Sunday, September 15, 2013

Look! Pictures!

 I found some pictures! Hurray! Now you can see what we did this summer. :)

My awesome sister-in-law took pictures of the boys this summer.

I took some too. They were goofs.

But HANDSOME goofs!

Even the ones who wouldn't look at the camera.

We got into things we shouldn't. Like Daddy's special marking paint.

We ended the school year. How much we learned!

We got to get our faces painted. Which is one of our favorite things to do!

We took everything out of the pantry.

And put it on the table.

We tore the shelves apart.

And we painted.

And we built custom-spaced sturdy ones instead.

We got our Wolf Badge.

And our Webelos. And we are so proud of our hard work!

We built catapults with Daddy.

And knocked stuff down.

We got really messy.

I mean REALLY messy!

All of us!

We went swimming. And got cold. But the sand was warm.

We put a much-needed new roof on the house.

Some of us got brand new glasses.

And we played at parks!

Sometimes we had to go to the doctor. Because otherwise life is boring.

But we all survived, and are ready for the rest of our year, older, maybe wiser, and can't wait to have more fun!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Holy Forever, Batman!

How is it that I've made it an entire summer with nary a single update to my poor, neglected blog?

For shame!

I wish I could promise to do better, but the truth is that it is very difficult for me at times to voice my thoughts. Life seems to have so many ups and downs, and sometimes it's all I can do to get through what's being thrown, let alone get all my deep insights out.

And photos?

They don't happen often. Or more correctly, they are all on my phone and I can never seem to find the time to get them all over here to upload them.

And so we'll just play some catch-up with what everyone is doing!

Mark- Finished up yet another school year in July. According to credit hours, he's a senior. According to his class list, he's still got another 3 semesters at least. Depends on his minor/clusters/whatever he decides...  We were very blessed to have had an internship offer extended in April, and they were willing to wait until after his next semester to have him report. So 2 days after school ended for the summer, he was loading his car and driving to Montana for a minimum of 10 weeks, hopefully more. While it's been really tough having him gone, I tell people that it's easier than a deployment: nobody is pregnant, he can call every night and/or facebook, we're not in a foreign country, and his parents live in the same town and love to see their grandkids! Also, having to take care of himself, he's come to a new appreciation of all that I do. That's always a plus! :)

Myself- Where to start? Weight loss? I've been stalled since Christmas. That's right. In fact, I've let it go a little and gained about 10 lbs back. There are so many excuses, and so many reasons. But I'm trying to get myself back to a healthy state of mind so I can get back to a healthy body. I was able to do a couple races this summer, for which I am grateful. And Mark ran one with me, pushing me WAY past my wall, and encouraging me not to quit.

      I've been struggling with a lot of things this summer. And slowly I am trying to learn to let go. Not everything happens the way or the time you hope. Nobody is perfect, the goal is in the trying. And that sometimes, things just happen.

Oren- My "baby" is in the 6th grade this year. 11 years old. How did this happen? He is a grand total of 6 inches shorter than his mother! He love to read, devours everything we own that I've deemed appropriate for him, and begs for more. He and I have struggled a bit the last several months with the fact that there are only 2 parents in the house, and he is not one of them. Being highly intelligent seems to come with it's drawbacks, and a little humility might be a good thing to teach. But all things come with time.

     He is starting a lot of new things this year. The middle school does advanced math and english, so he is doing those. He was allowed to choose several electives, and big surprise, investigative science was first on the list! He also chose to start beginning woodwinds, and is very excited to get to play clarinet.

Nathan- He had a bit of fun this summer! Last year it was determined that the valve between his nose and throat was not closing all the way. This was the valve we had reconstructed at 4 yrs old... But he's grown way faster than we thought and though it was trying, it just couldn't quite get shut. A year of therapy, and still nothing. No improvement whatsoever. So we made the very difficult decision to have the doctor do another surgery. This one involved sewing a flap of tissue across the valve opening, essentially closing it off, with small ports on either side for breathing and drainage. This can be reversed once he gets as big as he's going to get, if needed, or if the apnea that is a common side effect becomes a problem. So far, so good. He sounds as though he has a perpetual cold, but even that is getting a lot better as the swelling has gone down.

   He is in 4th grade this year, and already likes it better than 3rd. This year, he's talking better and more, and says he has already made some friends. Last year he was a bit of a loner, and it broke my heart. But a mom can't fix everything, and I couldn't make friends for him. He has to find his own way. Such a sweet boy, and adores his little brother, Daniel. Those two have become fast friends this summer!

William- Oh, my sweet William. Someday I'm going to have a garden of Sweet William flowers, just because. :)  This was a rougher summer on me than it was on him. We had him formally diagnosed as having Asperger's Syndrome. A lot of people wonder just what that is. People hear it hand in hand with Autism. Both are characterized with basically a lack of social skills. Of course, it goes much deeper than that, and can be mild or highly severe. Children may be very vocal, like Oren, or non-talkative, like William. The difference between the diagnoses is that with autism there is some form of cognitive impairment. With Asperger's, there is not. But all that is a moot point as of next year, when some committee somewhere that thinks they know everything has decreed that there will be no more Asperger's. Only mild to severe autism. He is highly intelligent, and I'd love to do an IQ test like we did for Oren to see just how so, his struggle is relating to the world around him and being comfortable in his surroundings.

    He started 1st grade this year, and I was concerned how he would handle a whole day of constant stimulation. At back-to-school night I talked to his teacher and let her know what issues she'll be dealing with. Her first words were "How can I help him?" As a mother, this made me so happy. She isn't going to try to force him to be a square, when he wants to be and only knows how to be a triangle. She walks him through the lunch line and is his go-between with other adults. Our at-home life with him is still a huge struggle, as we try and find ways to help him express himself appropriately, and understand him. But all the work and deep breathing is worth it when he smiles at me and we have those small moments of peace and clarity.

Daniel - At nearly 4, he is a firecracker! Always on the move, sweet and cuddly. He and William are starting to get along a little better now that they aren't sharing a room. A little. He is learning so much every day and every time I turn around, he's grown that much more!

    With his brothers starting school again, he's missed having his constant playmates of summer. So we are trying to find others for him to play with. I think he enjoys having lots of time, just he and I, to cuddle and talk about what interests him. It's hard to think sometimes that in just 2 more years, he'll be starting school as well, and I'll have no more little ones at home! Where has the time gone?

Even with so much going on with each of our children, and with ourselves, we have been so blessed as a family these last few months. I would promise to be better at posting on here, but I know better... How about, I promise to try thinking about posting more? Yep, that I can commit to!