Friday, May 29, 2009

Official Preschool Graduate!!

I say "official" because he had a preschool graduation last year as well, but he went on for a 3rd year of preschool because he was not ready for kindergarten (still not sure he is, but that's another post for another day).

They scheduled the graduation for outside, but it was moved inside due to possible rain. Good thing because it started pouring down rain about halfway through. It was H-O-T in there, though! Doug's mom went with me and we took Brooke...everyone else had to work. But my MIL recorded it so everyone could see it.

They brought the kids out and they were split in to 2 groups, which had each written a story as a group based on a topic they were given. Ryan's group wrote about shoes and their story was called "Joe's Shoes". The teachers (there's 2 ~ one for the "regular" kids and one for the special needs kids) each read one group's story and each child came up and held a picture they'd drawn illustrating that part of the book. It was really cute : ). Then they did the certificate presentation and they made it really cute by saying what they thought each child might be when he or she grows up. They said Ryan would be a pro basketball player because he always wants to play b-ball on the playground with whoever will play. LOL. Let's hope he has a major growth spurt or he may be the shortest basketball player in history ;). After that, it was time to eat. Each family brought a covered dish or dessert. There was a lot of food there! At the very end, the kids had a little bit of time to play. Ryan did not want to leave and started to throw a tantrum, which we were luckily able to head off. We were able to get some pictures of him in his classroom and with his teacher before we left.

Right after the "ceremony".

I love this pic, but wish the coloring and lighting were was very dark in there!

Standing in front of his cubby. His "symbol" is a yellow star.

In his classroom.

I've never seen a climber thing like this before. This pic came out blurry.

Ryan with his teacher, Mrs. Julie. She is so sweet : ).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We made it!

We got home from NC Monday night around 8:00. Overall the trip went a lot better than I expected : ). We got to the hotel in VA about 7:45pm Thursday evening, stopping 2 times to pee and feed Brooke (once). Ryan was awesome and Brooke only got cranky when it was about time to eat. After we got to the hotel, we had a late dinner. There were some restaurants close to the hotel...Ryan had McDonald's and Doug and I had Taco Bell. The kids went to sleep relatively easy and slept all night, not waking up once! Brooke really surprised me with how well she slept : ).

Ryan wanted to know where the living room and kitchen were in the hotel. LOL. He's only been in a hotel room once before and it was when we went to VA Beach when he was almost 2, so he doesn't remember it!

Getting ready for bed. We took our own pack'n'play along.

We woke up around 7:30 and started getting ready. We pulled out of the hotel at 9:20 and we got to Doug's aunt and uncle's at 2:00, again stopping 2 times. And again, Ryan did awesome and Brooke only fussed when she got hungry.

The mountains in VA were gorgeous and it was a beautiful day, as you can see!

This was at the rest area/welcome center in NC. She loved standing in her carseat, lol.

Friday evening, his aunt and uncle went to the rehearsal and dinner and we left to get something to eat and go to Walmart to get a few things (mostly food stuff) that we didn't feel like packing to bring along. We ate at Golden Corral, which we don't have around here and we really liked it. Doug's parents and brother and his family got in about 8:30 that night. Ryan had a MAJOR meltdown that night when we tried to get him to lay on the couch and watch TV to go to sleep. Nothing would calm him down. He kept screaming that he was going home and he wanted to leave. We chalked it up to all the time in the car and being in a new place. Finally, when he stopped screaming, I asked him if he wanted me to hold him and he said "yes". He was sleeping in less than 10 minutes. Both kids had a late night that night and neither was in bed before 10:30 (their normal bedtime at home is 8).

Saturday morning Doug went golfing with his brother and cousins before the wedding and I ended up at Walmart again with my MIL, SIL, nephew, and Brooke. Ryan and our other nephew stayed at the house with my FIL. We came home from there and started getting ready for the wedding. The wedding was outside at the park. They got married at a gazebo. The weather held off. It was looking like rain, but ended up holding up until the reception was almost over. The reception was at a hall. The food was delicious! Getting Ryan to go to bed Saturday night went much better. Brooke fell asleep faster, too.

Saying their vows.

Right after the ceremony, which thankfully didn't last long because Brooke wanted no part of sitting still and being quiet, lol.

Too bad he's not looking at the camera : P.

