Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas tree and a "haircut"

Yesterday afternoon I put the Christmas tree up. Brooke didn't pay any attention to it until I plugged it in and then she ran over and said, "What's that?" (comes out more like "Whussat?" lol). Ryan and I decorated it after she went to bed. It was absolutely priceless this morning when she realized there were things now HANGING on the tree. LOL. She got all excited and started pointing at everything and saying "bear" (there was *a bear...but everything was a bear to her lol). Then she was bouncing up and down and squealing. And of course then started trying to rip all the ornaments off. Ugh. She then went in the pack-n-play while I finished up getting ready to go to my mom and dad's. We were there all day until bedtime, so I'm not yet sure how stubborn she's going to be with it lol.

Crooked picture, but he is very impatient when it comes to taking pics so this was all I got.

I made my mom's day today when I let her cut off a lock of Brooke's hair that was always hanging in her face if I didn't have her hair pulled up into a ponytail. She's been complaining about it for at least a month lol. It was starting to drive me insane, too. I had planned on growing her bangs out and I still might, but this was definitely supposed to be a part of her bangs and for some reason was about 2 inches longer than the rest lol. If I would leave her hair down, I was constantly brushing the front of her hair to the side. More often than not lately, I was pulling it up to avoid her looking like a ragamuffin. It is SO much nicer looking now and she will be able to wear her hair down and have it look decent :-). Here's a couple before and after pics.

Not looking too bad brushed to the side, but it never stayed looking nice. Love the pouty face :-P.

Eating breakfast lol.

Blurry, but the best "after" pic I have so far!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Just because...

...I think they looked so cute, here are some pictures I took of the kids before we left for dinner at my in-laws' today :-).

We had a really good Thanksgiving today :-). It was so nice spending time with family. I love the holidays! We'll be celebrating Thanksgiving again on Saturday with my family :-). Can't wait!

Giving thanks

So much has changed in the last year, including the kids!

To be totally honest, last year on Thanksgiving it felt like my whole world was falling apart and I just couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. A week after Thanksgiving, the kids and I moved in to my parents' house. I couldn't believe that our first Christmas as a family of 4 was going to be spent as a fractured family and I wasn't really looking forward to it at all. We did end up pulling it together and celebrating together with the kids as a family and we even ended up moving back in right after the New Year. But really all we did was put a tiny bandaid on a great big gaping wound in our marriage. Things weren't really better, but I tried to convince myself they were. They seemed better for a couple months, but then fell apart again even worse than before. By the end of July I knew it was time to move on and I had to find the strength in myself to do what was best for me AND the kids. I made myself believe for a long time that staying was better for the kids, at least until they were a little older, but it started becoming more apparent that that wasn't the best thing at all.

It has now been almost 3 months since the kids and I moved in to our own place. I'm not saying it has been easy (although it has not been as hard as I thought it would be), but I know in my heart that it was the right decision and that everything WILL be okay in the long run. I am thankful that I found it in me to take that step forward. I am extremely thankful that I have a wonderful family (including in-laws) and friends that have helped me through this somewhat scary transition. I am thankful that the kids have not seemed to suffer any emotional trauma due to the separation of their parents even though there are some bumps to smooth over when it comes to that. I am thankful that we are all healthy, have a roof over our heads, and food in our bellies. I am thankful to have found an amazing guy that I am crazy about. I am so thankful that I am able to sit here today, even with all that has transpired, and see the positives in my life and not dwell on the negatives! I am truly blessed!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Parent teacher conference

Tonight was the night! I was a little nervous even though it seems Ryan has been doing a lot better the last couple of weeks. It turns out I was nervous for nothing :-). I got to talk to the Autism support teacher as well as his regular teacher. As far as the acting out/up he was doing (my biggest concern), a sticker chart for breakfast, lunch, special class, and therapy has been helping a lot. If he does well, he gets a smiley face sticker and if he is defiant or throws a tantrum or is uncooperative, he gets a sad face drawn in instead. He loves to work for those smiley stickers (much like when he was potty training lol) :-). That has been working well for the last 2 weeks, so hopefully it continues.

Academically he is doing great :-). His teacher told me she is going to start putting challenge words in his folder for him to practice since he can read so well and knows all of the sight words they are learning already. All the words they were tested on for their report card (which they get December 7th), he knew :-). His handwriting has improved a great deal just since the beginning of the year :-). He is writing darker, neater, and staying in the lines better.

I was very, very, VERY happy to hear that he is starting to initiate conversation and play with his classmates more and more :-). It used to be he would just stand on the sidelines or do parallel play or ask an adult to play with him. Now they said he will start talking to a classmate in the lunch line or while sitting and eating lunch and approach other kids to play during recess. There are also a few kids in his class that help him when needed and love to do so. His teacher was sure to tell me that they aren't babying him or jumping in when not needed and they are trying to get Ryan to ASK when he needs help and the other kids to wait for him to ask instead of just helping him when they notice he needs it. Last year at his preschool graduation, after the little ceremony the kids were able to play and none of the kids played with him or even acknowledged him, except one little boy told him bye when we were leaving. It was heartbreaking :*(. It sounds like things are very different this year and I am SO happy :*). I could tell that even just being in his classroom for a few minutes to help him get in his costume the day of the Halloween parade.

