Thursday, March 30, 2006

Speech Therapy (3/30/06)

Ryann will begin speech therapy on Thursday afternoon of next week. I am looking forward to it and I hope she picks up on things quickly. I'm sooooo sick of grunting and whining as a means of communication (although I fear that I am ultimately responsible for her speech issues... A mother's guilt never ends).

She now says:
Nona (nora)
Duck (very emphatically I might add)
Papa (although we're not quite sure what she means by this word - I think it is a very generalized term for anything and everything she wants to communicate because she says it often while she is pointing at many different things)
Tuck (stuck)
Yes Mama

She also signs:
Thank You
All Done

I was hesitant to teach her more signs because I have heard that early sign language deters children from speaking. I thought I was experiencing this with Ryann because she won't try to say the words that she can sign. However, I spoke with the speech therapist about this and she said that all recent studies indicate that sign language does NOT deter speech development and that it is a wonderful way to help Ryann communicate. So I will try to teach her some more signs... Eager to see how the speech therapist works with her and how it all works.

Breathing treatments x3 (3/30/06)

Do I dare say this? Breathing treatments x3 has not been a big deal. In fact, it has allowed me to be even more scheduled than I already was. I THRIVE on schedules and routine (as you may know from my 100 list) and fitting these treatments in seemed a bit daunting and overwhelming when I first thought about it, but actually it hasn't been bad. Kind of like what I imagine have triplets or quadruplets would be like - like an assembly line. One is done, get the medicine together for the next, okay, she's done, get the medicine for the next, and she's done. It takes about an hour for it all, but it is working out just fine. And I think Ryann and Georgia kind of like their treatments because it is 15 minutes of sitting on my lap without the other two distracting us. Just quiet lap time. I guess I kind of like it, too, to be honest. I don't get much of that so being forced to do it has been a good thing. Or maybe I should say I don't take the time to do that very often since I feel like I always need to be doing something - I don't often just sit with my girls and I should do that more often.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The big P (3/27/06)

I took all three girls to see Dr. Beautiful this afternoon (I brought our wonderful friend N along with us since he is on spring break and I needed an extra pair of hands). NG had a recheck appointment so I figured that as long as I was going to take all three with me, I'd just have the other two checked out to see if they were sick, too. Yup, they're sick. I believe RJ has pneumonia and G is getting pneumonia. So we walked out of there (after 3 $25 copays...) with the following:

* Orders for N to continue her breathing treatments for a week and to gradually ween her off of them.
* The okay to stop giving N the steroid (this was worth the $25 in my opinion)
* Prescription for antibiotics for RJ
* Prescription for nebulizer medication for RJ
* Orders to give RJ breathing treatments every 4 hours
* Prescription for a steroid for R - in case we need it
* Prescription for antibiotics for G
* Prescription for cough medicine for G
* Orders to give G breathing treatments twice a day

Did you read that carefully? We have to give 3 children breathing treatments throughout the day. Each treatment is approximately 10-15 minutes long. This is going to be wonderful... We do not need to go back for rechecks unless they are not better by next week - at least Dr. Beautiful is considerate that way;)

So if you call me this week and I don't answer the phone, its likely that I'm giving someone breathing treatments and I will call you back sometime later... But I can't spend a whole lot of time on the phone, because I've got to get back to giving someone breathing treatments. Oh my life is going to be one large breathing treatment for the next week... starting tomorrow - I'm going out for dinner tonight and Dave can begin the festivities by himself:)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Life with 3 sick kids (3/25/06)

Disclaimer: This entry is not about me getting sympathy from anyone or trying to make you feel sorry for me and help me out in some way. This entry is my way of trying to capture how my situation feels. Most of the reason that I even do a blog is so that I can look back on it in several years and be reminded of what life was like when.... when I had 3 girls under the age of 4; when we barely had enough money to buy groceries; when I sometimes felt like a single mom because my husband is working so hard to get his business going; when there were days that when I woke up I couldn't get to 8pm fast enough. etc. etc. My hope is that someday I will be able to read these and not only see how far we've come and the hard work we had to do in order to get there, but mostly I want to be reminded of what life was like now so that I can help other young mothers out when they are in this situation. We all know that in hindsight we forget how miserable some things are - pregnancy/labor/delivery for example.

