Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Break!

Today to celebrate spring break we went out to the lakehouse for the day. Suzanne went with us and we had a great time. The weather was just perfect and the boys had a blast playing on the beach and in the water. It was Sydney's first time at the lakehouse and she partied hard in her carrier on the dock.

Mommy and Sydney....I don't have many pics of me and my girl since I'm usually the one behind the camera. (Clothing for Sydney provided by Suzanne and Jess....their signature design onesie from my baby shower "Social Butterfly"!) Sydney loved the lake
The lakehouse new cat, named Christmas since she arrived somehow there at Christmas, had kittens and they are about 4 weeks old now. Another good reason to come to the lake today because I was dying to meet them.
Doesn't she have amazing eyes!

And her 5 kittens
So lovable!!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Boston's first basketball game

Boston had his very first basketball game today. Unfortunately Sean and I had to miss it due to shooting the wedding. My parents took him. He has been so excited about the game for days. And he was so cute with his uniform on and ready to go this morning. His team is the Grizzlies and he loves when the team huddles up and yells "Go Grizzles!" During the game he would space out and look at the other games going on at times, which is so funny. He did manage to score once during the game and his coach even ran out on the court to hug him he was so excited. And the won the game! I'm really looking forward to his next game so I can watch.

Back to shooting

After a 6 week maternity leave I'm back doing photography again. I had a wedding today and I have to say I've been very nervous about leaving Sydney for a whole day considering she's so young and I'm nursing her. (I booked this wedding long before I ever got pregnant.) But all went well and without a hitch. I'm in the weeds editing the photos but here's a few preview ones (as you can see I'm still editing some details shots and haven't really gotten to the bride and groom pics.)
It did feel nice to be out and doing what I love! And Sean second shot for me and we work so well together. I love when we are able to work together, we just gel so well together. Now I just have fit editing in my crazy life with 4 kids!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Worm Farm

We had a homeschool field trip today to the worm farm out in Apopka. I never even knew such a place existed. The boys were super excited about it and Dallas got to go because he didn't have any school today at his preschool. Boston was very interested and excited to be there with all his friends. Dallas on the other had held back and wanted to sit with me. The room we were in was very small and there were lots of us in there so I'm sure that might have been a little overwelming for him. Asher of course was Mr Social but I tired to keep him close....and the while having Sydney strapped to me in a sling.

I only wish I could have heard all that our guide had to seems pretty interesting...but I had to chase after Dallas and Asher most of the time.

Here the first room where they learned so much about worms.
WORMS! This was about the only time Dallas was interested at all the whole day
Boston making his own worm farm

now adding the dirt.....and finally the worms.Asher ran around, collected rocks and was just being silly I ended up giving Dallas my iphone so he would stop getting into trouble
Boston smelling Thyme
Asher hanging out with his buddy Lucas
And here is Sydney all snug as a bug in the sling. She slept the whole time thank goodness. But she's too big now for the sling, until she can sit up and I can carry her on my hip. I can't believe at 7 weeks she's already too big for this thing. But my girlfriend Michelle had sent me hers and I think Sydney is now just big enough for that one. Yah.
The homeschooling group. Although Boston is my only kid present in this pic. Dallas and Asher didn't want to be in it. Boston is standing behind the teacher.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Painting outside

There's nothing like getting outside with the kids for some fun....with my camera in hand. I had a roll of this stuff we had to put under our flooring when we installed it. It was a whole roll left over and I figured it would come in handy for something. While I was wanting to do something fun outside in this beautiful weather I thought what better to do with it than paint! So here's a few shots from our fun outside.

