Thursday, October 31, 2013

A very late update

We added a new member to our household earlier this month.  This is Glow Stick. She was born weighing 8lbs 12oz and is a very awake baby. Due to jaundice, she had to remain in the hospital for 5 days. The minions came up to visit us daily. Due to the government shutdown, The Elder was not able to take his time off. Glow Stick was born in the morning and The Elder was back to work by noon.

Clark and Tyke reading with Grandma in the hospital.
We were one of the lucky families and we had money in the bank. So we were fine even though The Elder was not paid for several weeks. Once the government was "running" again, The Elder took his two weeks off. This is the last week he is off. I have to admit it is almost like having a 6th child.

Colonel Sanders loves her sister.
 In the mean time, Clark has been having a bit of a rough time at school. More meltdowns, he has turned into a runner, and he had to be taken out of the lunch room. The noises and other kids are just to much for him in the gym. So he eats with his teacher or another adult every day. The Elder has stopped in to have lunch with the boys several times while he has been off. Clark loved it and his teacher reported that the rest of that day and the one after the lunch time visit went smoother than normal
This is why she is called Glow Stick. She came home on a bili blanket and was on it for a week at home.
 Tyke also enjoyed the lunch time visits. He is doing well in his class. He keeps an eye on his older brother at school. Pork did not make it into preschool. We work on things at home though. Colonel Sanders is such a big girl. She likes to sit on the potty and help feed her sister when we bottle feed.
Our family

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First day of school

Here they are! Clark and Tyke on their first day of Kindergarten! Pork is still fighting potty training, so he did not make it into preschool. The boys got ready and ate breakfast with no issues. We were actually early!

After we dropped Clark and Tyke off, the remaining 2 minions and I decided to go out on a date. The minions had first breakfast at 7am. Pork wanted to be like mama (who was having decaf coffee). So we put OJ in his mug.

Colonel Sanders was a little to excited!

This is what is left after 2nd breakfast. By the time food came up, it was 9am. Pork and The Colonel both had a very large Mickey Mouse pancake. Pork at that, some of my omelet, and the toast you see there. This is after eating 3 pieces of french toast, milk, and fruit just 2 hours prior.

Outside of smearing her face with chocolate, Colonel Sanders was not to interested in her breakfast. I did not expect her to be.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing, playing and I had a Dr. appt to take off a bump (nothing interesting, no worries!).

Pork was VERY happy to see Tyke at the end of the school day!

Yes, that is a parked car behind The Colonel. That is the pick up line. I was standing and watching her carefully. There was not to much sidewalk to play on. Colonel Sanders was a little to happy to run around the bench. I know she does not look amused here, she has sun in her eyes.

Poor Clark. He was the last class out and you could tell he was over stimulated. I called his teacher later and she told me that he had a wonderful day and no sensory items were needed to help him cope with all that was going on. I feel a little silly rushing back to the school after drop off (before 2nd breakfast now). We provide the items he needs for sensory. So I have several sensory brushes, clay (a tiny piece helps him focus), chew tops for his pencils, and wet wipes. The list changes depending on what he is doing. Right now he is not wanting a weighted pad or vest. He does well with a bean bag for his hands, but it was decided we would wait to see if he would be ok without it.

As far as lunch, Tyke ate all but his carrots. Clark did not eat well at all. He ate just the 5-6 grape halves and the fruit strips. I think he was distracted over the noise in the lunch room as well as the other kids.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Our first trial for the year

The plan was, put minions in the tub, set out their clothes, make breakfast, get minions out of the tub, dress minions, feed breakfast and while they eat breakfast I would make lunches. Any other time this may have worked. Today there was nothing but fighting. Then my Angry Birds cutters went MIA. I was not a pleased mama.

I just received my FunBites cutters in the mail and wanted to give them a try. I thought they would work perfect for an Angry Birds lunch! I even had some Angry Birds cutters that I had purchased for Tyke's birthday.
 To bad things did not go my way. Next time I need to gather all cutters before I start lunch. I had the FunBites, but the Angry Birds were no where to be found. *sighs* I know the minions have been fascinated with them. To bad they chose to play with them. The baby has drained most creativity from my brain (5 more week till baby is born!). I had no clue what to do. So I decided to just go with what I had, not worry about it and make lunch.
I need to warn you, apple rabbits do NOT turn out to well when you are out of practice and are using a steak knife. Yeah, don't ask. It was a steak knife or a very large knife. I decided keeping my fingers would be best and went with the steak knife.

