Monday, April 14, 2014

Dear Dallas

To My Dear Sweet Boy Dallas,

I love you so very much.You have such a sweet soul. I love they way you light up and say "MaMa' when I walk in the door. And the sweet way you hold my face and hug me and say "MaMa Okay" at bedtime.Or how you'll hold my hand in the car.I love your voice and how you sing along with the songs in the movies. I love the way you bring your brother's blanket to him when you find it and the silly way you guys chase and laugh with each other.

The other day you ate an entire bunch of bananas and helped yourself to two or three cuties (oranges.) I love that you are showing your independence but c'mon kid FIVE bananas! I told you no to another cutie and offered you a string cheese and you said "no" and put yourself to bed. Like really to bed, fast asleep and all within minutes. I plan on offering you string cheese every night. Most of the time when you help yourself to a banana you peel it, remove the seed at the end, take a bite, then hand half (the smaller, bitten half) to your brother.  Last night when you peeled your cutie and broke it into two sections I asked you to share some with your brother. You were not interested in that so you tried to put both pieces together as if there was only one piece. I told you again to share so you broke off one slice to give him.. you did eventually give him three more but you were trying to be Mr. Smarty pants.

This last year you have developed a lot more useful language and it's been nice having some communication. You definitely know the word "no" but usually say "so sorry" when you're refusing something instead. I love that you use "so sorry" and "sorry" in the proper contexts. However, you say "sorry" even when you did nothing wrong and your brother did.. which happens quite often. I look forward to the day where you can have a conversation and tell us what's going on in that mind of yours.

We met with your teachers a couple of weeks ago to set up your new goals for this next school year and they shared a cute story. The teacher gave you photos of each friend in class and you had to give each friend their photo, which you did. Then she laid out all the photos and asked you to point out each friend when she told you their name... and you knew every one! You don't address anyone by name so we didn't know you knew that. But what we realize each and every day is you know a lot more things than you can communicate. :)

I hope you had the very best birthday a 4 year old could want. I tried to fill your day with fun and Planes! You woke to a fully decorated house where you pointed out every Dusty and Plane you found. We had Uncle Buddy, Auntie Kay, GGma, Grandma and Grandpa Collins over for a yummy banana pancake breakfast where we sang to you and you got to blow out candles and mommy gave you a new Planes book. Then we got you and your brother's haircut and we picked up a couple of new planes. Next, we came back home and watched a movie until it was party time! You seemed to really enjoy your birthday party and blew through the present opening. You especially lit up when mom and dad's surprise gift came out. You carried that Planes Aircraft helicopter around for the rest of the night!

 We love you and our so proud of the smart and sweet kid you are. We can't wait to see what this next years hold and all the growing and learning you will do.
You are SOOO loved baby boy!
xoxo, Mama

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dallas and Griffin Go to the Zoo!

My kids have never really been to the zoo.. it's a travesty! Of course we've gone to Zoo Lights and there was that one time when Lil D was super tiny we spent the day at the Wildlife World Zoo but I felt it was due time for a trip to the Phoenix Zoo. I mentioned it to my bro who was game to go and I invited my parents to tag a long too!

We went first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds and we got great parking. Upon arrival Lil D started doing the pee pee wiggle... Uh Oh! So we rushed to the gates, hurried and made it in time to the potty. That kid's bladder of steal impresses me!

I attempted to try the no stroller route but that was the most insane idea ever. While I took Lil D to the restroom Griffin was giving my family a run for their money. So I promptly walked right back out to the car to grab their strollers! I was hoping to wear them out but we were all glad they rode in the strollers.

They enjoyed looking at the maps and going for a ride. There were a few points we had to take them out to see or to climb a viewing tower with stairs that rocked.. Grif hated those! They also got to get out and run around while my dad took a break. Then the potty dance started again and we had to speed walk to the closest restroom!

Our last stop of the day was to see the elephants. We walked toward the front and took some photos in front of the large macaroni noodle while we waited for my mom. Then Lil D spotted it.... The carousel and he insisted on riding it. So with my brothers help we got them on it and he LOVED it. Griffin wasn't so sure of it and held on for dear life.

We had a fantastic morning! Can't wait to go again.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Welcome Baby Amelia

St. Patrick's Day 2014 is one I'll never forget.

