…in a good way. 🙂

Things are continuing to go well for Christian at school. We are still hearing very positive news about his days, even though Christian is currently working on cutting an evil tooth. (“Evil” since it has been working its way in for the last SIX months! I believe we are nearing the poke-through stage. Hooray!!!)

Yesterday, Brian and I met with his 10-person IEP team to build goals for the next 12 months of school. We have many new faces on the team this year, many whom we hadn’t met before, so I was nervous, yet excited for this meeting. His IEP team is amazing. Every one of them truly cares about Christian and longs to see him achieve. I feel SO BLESSED to have such loving people surrounding my special little man daily.

There was one fantastic moment that stands out in my mind from our meeting, though. A story that his teacher shared with the group…

They have been working on communication skills in his classroom, especially about how it is important to look other people in the eyes when talking with them. So, they had taken pictures of each of his classmate’s sets of eyes (9 total) and put them in a book. Christian correctly identified all 9 sets correctly (with no other facial features exposed). When asked to identify each of his classmates when given a full-body picture of the person, he only got 7 out of the 9 correct.

I was floored! Christian rarely looks at someone directly in their eyes unless prompted or he really, really wants something from them. But he knew all 9 of his classmates by their eyes only!

This is totally awesome to me! 😀 I can’t stop smiling when I think about this accomplishment! 😀

Somehow five years have flown by…

You have grown…

Always smiling.  (Well, almost always. 😉 )  Always on the go.  Trying to keep up with your big brother.  Sometimes taking the lead.  Always in style…

You can’t wait to get older.  I’m ready for you to take your time…

Our princess…

May you always remain the sweet girl that you are.

Happy Birthday, Olivia.  You are a blessing from God!  We are so happy to have you in our life! 😀

We enrolled Christian in swimming lessons on Saturday mornings for his safety and our peace of mind.  He is highly attracted to water.  Puddle.  Ocean.  Bucket of water.  Lake.  They are all equal in his mind and therefore are all treated the same.  Jumped in.  Oblivious to any danger that may exist in doing so.   We are blessed that this is one-on-one swimming instruction.  Christian is getting the attention that he needs (especially around the pool, ‘cuz ya know, he’s a runner, too).  We are also happy that this gives him a scheduled weekly outing beyond church and school.

We would have been the unfairest parents ever if we didn’t find a class for Liv to take, too.  She is starting to get more jealous of things that Christian has (because of his needs that we otherwise wouldn’t own).  Thankfully, I found the answer — “Little Steppers” dance class.  It runs during the same hour as Christian’s swim class, in the same building, for the same number of weeks,  and she loves to dance.  Perfect.

Sigh.  Where to start?!?  It’s been awhile since I sat down to write and ponder what’s been going on in our lives, so, I guess, this post will be a bit of a hodgepodge as these last couple of weeks have just rushed on by…

