Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Not Quite Spring

I love this video so much because Tessie kept turning around and it looks like she was trying to kiss Sadie, although she never actually reached her.

She loves it each day when Sadie gets home from school, and Sadie absolutely adores her baby sister and is always talking about how cute Tessie is.  They are so sweet together.

In other news... we're supposed to get snow this week.  Three to six inches.

The kids are definitely ready for spring to be here... and so am I.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Tessie's ADOS and Autism Test Results

I didn't expect instant results, but when we got to Tessie's autism test they already knew that the therapy center had set up an intake appointment for her on Friday and so they were ready to score her evaluation the moment it was finished...


Monday, February 26, 2018

Central Apnea Scare

Just when I start to relax and wonder if Tessie is outgrowing her central apneas, she has a night that let's us know that we can't let our guard down.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sadie and Patch have Fun at Nani and Bopa's House

Patrick and Sadie had the best morning over at Nani and Bopa's.

Maybe by the time Patch is old enough to drive it will be a little less terrifying to think of what he'd be like behind the wheel of an actual car.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

All About Paul

When you have kids dates, or even what you call dates, sometimes have to be creative.

Paul and I decided to declare out dentist appointments, which we discovered the night before happened to be at the same time at the same place, dates, because they involved two hours of uninterrupted conversation.

And he agreed to be interviewed on camera (a sort of ongoing joke between us since I started vlogging has been how he's pretty much silent whenever the camera is on and is then actually the louder/more extroverted of the two of us when it's off).

I laughed, a lot, especially on the drive home as I asked him questions and we chatted as we drove.

And when we stopped he said he didn't think I had enough footage and I laughed even more because I knew this was going to be a longer post even after I was finished with editing.

The end of our conversation, where the talk turned to Paul starting his own Youtube channel (Will it happen?  Was he serious?) was totally my favorite part.

So here it is, Paul talking about everything from work to books to life (and a quick tour of Ann Arbor before our dentist appointments):

Friday, February 23, 2018

James goes to a Neurology Appointment

He doesn't have as many appointments as he used to, but once and a while James still heads to neurology for a checkup.

Okay, to be totally honest I was really hoping that they were going to discharge him today and say to come back if we needed to. But I also knew, because of the new breathing things going on with his sleep, and some weird eye things, that might not happen.

So instead he ended up with two new doctors.

Not quite a win.  But he did have a lot of fun dancing his way around the office being silly.

So maybe a win anyways?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Very Tessie Introduction

I made fun little introduction video/interviews with the boys (and there's one with Sadie that I shared here a couple weeks ago when she gave us a tour of her room), that I ultimately want to put on the "Who's Who page at the top of the blog, once I've made one for each member of the family.

The boys loves them and have watched their own a bunch of times.

Although James managed to pick out Patch's comment about "making a video without my brother" at the end of his video (I think even I missed it) and was fairly furious when he heard it.

He has to do everything with Patch at the moment.  Which, relatedly, is probably why Patrick was so thrilled to do a video that was all his own.

But then James and I made his own video when Patch was at school.

And finally it was time to make one for Tessie.  But I was having a harder time making hers because I couldn't interview her since she only really says "mama" and only "mama" occasionally.

Last night I started watching old videos of Tessie and by the time I went to bed I had come up with this little Tessie montage, which goes through some of my favorite moments from the last year, along with some descriptions that I think really describe our favorite, daring little bunny:

I don't know what it is but that llama dress that she is wearing is one of my all time favorite pieces of toddler clothing ever.  It's just so Tessie.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Visit to Patrick's Ballet Class

Patrick is such a little performer and he waited for such a long time (not always patiently) to be able to take ballet at Sadie's dance school, asking me regularly if he was old enough to be in a class of his own yet.  Last year he was able to take a few sessions of the preschool dance clinics they offered, but wasn't old enough at the beginning of the year to start the beginner's class.