This is Boston who painted his face to look like some bad guy from Indiana Jones

Boston loves to draw...but today he kept getting a little distracted with painting himself! ha! He even mentioned if he painted his whole face he would look like one of the guys from blue man group. I suggested that I didn't think that was such a good idea with this paint. At least we had a good time hosing off....wish the camera could have gotten that too.Asher loves to draw and paint with anything....and when left alone has been known to find his way to my bathroom and use my makeup to color on the walls....and let me say it doesn't easily come off. He seems to be my most interested in making his drawings just perfect at this age. And if you look at them it's lots of very precise lines. He really concentrates when working on his artwork. So cute!
And Dallas was the only one that wanted to paint with his hands and feet, which was kind of the point. Boston and Asher wanted to use paint brushes and water to wash them out so they didn't mix the paint. Dallas wanted to mix them all up and get right in. Totally shocking for me that it was him that wanted his feet wet with paint!Boston thinking seriously about what to add next to his Tiger paintingMy precious, funny, energetic Asher Dallas - you gotta LOVE that smile! And of course he's in a costume....can't go home without one

and then there's always the silly face with Dallas. And one last shot for little Miss Sydney who slept through the paint expedition. She played in her new bouncy seat from Aunt Margie for the first time today. She's focusing and looking around so much more the last few days. Of course the boys wanted to play with all the bells and whistles on this thing whenever she was in it...sleeping or not.

In the trenches of parenting

A friend of mine posted this on her facebook and I had to laugh and repost it. I hope none of my friends are offended by it, I don't put my nose up when you do give parenting advice, usually I'm asking for it ;-) But there is some truth to be said that unless you have a child on the Autistic Spectrum Disorder it can be hard to know what to say.

For me the hard part really is my own struggle with feeling like I'm not doing a good enough job. I've always been very successful in anything I put my mind to, but in parenting it's a daily struggle and learning experience, not to mention a test on my patience. Of course the rewards are amazing, but today has just been one of those days I feel like I can't do anything right and I'm just too tired. Not to mention the fact that with each passing day I notice more and more symptoms of Aspergers in our 3rd child which is overwhelming. Just this morning we tried on every single long sleeve shirt he had but every single one had something that bothered his skin. Needless to say I ended up putting pajama top on him that was tag less and soft. Then most of the day has been spent listening to him tell everyone "don't look at me" (a common occurrence in Asperger children-including Dallas) So now mealtime problems are multiplied with two children yelling "don't look at me!" Of course then the baby starts crying. You can see my crazy cycle.

The struggle for me, and I would imagine many parents with children with special needs, or maybe any mom, would be that I just don't do a good enough job. Did I handle the situation correctly? Is this an Asperger's moment or is he just not obeying me? Am I asking too much of him? And then of course now I have four children and each going through their own stage in growing up and trying to parent through all of them. Yesterday I found myself praying, "Lord I know you are giving me more than I can handle so that I need to put my faith in you. You've got it Lord, now send me down an instruction manual or some HELP!"

Then there's the mommy guilt. Did I read enough today? Was I patient enough? Was I stern enough? Am I not consistent enough? Or these: Did I do Dallas' 30 minutes of Physical Therapy exercises and is his toe walking not any better because I don't give it enough focus? I haven't made the charts his OT suggested that would help. Am I feeding them enough nutritious food? Have we dont any brain integration therapy this week? Are they getting the right vitamin and mineral supplements? Should we try Gluten Free/Casein Free diet? And the list goes on and on. I found myself pleading to God the other night to make all the noise in my head stop so I can finally fall asleep.

Are all these thoughts from God? NO Who then? The devil.

Has he penetrated my armour in my weakest hour? Yes.

My final thought is to just delete this ranting post, but I then decided I ought to post it because there might be some mom out in cyber space going through exactly the same thing as me and she can then be encouraged by the same verse that I am today. And remember, the Lord will never give you more than you can handle.

Would you rather live a life of ease and comfort and remain immature in Christ, or am I willing to be seasoned with suffering if by doing so I am conformed to the image of Christ? --Gary Thomas from the book Sacred Marriage

A 5th century writer, John Climacus, said "I would not consider any spirituality worthwhile that wants to walk in sweetness and ease and run from the imitation of Christ."