Ryan's biggest issues are changes in routine (apparently his name being called over the intercom today because he won a prize from the health fair yesterday sent him over the edge briefly) and needing help with physical things, like lunch or cutting things out, etc. His teacher is really hoping for a TSS to help with those things and also so if he gets done with something early, they can work on other areas that he needs help in, like fine motor skills. Hopefully the TSS services can/will start soon. Overall they are both very pleased with how he is doing :-). I am SO proud of my little guy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

As promised

Here are some of my favorite pics from the last couple of months :-).

Ryan with his first kindergarten homework assigment. He had to make a picture of his favorite things lol.

She fell asleep in her high chair waiting for Daddy to pick her and Ryan up.

I got her out of the bath tub and was helping Ryan and came back to this. I LOVE the look on her face. She KNEW she was naughty lol.

Feeling under the weather...he fell asleep playing his DS.

They both sleep this way quite often!

Pouting because she was told to SIT down on the chair lol.

Getting ready to go trick-or-treating! He was a Steelers football player.

Ryan wore this costume a few years ago :-). I got a Halloween bow to clip to the top to make it a a little girly for Brooke ;-).

On Grandma's porch. I have pictures like this of Ryan when he was younger.

Me and the kiddos.

Her disgusted look lol.

Silly boy lol.

She can now undress herself :-P.

"Here are my pants, Mom!"

She loves her some food!

Too many early mornings caught up with him! LOL.

It won't be long now before she's up AND over....AHHHH! LOL.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm still alive!

Wow, has it really been over two MONTHS since I last updated?? I'm not sure what happened there. Now that we are all settled in to the new place and kind of finding a new normal, I thought I would try and start this blog back up. I will probably not be going in to a whole lot of detail about certain things going on around here because I just think a lot of it is too personal to put out there, but I'll see what I can do ;-). In a nutshell here is what has happened in the last 2 months and how we've all been doing (I suck at summarizing, so bear with me):

Things have not gone as smoothly as I would have hoped/thought as far as the kids seeing their dad goes. I'm hoping that will change. Soon. But we'll see. He went 7 weeks without seeing them. Now tomorrow it will be another 2 weeks since he finally did see them, although he might be taking Ryan bowling Saturday. He's supposed to let me know tomorrow.

Ryan had an evaluation for behavioral services on September 16th. He was approved for a BSC (behavioral services coordinator) and they are working on getting him a TSS (therapeutic support staff) for him for school and home/community. Eventually (hopefully SOON) he will be starting an after school program for kids on the autism spectrum where they work on things like socializing, sensory issues, etc. It's one afternoon a week. I think he'll like it!

He also had an appointment with rehab medicine at Children's for an evaluation. He was evaluated by an occupational therapist, speech therapist, and physical therapist. Overall they were EXTREMELY pleased with how well he is doing, considering his history and being a 23 weeker. The only suggestion they had on top of the therapies he's already receiving in school is that he go to outpatient OT once a week, so we've already started that with him.

School is going pretty well. Academically, as far as I know, he's doing really well (his conference is Tuesday, so I'll know more then). He had a few rough weeks there last month and was acting out a bit, which was a first for school. In 3 years of preschool he had NEVER been the least bit uncooperative. But there have been a lot of changes since the beginning of the school year AND this is his first year in school full time. The last couple of weeks have been much better, so I'm hoping that continues :-). Again, I'll know more details next Tuesday. I know the school is really wanting a TSS for him to help with transitions and socializing and coping mechanisms and things like that. Hopefully he gets approved for one. Right now the autism support teacher has been spending the bulk of each day with him, from breakfast up until at least lunch (he definitely needs help in the cafeteria), but that can't really continue.

On to Brooke...oh my, that girl is giving me a run for my money :-P. Really she is not any different than a typical almost 20 month old, but Ryan was NOT a typical baby/toddler (even now he is not a typical 6 year old) so this is allllll new to me! She is talking up a storm and it's so cute. Her favorite word right now is "yes", but she sort of drops the "y" and she always almost whispers it and she draws out the "s". It's so cute. Her new thing is stripping. She doesn't like to wear clothes and will try to take them off. She either gets mad because she can't get something off or she'll get mad because she can't put it back on. She LOVES books and will sit for a half an hour or more looking through them and jabbering away. She loves dolls and dresses and her favorite "food" is ketchup ;-). She loves to bat her eyelashes at you and say "hi" when you're scolding her :-P. There for awhile the stinker would stand on things she wasn't supposed to, like the furniture while saying, "Sit. Sit. Sit." LOL. She is a sassy, stubborn, spunky little thing!

As for me, I'm doing well :-). Things were going really smoothly right after moving in here and I was just waiting for reality to set in and it did and I had a bit of a rough time there for a little while...ok, it was more than a "bit" rough. But I got through it and I'm hoping that is all in the past for the most part. Just gotta keep on truckin' ;-). I am actually seeing someone...a really great guy. I never thought I would date so soon, but we were friends first and just felt right. "Soon" is a relative term anyway. I may have just moved out a little more than 2 months ago, but to be completely honest the marriage was over L-O-N-G before that.

Well, I think that's enough for now. Hopefully I can get back in to the swing of this blogging thing! I'll post some pictures soon!