Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hanging out in cabinets

All of these photos were taken at the old place. Gabriel loves to climb in and out of any empty space.

All He Wants for Christmas...

... his two front teeth! Yes, Micah recently lost both front teeth on the top. He has already lost the two on the bottom this past summer and the permanent ones have started coming in. One of his favorite thing to do these days is look at himself in the mirror. I'm not sure if it's because of his missing teeth or if he just enjoys looking at himself.

Micah's appt.

We went to Arkansas Children's Hospital last week for Micah's bi-annual appt. with the pediatric neurologist. It was the best appt. we've had there so far. Usually we have to wait for a ridiculous amount of time before we get back to the exam room, then it's another long wait until we see the doctor. This time, we only waited for 5-10 minutes before they called us back and from that point, we waited about 30 minutes. So, it wasn't bad at all. Micah did well with Gabriel roaming around in the small exam room while we waited and he was fine with the doctor. Thank God for a low stress appointment! We saw a different doctor than previous visits and we REALLY liked him. He took his time with us and explored a few options in terms of new medications to try, which is different than the previous Drs. we've seen there. Micah has still been having about 3-4 seizures (maybe more, it's hard to tell) a week, so the Dr. wanted to add another anti-seizure med in addition to the one he's been on for quite some time.

We just started the new med this week and are just starting out with a very small dose and will slowly increase that over the next few weeks. Aggressive behavior and irritablity are a couple of the potential side effects, so we are praying those won't happen. He was awake at 3:15 this morning and did not go back to sleep, so we are hoping it was just one of those rare, strange nights that happen about once a month and that it's not because of the new med. One of the potential side effects is drowsiness, but as we've seen with one previous med, sometimes the opposite can happen.

We've actually had a little breakthrough moment between Micah and Gabriel. One night last week, Micah wanted Gabriel to chase him through the house (they weren't really running, just a fast walk) and it was very obvious because he would look back to see if Gabe was coming and would just giggle while Gabriel giggled too. This went on for about ten minutes as Wayne and I just watched. We were both watching and smiling without saying anything, except to encourage Gabriel to continue chasing. It was a neat thing to watch. Micah still doesn't want him to sit near him and if one of us is sitting with Micah and Gabe comes over, Micah will still get up and walk away. However, it's a tiny improvement!

We are enjoying the house and still getting settled. We have unpacked most boxes with still a few to go, and we still need to hang things on the wall.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Our New House

Garden spot with storage shed

back of the house
nice tree and lots of leaves to go with it

zinnias, some still standing, some limp

Micah's room

herb garden

front bathroom, and yes, that's Micah by the toilet...he's obsessed with flushing the toilet these days. I have to get in my basketball defensive mode and block him.

our room

Gabriel's room

front door

front of the house


living room

entry way and someone who wants to open the door

Well, the pictures aren't in quite the order I had intended and some of the captions are above the picture and some below, but I'm sure you can figure it out! Three years of blogging and it is still such a process sometimes for me! It should be simpler, maybe if I did it a little more often it would be!
Yes, for those of you who didn't know, we bought our first house and moved in on the 14th. I have been unpacking and cleaning the old place. It's amazing what a process moving out of one place and into another involves and oh, the dirt! I finally finished cleaning the old place yesterday. Wayne's parents were here the whole week before we moved and we cleaned the new place; it wasn't left in the greatest shape. We painted our bedroom and bathroom (didn't post a photo of that one), and Micah's room. Gabriel's room was already that pretty color. We love the red kitchen as well. We moved in on Sat. and Grandma and Grandpa took Gabriel home with them which was so helpful! I unpacked many boxes last week though there are still many to go (mostly books). Gabriel came back on Thursday and has had a blast exploring since.
Micah seems to be adjusting well. He had a hard week last week going to school every day. He would cry and cling to me every time I took him, but they would tell me he always cheered up after a little while. The teachers reminded me that change, whether good or bad is still change and that for many kids with special needs, it's hard. He also cried at night for the first few nights when it was bed time, but has done much better with that. We kept the arrangement of their rooms the same, meaning Gabriel's is the first on the right, followed by Micah's at the end of the hallway.
They absolutely love the backyard and Micah has found numerous flowers to pull out and carry around. I'm not sure they'll last or will come back if they last! As you can tell, it's a very big backyard. So, we'll need to buy a rake for starters, and a lawnmower, hedge trimmers, and...we have no lawn tools.
It's a big place compared to what we've lived in and we have lots of space, especially in the den. We only have a bookshelf in there for now! We have been welcomed into the world of home ownership, having had to make three repair calls last week, two for plumbing issues and the thermostat went out. It was all working fine when we moved in, just one of those things. However, we are thankful and are enjoying it so far.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