Okay, so here is a snapshot of life with 3 sick children:

Woke up at 6:50 (on Saturday morning) to Nora coming in our room. She asked if we could turn cartoons on for her to watch. I rolled over and pretended I didn't hear her. Dave obliged and got out of bed to get in the shower. He also went in and got Ryann out of her crib and brought her into our bedroom to join in the cartoon fun. Georgia needs a pacifier. Dave to the rescue. Ugh.

I roll out of bed around 7:15 to take my turn in the shower. Dave is getting ready and tells Nora that he is going to be gone most of the day, but she can come with him to Dunkin Donuts. She is thrilled about the excursion. Dave helps her get dressed. I get out of the shower and tell her to find new pants to wear because the ones she has on are too small (and a bit ugly). She launches into hysterics. HYSTERICS. Uncontrolled screaming and crying. (to be fair she is not normally this way. the dr prescribed some steroids for her lungs on Thursday and ever since she started taking them she has had these amazing and unbearable mood swings - she is NEVER this hysterical, this is really beyond anything we've experienced before). I tell her to put her pants on and get ready to go. She walks away from me mid-sentence. Not a good choice on her part. I say, "Nora" and she keeps walking. So I scream, "NORA" and she turns around to come back. Still hysterical. She "listens" as I tell her that in no way is she to every ignore me when I am speaking to her and she is NOT to walk away from me - PERIOD. I also inform her that the only place that she is allowed to cry and carry on the way she is doing is in her bed with the door closed. She promptly climbs into bed and continues the hysterics - holding onto the pants that she "can't" put on. I tell her that she needs to calm down, but daddy is going when he needs to go - he is not waiting for her to calm down. So if she doesn't calm down he'll leave without her." I close the door and go on with life. SIGH - one down.

Dave is ready to go. Nora runs out of her room to make sure she can go along with him. She has her pants on and the crying has ended. Dave takes Nora and Ryann to Dunkin Donuts to get coffee and donuts (Dave is having friends help him move some furniture so DD is our bribe for the morning).

While talking over coffee and donuts with our friend, Dave pours a small amount of sprite in a cup for Ryann. We talk. We laugh. We remark about how cute Georgia is. We discuss Nora's illness. Blah. Blah. Blah. Dave and M leave. I finish my oatmeal (I was good - no donuts for me). As I'm rinsing my dish I hear an "Uh Oh" from Ryann. I turn around - sprite all over the table and her sippy cup with milk is in her cup of sprite (causing the spill). I take the cup away and put it in the sink. Ryann launches into a melt down. She is screaming. This, too, is unusual for her. The same cry she had when she was a baby - the cry that we really haven't heard in over a year. Its back and has been back with a vengeance for the last couple of days (to be fair, I believe she is getting sick, too. She has a fever of 100 today). Now Georgia is fussing because I'm not holding her. I have no idea where Nora is. I pull Ryann off of her chair and drag her upstairs so she can throw her tantrum in her crib (something I totally disagree with, by the way. And I even thought about that while I was bringing her up there - I just couldn't think clearly enough at the moment to figure out a different place. Note to self - think about this before it happens and determine a better place to put her when she has a melt down).

Ryann in her crib screaming bloody murder. Georgia crying because - well, who knows? She's 4 months old. Nora - ? It is only 9:15am and I have a full day ahead of me. I lay Georgia down on my bed and cuddle up and cry. She's not happy to be laying there next to me - she wants me to hold her, but I can't... I need to cry, so I do. And so does she. Everyone calms down and we have gotten through the rest of the day up until now... Nora is with Dave at his office, Ryann and Georgia are napping. Silence. For now.