Well, last week was Christian’s spring break.  It was a struggle.  From a former-teacher’s standpoint, I understand the NEED for a spring break.  From Christian’s standpoint, I wish there was NEVER a break from school.  Our routine get SO messed up that it’s hard to get anything done.  It’s hard for Christian to stay dressed.  It’s hard to keep the peace between siblings.  It’s hard to keep my patience and sanity.  It’s hard to find something to do that pleases both kids.  It’s hard to keep up with the toileting issues that always rear their ugly heads anytime a major routine change happens, such as a LONG break from school.  Sigh.  We did manage to move a few of Christian’s therapy shifts earlier to help eat up some of the length of his days.  The kids and I went to visit my parents 45-minutes away and made animals at Build-A-Bear Workshop for their early birthday gifts from Grandma and Grandpa.  Christian was a little overwhelmed with all of the choices at the store, so I started making executive decisions for him, which turned out fine in the end.  (Especially when we got home and I realized that he wasn’t playing with his animal because I had put jammies on it.  Come on, Mama, animals don’t wear jammies!  I took them off the dog and then Christian LOVED his puppy!! 🙂 )  Liv got really shy there.  She refused to interact with the ladies in the store, but she knew what she wanted and found a Hello Kitty and dressed it in Hello Kitty jammies.  Yeah, she LOVED it!  🙂  Liv then stayed at Grandma & Grandpa’s overnight.  Her first night EVER away from us.  She did great!  She did so well in fact that she didn’t want to come home the next day.  😉  Who can blame her???  She had TWO WHOLE people’s undivided attention!  She certainly doesn’t get that around here.  Liv is looking forward to the next time that she gets to do that!  🙂  Oh, and the weather last week was BEAUTIFUL!  I couldn’t have ordered better weather.  It was warm.  It was sunny.  We were able to spend time outside.  🙂  (I just had to keep an eye on my little nudist.  He’d run out there with his clothes on and a minute later he’d be running laps in the yard TOTALLY in the buff, losing his clothes somewhere under the slide all while the neighbors were outside eating their supper.  Sigh.)  Christian started refusing to use his words towards the end of the week making it extremely hard to communicate effectively.  One of Brian’s grandmas broke her leg and ended up needing surgery.  (It went OK.  She is still recovering at the hospital.)  We had an Easter egg hunt with the kids in our living room on Saturday (since we were going to be gone most of the day on Sunday).  They had a blast.  Then we celebrated Liv’s Golden Easter Birthday here on Saturday, too.  She was excited!  🙂  Gifts, pizza, some soda, cake, playing with Neighbor Girl…Liv was a happy girl.  On Sunday, we rushed out the door after Brian was done milking to get to church.  We got there a few minutes late and didn’t get to sit in our usual spot.  Sigh.  Christian did OK, but struggled after 20 minutes.  And as pretty as Easter lilies are, they make me nauseated and headachy as I am very allergic to them.  We ended up leaving the service as communion started as wrestling Christian was getting harder and he was starting to “wet-noodle.”  We wanted to get out before he started his angry screams with hitting.  So, back on the road to my parents for the day.  I brought C’s jammies as I figured was better to have him wearing the jammies than streaking around all day in his underwear (or less).  I was happy that I thought of that before we left the house.  Liv enjoyed playing with her cousins, and celebrating Easter, and being the “Birthday Princess Flower Girl” for the day.  I enjoyed seeing my family and chatting a bit.  And it was nice to have some extra help in the backyard when everyone went out.  I stood on one end of the yard while the other end was guarded by other family members.  Thank you!  We only lost C once when he stealthily snuck through the house without making a sound.  Thankfully I found him hiding in the back of one of the cars in the garage inside of running down the street!  😉  After awhile, C wanted to snuggle with me in the dark, quiet basement, so I obliged.  We fell asleep just before supper, so when Brian woke me we decided to just let Christian sleep since he was tired enough to be napping and couldn’t eat anything that the rest of us were having for supper anyway.  Well, perhaps that was a mistake on my part.  I woke him a 1/2-hour later and then couldn’t get him to settle down once we got back home.  One day I’ll learn my lesson.  😉  I was a little nervous on Monday morning about getting back INTO our routine.  C wrestled me a bit getting into his clothes, but as soon as we pulled into the parking lot at school, he giggled.  He smiled.  He did his happy dance and then ran and galloped while “happy singing” all the way up to the school doors!  Amazing!  He was SO happy to be back!  🙂  (And I couldn’t have been happier for him, either.)  Therapy went well on Monday afternoon.  All back to routine!  🙂  Liv spent most of the day playing-up her Diva attitude while I attempted to pick-up the house and run errands.  Then she and Neighbor Girl played a LOT, which is wonderful, but they were also fighting and Neighbor Girl asks a LOT of questions.  More than Olivia does.  I didn’t know that was humanly possible.  And C went back to having accidents in the basement after his therapist left.  I was a bit frazzled.  (OK, that’s an understatment.)  I was ready to have everyone turn in for the night, so I could have some quiet solitude.  I basked in it before bed.  It was lovely. 🙂  Unfortunately, 1:30 rolled around with a wetting accident in one room, so I immediately started laundry.  2:30 started vomiting in the other, which continued for the next few hours.  5:30 came with a cry about the couch being peed on and then the vomiting started again.  Then I started not to feel so well.  Some of that just stemmed from major sleep-deprivation and having dealt with the middle of the night pukes.  I happily accepted Brian’s offer of taking Olivia to the store with him while he was home over his break.  Yes, I would rest with Christian.  And we did.  For 15 minutes.  Then I heard THAT sound.  Then I was covered in THAT stuff.  Eww…that didn’t help me feel any better.  😦  Poor C.  As I was getting myself out of my icky clothes, my phone rings.  C’s senior therapists.  Yes, we will cancel therapy today.  Thankfully, she was nice enough to come and stay with C for a couple of hours while ran to the store to buy additional carpet cleaning supplies.  I had used a week’s worth in 12 hours!  Oh, and she brought me Starbucks! 🙂  Thank you, AZ!  That really made my day!  🙂  Liv and Brian headed out to a Brewer game with some of his family after milking, which was fine with me.  I really just wanted to rest.  (And so did C.)  And that’s what we did.  I kept Christian home yesterday, too.  He just wasn’t himself yet.  I’m glad I made that decision even though that meant that I had to miss meeting up with a friend.  😦  (SM, I hope we can make it work out sometime soon!)  Liv was bored, but such is life some days, right?!?  But, today…Today Christian was back to his normal Christian-self.  He fought me getting dressed, (I mean, REALLY fought me!) but we finally managed to get out the door, and into the car, and then the kids fought ALL the way to school, BUT as soon as we pulled into the parking lot Christian was happy! 🙂  SO HAPPY!  🙂  And I was glad, as I wasn’t sure how it would go, but he dragged me up to the school building.  Happy screaming.  Happy running.  Happy jumping.  Sigh [of relief!]  I’m so excited that he was happy to be back!  🙂  And now, I should get back to my Liv, who has been hanging on my arm for the last 20-minutes…  😉

