).  And after he got all comfortable, and we laid there for a few minutes, he says (a little panicked):

Mom?  I think I just pooped in my underwear.


Potty, shower, rinse, repeat.  Several times.  Forget sleep.

Now it is Saturday noonish.  And Bryan has spent.the morning upstairs, because *guess what?!?*  he is sick now, too.  And Ian is still not feeling well.  There was another underwear incident.  In my LazyBoy.  I am still a little unsettled about that.

If you are still with me, you not only have a stomach of steel, but also the patience of Job.  So you get my insight:

This week SUCKED.  To quote one of my most favorite musicals, it, "SUCKA SUCKA SUCKA SUCKA SUCKA SUCKA SUCKA SUCKA SUCKA SUCKA SUCKA SUCKA SUCKED!"  But.  No one ended up in the ER.  We walked a fine line with dehydration with Chase, but thankfully we never give him juice, so he thought the Pedialite was candy.  We were all there for each other as we were taken down, one by one.

And hopefully tomorrow (after missing Ian's first soccer game today), everyone will be well enough to enjoy this gorgeous weather, and I will be able to take a nap.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ian's Gum Lesson

Today Ian had such a great lunch that when he asked for a 2nd piece of candy for dessert, I said yes.  Then I walked out of the room.

When I came back, there was a scrambling from the kitchen, a crunching of wrappers, a gurgling/coughing sound, and it wasn't long before I put it all together.

And while I stepped away, that little stinker unwrapped 7 pieces of that pink sugary bubble gum from Porter's birthday party, and shoved them ALL in his mouth.  He had this giant wad of sticky, slobbery gum filling up his entire oral cavity- so much so that he couldn't manipulate it and move it around so he could, you know, swallow.   Or breathe.

So he is gagging on it, and then spits out the globby mess into his hand.  At this point, I am trying to direct him to the sink, and while I do that, he puts it back into his mouth and wipes his hand on the floor, the chairs, the counter, and then finally makes a giant pink, sticky swipe down the front of his shirt.

Oh, and he is drooling.


I end up making him spit it into a napkin- well, not really making him; he couldn't breathe!- throwing it away, and giving him a lecture on "Why Eating Seven Pieces of Gum is Not a Good Idea, Not to Mention That I Told You That You Could Have ONE More Piece of Candy, Not All the Bubble Gum in the Bag."

He got really upset at me for throwing out his gum, but was surprisingly accepting of my reasoning (this is your consequence for not listening).

Then he explained to me that he only did it because one of the big boys at the party did it and he wanted to try it, too.  I felt kind of bad for him, he plead his case so well.  

When Bryan came home, Ian told him what he learned about gum:  "That you can't put all the gum in your mouth at the same time because it turns into a sticky mess and Mommy will make you throw it away."  

Monday, April 12, 2010

DSAC Easter Egg Hunt

Our birth-3 group hosted an egg hunt a few weeks ago for all ages in the DSAC.  We had a music therapy session, singing, dancing, eating, and egg hunting.

*Ian and I went early to help hide the eggs.  I love doing stuff with him.
*Chase discovering his love for foil wrapped chocolate eggs (and Bryan teaching him that he can unwrap them prior to eating them).
*Chase joining in on the singing and dancing, even walking up to Mr. Nigel to help him play his guitar.
*A chance to wear my bunny ears.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Miracles

We have a visitor on our porch.  A robin decided to build her nest in the upper corner above our rocking chairs a few weeks ago.

Every time we would open the door, she would fly away, and then stalk around on the ground close by, or watch us from a nearby tree until we vacated the premises.

Then, early this week, she stopped leaving when we disturbed her, choosing instead to ruffle her feathers and stare down at us from atop her nest.  Tiffany and I figured that she had finally lain her eggs.

But come to find out, she had laid them much earlier (14 to 16 days ago- I looked it up!) and they were hatched!  Ian and I have seen 2 baby robin heads peeping out, opening their little beaks wide in anticipation of the meal that their mama will be bringing back.

I must say, although the miracle of life is amazing, those little baldy-head birds definitely aren't the cutest offspring ever.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Showing Off

We did a thousand 4 things yesterday.  It is spring break, so I don't have any daycare kids.  That means that I have the freedom to run all of my errands before 3pm with only 3 kids in tow.  Watching 2 extras really puts your own busy-ness in perspective.