I told Dave that I believe I just got a preview of junior high/high school with 3 girls. I'm terrified of our future.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The big P (3/24/06)

We're on pneumonia watch... so far Ryann is coughing and Georgia is extra sleepy - both signs that it is coming. Will keep you posted.

The New Hair (3/24/06)

Remember the new hairstyle that I got a while ago? I had taken some photos of it and wasn't quite sure what I thought of it. Well, its done - I'm back to straight hair curled under like I've been wearing it for years. See photo on my profile. Reasons???

1. The flip out do was taking just way too much time to do. First I had to dry it, then clip the top layers and curl the bottom layers out, then release the next layers and curl them out, then the last layers. Waaaaaayyy too much time for me.

2. I have a thing about keeping my hair natural - my hair is straight and it wants to be straight so when I try to make it different that what it wants to be it doesn't like me very much.

3. I had to buy a really, really hot curling iron in order to get my hair to flip out that way (remember - it WANTS to be straight). Really hot as in it burns the flesh if you touch it. Really hot as in I see steam rising from my scalp while I'm curling my hair. The result of having such a hot curling iron is burnt hair/breakage. I have (perhaps had) really healthy hair - I don't color it, I use very few products on it and I basically just leave it how it wants to be - now I have some really short layers on top that the stylist did NOT cut and my hair smells like burnt hair. Bad. Bad. Bad.

I've always wanted wavy hair - we always want what we don't have, right? and this curling iron did somewhat provide that, but if my hair is not wavy then why am I damaging it in order to make it wavy? So I'm back to being straight, dirty dishwater blonde and kind of boring...

Smart Jana

Those of you who know me know that I'm a pretty smart person. I am a smart person - I got good grades in school (with the exception of calculus - but really, who in the world needs calculus in the real world? Besides, I have Dave - he's a math wizard). I got good grades in college. I'm smart. I'm not trying to brag or be conceited, I'm just putting it out there - I know who I am and I'm not going to pretend to be someone I'm not, so there it is...

Sometimes, though, I do something that leads me to think, "Where in the world did Smart Jana go?" Here are two examples from today...

* We were going to have the Fulmer's over for dinner tonight (and have cancelled since the big P came lurking). I was going to make cream of brocolli soup and bread bowls so I bought 4 loaves of frozen bread. I figured they would need some time to thaw so I took them out of the freezer two nights ago and put them in the refrigerator. Guess what? They rise in the refrigerator, too... Okay smart Jana - what were you thinking? (obviously I was thinking that they needed more time to thaw and they wouldn't rise in the cold - not so smart).

* Right after the bread dough escapade I took the girls upstairs to help me clean the toilet in our bathroom. They eached helped me brush the toilet. Ryann was taking her turn and I had to run downstairs to grab one more thing and told Ryann "Keep the brush in the toilet." I came back upstairs to find water all over the floor - oh, she kept the brush in the toilet but she did a fantastic job of swirling and splashing the water all around so there was some sort of tsunami in the bathroom:) Smart Jana - Brilliant, in fact.

I do believe that each pregnancy has drained more and more of my brain, which is yet another reason why we can't have any more kids.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Pneumonia (3/23/06)

So here's the deal... We had friends over on Saturday afternoon. They have a son who is 10 and a daughter who is 4 and Nora was having a blast riding bikes with them and playing on the swingset. At 4ish I was talking to my friend while I was feeding Georgia on the couch and Nora comes in and says she's cold and snuggles under the blanket. I didn't think anything of it - just figured she had done a 180 in personality and suddenly wanted to snuggle with mom (I should have suspected something was wrong right there.) After a while we got up and got dinner together and sat down to eat. Nora just zoned out at the table - again I didn't think anything of it, she had already complained to me that she didn't want to eat the pasta that we were having so I figured she was being a typical 4 year old and choosing not to eat. When we got dessert out and she was told that she wouldn't have any and she just said "okay" and went downstairs to lay on the couch while we ate dessert and her friends played for a while longer, I figured something HAD to be wrong with this chica pequita. After our friends left we took her temperature - 103!!! Okay, no wonder she's been lethargic and poopy for the last couple of hours...