And I'll end with this scripture that's encouraging during the difficult moments in parenting:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." James 1:2-8

So I'll try and smile during the difficult days when I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. And daily, or hourly ask for God's wisdom to know what to do and have faith the HE will give it. Nothing is too big for God! And I'll think on all the great things my kids do and focus on the positive moments. I'm ever so blessed by my four beautiful, loving children who help me grow each and every day. And I know in 10 years I'll look back at these days as the best, forgetting about being in the trenches, but remembering the beautiful days full of little children laughter and joy and thank God that he thought so highly of me to bless me with these four children.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Parenthood TV show featuring Aspergers

The new TV show Parenthood has a young boy in it with Aspergers. It's been very interesting watching the show and the similarities the family with the Asperger's child have to our own family. Like when the little boy wants to wear his pirate costume to school. Dallas has a Star Wars costume he wears pretty much all the time and when he's not wearing it he's asking to wear it. He also likes to wear the same pjs every night, although he's learned that he has to make do sometimes with others. (And he's gotten MUCH better about that.) I can't tell you how many times we have gone to the store with him in his costume. I was encouraged when the behavioral therapist on the show told the dad to go to his world instead of making him come to yours. And later in the show they show the dad running around the back yard dressed as a pirate too. It was so touching to me! I only wish the behavioral therapist we saw was a good as this one. Ours was horrible and after a few sessions we stopped going.

And the moment when they get the news that their son has Aspergers Syndrome brought tears to my eyes remembering the day when we were in the Neurologist office to have Dallas evaluated (because of his toe walking and my feeling like he has Sensory Processing Disorder) and being blindsided with a diagnosis of Aspergers, which I knew nothing about. I remember Dr Kojic telling us the same kind of things they were told in the tv show, about all the positive things about Aspergers and the amazing people thought to have it: Bill Gates, Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, Albert Einsten, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Beethoven. I left not sure how I was supposed to feel. What does this mean? And then the scene with them meeting with the other couple who has a son with Aspergers and them talking about OT, PT, ST, ABA, Behavioral Therapy. It's the whirlwind path we are on.

Another scene from last weeks episode that touched close to home was the scene where he was asking the teacher to make the bubbles in the huge fish tank stop. And then the next thing you see is the fact that he has gone over and pushed the tank and it broke everywhere. I could totally see Dallas doing this if a sound was hurting his ears. He has learned to cope with some sounds, like the blender, by putting his hands over his ears.

I look forward to watching this show and what else they show regarding Aspergers. Will they show him telling people to stop looking at him? Will they show him having conversations with people and the one sidedness of it? Will they show the meltdowns? Will they show the repetitive questions over and over and over again? The writers son has Aspergers so I believe it will be a pretty accurate depiction of a life with an Aspergers child. Finally some parenting I can relate to!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sydney 5 weeks old

Sydney turned 5 weeks old on Thursday. Wow does time fly! She is already sleeping through the night too! Sunday night March 14 she slept 9 hours straight! Whew. And then the next night it was 7 hours. Then she had a rough night and then went back to sleeping 7-8 hours. It feels so good to have some good sleep. She also sleeps very well in the ships bed next to our bed at night. I put her in there when she is awake most nights and she just puts herself to sleep. Sometimes she wants the pacifier but not all the time. At around 5 or 6 when she wakes up to eat I always let her fall back asleep and stay sleeping on top of me. I LOVE THAT! That's something I will really really miss when she grows! I think it's probably my absolute favorite thing about babies!!!!
(Picture I took of Sean with Sydney's feet)
She also focusing on looking at people so much now. It's like a whole new world has opened up to her. She still sleeps most of the day away, with her favorite wake time being around 7-10. This is very nice because the boys are in bed and I can give her my undivided attention.
She eats great! Growing fast. Now I usually only nurse her on one side and it only takes about 10 minutes. She likes this and it makes things very easy. At first 2 week pain (which with her lasted 3 weeks) is gone. That makes nursing time much more enjoyable and not so excruciating! And I learned something this time around that I would love to pass on. I got mastisis so bad with Asher...3 times! It was awful. But I didn't know why I got it with him and none of the others. Then I was reading about it a few weeks ago and found out that if your baby is tongue tied then you have a higher chance of getting it. Well Asher was tongue tied and when we finally realized it the doctor clipped his tongue right in the office and it was as easy as that. Just thought I would pass that along...
She has great control of her head and holds it up very well. When she is laying on top of me she tries really hard to push herself up with her hands. She's starting to like the bath a little more, before it was constant screaming. Still a poop master! The boys always peed on me, she poops on me at least once a day! And her burps and gas are far louder than the boys ever were! Ha ha. Doesn't spit up nearly as much as the boys did, which is really nice. That smell is so strong and whew....yuck!
She already grown out of her newborn and 0-3 month clothes and well into her 3-6 month clothes. She's out of newborn diapers and 1 and gone to the Pampers 1-2 swaddlers.
I'm really looking forward to her smiling at us! But I sure am not wishing away any of these days. I'm cherishing each day with my baby girl because this will most likely be my last baby in the house.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My new quest

