Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bowling, Bowling, Bowling ... Keep Those Kids A' Bowling!

My dad had an itch to go bowling recently, so we all packed up and took a little road trip to Douglas to go bowling.  We ended up at Lakeview Lanes, an adorable eight-lane bowling alley with an attached restaurant.  After collecting shoes and bowling balls, it was time to start the games!

Dad and the kids were on a lane together, bumpers up and ready to go.  Mollie obviously needed help, so she and my mom bowled together.

Baylor, being the big boy he is, decided he only needed a little help.  The first couple times he helped push the ball down the lane he started sobbing as soon as it left his hands, but he eventually warmed up to the whole process and had fun.

Except, of course, the time I helped him too much (a.k.a., got caught doing the bulk of the pushing) and he cried for a bit and didn't seem to want my "help" anymore.

Mollie was just thrilled at the whole experience and cheered and danced her way through it.

Sorry the next video is sideways ... my sister tried her best!  In any case, it gives you a pretty good idea of how geeked the little lady was whenever she took her turn.

As you can easily see in this picture, Baylor got to wear big boy bowling shoes ... he wears the smallest size they come in.

In between turns, Mollie discovered a love of lemons.

Seriously, she'd suck on it, make this face, then do it again.  Funny little girl!

Of course, hunger soon kicked in and Mollie pretended to take pictures with Grandpa E's phone while munching on animal crackers.  Ah, what a life!

Then, unsatisfied that I had ONLY brought animal crackers, she went nosing through my purse in hopes of scoring something saltier.  Namely, goldfish crackers.

We bowled two games then enjoyed a leisurely dinner.  It was quite a nice evening, and the kids are already looking forward to our next bowling excursion!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Esquela!: The First Attempt

One of the main things we are trying to do to help Baylor with the Asperger's symptoms he is experiencing is to get him into a class through our school district, ultimately in hopes that it will help him feel less anxious when around kids his own age.  Our first attempt to get him to his 9:00 a.m. Friday morning class came two Fridays ago, and I am sad to report it did not end well.

It did, however, start out okay.  I got Baylor up at 7:00 a.m.; plenty early enough, I thought.  Throughout the morning I tried to make things as calm and leisurely as possible so as not to intensify any stress or anxiety he might have been feeling.  That approach may have been my undoing in the end.

Regardless, he got to put together some Legos he earned by using the potty the night before.

And he got to have his favorite breakfast:  a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, crusts cut off, and the sandwich itself cut into two triangles, two rectangles, and two squares (a.k.a. "how Oma does it").

It was right about then that I screwed myself over.  Notice how Mollie hasn't been seen or mentioned yet?  Yeah, that's because she wasn't up yet; I, like an idiot, didn't wake her up until about 8:00 a.m.  Smooth move, Nic.

The morning ended up devolving into a bunch of shouting, crying, and anxiety for both Baylor and me, and I wondered how we would ever make this work.  Mollie, for her part, was a trooper; though she absolutely dilly-dallied through her breakfast, she was Johnny On The Spot when it came to getting ready.  Even after it was determined that we wouldn't be going to school that day, she still tried to get everyone dressed and ready to go - which also served to upset her brother even more, but hey, at least she tried.

In the end, we didn't go because I didn't want his first taste of school to be a sour one.  He has years to build up his dislike for school; this initial foray should be purely fun as all we're really hoping for here is a little socialization.  The class he's attending is actually a speech therapy class, only four or five other little boys about his age in it; he's not going to be there for the speech therapy part of it, but it's an ideal-sized class for socializing.

After I relented trying to get us all ready to go and told him we were going to stay home, he snapped back to normal and went on playing.  I, unfortunately, was wrecked for the entire morning.  My nerves were shot from trying to get us out the door even remotely on time, and I had let myself get my hopes up for an awesome experience.  Once I calmed down, I tried reminding myself that this is all new, and it's all about him.  This isn't about trying to fix how much I hated school; it's about trying to make sure that his first experiences with school are as positive as they can be.  Forcing him into this, or most anything for that matter, isn't going to produce a lot of happy feelings.  Yes, he does have to go to school and meet new kids, and yes it will be this Friday morning class; but to get Baylor on-board we need to go more at Baylor pace.