Sunday - fever was 101. By 6:00 she was sound asleep on the couch and temp was 102. However - no complaints. Slight cough.

Monday - fever was 100 all day. No complaints from Nora, she seems perfectly fine. Slightly decreased appetite and more of a cough.

Tuesday - sent her to school based on reading that as long as a fever has been below 101 for 24 hours and the child is behaving normally, things are fine. Bad mom. Bad mom. She was fine all afternoon (temp still around 99/100). Again, slightly decreased appetite and more of a cough. She was sound asleep on the couch by 4:30 - temp 102ish. Called the doctor at 5:15 just as they were closing. The doctor asked if I could come in right away - I hesitated based on the tone of voice of the receptionist when I called in and asked if they were still open (lets just say, she was none too pleased at the thought of staying late and let me know it without coming right out and saying it). The dr. said I could come in the morning, so we set an appointment for the next morning.

Wednesday - fever 101. Took her to the doctor (minus Ryann who played with Doug for the morning so I didn't have to be distracted by her monkeyness while talking to the dr about Nora). I expected the dr. to tell me that she has a cold or a viral infection or an ear infection. She listened to Nora's lungs for a long time - still didn't clue me in... Georgia was fussing so I was trying to get her to quiet down. Then the doctor says, "I think she has pneumonia". Uh, you THINK?

(This is the newest doctor in the practice and I've had some confidence issues with her as have all of my friends who go to the same practice. I think she is probably a fine doctor, but she is newer and doesn't act very confident about her diagnosis and decisions - which is not what a mom of a sick child wants in a doctor.)

So anyway, we got prescriptions for 2 antibiotics and a nebulizer and gave Nora a breathing treatment and were on our way home. I spent an hour trying to find a nebulizer and if my insurance would cover the cost... My WONDERFUL (can I say that any louder or more emphatically) husband was out on the road and came home to fill the prescriptions and chase down a nebulizer so I didn't have to do any of it with a sick child and two others. By 2:30 Nora was sound asleep on the couch - fever 102.7. She was one miserable soul, but she is such a good, good girl - You'd never know she was sick other than the fever or the lethargy. She just doesn't complain or get crabby or anything. She's a sweet, sweet child. We managed to wrestle her into submission to take her antibiotics - TWICE because she immediately vomitted after the first dosage) and snuggled up to watch Deal... Or NO Deal and off to bed.

Thursday - no fever!!! Yea! And only 2 minute struggle for the antibiotics. Double Yea! Off to the doctor again this afternoon (if you are family you need to know that you will no longer be getting any christmas presents from us because we are now officially going broke due to copays and prescription costs...)

One very cute thing from all of this is that her voice is extremely raspy and hoarse from all of the coughing. It is more adorable than usual;) My poor little Peek...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It makes the rounds again (3/22/06)

Nora has pneumonia. Joy. Will write more of an explanation in between her breathing treatments and Georgia's feedings and Ryann's crying... and my chiropractor appointments. And Deal... or No Deal.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The chiropractor (3/17/06)

I went to the chiropractor yesterday for a consultation. This guy is really nice. Dave knows him through the Chamber of Commerce and has told him and his staff that I'm very skeptical of the whole idea so I think they were treating me extra special:)

He did an initial exam to find out what the problem is and took xrays of my lower back. He noticed right away that my hips are slightly uneven and that could be part of the issue. Ultimately he believes the joints in the small of my back and hips are the issue - it isn't a slipped disk or anything. Because the joints are having problems it is causing muscle spasms and knots back there. He took xrays, though, to be certain and to find out if there is any degenerative issues going on causing bone spurs. So he did some stretching and an adjustment on each side. HOLY COW! I have given birth to two babies without a single drug and no pain medication afterward - I believe that this split second adjustment was worse pain than childbirth. Then I did 15 minutes of electric stimulus and chair massage. I have an appointment this afternoon to see my xrays and find out a course of treatment AND the cost of this whole process.