Anyway.  We hit Sam's Club,  McDonald's, the park, Target, and the dollar ice cream stand.  We had actual things to do, and I threw in McD's, the park, and ice cream in for funsies because I felt bad that the kids' spring break was filled with doctor appointments and my things-to-do list.

We took Happy Meals to the park, the kids ate and began monkeying around on the playground equipment.  Ian was all over the place.  And so was Chase.  We started on the toddler playground, since it is fenced and I could finish feeding Gavin while they played without the fear of Chase running away.

Then Ian brought up a really good point ("Mom, it's not fair that I can't go on the big slides.") and we headed over to the giant play area.  I figured that Chase would kind of wander around, perhaps climb some stairs, and probably go down the smaller slides.  We get there, and I should have known...Monkey see, Monkey do.  Chase follows Ian all the way to the top of the biggest slide out there (think:  those super-fast straight slides at the water park.  Ok, it wasn't THAT tall, but I imagine that to Chase that is what it looked like.)

And do you know what he did?  He sat down and launched himself right down, smiling (almost, except for that split second of what-the-hell-did-I-just-do?! look of sheer panic) the whole way.

Then he did it again 4 more times.  And once he climbed up the completely vertical ladder to get to the top instead of using the stairs.

Everyone at the park was watching him.  I don't know if it was because of his complete joy of being allowed to be a big boy, or because they were terrified for him.  But I realized that there was a time when I didn't want people to look at him.  I wanted to protect him from the stares and the questions, and I would take complete offense to the questioning looks.  I thought every person looking at him was either pitying me or him.

But it is very different now, and I didn't really realize it until Bryan and I were talking to some new parents over dinner the other night.  Now I delight in other peoples' stares...because I believe usually they are in awe over what my little man can do.  I want him to show off.  I love that Bryan lets him ride on top of his shoulders and that he says hi! everyone from his perch.  I love that he climbs to the top of the slide and waves from the top.  I love that other people underestimate him and then get proved wrong.

I feel like every person that he passes and waves to may be the next person who chooses or knows someone who will chose to keep their unborn baby with Ds.

He is just such a little rock star, and I am so SO proud to be his mom. :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter 2010

We had an awesome Easter...

We began with the official egg hunt this morning (after the Easter Bunny dyed eggs last night at 9pm because Ian reminded me that we had forgotten to dye them on Saturday!  Doh!).

Chase was not so interested, except to throw a couple of them on the floor.  He would rather watch Yo Gabba Gabba with only one eye open and eat a banana.

Gavin slept in and missed the fun.

Celebrated at church with an amazing service at the Time Warner Arena with 11,000 people attending:

We have been blessed to be a part of this church and the good, good things that it is doing for the city of Charlotte.  It is something that we would have never believed that would become such an integral part of our lives, but today we celebrated whole heartedly the Risen Lord and the miraculous way He reaches out to those who need Him.  Yay!  *end crazy Christian rave*  :)

We did brunch at this really really cool French bakery, Amelie's, in NoDa with the Gallers.  I ate many many pastries, as did everyone else.  Yum.

When we got home, Ian tried out the new helmet and bell that the Easter Bunny brought him this morning. Doesn't he look gigantic on that teeny bike?  Methinks there will be a new bicycle coming next Christmas before his knees start hitting the handlebars when he rides...

 Chase and Gavin were exhausted, so they took a nap...and SO DID I!  Heaven.  Bryan took Ian out to do guy errands (Lowes) and do bee stuff in the backyard:
I got up before Chase and Gavin and had some time in the kitchen to myself and whipped up some roasted sweet potatoes and bakers with caramelized onions, roasted asparagus, and balsamic marinated baby bella mushrooms.  I love cooking.  Wish I had more time to do it...

After dinner we had some daylight left, so we tried to get a picture of the boys in their Sunday finery.  I love those kids.  Seriously.  Love 'em.  

Notice Ian is still smiling in this one...and Gavin learns a new trick.
Look alive, Chasey!
Chase is done with this picture thing and is asking to go on the swings now.  You know, the ones right there.

Hope you all had a very happy Easter!