As I said that day ... there's always next week!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Random Photos from Recent Times, Part 2

I thought you might enjoy looking at some recent photos of the kiddos and all their antics.

Like playing with their food (and being super excited about it) ...

Peek-a-booing out of the little house ...

Talking, talking, talking ... with one's hands, of course ...

Building sweet bridges that one's mom is so enamored of that she'll take a picture of it ...

Making stretched-out faces when one is tired ...

Smiling with family ...

Talking with each other after having successfully torn apart the couch ...

Not getting along ...

And being thick as thieves ...

Snuggling with Mom's beloved Teddy, gently of course as he is a "geriatric bear" ...

And being a silly little stinker and moving the bar stool into the living room ...

And joining one's sister in the mischievous fun ...

So that's what they've been up to in between all the big stuff of life.  What have you been up to these days?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mollie the Mommy

Mollie has been very busy lately taking care of her new baby, Sally, and I must say she's doing a terrific job.  She makes sure that her little girl has a clean diaper on at all times.

She provides her with good food to eat.

Sometimes she even uses her baby's food as a makeshift lotion ... isn't she resourceful?!

Mollie keeps Sally clean.

And reads to her to expand her ever-growing brain.

She's a good little mommy, my little girl!  (It is hilarious and awesome to get to see her take care of her baby; I am just astounded by how much she picks up from what I do.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Health Stuff ... Ugh

I had high hopes that I'd be posting more these days, but so many things seem to be getting in the way.  Potty training, dealing with Asperger's/PDD-NOS, and just the day to day stuff keep me busy enough.  Unfortunately, I have had a few health issues I've had to deal with that are gumming up the works even more than usual.

First off, my soon-to-be former psychiatrist suggested I undergo another sleep study (I had one years ago that no one seems to have the results of ... *sigh*) to make sure we were still dealing with the same problem.  So I did that.  First, it was a night away from my both my kids for the first time ... looking like this:

It was tough to sleep with all that on me, particularly with the breathing sensor up my nostrils.  Oh, and the bed was essentially a slab of concrete covered with a lightly quilted fabric.

Then, I spent the majority of the next day looking like this:

And taking five 20+ minute naps at two hour intervals.  The waking time was particularly difficult because I had almost no cell phone reception and absolutely no access to the internet.  I wasn't allowed to sit in bed (since I wasn't allowed to nap between naps) and there was only an uncomfortable conference-room style chair as my other seating option.  Last time I went through the sleep study I LOVED it; I was an expert napper and wasn't constantly on-the-go in my everyday life.  Now, I am almost always moving.  It's not always productive movement, but between picking up after the kids, trying desperately to keep up with the house, scraping together meals that are healthy, and - most importantly - trying to give the kids a happy, fun childhood I feel like I'm constantly in motion.  To have to sit with little to do all day was a weird form of torture.  (Sad that this is my problem, isn't it?  I feel horrible even whining about this.)  I came home at the end of it, in an impressive showing of snow, and missing the kids like crazy; I pretty much burst into tears when I came into the door.

Which brings me to another health issue ...

In preparing for this sleep study, I had to stop my beloved Ritalin for a week.  As a mom who regularly gets between five and seven hours of sleep a night, it was a rough journey to say the least - lots of falling asleep while attempting to read books to the kids.  So needless to say, I was pretty bummed when I finished up the sleep study and ended up developing more health problems that have me not wanting to take much medication, including Ritalin.  After having been on a slew of meds for months and months, I'm now down to just one, for better or worse.  So now, on top of being tired, I am also more distracted with a widely variable mood (read: "I don't get much done, and I've been really weepy lately.").  So there's that.

Oh, and just to add to the fun ...