I'm still skeptical. Could I spend the same amount of money on a couple of good massages and enjoy myself and get better? If I get treated this time will it prevent the same issue from happening again? I can clearly remember having this same issue in my dorm room in Veenstra freshman year - so it has been happening for a long time BUT not often (maybe once or twice a year). I just don't know what to think about this whole thing - if I can get treated now and not have this happen again it will be worth it... Thoughts? Advice?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Referrals (3/16/06)

I threw my back out this morning while I was lifting weights. As in as I was lifting weights I felt something in my lower back/spinal area shift and now it hurts to walk, carry my kids, sit, etc. This happens about once a year or so - sometimes more, sometimes less (hence the "or so"). I took some of my Tylenol with Codein left over from having Georgia and it hasn't really helped - only made me nautious and light headed. I called my OB and my Primary Care Physician to get a referral to a chiropractor. I also called my insurance company to find out what my coverage is... After my $500 deductible they cover 80% of reasonable and customary charges and they allow 20-35 visits per person per year (there was some miscommunication about the # of visits per year that I need to follow up on). So basically it is going to be an out of pocket expense if I go to the chiropractor... and here are my issues:

* I've never been to the chiropractor before
* In general, I think they are kind of quack-ish
* Based on my above belief I'm worried that by going to an initial consult (which is free and is this afternoon) I will be given a sales pitch
* It will probably cost between $600 & $800 after it is all done
* When I do this to my back it usually resolves itself within a week or two
* If I have to go a couple of times a week for several weeks it is going to be a HUGE hassle trying to figure out what to do with the girls that often

AND here is my biggest concern:* Neither of my doctors would give a referral to a chiropractor.

So, any thoughts? Has anyone gone to one? Did it help? What do you think about my doctors not referring out to the chiropractor? Would that be a red flag to you? Any other thoughts or advice about this situation?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Some (more) fish news (3/11/06)

Is anyone getting sick of fish stories? (yeah, I wouldn't know... NO ONE leaves any comments anymore. Apparently my life of fish and children has become boring to the few people who read this. Ho Hum. I WISH my life were as boring as it seems:)

HANYWAYS... Dave went to buy some filters and a new fish for Nora today (her speckled molly (potsie) died. It took her 3 days to realize he was missing). He brought home another goldish colored fish and three zebra striped something or others (they school, which is all I care about). He learned the following:

* Our tiger barbs (joani and chachi? Mr and Mrs. C?) are probably killing the other fish (fonzie, potsie, the two white tetras). The fish guy at PetSmart said that Tiger Barbs get kind of territorial and they start to pick at and chase the other fish until the other fish just wear out and die. So in other words... joani and chachi picked at fonzie and potsie until their little fish hearts gave out and they just died. What??? I totally believe this because we have seen joani OR chachi (they're hard to distinguish) chase one of the guppies around the tank for long periods of time - the one that we almost flushed - remember?

*The fish guy also said that you should buy tiger barbs in threes because they create a pecking order and pick on each other and leave the rest of the fish alone.

* The fish guy said that you need to add lots of schooling fish in with the tiger barbs because they'll get overwhelmed and stop the bullying.

* The fish guy said we'd better hope that we have two guppies of the same gender because they mate - A LOT (we do... PetCo only sells male guppies - I made sure I asked that question when I bought them).

* The fish guy said that the plecostomous (still don't know how to spell that) eats at night, which explains how our algae seemed to have cleared up basically over night.

So, we've learned a lot from our fish guy - most importantly, shop for fish at PetSmart, not PetCo because this guy has a clue.