October Happenings

Wow, what happened to October? It has been a very busy few weeks. I had gallbladder surgery at the end of September and my parents were here to help during my few days of recovery. Wayne's parents came to help after my parents left. The second weekend of October I went to Memphis with my dear friend Marianne to see Beth Moore and have a "girls" weekend. Then, the weekend after that was my 20 year high school class reunion. This past weekend Gabriel and I went to east Texas to visit my sister and her family. So, we've been keeping the road hot!

While it was a minor procedure, the surgery experience and particularly the anesthesia was interesting. I had never had any type of sedation before so it was bizarre to see the surgeon one moment and then the very next thing I recall was a nurse trying to wake me after surgery. I'm so thankful that it went well and that the recovery time was very quick. I'm also thankful that the pre-surgery pain is gone!

The exciting news is that the closing date on our potential house is next Monday. We only made the offer in late September. It has all happened so fast! I don't have any pictures yet, but will post some next week if nothing falls through. It's in the north end of town (right now we live in the south end), so it will be about a 5 minute drive to work for Wayne and not much more than that to church. It's also a lot closer to Micah's school. Oh, the money we will save on gas!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Elvis shirt revisited

Wow, he's changed a lot in two years!
My dear friend Marianne made this shirt for Micah two years ago and I thought it would be fun to compare the pictures. He can still wear it! She knew how much I love Elvis and wanted to make this shirt for Micah. I loved it so much that I begged her (ok, I didn't have to beg) to make me some pajama bottoms. The shirt was a little big, and now it fits still, but probably won't for much longer. Wayne usually dresses Micah in the mornings, but I did one day this week and wanted him to wear the Elvis shirt. Lots of people at his school LOVED it and wanted to know where I got it. They were so surprised and a bit sad (since they couldn't get their hands on one) to know that my friend made it. Thanks again, Marianne!

Some recent photos

He enjoys wearing his food. Mashed potatoes can be therapeutic.

He loves getting into anything that might contain him; though he isn't containted for long!

Beautiful boy.

Pancake mix. Yes, I left the pantry door open, again.

I was out of sight from him for a few moments eating my lunch at the table. I just thought he was playing quietly. He was...with the pancake mix.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Short Visit to Henryetta

Back in late July, I got to meet up with Larissa in Henryetta, OK. She was in for a short visit from New York and we arranged to meet there since it was halfway from OK City and halfway from Fort Smith. For those of you who don't know, Larissa is one of my dear friends from our time in San Francisco. I hadn't seen her since Gabriel was about a week old, so it was great that we could connect. She's a lot of fun and a few of these pictures show her craziness. We went to Wal-Mart so I could find a sippy cup for Gabriel. While I was in the midst of making that difficult decision, she was having fun with Gabriel, putting strange shoes on him and taking pictures.

That's just wrong.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sweet little Micah man

We watched 20/20 last Friday night which was about medical miracles. The one segment we were waiting to see was toward the end, about a 13 year old girl with autism who has learned to communicate using a computer. She cannot speak but began typing a few words one day, which shocked her parents and made them realize she wasn’t as intellectually impaired as they thought.

It was an encouraging story, though quite rare for someone with autism to be able to communicate like that. Of course, it made me think about Micah and wonder if he is never able to speak, will he be able to communicate in some fashion through sign language, or as advanced as typing on a computer? He communicates now by taking our hand or arm to try and show us what he wants or raises his voice in frustration if we can’t figure it out. He knows a few signs, and we are trying to be proactive in introducing new signs. We are only doing one a week, as suggested by his speech therapist so that we don’t overwhelm him. We try and use the few we know in communication with him even if he is not yet using the signs back to us.He was just recently approved to get an augmented speech device, which is basically a small computer that he will take everywhere. It has numerous icons like food, drink, etc. and once he learns to use it, the idea is for him to push the icon and it speaks whatever the picture is. It will take about 2 months to come in. We are thankful for this and hope that he will be able to use it and not merely push buttons to hear the noises.