This year he's finally old enough to be in a ballet class and get ready to be part of the big recital.  And he is so excited.  Last night was Visitor's Night and I took advantage of my visit to make a little video that he could watch later (probably over and over again) and now I get to share it with you too!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Sleep Study: An Update

I shared that initial sleep study post where James talked with me about his sleep study and so I wanted to share this here as well, complete with the clips that Paul was sending me before I told him I was totally okay with him not sending me any thing else.

Apparently my concerns that James is maybe slightly more stubborn than the average three year old are not entirely unfounded:

Monday, February 19, 2018

What I Wish I Had Known

This is something I am passionate about.

And there's an apology stuck in the middle to a blog reader that I went off on back in 2011, who probably isn't still reading because I was so, so very rude, but if she is... I really do appreciate what you said and I really am sorry I didn't listen.

Because I should have.  And I wish that I had, well, frequently if I'm honest.

And this video is totally dedicated to you.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A Sleep Study and A Prayer Request

I wasn't planning on posting twice in one day, but Paul and James are gone right now and the house seems very, very quiet.

James had a lot to say about his sleep study and was very excited about it, but Paul texted and let me know that (as we anticipated) our super sensitive sensory boy is having a tough time being hooked up to all those wires.

I told the doctor I could not imagine a reality in which a sleep study would be possible for James and he said that they had kids with autism successfully do it all the time, so we should give them a chance.  I think our little bouncing three year old might give them a run for their money in this case.  He is stubborn to say the least.

He was so excited to talk about it though, and make a video watching himself talk about it.

But my favorite moment is at 4:45 when we were walking up the stairs and he asked me to do something for him while he was gone.

My heart!

So if you have a moment please say a prayer for our little guy tonight so that they can get accurate results.

The kid can't tolerate wearing socks.  I just don't know how they're going to get him to sleep with all those sensors on him.

Maggie's Wonderful Day at Equine Therapy

We've had so much snow and so many holidays lately that "Horse Class" as Maggie has dubbed her weekly Equine Therapy sessions, have been far less than weekly.  Yesterday morning when she woke up the first thing that she asked me was whether or not she was going to get to go.

No matter how I tighten that helmet (and it was on tight) she somehow tilts it back...
She did and she had an awesome time.  Sadie has lessons at the same time and Sadie's been working on posting while trotting.  Maggie surprised, and thrilled, everyone there, by starting to post on her own midway through her lesson and spending the last ten minutes posting.

I wish I'd caught more of it on camera (I thought I had, but I think I was too busy cheering for her when she went past!).  But you definitely see her do it a few times towards the end of the video, although not as consistently as we saw, when she was doing it all the way around the arena.

We're so proud of our mermaid.  And she had so much fun.  Her feet were definitely cold from he puddle stomping before lessons by the time we got home, (we were more than a little early) but there was no stopping here.

She loves puddle stomping almost as much as she loves riding Jack.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day

I knew how we would do this whole Ash Wednesday/Valentine's Day thing if we homeschooled and I knew how it was likely handled at the parish school our kids attended last year (if I had to guess I would guess that they had Valentine's day on Fat Tuesday), but as Valentine's Day approached I weighed how to help the kids understand the start of Lent with the parties they'd be having in their classrooms.

I had worked out that there was only one Mass at our parish we would be able to attend as a family and, while Ash Wednesday isn't a Holy Day of Obligation, I really wanted to make sure we all made it as a family, especially since the rest of the day was going to be busy.  So we made it to the 6:30 Mass, where James, upon receiving his ashes, turned around and said "Do you see this?  Do you see what I got here?!?!?" in his most excited voice as I ushered him back to our seats.

He was a tiny bit disappointed when he realized it didn't mean that he could make his first communion twenty minutes later.

Maggie's school made it pretty easy. Her teacher had let me know before hand that while they would exchange cards everything was going to be really low key and relaxed because the school has lots of kids from lots of different cultures that don't celebrate Valentine's Day.  And besides that Maggie's class keeps things a little more low key just so the kids don't get too thrown off their regular schedule (although I think it took weeks for everyone to recover from the excitement of Halloween).

