Monday, January 28, 2013

A First Birthday Party

Most reasonable families will hold their baby's First Birthday Party in their home. Invite just a few guests; mainly family and close friends. Bake a small homemade cake with natural baby friendly ingredients. Quiet, low-key, and calm is the way to go as not to overwhelm the little one (who won't remember it anyway).

We've never done it like that, though, at our house. I tried (really, I tried!) to keep it low-key for Jaina's first birthday. But once I invited one family from the neighborhood, I realized that it would be nice to invite another family from the neighborhood, and then I couldn't leave out the other family from the neighborhood, too. Then there were friends from MOMS Club and from the library storytime. And close friends of the family. And of course, family!

We ended up having so many people that some guests had to sit on our stairs and on our front porch to eat cake.

With Jayce's first birthday party, pretty much the exact same thing happened.

The only difference with Jocelyn's party is that Brian put his foot down about NOT having it at the house.

Where on earth are we going to find a place to have a one year old's birthday party in January?

Too cold for parks, too young for pretty much anything else.

I finally had the great idea to call the Gymboree Play and Music gym in a neighboring town. Perfect!

(well, except for the fact that ages 5 and older can't play. I had some pretty bored big kids that had to occupy themselves with a game of Bingo and some crafts).

Despite the big kids not being involved, the babies, toddlers, and preschoolers had a ball! (10 little ones in all!)

Her cake was another wonderful creation by Cakes by Dodi...

You know how much Jocelyn loves her monkey :)

All in all, it was a great birthday!

I couldn't take pictures of her with her cake (she was hilarious and wouldn't really touch it without using a fork!) but as soon as I get some, I'll upload them in another post!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Exactly 365 days ago

I had this:

And now, all of a sudden, she's turned into this:

I'm still trying to figure out how that happened.

Happy Birthday to my baby girl!

Birth Story here
And here
And more here
And last, here

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Daddy's Helper

The day before Jocelyn woke up with a fever last week, she was a busy girl!

There was sunshine to bask in.

There were cars to wash.

There were puddles to crawl through.

And smiles to give.

And reflections to ponder.

There was help to be given.

There were clothes to soak through.

And, finally, warm baths to be given. 

Thanks for your help, Jocelyn!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The worst cold of history

Eh, we're all sick with colds over here. That much isn't big news anymore. And although the drippy, snotty nose, bothersome cough, nasty drainage, and sore throat isn't fun, its not stopping anyone else from going on their normal way.

Except for Joce.

She's the only one who has a fever. Can't/won't eat. Fitful and restless when she falls asleep. Much more crying than she's ever done before.

We've watched more Dora than I've ever seen in my life.

I took her into see a new doctor on Monday. I really liked him; he came highly recommended to me from some good friends that have similar medical beliefs that I do.

He thoroughly checked her out. And couldn't find anything, except a drippy nose, that could be causing her so much discomfort. No ear infection, no red throat, nothing. He tentatively suggested teething.

Although he was right (She did cut two teeth yesterday and several more gums are swollen), I wasn't sure that teething was the complete culprit. Plus, the cold seemed to be getting worse, not better, and it really should be almost done with its course by now. Add a gunky cough and some vomiting to the mix and we have one sick baby.

I took her back to the doctor today. Strep test was negative, much to my shock. But she does have an ear infection now.

I know cold and flu viruses are not affected by antibiotics, but something tells me that this is not just a single virus anymore. I hope the antibiotics not only clear up her ears, but also take care of everything else, too.

My baby has big plans for the weekend!

and it does not include watching any more DORA!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Jayce Update

Its been a long time since I've talked about my middle child.

A lot of times, with Jayce, there just are no words. Sometimes the words I have for him are not complimentary and I don't ever want him to look back on this time and feel anything less than love from me.

In some ways, Jayce and his autism have gotten easier as he grows older.

- He is quite verbal now. He can tell me when he doesn't feel good, what he wants for snack, or what his favorite game to play is.
- His self-help and motor skills have improved exponentially. He can bath himself, dress himself, ride a bike without training wheels.
- His diet is pretty consistent with other picky kids. He'll try any new food at least once. His favorite meals are mac and cheese, pizza, and chicken nuggets, though.
- He has some true friends. Alden and Louis are spend-the-night buddies. Camille and Dominick are friends from school.