It as Monday towards the end of the day and Jamie came out of a meeting looking like something was off I asked her if she was ok and she said she was having some contractions. She had gotten many braxton hicks contractions but something about these felt different. She timed them for a bit and then called her doctor and was instructed to go to the hospital... so off we went. Luckily, I had drove that day and took her there and waited with her until Andy arrived. Once he was there with Jacob I offered to drive Jacob back to our side of town and meet up with his grandparents so that they could relax and concentrate on stopping labor being that it was six weeks early. They gave Jamie a shot to stop the contractions a couple of times and they weren't able to fully stop labor. So Tuesday morning I got a call that Amelia would be born some time that day. I would have loved to be at the hospital again like I was with Jacob but with a pesky cough and a few meetings for Dallas it wasn't in the cards.

You better believe that I made it up there the very next day to hold and cuddle the sweet girl and look super awesome with a medical mask! As well as bring a bunch of supplies since they weren't super prepared for her making an early arrival and we hadn't had the baby sprinkle yet.

Here's a quick compare I put together of Jacob and Amelia because I think they just look so much alike.
Of course after abruptly going on maternity leave we had to let Jamie know that her team was thinking of here and we did so via a photo collage... those are our thinking faces.
and my sweet friend made this photo collage of Baby A in her sleeper I picked up for her. How great does her mommy look?
Can't wait to watch this girl grow up and get to help plan girly things!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Breakfast with Superheroes

I had breakfast with a couple of superheroes... Firefighter Buzz and Captain America.. so I pretty much win today!
 Muscles!!

 This cheeser melts me!
 "Mom, are you really taking pics of me eating? c'mon"
Just a typical Sunday morning at the Street's!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Brothers aka Best Friends!

Just wanted to share some photos of the adventures these sweet brothers have!

Watching some toons in recliners.

Leg jousting in the car.
 Hanging out on Saturday mornings.
 Waiting on mommy for food!
Couch camp outs!
 Sweet cuddles.
 Checking out the disney movie club rewards together. Love how Grif peers over his brothers shoulder.

Being silly in Mommy and Daddy's glasses.
Sharing a slice of Pizza at Costco.
Running around at the park and blowing bubbles!
Playing with lots and lots of bubbles!
 Impromptu picnic out back just because they wanted to.
 Sharing a pallet on the floor to watch a movie!
 Mommy making the coolest, bubbly bubble bath ever!
As you can see these two have a blast together.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A New Journey in Speech Development

I've talked about Lil D's trouble to communicate before but have only briefly touched on Griffin's difficulty as well.

Can I be frank, having children who don't communicate is hard... like really frustrating, pull-out-your-hair I-just-want-to-understand-you-hard, but I digress...

Just like his big brother, Griffin is not talking at the level he should be. Granted, he says more that Lil D did at this age and what he does say is much clearer but still, no where near where he should be.

You think we would have learned our lesson with Lil D and call AeZip right away to get him qualified for services, but nope we waited until he was 2 1/2. We got a rep and got all the approvals very quickly and he'll get a solid four months of appointments 1x a week. We have two therapists come out, one specifically working on his language and the other works to get out his energy and focus him on tasks such as matching colors and puzzles.

Griffin has taken to his therapists and has been getting some words and word combinations under his belt. We also are working on getting him into preschool through the state so when he turns three and the school year starts he'll continue to get help and hopefully will be fully prepared for kindergarten.

With the news of Lil D's diagnosis we went ahead and brought Griffin tot he same developmental pediatrician and she confirmed what we already knew.. he is not at risk for being on the spectrum just a late talker. And this too shall pass.

 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Appointment That Changed Everything...

We got a call from Lil D's doctor office asking us to come in for a short appointment for the results of Lil D's research study.

We were anxious for the results, all the explanations Dallas gave me from how Lil D did at the eval seemed positive. He seemed to think he had done really well. Our appointment was made in the middle of the day. The office isn't too far from my work so I met the boys there. We were pulled into an exam room and given the news.

They gave him a grade on a scale of 1-10.  1 being no signs of Autism, and 10 being extreme Autism. Anyone given a 5-10 is on the spectrum.  Dallas was given a 5.  So according to this study he does have Autism, albeit a mild version.

And that was it.. a diagnosis, something that stayed in the back of our minds the last two years as we noticed his speech milestones not being on target. Two years of going to our ped and asking what was going on and seeing a neourologist, speech therapirst and a new pediatrician and not one person even  willing to put that "label" anywhere near him or direct us to a developmental pediatrician if we had concerns we didn't even know those existed. Two years of time where he could have been getting more help in his still very young mind our insurance denied paying for speech therapy unless it was related to the possibility of Autism and our pediatrician said she couldn't do that she didn't see that  being his issue at all. Granted he is in the gray area but what I'm learning more and more about the spectrum the whole dang thing is gray. Each child has their own set of difficulties.