And I did make a three minute vlog that zips through our day.  I had fun getting some little clips of the farms around the area that we live in, all covered in snow, and the houses covered in ice and even figured out how to add music, so I was kind of proud of this one.

Paul was able to visit Sadie's class, which I don't have video from, but which made her day.

And I think everyone has worked out what they're doing for Lent and had a good plan by yesterday and all the time spent in the car gave us quite a bit of time to talk and to watch a certain rosary based DVD that the kids have all loved since they were Jamesy's age.

Now for Day 2 of Lent.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Updates, Updates, Everywhere!

This post is going to be a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

First, the best Tessie mini update in the world.

Last night when I was getting her ready for bed, she grabbed my face and kissed me (well toddler kissed me, so basically smashed her mouth against my face, but still!) three times!

And now when I walk into a room she looks up and a lot of the time runs over.  Previously, I would have to walk over and pick her up and raise her up to face level before she would notice that I was even in the room with  her (and then she would get excited that I was there).

So both of those are huge!

Go Tessie!

Next I'd like to share something I'm sort of proud of.  I've lost thirty lbs.  I'm not to my goal yet, but I'm getting there and I'm pretty excited (and it's Fat Tuesday and I'm totally about to go downstairs and break open a box of paczkis).

I made a vlog where I talk about the ups and downs and about the stress eating that I really, really indulged in last spring when we were getting all kinds of tough news and having all kinds of tough appointments with Tess.

For anyone interested in trying Healthy Wage, this is my referral link (and my standard referral link disclaimer: yes if you click and decide that Healthy Wage is something that can help you lose weight and sign up, I receive a small commission, so if you do sign up through my link, thank you!).

Which brings me to this post which I share every single year.

This year, will be the very first Lent in ten years when I haven't been pregnant or nursing.

And it might sound silly but I'm kind of excited to be able to not have those exemptions that I've had for the past decade.

Now let's talk about this idea of fasting while pregnant and nursing.

Every year I see the question come up on the Catholic Internets and every year I see some people encouraging it.  I've been there.  I've tried it.  I've had a screaming baby who had no milk to drink who was very, very unhappy.  If you are pregnant are nursing there is an exemption from fasting.

There is a reason for those exemptions.  Please, please take advantage of them and fast in a non-dietary calorie restrictive way, so you can continue to nurture your little one.

You can fast from television, or the internet, or electronics altogether.  Think of something else that you set aside and fast from that instead of food.

I know it can be hard, especially if you struggle with scrupulosity, but nursing and fasting (and pregnancy and fasting) really just don't mix.

Getting down off my soap box and moving on.

The kids and I have been having fun in the snow and  have been having fun making (and watching vlogs) and learning about video editing.

Patch may walk around the house wearing a watch and talking into it and pretending to make his own "vlogs" and he may have made his brother cry at least twice by telling him "you can't be in this video Jamesy"... so we're working on that.

On a different note:

I'm not sure anyone in all of Michigan loves the snow like Tessie now that she has discovered it:

On this day, when the kids headed outside, she flung herself at the door and burst into tears because she thought that she was being left behind.  All winter she was content to play inside and never asked to go out, but now she knows what she's missing.

And here she was pretty content to let everyone else shovel while she sat and watched and enjoyed the snowflakes drifting down.

And here's the part that we're really, really excited about.

We are going to have new neighbors soon.

Alright, not quite neighbors.  But almost neighbors.


Nani and Bopa are moving to Michigan and we are ridiculously excited.

And that is the latest.

It's been busy and snowy here as we enjoy this last day of Ordinary Time and prepare for Lent!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The First Round: An Update

We survived yesterday and it was a good day.  Long and exhausting, but good.

After the intake session I had a meeting at Maggie's therapy center and Tessie was with me and got to go and bounce around (she has not one but three therapists requesting to work with her as little Miss Popularity), and even played in the playroom for a little while with Maggie before we headed home to make dinner.  

I don't think I realized how nervous I was (I mean I knew that I was nervous, obviously) until I was editing the twenty seconds of video I shot in the car before going in to the appointment to make this vlog.  