I have to say, not being able to communicate with him well is one of the hardest things about Micah having Tuberous Sclerosis. Wayne and I often take turn playing with the boys in separate rooms in the evening since Micah doesn’t want Gabriel near him. I was sitting in his room reading to him and started to get sad, wondering what life will be like for him as the years go by. I really don’t allow myself to think about it too much, because it’s too hard. I began to cry as I imagined what his future might hold. I also started to feel compassion for him. I get frustrated with him because he still doesn’t want Gabriel near, and start thinking “C’mon already, it’s been 13 months!!” but then I have to remind myself that he can’t help it.

We pray for him all the time, asking God to give him speech and asking God to heal him totally, believing that He could do it in an instant if he so chose. I don’t mean to be pessimistic when I say imagining his future is too hard. For Wayne and myself, it’s almost like tug of war with living between hope/faith and reality. Yes, God can do miracles, but we also have to consider that he might not. Yet, for now I think it’s best to take it one day at a time and rejoice in the small bits of progress we see, like him starting to do some of the motions for songs and sit still during center time at his school. His smile and laughter give a lot of people joy, including us.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Our 8th Anniversary

It’s so hard to believe we’ve been married for 8 years today! It doesn’t seem like it has been that long! A lot has happened in that time as I suppose a lot happens in anyone’s life in 8 years. We’ve had some hard times like Wayne’s cancer a year and a half into our marriage, my sister’s brain tumor diagnosis several months later, and then Micah being diagnosed with TSC when he was almost 5 months old. We’ve also had enjoyable times such as the birth of our boys, Kelly graduating from seminary(Wayne had already graduated when we married), job promotions for Wayne, and living in the San Francisco bay area.

Though the hard times have been challenging, I’m thankful to God for healing in certain ways for each person. Wayne was healed completely. Kim is doing fairly well, though her quality of life is not the same and she has many health problems. I remember that it was our anniversary weekend in 2003 when I found out about her tumor. It was so hard to celebrate and I spent much of the weekend crying. I was so afraid of losing her. I’m so thankful that didn’t happen.

Micah only has occasional seizures now. Though there’s so much we hope and pray for in his life concerning his development, we try and live one day at a time. He can be hard to deal with sometimes, and so much fun a lot of the time.

I’m thankful that through God’s grace we have held together through all of these situations. I’ve heard that the divorce rate is really high for those who have kids with special needs. It can be quite stressful, but I’m thankful that Wayne is very helpful in caring for the boys and he is encouraging to me when I feel like things are overwhelming. He never makes me feel like I am overreacting to frustrating situations.

Now here we are in Fort Smith, Arkansas. I don’t think either of us would have ever guessed that 8 years ago. It’s where God has us, at least for a season, and we are trying to “bloom where we are planted.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Gabriel's 1st birthday!

Gabriel had his first birthday on June 29th and we had a small, fun celebration. My parents and Wayne's parents were all here, as you can see by the photos. It was nice to have them all here. My cousin and his family came as well, but I didn't get a photo of them. We had pizza and birthday cake and ice cream followed by me "helping" Gabriel open his gifts.
It's so hard to believe that a year has gone by already! He is so much fun, almost a pro at walking now and jabbering a lot. I love his little baby language and wonder what he is trying to say. Sometimes it's very clear what he is trying to communicate when he gets mad or frustrated. He is definitely learning to assert his little will! He laughs a lot and is generally pretty happy and laid back.
He is eating well and growing so much! I'm not sure how tall he is, but I know it's over 30 inches and he weighs about 21 pounds. His favorite foods are tomatoes, blueberries, and ham, so far anyway. I think he eats tomatoes every day.
Gabriel is such a joy to have and we are so thankful to God for our little baby boy!