Christian LOVES his "Kipper" from Build-A-Bear now that the jammies are off! 🙂

Liv with her "Hello Kitty." Yep, that's what she named it! 😉

In honor of Olivia’s birthday tomorrow…

This pic is 3 weeks before Liv's actual due date, and about a week before she was taken by c-section.

March 2006 was a crazy month.  I waddled with Christian (because of my lovely “kankles”) from therapist to doctor to therapist, repeat.  As I had been with Christian, I was pregnant to the point where people would stop me at Target and ask me when my twins were due.  Sigh.  Just one baby.  Just one BIG baby.  (And LOTS of water weight.  Like 20 lbs of it!)  🙂 

April 4th, all good and scheduled (because of all of the complications with C’s delivery), Liv was born via c-section.  (Which actually made it easier on Christian as Grandma was able to be there for him all the way from Wisconsin.  Both kids were born in Florida.) 

Picture mid c-section. This one was MUCH more relaxed.

"Put me back in!"

I didn’t sleep a wink while in the hospital.  (Even though I really, really wanted to!!!)  So, I was ready to leave as soon as possible.  🙂 

Me & Liv the day we were released.

It’s hard to believe that FOUR whole years have just flown by!  It’s hard to believe that she was ever that tiny!  I fear that the next four years will fly by even faster!  (Is that humanly possible?!?)  She has grown into her role in our family.  She is no longer that baby who wouldn’t and couldn’t stop crying.  (Reflux.  Yuck!)  She is now our diva, princess, fashionista extraordinaire!  (Who loves to help Daddy outside with yard work.)  🙂  She is full of life and humor.  She is full of patient understanding, especially for her brother.  She is an advocate.  She is not afraid to speak her mind and tell it how it is.  She is boisterous and extremely shy all rolled up in the same package.  She is Olivia.  And we love her. 

Happy Golden 4th Easter Birthday, Olivia!  🙂

This afternoon I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a lecture at a local college about Savant Syndrome.  The lecture was given by the world renown savant expert, Dr. Darold Treffert.  I had been emailing him a few weeks ago, asking questions of him about Christian and his amazing abilities.  He patiently answered my questions and pointed towards hyperlexia.  Anyway, it was pretty awesome to meet him in person today.  (He even remembered me from our email communication. 🙂 )

As I sat and listened to him talk, I became more and more convinced that I may have a savant living in my house.  We never taught Christian to read.  We couldn’t even read TO him.  He refused to look at a book while being read to.  He would tolerate being in the same room (most days), but if you dared try reading to him on your lap, you had to be ready to be slapped in the face.  Christian learned TOTALLY on his own.  None of that phonetics stuff.  Whole word reading and replicating, starting with words like “international,” “nickelodeon,” and other favorite shows/logos/big words that he had seen.  He has a passion/obsession for credits and will use his letter blocks and magnadoodles on the floor to repeat them (even if he has only seen them once).  I can do nothing but stand there and watch him and wonder just how he does that.  I can see the pictures running through his mind, but this phenomenon boggles mine.

…I digress…anyway, within twenty minutes of being home from school today, I walked outside to see that Christian had written this on our picnic table…

Can you read it?  It took me a minute.  It says, “Pachyderm.”  Wow!  I wasn’t sure how to spell that correctly, so I consulted the dictionary.  Hmm…is that middle letter a “u” or a “y”???  So, I asked Christian, “What’s this letter?”  He said, “Pachyderm.”  I started from the beginning of the word, “What’s this letter?”  C said, “P – A – C – H – Y – D – E – R – M.  Pachyderm,” with a gigantic smile on his face.  Then he wiggled out of my arms and ran off.

I was floored.  (But not surprised.)  A-maz-ing!  🙂

Ahh…pictures from way back when we were rested, young, and a few pounds lighter.  😉  Happy Valentine’s Day, Honey!