I was this nervous.

Because the update was so simple (Basically yes, we made it!  Next step!  We'll know more soon.  The box has been checked off!), I answered one of the most common questions I've heard over the years that people have, only this time focusing on what we noticed was different about Tess that caused us to seek out testing, first when she was only 1-3 months old, for early intervention, and then as she's gotten bigger.

She couldn't be diagnosed until she was 18 months old, but there were definitely signs that we were seeing, much, much earlier (because I knew what to look for) and I've written about that here but I wanted to talk about it a bit more because knowing what to look for was something that I remember looking for five years ago when I first began to have questions about Maggie's development and whether it was normal.

And that's the update for today.  Now I'll be counting down to February 26th!

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Little Bit of Everything

Today is the day of Tessie's intake evaluation and I spent yesterday afternoon pouring over hundreds of pieces of paperwork trying to decide which ones would be the best to take with me, which best painted the picture of the last eighteen months of development.

I don't think they were quite expecting this when they said to "bring any paper work pertaining to her development if you have any" during the phone call.

In other situations I would have taken the entire file, because there are times when having every detail is helpful, but today is not that day.  I don't want to overwhelm what is important.

Thankfully she has developmental evaluations and reports since she was three months old, and I also pulled out all the big tests and reports, although the biggest, the first genetic testing report (which doesn't have any genetic testing in it, because at that point they wanted to hold of on more neurological testing, but which had tons of developmental information and basically had all of her medical information in a very nice very long report) is missing somewhere and I cannot for the life of me find it.

Below is the video I let the kids make (I'm not sure I mentioned if I mentioned before the boys somehow discovering unboxing videos on Amazon Prime and thinking they were the best things ever?), but it is here, not because it's an unboxing video but because if if you press play it goes to the last 10 seconds automatically, which show Tessie looking at me for the longest amount of time that she has ever looked at me, in her entire life, and blowing a kiss, and I've watched it, over and over again, and will probably go on watching it, for a very long time.

And I wanted to share it with you here too, because it's just about the best thing ever (and has nothing to do with the rest of the video, which is Sadie using the weirdest sewing machine I've ever seen).

On a totally different note:

Last night was... well... fun until the last two minutes.

But all of the kids had fallen asleep by that point anyways (Sadie made it the longest, Patch the second longest, both were out cold around the fourth quarter).

I think that videos with Paul are the most fun, especially sports videos.

When I filmed that last part I was really, really waiting for the come back.

There were a couple touchdowns and calls I am pretty sure I am going to be hearing about for the rest of my life.


Now to explain to a certain mermaid why she isn't going to school today (snow day 532 this year... every one equally upsetting when you love going to school and changes in routine are hard).

In somewhat amusing news, my suspicions that she is holding out on us with her reading skills continues to grow.

Throughout Maggie's life, now and then, there have been times when Paul and I have thought that she might be capable of reading more than we can demonstrate.  It isn't totally unusual for small kids with autism to be able to read, but I also know that most of my friends with kids who had hyperlexia seem to know that there kids could read.

With Mags, there were suspicions, but we have mostly thought that she cannot read more than a few words. She'd look at books but the pictures always seemed to be the main draw.  If books don't have pictures she isn't looking at them.  And they've been working on reading with her at school for years with a mixture of results.

Yesterday she walked by me carrying a small scrap of paper that caught my eye. I stopped her and she handed it over.

It had been torn from her teacher/parent daily notebook that goes back and forth (and that she had, until yesterday never torn).  The small portion she had torn out said that she had tried eloping from the classroom twice, for the first time all week.

She smiled at me as she handed it over and then took it back when I was done reading it.

I went downstairs and found the notebook in her bag.  The rest of it was in one piece.  Only that little message had been torn out.

I have to say.  I think the mermaid might be holding out on her reading lessons.  Or she just knows that her teacher would be sending home a note.

Either way, it was pretty smart and pretty sneaky and not a bit surprising.