Some things he has not outgrown are quite tougher to handle at age 7.5.
- He still knows how to throw a major tantrum
- Its a lot harder to enforce consequences for disobedience.
- His impulsiveness looks very out of place for his age
- Play, either independently or with friends, is still hard for him.
- This is the year where he's noticed that he's different... and other kids have noticed, too.
- We've dealt with bullying this school year. This isn't the first time, but it IS the first time that Jayce was aware that the kids didn't like him.
- His tourette's syndrome tics make him feel uncomfortable and embarrassed.
- School is requiring much more focus and attention and independent work.
- Aggression, anxiety, and depression have reared its ugly head.

6 months ago Jayce received a Tourette's Syndrome diagnosis from a Pediatric Neurologist. She also recommended that we get into see a Developmental Pediatrician and a Psychiatrist that specializes in children with autism. We are still on the waiting list for appointments to both places.

To help his Tourette's, we decided to try medication for the first time ever. 1 mg of Intuniv. It is primarily an ADHD medication that has the added benefit for helping control tics. We are lucky that it does, indeed, help with that a lot. Our biggest complaint is that it wears off too soon. For that, our neurologist prescribed Tenex, which is a fast acting form of Intuniv, to help in the late afternoon and for bedtime.

Before anyone dares to berate me for turning to medicine, let me say this....

-Jayce has been in some sort of behavioral therapy for 5.5 years.
- He has been receiving ABA therapy for the past 3 years.
- He has been in ST, OT, and Feeding Therapy off and on for the past 5 years.

There is no therapy that is known to help Tourette's. Medication, right now, is the only way to help the symptoms. Still, I was on the fence about trying medication until Jayce told the doctor, "I feel uncomfortable when my body moves and I can't stop it."

That clinched it. We're trying medicine.

Intuniv has been a wonderful drug for Jayce. It has calmed down a bit of the hyperactivity and impulsiveness in addition to controlling his tics. Overall, we've seen a reduction in tantrums, aggression, and depression. They certainly haven't gone away completely, but there has been a marked improvement.

However, Intuniv does nothing to help Jayce's focus and attention and memory. Now, I'm not talking about focusing on a Wii game for 3 hours or paying attention to the TV during Spongebob, or the fact that Jayce can remember what day of the week his birthday was on three years ago. I mean, being able to retain and follow a 3 step direction and not get distracted before even following the first step. Not having the teacher repeat "Get your science book out" 17 times before you realize you haven't gotten your science book out. Remembering what he was going to say in mid-conversation.

So, we tried Adderall, a stimulant ADHD medication, the week after Christmas. We gave him his 5 mg dose and watched in trepidation for side effects.... will it kill his appetite? Increase his tics? Raise his blood pressure? Send him spiraling into a deep depression?


Nothing happened. Like, nothing at all. You couldn't even tell we were giving him any new medication. He didn't feel different. He didn't act different. No side effects. No ADHD symptom control. No nothing.

So, we upped his dose to 10 mg.

We noticed a difference right away. Jayce was a totally different kid. He was helpful, thoughtful, polite, showed empathy (something we've been teaching him for YEARS in therapy but have never heard him generalize) and was generally a pleasant kid to be around. He even said, "Hey mom... I feel like cleaning and organizing my room!" and he did! He's never cleaned his room without a fight!

However, behavior was the only improvement. There was absolutely no improvement in ADHD symptoms. In fact, he was even spacier than ever. And he started to stutter. And his tics came back with a vengeance and we had to increase his Intuniv.

No, that won't do at all. So, back to the drawing board.

I guess its pretty common to have to do this trial and error method with medications, times, and dosages. It would have been a miracle if we had gotten it right at first. Next on the list? 30 mg of Vyvanse. Its in the same category as Adderall, but has less of a chance for side effects so we can safely increase his dose without messing with his Tourette's medication.

Let's hope for the best!

Jayce has so much potential. All I want for him is to be happy. He definitely wasn't a happy boy last Summer and I never want him to visit that dark place again. If medicine is the key to helping Jayce cope with his autism, then medicine it is.

His three year ABA program is coming to its end. He started with 27 hours while also attending a special needs preschool 15 hours a day and he's ending with only 8 hours of therapy a week. He's made so much progress and made so many new friends and learned so many new skills. We are thankful for everyone who has made a difference in our lives through Hope Reach.

Now, let's hope we can survive without a therapist in the afternoons!


Presently, my house has four people with drippy noses, two people that want to sleep all the time, two people who won't eat, and one little one who has a fever :(

It wasn't enough that the flu invaded our house last month.... no... the cold virus must have been jealous for attention, too.

Only Brian remains unscathed. That's pretty typical. We say he's too mean to let germs invade his body and stick around.