We got another diagnosis of Aspergers for Dallas back in January of this year when he was tested by the state (we were first told he had Aspergers in November of 2008 by the Neurologist and then told no it was PDD-NOS diagnosis from the NeuroPsycologist in January 2009) Of course they all agreed he defiantly had Sensory Processing Disorder. But now we have a definite diagnosis of Aspergers so I'm ready to take this bull by the horns!

I feel like I haven't really been able to put my hands around this disorder until now. With expecting the baby and then having Sydney I've been very focused on that. But now I'm ready to attack this neurological disorder head on and with all I've got! I'm reading the book "Eating for Autism" (Aspergers is high functioning Autism for those of you who know nothing about it.) It's a great book!! Talks a lot about nutrition and healing your body and getting the right vitamins and minerals as well. It goes very well with the movies Sean and I have been watching, "Food Inc," "Food Matters," and "King Corn." I HIGHLY recommend watching these movies. It will change your view of eating. Sean and I both would like to eat a more Raw Diet.

So my plan now is to heal all of us. I'm sure we are all deficient in some area. With me schooling Boston I notice more and more ADHD symptoms and as Asher gets older I'm not sure if he's coping Dallas or if he has some Sensory Issues of his own. Basically we all need a change in the way we eat and the way we think about food.

That's my mission.....

you are welcome to come along for the's always bound to be very interesting when it involves my growing family!

Back from my maternity blogging break

I miss blogging....

well I miss a lot of things (like sleep).....but that's what happens when you have a newborn, and of course I wouldn't change a thing!

I will try and back track and update the blog for the month of absence and Sydney's first month but I figured I would just go ahead and start back up anyhow. The therapeutic aspect of the blogging I have surely missed. Getting all the information out of my head, especially trying to remember all the important things the kids do.

So I'm back.....with 4 kids now to blog about....and lots to say!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Boston is growing up

My Boston is growing up. Today I realized it when I sent him for his raincoat before heading out for his first basketball practice and he came out not wearing the raincoat, but only a frown. When I asked why he didn't have it we walked I to his room and he pointed at the yellow raincoat with a firetruck in it (all the boys have the same one) and said he was too old for it, it was for babies. I froze. My baby had grown up. He cared about what he wore. He cared what others thought of his clothes. So I grabbed his wind breaker, a size 10 I might add, and very "cool" looking and he smiled and said that was great.

But it all made me think, all those people who have always said cherish these young days. The days where he wants to sit in my lap, even if he weighs 69lbs and it's killing me. Cherish his wonderful hugs, his compasion for my heart, and his stories, plays, and games he wants me to be a part of. In a blink of an eye he will be grown up. Too old to hang with mommy. He'll have friends to play with and things to do. But right now I have his full attention. Right now he wants to spend time with me. So that housework can wait. The laundry may get behind and there may be dishes in the sink, but I will have these memories to hold on to. And that's way more important.

So I pray that I can remember what is most important and what can wait. I'm so blessed with 4 wonderful children who love me. My heart is so full!!!

- Cricket