Things still turned out. Clark and Tyke informed me that they loved their World of Goo lunch... Ok then. I will guess that is a game their father put on the Nabi Jr. Glad they liked it. I also discovered that with no morning snack (they have one at home but not at school, so we had no snack this morning) they need more food than normal. Tomorrow I will do better!

There is a little concern over Tyke not eating as many small meals though. We put in a morning snack because it is better for him... So we shall see....

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Odd rash on The Colonel

Crazy times over Memorial Day weekend.  Friday morning Colonel Sanders had a red line near the top of her diaper. I assumed it was from how she was laying in bed with her blanket bunched up or something. We had our bath for the day and life went on.

After the Dr. office closed, this is what greeted me. The red near her diaper did not go below her diaper. I was stumped. I have never seen anything like this. We had not been outside in 2 days due to rain. No new foods. No new soaps (I have allergies to soaps). You would think with 3 boys I would have already seen it all. Especially with a child like Tyke. I had no clue. It did not itch and there was no pain when I touched it. No fever. The house has AC so it was not heat related. So I went to some fellow moms an asked them.

There were many ideas and many things that it looked somewhat like. It ranged from fifths disease to ringworm. I knew it was not ring worm, but I can understand from the pictures. So I called the on call Dr. and she told me that she was not to concerned for The Colonel, but she wanted her to go in anyway just in case it was something that could problems with my pregnancy. This made me feel a little odd.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I do not like going to the ER. If it will not kill you over night, then why not wait till morning to see the Dr? I am more cautious with the kids than I am myself, still, had this been on a Thursday, we would have just waited till the next morning to see the Dr.

The intake nurse was a little puzzled since the red marks were flat. A 2nd nurse came in, looked at it from a distance (she was pregnant) and left telling me that I would have another nurse. That made me worry a bit, but well, too late, if it was bad I was already infected.

The Dr. came in, was a little puzzled that it did not itch, it did not hurt, and it was flush with the skin. He left and so we waited. After an hour he came back and told me that The Colonel had him stumped for a little bit.  They decided that what she had was hives caused by an allergic reaction. To what? no one had a clue.

So we went home and went to bed. Saturday morning there was nothing on The Colonel. By afternoon it had come back half as bad, but by Sunday morning there was nothing again.

We still have no clue what caused them.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The update I have been promising........

If you have ever lived with a roommate, you know it isn't easy. Everyone does things differently and what is expected in one family is totally different in another. How/what things are said (sarcasm) also varies in different family groups. So tone of voice has to be watched. Things can get stressful pretty fast. Especially when you add in 4 children and one is autistic and another one has to have a monitored diet due to acid reflux. We cut out a lot of boxed items and convenience foods. It all ends up being a learning curve for both parties involved. Along the way there is bound to be some hurt feelings and misunderstandings.

The most important thing to do is always keep open lines of communication and for both parties to talk things out. This is especially true when one (or both) parties suffer from depression and or anxiety. If you let things build up, it will only make things 10 times worse. When one or both parties fail to do this... well it makes a stressful household and ends in disaster.

That is all that will be said about that.

Going back in time a bit, January 28th I found out I was pregnant with minion #5. By early February I had the worst morning sickness ever. If I sat still I was fine. The instant I got up to do anything, I was heaving. Even on Zofran. It was so bad that the kids missed school several times. We relied heavily on Julie for a bit to keep the house going as normal as possible. Aunt Agnes was picking up the kids from school.

Things slowly got to a manageable level by mid April. In early May I started to have some constant heart palpation and a heavy chest. I also had some blackouts. One lasted a little over an hour. My OB sent me to the ER several times and I was also put on a heart monitor for 24 hours. The monitor showed the palpations but it did not show anything wrong. All blood tests came back normal. They did an ultrasound at one point (we did not get to see the baby, but it gave me an official due date) and the baby was fine. They finally decided it could all be stress related.

Julie is no longer living with us. Sadly it was rather abrupt and it took Clark a week to come to terms with it. Near the end there was 2 days of him being on a constant hair trigger and many meltdowns. I had to send myself into time outs several times. I am happy to say that everyone is doing well now. The blackouts and heart palpation have gone away.