On Thanksgiving Day 2011, I all of a sudden started having a high-pitched ringing in my right ear.  It got louder with loud sounds, and on top of that I felt like my hearing had been compromised somehow.  Then I started to have occasional dizzy spells, a couple so bad that I got nauseous and had to lie down with my eye mask on.  My father-in-law (Hi, Chris!) has Meniere's disease, so I was aware that these were similar, but not identical, to the symptoms of this disease and after the ringing didn't stop and my hearing didn't improve, I saw an ear, nose, and throat specialist.  After some tests, a round of steroids, and additional observation on my part, my doctor concluded before Christmas that I had high pitched hearing loss because of some nerve damage, though from what I am unsure, and that the ringing likely wouldn't go away and my hearing wouldn't likely return to full-strength.  Armed with that knowledge, I tried to just ignore it and, largely, it worked.

Then on January 14th, I all of a sudden got dizzy again.  Not enough, mind you, to restrict me to the couch, but enough to slow down all my movements and make even little tasks a bit difficult.  The dizzy spells from 2011 were brief, only an hour or so long, but the dizziness this time didn't go away for about two whole days. Back to the ENT for me, and this time he said in light of the persisting (both the ringing and hearing loss were still there) and additional (low-grade, long-lasting dizziness) symptoms I was likely experiencing one of two things: either a Meniere's variant or a migraine variant - both being variants because neither was presenting in a classical way.

Since he is an ENT and since the nurse had already started me on a low-sodium diet a day or two earlier, a diet that was providing relief from the dizziness, he suggested I keep on a low-sodium diet (2000 to 2200 mg. of sodium a day or less) and see if that helped keep the dizziness at bay.  If it mostly did but not all the way, diuretic tablets could also help and he would be happy to help me procure those.  If the diet didn't help, then he said he'd suggest pursuing relief from a migraine variant standpoint and seek out this particular drug.

So I'm currently trying to figure out how to live a low-sodium lifestyle, and I'm not going to lie, it's a bit daunting.  Some of my favorite foods are high-sodium offenders, namely movie theatre popcorn and lasagna, and giving them up will be tough.  Some foods I thought would be okay turn out to be almost out of the question: our current go-to bread has 5% of your daily sodium intake in ONE slice ... meaning a sandwich would be at the bare minimum 10% of my allotted sodium, a figure I'm just not okay with; my favorite tortillas have 21% of your daily recommended sodium in ONE tortilla - I usually eat two when we have tacos; even Cheerios are higher than I was expecting - 7% in a one cup serving without milk.  Oh, and milk ... that has sodium too.  And forget about eating out; some places don't have nutritional information available and those that do are often so depressing it's ridiculous.  (Want to see what I mean?  Check out Applebee's nutritional stats ... just the sodium column alone will make you cringe.)

So my health has been keeping me busy, to say the least.  I'm trying so hard to keep myself going and being the best mom I can be to the two best kids in the world.  (Yes, I am biased.  Any mom would say the same about her own children.)  Hopefully once I get this all figured out, though, our lives will be much healthier for the long haul.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Football and a Fort

Watching our beloved Michigan State in a bowl game is so much different now that there are two kiddos in the mix.  For example, instead of lounging on the couch, the couch transforms into a fort.

A fort, mind you, that can only hold one child.  But hey, it does have a garage door!

And instead of focusing all your attention on the game, you get to explore all the cool stuff Oma has around her house ... like the smoking man.

I know smoking is bad for you and all, but this is bitchin'!  (My grandpa has one and used to light it for us all the time when we'd visit, so the smell of this alone is chock full of memories.)

Then, in no time, it's back to the fort.

But, in spite of all the changes, it still is so much fun to watch the game with your family of fans.

Even better if you get to share a cookie or two!

Baylor told Grandpa E it was time for a nap in the fort ... but only one of them was sleeping.

Then it was (cramped) snuggle time.

And, incidentally, we figured out that Baylor can help move the coffee table ... because he can actually lift it!

Mollie, for her part, used Oma as a jungle gym.  Who knows, maybe someday she'll be a real MSU cheerleader!

And after a win, there isn't much better than enjoying a homemade eclair!

And some laughter with the ones we love.

There's nothing much more to say except ... GO GREEN!