They did a beach theme. The bride's aunt made the cake(s) and used crushed graham crackers to make it look like sand. The cake on the right has a heart drawn in the "sand"...very cute : ). Doug's aunt, mother of the groom, made seashell and heart shaped candy as favors. The cake AND the chocolates were delicious!!

Sunday morning we got up bright and early and headed out to visit another of Doug's aunts (his dad's sister) and uncle and their family that lives down that way and then left there to visit another uncle (his mom's brother) and aunt and their family that also lives in the area. His uncle has 3 horses and we got to ride 2 of them. That was really neat : ). I've never been on a horse before. It took some coaxing to get Ryan on one, but he did it and I was so proud of him : ). After we were done visiting, we headed back to his aunt's house for a cookout. There were a lot of people there and it was nice visiting with family.

They insisted I wear the hat : P.

Ryan actually went for a ride with Doug : ). And then went a 2nd time with our nephew, Cameron!

LOL. The look on his face kills me!

That's more like it ; ).

I had to include this picture because I JUST found this sling a couple days before we left after it had been MIA for a few months, at least. It turns out it was in the basket of a folded up stroller that I hadn't used in quite awhile. SO happy I found it before she's too big for it, lol. (Brooke was hot, hence being shirtless.)

We headed out Monday morning at 9:30 to make the L-O-N-G drive home! It went better than I thought it would, but I never want to drive straight through again. LOL. Ryan did AWESOME, never whining or complaining. He was a dream. Brooke did a lot better than I thought she would, but after about 6 hours, she started getting pretty miserable and alternated crying and sleeping. We ended up stopping a lot, at least 6 times on the way home. Mine and Doug's backs were killing us, too! It also sucked because we kept hitting rain on and off, but luckily it didn't rain the whole way home! We pulled in the driveway at 8:05pm and I was so happy and relieved to be home in one piece! It was a really fun weekend and I'm glad we went, but it is SO, SO nice to be home : ).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Leaving soon

We were originally leaving for North Carolina tomorrow morning and driving straight through, but then I had the idea of leaving this afternoon, getting a hotel room about halfway for the night, and finishing tomorrow. So that's what we're doing! We'll actually be a little more than halfway, since we're staying in a hotel near Roanoke, VA. Doug had planned on working a full day at work, until 3:30, but he talked to his boss this morning about leaving early and actually should be home soon. We'll probably hit the road between 1 and 2pm. I think this will go much better with the kids, splitting the trip up, than doing it all the same day. Now I am mostly just nervous about traffic and such. In recent years (mostly since my sister and her best friend were hit by a drunk driver, killing her friend and nearly killy my sister, in February '05), I've had some major anxiety about being in the car, mostly on longer trips. I've gotten a lot better, but then the longest I've been in a car since June '05 (when we went to VA Beach) is just under 2 hours. I'm feeling the anxiety starting already. Doug is a good driver, but it's all the other cars on the road that I worry about. All it takes is one idiot and you can end up dead or seriously/permanently injured. I know it's morbid to think that way and I REALLY try not to....but sometimes those thoughts sneak in there. I'm sure I'll be praying a lot while we're on the road. It really calms me! Some Valium or Xanax might help, too, but I don't have any. LOL. (Nor have I *ever taken knowing my luck, they probably wouldn't work or would make me sick anyway.) Anyway, I just wanted to tell everyone to have a fun, safe Memorial Day weekend!! : )

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

This butterfly (made by Lamaze, we got ours at Toys'R'Us) has been a big hit since even before she was big enough to play with it. The colors really held her attention when she was tiny.

5 months old

13 months old

Monday, May 18, 2009

One year!!

One year ago yesterday, we brought Brooke home from the NICU! She weighed 4lb. 10oz. Three weeks ago, on April 27th, she weighed 17lbs. 2oz.! Not too shabby for a baby that started out at 2lbs. 10oz. : ). One year ago today, I posted this.

You know how I love comparison pics, so here's one! I remember what a hassle it was to have to use 3 blankets (one on each side and one between her and the crotch buckle) just to fit her properly in her carseat. And now look at her!! She doesn't hardly even ride in the infant carseat anymore, but of course I had to get a pic!