P.S. Do you think the fish guy knows a dog guy that can explain why our dopey dog barks at air? Or who can tell us why he shakes when Dave is shaving or brushing his teeth? Or can give us a clue about why he's such a pansy?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Four Months (3/9/06)

Georgia is 4 months today. She is still a doll but comes with her own set of frustrations - like why in the heck is she waking up at 4am again after two weeks of sleeping through the night???? The fan came out again two nights ago... As usual I am wracking my brain trying to figure her out - growth spurt? teething? hungry? just a pain in the bum? who knows? I have not noticed any other signs of a growth spurt - she is eating normally and not acting like she wants to eat more or more often than usual. I have tried to feed her some rice cereal yesterday and today and she wasn't that interested or excited about it (however, Nathan, David and I each tried a taste of the rice cereal and I can see why she would not be too excited about it - I was gagging. YUCK!) But she didn't scream about it either. So I think we'll continue to try once or twice a day to get her used to the idea. I think she has shown some signs of teething, but I thought it was getting a little better than it had been over the weekend. And again, she isn't starving when I feed her at 8 am. So I have no clue about why she is waking up again. I think she cried or fussed last night from 4:30 until 5.

She rolled over from front to back yesterday for the first time and we all got very, very excited for her. Nora and Ryann and I were clapping and cheering for her - I think we scared her:) She is more and more comfortable on her stomach for longer periods of time, but still ends up screaming after a while (as all babies do, I believe). She is generally an extremely happy and content baby, but definitely has her times of wanting to be held - usually an hour or so before her naps. We also hear her chatting to her White Sox bears (her crib mobile) for long periods of time. She is very chatty and I just love to hear her talking. She is also quite amused by Nora and Ryann and I find her smiling at them quite often. Nora is good about entertaining her for short periods of time and likes to tickle her and try to make her laugh by making funny faces at her. The attention that Ryann shows her is usually in the form of poking something in her face - a finger, a plastic doll bottle, a pacifier. Sometimes Georgia is amused, other times she gets mad. I hope the three of them turn into good friends - I am anxious to see their relationships develop over time.

As I've said before, we're really enjoying having a baby in the house. I am a little sick of the guessing game, though. I don't remember when that stops - trying to figure out what is causing this thing or that thing and how I can make her stop or start doing something. I guess the first year is basically trial and error and guessing, but I sure am sick of it. Maybe because we just got out of that stage with Ryann and now we're back to it. Oh well - she's going to be big before we know it so I'm trying to enjoy what she is doing NOW and not constantly think about what she might do next that might make things a little easier, a little more convenient, a little more quiet, etc. I have a tendency to do that and feel like I missed out on Ryann's babyhood because of it. Its the issue of balance again - always a struggle in my life it seems...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The end of the weekend (3/7/06)

Sunday was nice. And loud - at times. But it was nice. I went to IKEA in the morning with my in-laws' truck to buy some bookshelves for the family room. After I got home, Mom, Dad, Michelle and Tessa came over to have lunch with us. We have a new Sunday morning tradition (since we began going to Saturday night church) of having french toast for breakfast, so we held off on the french toast until they could all join us for lunch. Lunch was good. Mmmm.

Then we all convened to the family room to hang out until the party we had to go to in the afternoon. Dave and I began to put together the shelves, while Nora insisted on helping us in some way and Ryann and Tessa kind of walked around aimlessly carrying things from here to there. After we had gotten two shelves together it was time to get ready to go... here is where it got loud:

Nora decided that she wanted to wear a turquoise coat that has been hanging in the front hall closet for a while. I told her "no - it is ugly and it doesn't match your dress." She got upset. In reality I didn't want her to wear it because I knew what kind of trouble it was bound to cause... So as I'm bringing the coat to the closet, Ryann sees it and decides she wants to wear it. (see where I'm going with this and why I said no to begin with?) I said no and continued to go to the closet. Now we have Nora crying and Ryann crying. Up to this point Georgia had been sleeping in her carseat, but she wakes up and starts screaming. I threw the coat in the laundry room, shut the door and told them that no one was wearing the coat. Everyone is now crying. While I was throwing the coat, the snap-on hood flew off and didn't make it into the laundry room with the coat. I turned around and Ryann has the hood on her head and is sobbing about the coat. At that point mom, dad and I just busted out laughing. It was hysterical.