On Monday The Elder and I had an ultrasound and were able to see the baby for the first time. I am now 20 1/2 weeks along. I still have nausea on and off and still need to take Zofran to keep it in check.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


The Elder and Clark

We missed the cut off for spring Tball. So we signed the boys up for bowling. In the past they have enjoyed it. The good part is, all 3 boys can participate. With Tball, only Clark and Tyke can. We did consider soccer, but the field they use in this area is just to noisy. There is to much noise for Clark. It's sad because he really likes it. We may do it this fall though.

The Elder and Clark watching the ball.

Tyke getting his ball.

Pa and The Colonel

We have bowled 4 times so far. Tyke seems to do the best. All these pictures are from a previous week. Clark now needs to wear headphones to bowl. The noises in the bowling alley are to much for him once they  have the teens bowling too. That is ok though.

Oh Pork Chop... He and Pa are lining up the ball and he just tossed it.

Go! Go!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Feeding the chickens in the coop.

Clark was having a rough day. So mid way through feeding the chickens he decided to go back in the house.

In the chicken coop. The kids have all gotten pretty good about watching their feet around the poor chicks. Or are they considered pullets now?

The coop was made using 1/3 of our existing shed. The previous owners put up boards on the inside. So we just left them up. Although they had carpet on the dirt floor for some reason. In some areas it was 2 layers thick and it was nailed all around the edges.

Pork holding a chicken.

Yes, that is a door that was nailed to the wall. I just shook my head and tell everyone that we have a redneck chicken coop.

You cannot see it, but the chicken water container is in front of Tyke (black coat) and all 16 of our chickens are around it.

Discussing world domination. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Meijer Gardens trip - Tyke (picture heavy)

Both of the boys had a trip to Meijer Gardens. Unfortunately  with each trip, one child missed school. I do not have anyone local who is free during the day to take the remaining boy. So I let both teachers know and we went as a family. I will be glad when the older two are in all day kindergarten next year. I think that will make things a little easier.
I don't think I have ever mentioned it, but we are a blended family. The boys all have a different biological father than Colonel Sanders. It took about a year, but their father and I get along very well now. To us, it is very important to put our differences and the hurt aside so that the boys do not grow up with parents who fight. I have seen first had how divorced parents who fight effect the children. I do not wish that on anyone. The Colonel knows my ex husband as Uncle Karl and his mother is wonderful. We did not get along while we were married, but we do now. I know it is not easy for her and I really value our relationship. The Colonel knows her as another grandma or Oma as she prefers to be called.

If you would like to see our lunch post, please click HERE.

Both Karl and Oma accompanied us on our trip.

The Colonel was not amused first thing in the morning. We had to be to school by 8:30am. She wanted to help me pack our lunches into the backpack.

This is our "travel pack". I have extra pants, undies, diapers, wipes, Tyke's afternoon acid reflux medicine, a drink, snack, and some sensory items for Clark.

The Colonel is a little silly. She put on the Iron Man mask and then her sun hat. She was quite pleased with herself.

Yes, you get to see me in a picture for a change! The boys ate a little earlier than normal. So we had a little snack before going into the butterfly area.

Clark, The Colonel, and Karl looking at the chrysalis.

All 4 minions. They would not sit still until I promised them pennies for the fountain.

Oma, Tyke, Pork, and the balk half of Clark's head. Here they are in the butterfly garden.

Clark looking at his map.

We went outside to play for a bit. You can see Clark's shoes in the beaver cave. The Colonel is wearing her raccoon jacket.

The Colonel getting kisses.

Tyke, Clark (skeleton jacket) and The Colonel at the Children's Garden entrance.

Pork pointing to a large "spider" in the children's fort.

Pork giving his father a silly look.

Karl was taking a picture of Tyke (not shown). Clark on the log, Pork trying to pick up a log, and Oma watching.

"Pinhole camera" picture of Tyke.

 Sometimes outings are difficult on Clark. Clark has Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder. That is why I carry some sensory items in our "travel pack" for him. We also make sure to give him  several warnings when we need to switch activities or when we are going to leave. This time, Clark did not make the transition to well.