Honestly, whenever I took this pic last night (the one on the right, obviously), I didn't even know/realize I had one so similar from a year ago!! Seeing Ryan loving on Brooke doesn't happen too often these days, now that she is on the go and invading his space and taking his toys. But it does happen sometimes ; ).

Happy Homecoming Anniversary, Baby Girl!! We love you and can't remember what life was like before you were complete our family! :*)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thanks, Mom!

Thursday morning, I left Brooke with my mom for a half an hour while I took Ryan for his kindergarten screening and in that time, my mom taught Brooke how to shake her head "no". She sure hears it enough, to know what it means! Now my sweet, petite, not-quite-14 month old tells me "no" when she doesn't want to do something : P. Oh, who am I kidding? "Sweet" would not be the first word I would use to describe Brooke. Not that she *isn't sweet, but the first words that come to mind when I think of her are ornery, feisty, and FUN/FUNNY. She doesn't play the sweet card too often. She really does make life SO much fun, though : ). Back to the "no" thing. I first experienced her telling me "no" yesterday morning when it was time to change her diaper. I sat down on the floor with a diaper, rash cream, and vaseline next to me and she started heading for the vaseline. I reached out for her and she stopped in her tracks, looked at me and smiled, and shook her head "no". LOL. Admittedly, it was way cute : X. She told me again at lunchtime when she was done eating. And again last night at my aunt's house when she was "stealing" licks from my/her cousin's popsicle and had had enough. So I would just like to thank my mom for teaching my daughter how to talk back already ; ). LOL. Payback, I'm sure!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Kindergarten screening and evaluation

Yesterday morning I took Ryan to the elementary school for kindergarten readiness screening. He did so well! Most of the things I knew he would have no trouble with. He wrote his name, first and last, even though he was only asked to write his first name. He drew a person. He knows all his colors and shapes and he can count WAY higher than 10 (the highest they "tested" him on). He can identify all letters uppercase and lowercase (and can read tons of words, too, but he was only "tested" on letters). He was able to correctly place a block on top of the paper, under the paper, behind his back, and "in front of Mom", when asked. He got all his opposites right. There were a few questions he struggled with, such as "What is a curtain?". His answer was, "You sleep with it." LOL. But he got some right, too, like "What is a ball?" and he said, "You bounce it." He was not able to stand on one foot (I knew he couldn't) and he wasn't able to walk placing one foot directly in front of the other on the floor (although I know he can do a balance beam with one hand assist). I left there feeling pretty darn confident on him going in to kindergarten, figuring he probably knows more than a lot of kids who have not already had 3 years of preschool under their belt or who don't have parents that care enough to work with them.

But then yesterday afternoon, we got his evaluation report in the mail that the school district did, and now I'm not feeling so confident. This is something that was done due to him already being in the IU8 program, to evaluate him and see if he qualified for special education. There were a lot of positive things in the evaluation, but there were also a lot of things that frankly depressed me : (. He does qualify for special education due to being visually impaired and he is also considered speech and language impaired. Something that was depressing to me is that when it comes to articulation, his speech is only at an equivalent of 2 years 10 months and he will be SIX in August. They also wrote that "His speech intelligibility during conversational speech is judged as poor to an unfamiliar listener due to some age-level articulation errors, but more significantly due to his weak voice volume." Volume is one thing they've/we've been working on all year in school. He does not ALWAYS talk quietly, but a lot of the times if he's "put on the spot", he tends to mumble and talk very quietly. On a positive note: His age at the time of evaluation was 68 months. In receptive language, he scored at 69 months and in expressive language, he scored at 65 months, with an average age equivalent of 68 months : ). Right on the money! He talks up a storm and he understands so much. Now it's just working on articulating and volume.

There were some other things that were a little disheartening to read, but I won't get in to all that now. Maybe another day. The bottom line is, he is listed as "Needs Development" in ALL areas: Personal & Social Development, Language and Literacy, Mathematical Thinking, Scientific Thinking, Social Studies, The Arts, and Physical Development & Health. But according to the scale used to evaluate him on school readiness, direction/position, self-/social awareness, texture/material, quantity, and time/sequence, his scoring was "average" overall, so hopefully he will do well and continue to progress as much in kindergarten as he has been the last few school years. (He is listed as "delayed" for direction/position and time/sequence, but "average" for everything else). His cognitive testing is a little alarming to me, though. His test results for that are as follows: Verbal IQ - low average, Performance IQ (nonverbal) - borderline (interpret with caution), and Processing Speed - extremely low. Full scale was determined to be borderline (interpret with caution). I will admit, I'm not 100% sure what some of this means, but the school psychologist is supposed to be contacting me and I'll be able to ask her for some clarification.