Not sure if Tessa was also crying or if she was unaffected by the chaos going on at the time:)

So we went to Uncle Bryce's and Aunt Jan's for the little party. Uncle Bryce was being installed at Palos Heights CRC as their Pastor of Congregational Care (or something similar to that) in the evening service, so we went for a little before gathering. Jordan, Hope and Hailey were there with all of their parents, as well as Jonathan and Megan. We had such a good time catching up with everyone. The girls had fun playing with the Jordan and Hope (Hailey is 6 mo and was sleeping much of the time we were there). And we always have such a nice time with Dave's cousins and family. We always, always enjoy our time with them and are so excited to have Uncle Bryce and Aunt Jan in town (they live only 15 minutes from us).

Surprisingly, it was much quieter at their house with the 7 kids than it had been at our house with the 4 kids - don't know how that happened. Apparently Jordan and Hope must be very quiet, good kids and they managed to rub off on mine.

No photos of the afternoon - totally forgot the camera.

Fish (3/7/06)

Dave brought home some new fish yesterday. He went to buy a plecostomous (anyone want to take a stab at spelling that one?) and also bought a new black fish and an orange fish. The orange fish is really cool - bright orange with a black stripe going lengthwise along its body. So we've got new family members!

However -

RIP Potsie

The tales continue...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Three is enough (3/4/06)

We babysat Tessa (14 mo) tonight. She is an absolute doll and is so good (especially since we didn't have to have her over night:) HOWEVER, it was a definite bolster to our thoughts of "NO MORE KIDS!"

We go to church at 4:30 on Saturday nights - we decided to go tonight even though we had one more child. So... we had 4 children and the options of transportation were a pontiac Sunfire and a Toyota Camry. We currently have 3 carseats in the Camry - tight, but it works. There was no way we were squeezing in a fourth so Dave drove the Sunfire with Nora and Tessa I drove the camry with Ryann and Georgia. Driving wasn't the issue - getting them in and out of the car and bringing them into and out of the church was the issue. Georgia was in the carseat carrier so I had to carry her. Tessa is pretty new to walking so she really needed to be carried. Ryann just walks too slowly and gets too distracted by the random particles of dust on the sidewalk so she needed to be carried. Nora walked by herself. Hmmm. Let's see - three children to be carried, two adults, four arms. Lets just say my arms were very tired and sore.

Other than those 10 minutes of getting everyone loaded into the cars and brought into or out of church, everything was smooth. They are all really good girls, which made it pretty easy. HOWEVER, Ryann and Tessa are both in that stage where they just pick stuff up and carry it somewhere and drop it. So needless to say, it isn't worth picking up the house and we're just living in a bigger mess than usual. Its all good, though - we love our little Tessita and are so happy to spend time with her when she's in town (she lives in DC)!

No photos tonight - there just wasn't enough hands or time...


My in-laws are in town this weekend. Mom Dykstra and Grandma VanderWall came yesterday afternoon. Michelle and Tessa came later that evening and Dad Dykstra came even later. While Dave was going to get his dad from the airport we (me, mom and Michelle - Grandma had gone to Aunt Cindy's) played with the girls and put them to bed. We tried to play Old Maid with Nora, but as you can guess Ryann and Tessa were not the best observers:) Ryann and Tessa began to steal Nora's pairs and Nora got upset... then to add to the situation Nana showed Nora the Old Maid card and she completely lost it and ran into the other room. I am trying so hard to teach Nora how to actually play games - not just letting her win, trying to teach her how to be a gracious loser and a kind winner, etc - but she just couldn't take it last night. The little girls just brought her to her boiling point and Nana pushed her over the edge... She's way too cute even when she's that upset:)

Click on the pictures below to see Nana reading bedtime stories and to see the outcome of the Old Maid game...

