Saturday, August 25, 2012


Yes, we are alive! Life got insane again. I am *hoping* it will calm down again soon. Not quite there yet. Brief recount. Kids all accounted for, some doing better then others. Summer was eh, nothing fun happened here. Dominic is walking, he is still Trouble. Gabrielle started Kindergarten! And Julian was diagnosed as autistic. Most days are bad days for him. Some more other day.

And here is one picture from FL in April, and just about the last time I took any pictures. No, I wasn't kidding when I said it was a bad summer!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Yep. I should of known better then to say how well Madeline was sleeping in my last post! That was probably the last time she slept well. She attempted to have a friend sleep over for her birthday, the friend was fine. Madeline was not. Apparently having someone strange in her space made her anxious. It just spiraled her out of control again. Several emergency sessions with her therapist, every night in my room, she hasn't entered her room other then to get clothes since that night, and one discovery later. Madeline sleep walks!

We had no idea. Now that I can tell, I know that it has been going on for 3+ years, ever since that fateful vacation when her anxiety disorder was triggered. She appears awake, slightly groggy, but awake. Madeline will talk to you, answer questions just fine, eat, use the bathroom even and the whole time she is asleep! I never once thought to ask her the next day if she had any memory of the night before which is how I finally realized it. I knew about her night terrors that she has sometimes now and she talks in her sleep, but realizing the sleep walking has been eye opening. It is the root of many of our night time issues with her. It happens when she is anxious, on a good week it may be once a week, when she is in one of her cycles, it is nightly. And she can do it several times a night.

I'll put her to bed, check on her on the agreed upon minute, she may or may not be asleep, and then we do another time for me to come back. I return and she is snoring. 5 minutes later she is out asking why I never came in. This is her sleepwalking! She may want a snack, may ask questions about something, she could up for for 30 minutes before I walk her back to bed, the second she lies down she is snoring loudly again. She may or may not repeat it another 1-3 times times. Once it has been about 1.5 hours from the time she went to sleep then she stops doing it and will sleep soundly. If you ask her in the morning about anything that happened once she started snoring, then she has no memory of any of it. We have done this for years! Now that I know I have more patience for when it takes 2 hours to get my 9 year to stay in bed.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

a new year

A new year and another birthday. Madeline turned 9 yesterday! We celebrated early because she was supposed to have snowboard practice but it was canceled so we celebrated again. She went bowling early in the week before she went back to school after winter break. We invited 2 of her friends to go along. She is moving out the party age, we have limited friends that are girls, and she did not want to invite her entire class from school. 15 kids all together and only 2 of them are girls. Yesterday we went swimming , out for pizza and then made her birthday dinner. Her friend that spent the day with us wanted to sleep over last night so I agreed to try the sleepover thing again. We've tried two other things in the last year, once at another house in our neighborhood and then we had another neighbor girl try to sleep here over the summer. Neither one were successful. And neither was last night!

Madeline usually does not problems sleeping now but everything has to be perfect, right temperature, right night lights, right time, someone checking on her exactly every 20 minutes, on and on. She sleeps in my room at times when something isn't correct. She got scared with someone different in her room and after an hour of trying to problem solve, I called it quits and took the girl home. Madeline now says she will try again when she is 11, I thinking that might not be a bad idea. She doesn't want to completely miss out on events so I take her to sleepovers and then pick her up at 9pm or so to come home to her own bed. It has worked out ok so far. It was a bit of an issue with a dance team mandated sleepover with having to sneak her out the back so the other girls didn't see. We elected out of the gymnastics team sleepover completely last month since it didn't even start until 7pm at night, she is one of the youngest members and the majority of the girls are teenagers. One of these days...

Monday, December 5, 2011


Obviously Madeline is the one with the most sports in this house! Gabrielle did try a few news ones this year. It turns out that she loves baseball, soccer was close behind, but baseball was a clear winner. She was the only girl playing for the 2 months over the summer, I don't even think she noticed because she had so much fun. She would complain about going to soccer but then when she was there, she loved it. And couldn't wait until next week when she would start complaining on the drive over again...No idea if she will elect to do it again in the spring, she asked to play t-ball though. She is taking one ballet class and still enjoys gymnastics.