I am just hoping and praying that he does not get lost in the shuffle, especially when it comes to speech and interacting with his peers. I'm really nervous for my little man. I just want him to do well and continue to enjoy school and look forward to going. I will be a bundle of nerves, I'm sure, when he starts in the fall. It's true, he has come a L-O-N-G way, but he unfortunately still seems to have a long way to go.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

(Not Quite) Wordless Wednesday

When did he get SO darn big??

She has very good balance now! I stand her up like this. Sometimes she'll attempt to take a step, but falls right down ;).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

That's not all...

I totally forgot about 2 other events going on this month! I don't know how! On May 28th is Ryan's preschool graduation picnic : ). Should be fun! And on the 30th, they're having a Little Adventurers' Discovery Day at Idlewild Park that we plan on going to and that should be a lot of fun, too : ).

Busy busy busy!!!


Yesterday was the first day since April 30th that my throat has not hurt! YAY! Having a sore throat really sucks. It's been a looong time since I'd had one and I forgot how yucky they are. Everyone is pretty much healthy here now, finally, and I am hoping and praying it stays that way! We have a lot of things going on in the next month.

Thursday I have to take Ryan for his kindergarten readiness screening. I am extremely nervous about him being in a regular mainstreamed classroom next year and I just pray that it all works out.

On Sunday, we have my cousin Hayley's birthday party. She turned 7 on the 5th (I think) and it's easy for me to remember how old she is because she is one month older than Zachary. His birthday is coming up on June 3rd.

On the 22nd, we leave for NC for a long weekend and I am dreading it. Eight to ten hours in the car with an almost 6 year old and an almost 14 month old is NOT my idea of a good time. Doug's cousin, Kyle, is getting married and we were invited. We'll be staying at his aunt and uncle's house, so we don't have to worry about paying for a hotel. Doug's mom, dad, and oldest brother, his wife, and their 2 boys are also going. His aunt and uncle come up here to visit about every year or so and two years ago, Doug's mom and dad took a trip down to see everyone. But Doug and his brothers haven't seen their cousins since their Grandma died 11 years ago. I've never even met his cousins, only seen pictures. So everyone is pretty excited. It will be nice to see everyone, but I am absolutely positively DREADING the car ride. And part of that does have to do with just the idea of being IN the car for that long and fear of getting in an accident. This used to be a HUGE thing for me and I've gotten a lot better, but the longer the trip, the worse I am : /.

On June 3rd is Zachary's birthday, like I mentioned before. We'll take flowers and maybe balloons to the cemetary that day and take some pictures. It's the only day I visit the cemetary. I don't feel the need to go there because I know only his body is there, not his soul or spirit. Some people like to go to the cemetary because they feel close to their loved one that way, but I've never been like that.

June 5th is my father-in-law's birthday and also our oldest nephew Tyler's birthday. Tyler becomes a teenager this year! So hard to believe. Whenever Doug and I started dating, Tyler was just about to turn 3 and his brother Cameron was about to turn 1. It just doesn't seem like it's been THAT long.

Then on the 7th of June, we have my cousin Tiffany's college graduation party.

It is going to be a busy month!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Eye update

Ryan was supposed to be there at 11:15 this morning. The surgery center called at 9:40 and asked if we could be there at 10:15, instead. I told her it wasn't possible since we live almost an hour away. So she asked if we could do 10:45 and I told her that should be doable. Luckily I already had the diaper bag and stuff packed and just had to dress Brooke and get dressed myself. We got there at 10:45 on the nose. We checked in and sat in the waiting room for around 10-15 minutes and then they took us back for the pre-op. stuff. We sat back there for TWO HOURS until they finally took him back!! It was getting extremely frustrating, especially since they called and had us come in early! Ryan almost cried as they wheeled him away, but the nurses were awesome at distracting him and pretending they were going to crash the bed and stuff. We went out to the waiting room and it was less than a half an hour until they came to get us for the doctor to talk to us.