The doctor was kind and sympathetic but I couldn't help but feel like here's your $60 check, sorry your kid has an issue, have a great day.... Have a great day! I know that I'm making it all insane in my head but in that moment that's how I felt.You can never prepare yourself to hear those words.

I was strong and held it together is what I wish I could say but there were tears... a few at the office,  even more once I left the office to go back to work and later that day and the next. It's hard to explain how I felt but here's my attempt. I felt like I was in a fog, my body felt heavy and nothing and everything mattered all at once. And I wanted to squeeze my baby as tight as possible and kiss his sweet face.

Here are our truths:
1. Lil D is still our amazing, sweet little boy that lights up our world.
2. At least we have some answers and can go from here.
3. We're very blessed by the things he does so well, the kid practically potty trained himself.
4. We won't let him use his "label" to get away with anything. We feel that if he wants it, with enough work and perseverance he can achieve it.
5. I'm very overwhelmed with what our next moves are.


A Reseach Study with Big Implications

When I left off I had mentioned a research study that Dallas was going to participate in to determine if he has Autism or not. It's normally a test that costs $700/800 but if we participated in the study they actually pay us a whopping $60. They get the info for their study as well as a small portion of Lil D's blood.

My husband took him to the appointment. I thought it was just the blood draw and that the actual observation testing would be scheduled at that time but alas it was the whole appointment and I was sad I missed it to witness first hand.

So Dallas took him to The Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) for the appointment. They went into a room and turned on a video camera. Dallas was in the room but was not supposed to prompt Lil D to do anything, he was,  however, allowed to interact with him if Lil D initiated it.

The lady brought toys out to play with Dallas. She had a bubble gun which he really enjoyed and when it was put on a shelf, he signed to his dad to help him get it down. She had a baby doll which he would feed fake cake with "mmmmmsss" as well as fake feed himself. He refused to cover the baby with the blanket though. She tried calling his name to which he would not answer. She would give him the choice between a M&M and a cheerio and no matter which way she presented them he'd always pick the m&m first. Overall Dallas felt like Lil D did a great job and that the observation accurately represented him on a better day.

And then he got his blood drawn to which Dallas said he did a great, brave boy job! Just making a slight discomfort noise but not crying at all. to read the test results go HERE.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Developmental Language Disorder and.....

Sorry if this post seems a bit disorganized I must admit that my brain is a bit disorganized. I wasn't sure if I was going to share this journey here on my blog but after talking with my husband we decided the more help/support we find, the better.

Per the referral from Lil D's school speech therapist we took him to see a Developmental Pediatrician.

After filling out a ton of forms and the doctor asking us a bunch of questions as well as observing him play with the toys in the room she diagnosed him with Developmental Language Disorder, at risk for Autism, (every questionnaire and observation always results in him being in the gray area because there are things he does that makes you think nope he's good but there are a couple of things that he does that might mean he is.) And she also thinks he may be at risk for ADHD.

When the doctor received the teachers report the ADHD thoughts increased since a lot of what she see's in he classroom aligns with those characteristics.

We had to bring both boys to the appointment and she noticed that Griffin doesn't talk well either and between the two of them they destroyed the toy area in her room and urged us to begin the AeZip program with him, which we already have.

After leaving that appointment we were to change his diet, meaning no sugar, chocolate, caffeine, food dye, sodium.. so basically how all people should eat. We were also waiting on a call to bring him in for a research study with SARRC to determine if he does or does not have Autism.

When I left that I appointment my head swirled... my baby has to be ok. I just want him to talk to communicate to let me hear those inner thoughts I crave. I know they're there I see him working through things a lot. I didn't deny any of what the doctor said we've always had something in the back of our minds that said something is off. I am glad to feel like we're moving in the right direction to figure out what is going on with my sweet boy.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Amelia's Frozen Birthday Party

This weekend we got the pleasure of attending a way fun Frozen Birthday party for our little friend, Amelia.

Her mom, Jess, throws adorable parties you may remember the fun halloween craft party we attended and Amelia's 2nd birthday I shared last year. The kids always have a great time and we do too!  This year the boys enjoyed the bounce house, the cake and the Rita's frozen ice YUM! They also enjoyed all the fun Olaf decorations since they are big fans of that movie right now.

Amelia was too cute in her piggie tails and twirly dress and we had a good time hanging out with friends. I love that we have a group of baby friends for our kiddos to spend time with.

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