Being sick has caused us to miss out on enjoying this gorgeous weather we've had here. After 4-5 days of overcast, cold, and rain (LOTS of rain!), the sun finally came out and brought temperatures in the 60's with it. At least we were able to open our windows and air out our germy house for a bit.

Its also left me a lot more time for catching up on the blog. The problem? None of my pictures that I have ready to upload reflect the current state of my house. I'm not that behind. Just one calendar week. Its so funny how things can change in such a short amount of time

Be on the lookout for an extraneous number of pictures of the baby. Why? Her first birthday is coming up and I am determined to capture her in the 11 month state as much as possible.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Child's Play

I was cleaning the kitchen the other day and saw this out of the corner of my eye....

How on earth is my baby old enough to be playing with baby dolls?

I remember when Jaina first picked up a doll (that she had gotten for her birthday) and patted its back and threw a blanket over its head in a crude attempt to cover it up.

I remember thinking, "How do they know how to do that? How does pretend play come so naturally?"

I sat and watched her cuddle her doll, rock it in her arms, and pat its back.

Then she put it to bed on the blanket next to her.

There might have been a little WWF play going on as well...

We'll just blame big brother Jayce for that influence. Jocelyn must have watched how he plays with dolls one day.

Milestones are bittersweet with this third baby of mine. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The week in review

I don't know about you guys, but this past week felt like it went on foreeeever. Every morning I'd wake up and think to myself, "Oh my god... is it really only (insert day of the week here)??" It certainly didn't help that it rained except Friday. Oh, and we were supposed to get SNOW on Thursday night. 1-2" even! Um, yeah. It didn't even freeze. What a let down.

You know how some people suffer from SAD? Seasonal Affective Disorder? Well, that's what I suffer from on rainy days. I'm okay the first day of no sunshine. By 48 hours, however, I'm a shell of my former self. I don't like to leave the house, drive the van, clean up, play with the kids, or pretty much do anything when its nasty out. I like to sit on the couch, eat snack food, and watch TV.

Thank goodness the beloved sun made its appearance yesterday and continued on to this weekend. I've risen from my funk, caught up on dishes and laundry, played with all three of the kids, hung out with the husband, let Jocelyn splash around in cold puddles, and cleaned out the vacuum. Obviously, some of those tasks were more fun than others :)

Anyway, here are pictures from last week:

1-3: Taco Bell lunch from two Fridays ago.
4: a rare picture of all three of my babies
5: playing baby dolls
6: my cleaning helper
7: brushing toothies
8: hi!
9: Brian-sized bleach
10: reading a book to sister
11-12: Happy Birthday Pink Doggie
13: Rain much?
14: Taco Bell lunch from yesterday
15: Big Smile
16: one-by-one wipes puller

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Left Center Right

Last year, we celebrated our first annual Festivus for the Rest of Us. It was too fun not to have again. So, on a dreary cold December night after Christmas, we headed over to our friends' house to air our grievances in front of an aluminum pole.

We brought food that related to various Seinfeld episodes and had a "Donate to the Human Fund" basket on the table.

However, the most fun we had was not related to any Seinfeld, Kramer, Elaine, or George Costanza at all...

Patty introduced us to the game Left Center Right:

 The concept is very simple. Every player starts out with three dollars. Then you take turns rolling three dice.

On the dice is either a L (for left), and R (for right), a C (for Center) or a dot (means you keep it).

Then you just follow the dice.

Let's say you rolled a R, a C, and a dot. That means you'd pass one of your dollar bills to the player to the right of you. One of your dollars is placed in a pile in the center of the table, and the last dollar, you get to keep. You are now only left with one dollar. When its your turn to play again, you may only roll one dice. Now, if you run out of money, you are NOT out of the game. Remember, either player to the side of you could roll a R or a L during their turn to give you their dollar.

The player with the last dollar left wins the entire center pile.

When we first started the game, things were calm and unemotional. Besides our host and hostess, none of us had ever played before.

Soon, you couldn't keep a smile off our faces as we eagerly awaited our turn.

And that led to some good-natured ribbing and a lot of excitement....

The host ended up winning. I think it was rigged :P

Even the kids got in on the action. We let them use poker chips because that seemed a little less like gambling than using real money :)

Oh, what a fun night :) The only regret is that I did not snap a picture of our lovely hostess that created the entire event. My dear friend wasn't feeling top notch as she was nursing a headache and some neck pain, but she said the party was worth it :)

Until next year....