We gave Clark all his warnings and used the logs as a transition away from the fort and the cabin. Sadly this time it did not work and Clark started to have a meltdown. Karl and Oma took the other kids to the bathrooms and to walk them out to the car slowly and I stayed with Clark in an attempt to work through this enough where I could get him to the car. Picking Clark up is not an option unless it is an emergency. This would lead to a very big meltdown and him hitting, kicking and biting. Clark once had one of these meltdowns in the car and I still have teeth marks in one of my car seats. 

So I sat down with Clark and tried to talk to him about how he felt. Since Clark likes cars, we talk to him about how his engine is running. Is it running red, green, or yellow. Why is it running that way and so on. This was helping just a little. Clark did not want a hug or joint compressions, so next we tried the sensory brush. This seemed to help enough to get him on his feet.
Colonel Sanders walking with Uncle Karl. (Picture taken in "Pinhole" by Karl)

Sadly, most people see a child crying and assume that the child just needs a nap, a swat on the butt, or the child is being a brat. Most of the time they will make little comments as they pass you. These little comments seem harmless, but really they cause a lot of problems. Clark can hear them and it was making him even more upset. I knew once I got him on his feet that I needed to get him to the car. I had to exit the garden area, go through the building, and then through the parking lot. If I could keep him walking at a fast pace, we could do this in 3-4 minutes. So off we went. The whole time Clark was crying and yelling. I received friendly looks of understanding as well as little comments. 

As we entered the parking area an older gentleman saw us and decided to come up along side us.

"Is he sick?"
"No, he is autistic and does not do well during transitions."
"So he is mentally ill."
"No, he..."
"Nothing a spanking won't fix."
"To bad a spanking will not fix your ignorance."

Yes, I snapped a little bit.

With that, I stepped up the pace a little bit and made it to the car. I strapped Clark in as fast as I could and let him finish the meltdown. I know Clark heard and understood the exchange I had with the older man and I knew it upset him more.

What other people do not realize is, yes, Clark may be screaming, but that does not mean he is spoiled. Bringing him to the Gardens has its ups and downs. The social interaction and the learning to cope with feelings and over stimulation in large groups like that is worth more than everyone's weight in gold. There was a time when Clark could not handle being in a group larger than 5 without melting down. Some days Clark does better than others. At the same time, large groups are hard. Most peoples brains ignore all the background noise of people talking in the distance, the leaves moving, the sound of feet, the light breeze, and so on. Clark's brain doesn't. So he is bombarded with all of this sensory input. Heavy sensory actions like jumping and pushing logs can help him regulate that. Sometimes it just is not enough. So he either melts down or shuts down. At this time, his brain is so overloaded that he has problems thinking and coping. I was once told that it is like a million thoughts going every which way in his brain and all he can do is scream and hope to drown them out. He feel like his brain is going to explode. He does not necessarily wish to do what he is about to do, but he cannot help himself. He may feel embarrassed, anxious, or many other feelings while he melts down. 
Those little comments like "Someone needs a nap." Or "A spanking would do that child some good." does not help the embarrassment/anxiety he feels. He has worked so hard to be "normal" all day and now he is just overloaded. He just needs to vent and he will be fine. The little comments are not needed. I wish people would just smile and think it instead of saying it.

I admit, before Clark I thought things similar when a child was having a fit. I wondered why the parent let the child do that. Why was the parent not correcting the behavior. Boy, that child must be a spoiled brat. I never vocalized it though. I was raised to keep that to myself. Now that I have Clark, I just give the parent a friendly smile. You never know.

Monday, March 18, 2013

School Carnival!

This is our 3rd year going. We have learned to stay in the small kids area. The main gym has games for the older kids and some for younger kids, but it is more sensory stimulation than Clark can handle. Also it is very busy and hard to keep track of my brood plus not lose The Elder.

Pork in the bounce house

We spent about half an hour in this room. The boys really like to bounce.

Colonel Sanders and Daddy (The Elder). The Colonel had no interested* in bounding in the house or picking out eggs, ducks, and so on.

The duck game

The boys playing a toss game

Tyke went back to play ducks.

Clark tossing

Aunt Julie helping supervise the tossing

Cake walk! We always play this a few times. Every year we have always brought home a cake without playing more than 3 times. One year we brought home 3 cakes. Then again, we also have 3 kids and 2 adults playing.

Julie making sure Tyke stays on his number

The Elder takes up the rear.

Pork's number won a cake! So the Elder took Pork to pick one.

Pork's favorite color right now is pink. So we all knew he would pick a pink cake.