And on to Madeline. She discovered skateboarding over the summer! We spent 2+ days a week at the skatepark for 3 months straight. We didn't get out much on the river because of baby. She was able to do one week and then couple of river runs  but that was all the kayaking for 20111. Hiking. My dad is an avid hiker, he usually does long mountain hikes in the summer and he discovered that Madeline can keep up with him. This is huge. My dad is 6'4, long legs with a stride to match and he waits for no one. She became his hiking buddy doing 8+ mile hikes, not flat ones, but 3-4,000 vertical feet.  I finally let her do the rock wall at the rec center, not because I didn't think she could but because I had a feeling it would be a new hobby. By the second time she tried it, she was going up all 3 routes to the top. Now she is like a little spider monkey, she makes it to the top in just a couple minutes. And we'll just add that to the list of hobbies for someday when there is more time in the world because of course she starts to go to rock gym here in town and try it out, of course she wants to try outdoor rock climbing.

Organized sports.
Dance. Madeline is competing in lyrical, ballet, and tap. Add in a special ballet trio competition piece they asked her to do and all that adds up to be 5 hours of dance a week. All team dancers must take a stretch class once a week so they become more limber. Madeline loves that because now she can literally kick herself in the head and do the full splits. Gymnastics moved her to Level 4 competition team right after school started. And by the looks of things, Level 5 is not far behind. She already made one trip to Denver last month for dance, 2 more this spring and several for gymnastics. I'm just hoping to hit IKEA one of these trips! Snowboarding. She is on the team at Telluride. We really aren't sure what level she ended up in, but they told us it was 3 levels above her normal age level. And all boys, there are no girls at that level. One boy said he was in 7th grade so we are guessing 6/7th age group maybe.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Both the girls are in school this year. Madeline is in 3rd grade of a 3/4 combo class and Gabrielle is doing 3-4 full days of preschool. It has been interesting. Madeline's teacher is wonderful and is working hard to get to know Madeline and all her issues. It has been a little rocky though. She spent the last two years with the same teacher who watched her go from being able to recognize only a few letters to reading at grade level. This year has been harder because by all appearances, Madeline looks to be normal. she can pass for it most of the time, and is at grade level. It isn't until you really dive into a subject that you realize that she is just compensating and has no clue what she is actually doing. She can read!! I still find that amazing, she reads books and can understand them. Reading is not fun for her, and it isn't something she will do of her own free will. I ask her to read for an hour a week and other then that we don't force her. I just want her to be able to do it but I doubt that it will be a passion of hers.

Up until 3rd grade she was able to process material quicker, as the work becomes harder, she is struggling to keep up. It takes A LOT of effort of our part to make sure that she actually understands what is going on. We spent hours a week alone working on math. Because she is dyslexic, she starts out at a disadvantage and then we have to work 3 times as hard at everything. Everything is a challenge and I do not say that lightly. Reading on the computer is harder for her to comprehend then reading off paper so I have to read it to her. She can't do math in her head while looking at the screen or take what is on the screen and put it on paper easily so I write it out for her and then she can do the problem. And then we have to try and put the answer back on the computer.

Madeline has two penpals. She only writes in cursive so she doesn't reverse her letters, they can not read cursive so I type out her letters for her. Testing is huge. We elect out of all standardized testing. It isn't an issue, she is either sent to the 1/2 classroom to be a helper or I keep her home. In 3rd grade they start regular tests, like a science test every other week. Many many tears because she takes weeks to learn new concepts with her memory issues. We might of finally got the testing figured out because she actually passed the last one. She doesn't know that she had been failing all of them. Her teacher, her therapist, and I work together to find what does work and what does not, lots of trial and error. Her teacher has been wonderful about assisting us in anything we need to do differently for her.

I did ask at one point if she wanted to homeschool again, she absolutely did not want to. I really work at keeping her self esteem up. She is never the only dyslexic child in her class, there is one above her and one below her so there is always one with her and several more children with learning issues in her class of 15. We bring her to school at 8:15, school starts at 8:30, she works from 8:15 to 9:15 every day with her therapist there. In the summer, she comes to our house first thing in the morning, 7:30! We do an session with a tutor for math for an hour on Mondays after school before she goes to gymnastics. He is amazing and volunteers for free to help her. She can do math but it takes her longer then the other kids that he is helping her learn short cuts and teaching her extra rules that she really needs. I started the tutoring thinking it was be a one time thing to get her over a hump we were having but then quickly realized that it was very helpful for her to learn all these extra tricks that he has, any little advantage goes so far with her. Last year I was starting to believe that Madeline would not struggle her entire life, that we had caught the dyslexia so early, she had done years of reading therapy, she would go on and it would not hold her back. I now know just how much it affects every aspect of her learning, that it will truly be a life long struggle but hopefully we can provide her with enough tools to work around it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


And this is just about this guy's story in a nut shell. Grumpy. I say that he hates being a baby. He has been crying since the very day we was born. I remember being up for 2 days straight because he was born in the middle of the first night and on the second night, he would.not.stop.crying. He stops sometimes, generally when he is asleep.