More photos of the weekend will follow as I'm sure we have some super adventures coming our way with 4 children today and with 7 tomorrow (Uncle Bryce is being installed at Palos CRC and we will be going to their house for the reception... This will include Glen and Jennifer's kids Jordan (4) and Hope (2), Amy and Rob's daughter, Hailey (5 months), Tessa (14 months), Nora (4), Ryann (22mo) and Georgia (4mo) - should be an extremely quiet and peaceful afternoon).

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Evaluation (3/3/06)

Ryann had her speech and developmental evaluation this afternoon. She was so darn cute about the whole thing. The therapists sat with her on the family room floor and spent a half an hour just playing with her and testing her. She was loving, loving, loving it! 30 minutes of absolute solid play and attention with no other child distracting her play partners! I was watching for a little bit and actually got a little teary and upset because she wanted to do more bubbles, but the speech therapist wouldn't let her do it unless she said More. She was sitting there so excited about the bubbles and signing More over and over and over, but she wasn't getting more and was getting a bit frustrated. I just found it hard to see my baby trying so hard to communicate with someone and not getting through and then being frustrated about it.

And something some of you may appreciate... at one point the developmental therapist wanted to see if she was using her pinscer grip so she asked for a few cheerios to test her. I got her a plate with about 20 of them. Ryann got so excited about it she just shoveled them into her mouth - but she used her pinscer grip, so thats all that mattered! I kept telling the ladies that this child loves her food:)

Anyway, she is doing wonderfully developmentally. She is right on target and doing everything exactly as she should. At one point the developmental therapist turned to the speech therapist and said, "Why am I here?" I also heard them call her a smarty pants once or twice. This is no surprise to me. She is smart. She has been able to follow multi-step commands - difficult commands - since at least 13 months. She is good at problem solving, at recognizing and pointing out pictures, she knows a lot of body parts, she can imitate, she does well with pretend play, etc. So developmentally she is just fine and does NOT need developmental therapy - again, this is no surprise to us.

In terms of expressive communication (speech), she is at a 12-15 month level (she is 22 months old). She says approximately 5-8 words and not on her own - only with prompting and then only occasionally (how in the world do you spell that word?). She will be receiving speech therapy once a week for a few months. The therapist says that she is the perfect child for this therapy because she is curious and very interested in learning and playing, she feels that Ryann will pick up on the therapy very quickly and that it won't be a problem for her at all. They will find a therapist within the next week and we will begin in-home therapy shortly after that. They will also give us some ideas on how we can work with her at home ourselves. She also recommended that we have her hearing tested - she didn't think that she had a hearing problem, but said it is pretty much just a given that they also test hearing.

So that is where we are at with Ryann's speech issues. I have not been worried about this - I always figured it was more of a stubborness issue (which the speech therapist confirmed was definitely part of the problem) and not a developmental issue. Dave's mom has told me that she (dave's mom) didn't talk until after she was 2. I also have not been worried due to the fact that Ryann can understand everything we say and does follow our directions and has not seemed to be developmentally delayed. And I think that if she did not get the therapy she would be just fine. However, I think that since it is available, it is free and it is extremely convenient (they come to our home), there really is no reason to not provide this for her. In addition, the sooner I can get the grunting and whining out of my life the better.

Finally, the developmental therapist made a comment that I found incredibly interesting. She noticed that Ryann was walking on her toes and asked me if she did that often. I told her that I didn't notice it often, but that yes, she does walk on her toes - as does Nora, my sister and my mom. She said that there is a definite correlation between toe walking and speech delay. She has no idea why - nor does anyone else - but the correlation does exist. Very interesting.

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