It turns out that the pressure is very elevated in his right eye ("bad" eye). Normal pressure is between 10 and 21 and his was in the high 30s. He gets eye drops daily to control the pressure, but it doesn't seem like they're working anymore. He did NOT have his daily eye drop this morning because they normally don't have us give it to him, but the doctor said that would only probably take it down about 8 points and it would still be in the low 30s or high 20s. The great news is, Ryan's left eye ("good" eye) looks great! Whew! We hope and pray that nothing ever happens to that eye because he seems to have little vision in his right eye. The doctor wants to try switching Ryan's eye drops and see if that helps at all. He goes back on July 13th to get rechecked and let's hope that the pressure has come down. Prolonged high eye pressures can cause vision loss and we want to be sure that any vision he DOES have in his right eye is protected.

Then we had to wait almost 45 minutes until they took us back to recovery to see Ryan. They must've given him more anesthesia this time because I know it didn't take that long last time until we could see him and also in July when he went, he was pretty alert right afterwards and by the time we got in the car to go home, he was acting fine and not groggy at all. He even ate french fries on the way home. But today he was very sleepy yet, even until we left. He fell asleep almost immediately after we got in the car. We stopped at the mall really quick because I wanted to hit The Children's Place for sleepers for Brooke (we don't have one "here") and Ryan rode in the stroller and slept the whole time we were in there. Brooke slept part of the time, was naptime! He woke up when we got in the car and asked if we could go to the mall (he knew we were going there when he was done), lol. We had to tell him he slept through it, but he wasn't upset. On the way home he ate a small bag of pretzels and we got him a burger and fries to eat at home when we got in to town. Right now he's playing Wii Sports : ).

I'm REALLY hoping that when he goes back in July, we have an early morning appointment again because I know it will go much faster! The last 2 times he's gone for this, we had to be there by like 7am and we were in and out much quicker. So here's hoping! We won't find out until the Friday before (the "surgery" is on a Monday) what time he needs to be there. :::fingers crossed:::

P.S. I have a super cute picture on my cell phone of Ryan wearing his surgical cap before they took him back, but I don't know how to get it on the computer : P.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Just wanted to say...

I just want to say that I know there are a bunch of awesome moms that read this blog and I want to wish ALL of you a very happy Mother's Day. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Tomorrow is the day Ryan goes for his sedated eye exam. I took him on Thursday for his pre-op. physical and he did great. He's getting to be such a big boy! I know he'll do awesome tomorrow, too : ). I'm a bit disappointed, though. His doctor schedules his patients at the surgery center youngest to oldest since they aren't allowed to eat after midnight. In the past we've had to be out there by like 7:00am. There must be a lot of young kids or babies tomorrow because we don't have to be there until 11:15am! So Ryan can't eat after midnight tonight (he goes to bed at 8). He *can have sips of clear liquids tomorrow morning up until 9:15. I really don't think he'll be too bad as far as not being able to eat or drink much, but I just wish we were getting it done and over with first thing in the morning like usual. Oh well! We'll definitely be stopping somewhere for lunch on the way home (we have almost an hour's drive)!

Well, that's all for now! Gotta go get ready for church : ). This is our first week going since Easter since someone has always been sick since then : P.

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's been a LONG two weeks

Two weeks ago today is when Ryan got sick and ever since then *someone in this house has been sick! Of course the worst was when Brooke was so sick and miserable, but I've been sick for almost 2 weeks straight now. I first got it when Brooke got it, so on the 26th of April, Sunday. Really I just had the "sniffles". I was feeling better by the end of the week, but Friday night it started all over again. This time I got a sore throat, aches and pains, chills, and a fever. And I just felt wiped out. I actually went to urgent care on Sunday because I thought I might have strep throat. But I don't...or at least didn't then. My throat is STILL sore, but not *as sore. And (TMI) I have so much snot and mucous just sitting in the back of my throat, it is so disgusting. Then I have a cough, which loosens things up even more. It's the worst at night, like coughs usually are. I am just sick of being sick and of the kids being sick! Brooke's nose has been running a little bit today and she's sneezed a handful of times and I am hoping and praying it doesn't turn in to anything. Please, God? Spring is here, the sickies are supposed to GO AWAY!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009