It is better (a little) then it used to be, he is almost 4 months old and no longer spending hours a day screaming but he still isn't a happy baby by any means. He is a carbon copy of Madeline, I'm hoping this isn't a life long problem! Dominic hates the car, hated being put down, hates anyone else holding him, isn't find of his siblings. It would be a reach to find something he does like. He doesn't like nursing to sleep, he has to be bounced, hard. A friend called the other day. Her: "What are you doing?". Me: "Jogging through the house with the baby strapped on me screaming." Yep. I've been kindly told by two different mothers that they thought I was bouncing the baby too hard. Um, no. Unless it looks like I am doing step aerobics, he just keeps screaming and won't go to sleep.

We leave a puddle of spit up breastmilk in our path everywhere we go. I even broke down and tried reflex meds, no difference. So we just deal with the 3+ shirt changes that I go through a day and his many outfits and burp clothes. We were at the museum a month or so ago and this older gentleman approached me to tell me that my baby was spitting up everywhere. I looked down expecting to see a small lake (very normal for him) since his tone wasn't exactly kind. Instead I see two small nickle sized dots on the ground. I really couldn't help myself from laughing at him. I did have to refrain from inviting him to hang around another 5 minutes and see a real spit up. All my kids have been pukers but Julian wasn't this bad and I never left the house with Madeline and Gabrielle when they were this age so I didn't have to deal with baby puke in the public eye.

I have another velco baby that doesn't sleep anywhere but on top of me. Do people actually produce babies that do anything else? If so, my genetic material sure doesn't allow for that. He only sleeps during the day if I am in motion so I pace around the house or attempt to cook while bobbing up and down. I don't advise cutting objects with sharp knives though. I just keep repeating that it is a short lived phase, it shall pass.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


So this little boy is amazing. Julian is the sweetest kid. People say that all the time, but out of my older 3, he really is. Always has a smile on his face, always in a good mood, he is just so happy all the time. Even his "fits" are laying down and pouting. He does get upset and cries at times, but rarely and that is usually when he gets tired. Everyone that works with him, and there a quite a few of them, adores him.

He still qualifies for weekly speech therapy through Early Intervention which he has been doing almost a year now. He comes up for his annual reassessment at the end of November and the local district is supposed to start the preparation to transfer his services over to them on his 3rd birthday. Julian's EI speech therapist has been great, he loves playing with her. This summer she met us as a park and did his speech therapy there while Gabrielle played t-ball next door. She was in a severe car accident shortly after school started and has been unable to see him yet this fall. I called right away and got the last slot with the only private SLP in town so we have been seeing her for the last few months. His progress with the new SLP has been amazing, he is talking so much more, still under 50 words, maybe 40. I also discovered a small speech playgroup lead by a SLP 40 miles away so he has been doing that 2 mornings a week.

This winter he is finally able to go outside! Last year he was not able to walk in snow boots due to his feet so he missed all outdoor fun. He doesn't understand about gloves yet...

Still loves all things train.

He isn't an easy toddler. He might not throw many fits but he likes to wander. A lot. Someone has to keep a constant eye on him. I was at a friend's house last week with some other moms. I went to bathroom, came out and went looking for Julian. He was found outside going down the sidewalk! We have to keep all doors deadbolted and the garage door shut at the house because he will and has just walked outside and down the street. Our gates are keep padlocked now because he can escape those as well. I've lost him at the park once for a horrid 15 minutes once since you can not take your eyes off him even for a second. Our house is becoming more and more child proofed as we discover what he can get into. Like an entire bottle of child resistant medication that he found after I hid it... It took 2 weeks for him to be normal again after that one. Julian prefers adults to kids. I take him to open gym, he will ignore the kids and find an adult that he thinks looks fun and attempt to play with them instead. He is very trusting and willingly goes off with anyone, he loves people, just as long as they are adults. We've gone through several babysitters in the last year and he cries when they leave, even on their first day! Our current nanny says he is her all time favorite child. Which I love to hear, it is hard enough paying someone to do things with your child that you want to do (more on that another day), but it is better when they truly care for them.