Saturday, March 12, 2011

February 2011

I'm really playing catch-up on this blog. All of January and now February all within a couple of days! Of course I don't remember everything, but thanks to my camera, phone, and facebook I can come up with some details!

Jason, despite a long week of nap-strike, continues to make great progress with Megan in OT. Not a big deal for some kids, but hands in shaving cream is a huge deal for Jason, the I-don't-want-to-get-messy-kid.

That night I dropped my iphone in the tub as i was cleaning it. After a rice bath to attempt to dry it out, I woke up on Groundhog's Day to a glitchy but generally working phone. And the groundhog didn't see his shadow, so yeah for the potential arrival of spring!

The next day I got to have more tests. Generally disliking anything to do with the medical profession these days. This time a small bowel series to determine how inflamed my upper intestine is. The good news is that the person who read the results compared them to my initial CT scan, which I had done at the same place, and he said he saw some improvement. So for now my meds remain the same and we hope to get my symptoms in remission.

Part of our day off of school involved a trip to the library to pick up some Wii games that we had placed on hold and they had finally arrived. One was Glee Karaoke. Tyler only "knew" 2 of the songs, but I convinced him to give it a shot. It quickly became a game favorite, and even Jason grabbed his toy microphone and joined along. Tyler's favorite songs were "Don't Stop Believing" and "Proud Mary". Too cute to hear. Also cute, although not necessarily appropriate, was when i walked out of the room for a mere few minutes and returned to hear my son singing "Push It". Soooo disappointed my camera had a glitch and did not record that lovely video moment.

Here's a vide of Tyler singing "Don't Stop Believing". He had never heard this song before, but picked it up quick. Too funny. Since he's reading off the screen, sometimes quickly, a few words aren't pronounced correctly.

And Jason's version of "singing" along...if you can call it that. Bless his little heart.

The next few days were busy, but without photos. Tiger Scouts den meeting, playdate at his new friend's house for the first time, a SuperBowl Party for me, school, meeting with the lawyer, mammogram for me, another playdate with a friend, karate, cat and the hat day at school, etc. Jason also had a vestibular therapist come out to observe him during an OT session. She likes the way his therapist challenges him, but does see vestibular issues for sure. For now we are to continue to challenge him with "sensory diet" types of vestibular movement and may get more aggressive with his "treatment" if necessary in the future.

On the 10th, s part of a tiger scout requirement, their den went to tour the Lenape District television AV truck. They got to see how the equipment works and how they record a game. Well, I think that's what they saw. I was too busy dealing with a very annoyed (and consequently annoyING) Jason. Anyway, they thought it was great fun "broadcasting" and seeing themselves over the video monitors.

Early in the week my parents and I made the difficult decision to look for a new home for Bella, our puppy. She is a sweet dog and none of her behaviors were anything unusual for a puppy, but they happened to be a bad combination for us at the time. My mom still could not walk her due to her knee (especially with snow on the ground) and I had been dealing with so much pain that it made it difficult for me to help out. We had no fence, so no other options. It's nearly impossible to take out a puppy in the rain at 6:00am while holding a 2-year-old so that you don't have to leave him inside by himself. Not to mention that her jumping made it impossible to leave the boys alone with her for even a second. And Tyler, although he claimed to love her, still hadn't gotten completely comfortable around her. So the poor thing wasn't getting enough attention as she was gated mostly into the kitchen/entry/dining room while we were gated in the rest of the house. Just not a good scenario. Well luckily we had friends who helped us "advertise" her on facebook as needing a good home, and we had someone who was interested in coming to look at her Thursday night. I tried to explain this to Tyler as best as I could, which is nearly impossible. I did take some photos of him and the dog for his "memory box".

Well, the new owners and their dog met Bella that nigh and all went well in that department. Tyler, originally in tears, seemed to warm right up to them and by the time they left that night Tyler actually seeemd happy about the arrangement. They assured us that they would e-mail occasional pictures and that we could visit if we wanted. They made plans to pick her up that next night.

The next day, as Jason napped after tot storytime, I did some research on an appropriate replacement pet for Ty. I had promised him a fish, but thought we could do a little better. Settled on a guinea pig, but I took Ty to petsmart after school to buy his fish and figured I'd see what he was drawn too. Luckily he fell right in love with the guinea pigs. Jason, on the other hand, really wanted the chinchilla. LOL. So Tyler was elated when i gave him the option of picking out a guinea pig and cage and supplies. He settled on a cute little female guinea pig. She's brown and black with a white little mohawk. Tyler, after initially choosing the name "fluffy", settled on the name "teddy". So teddy, and Jason's new pet fish "ish ish" joined our family. For the record, Jason was disappointed with "ish ish", or should I say, disappointed with me, because i would not let him hold and pet the thing. Ugh.

So Tyler was beyond excited about his new pet, which he was able to hold and interact with immediately after getting home. I don't think he gave a second thought about the situation when the new owners came to pick up Bella that night. So, yea for bribery.

Later i checked his backpack after remembering he had a report card. Great job Ty.

On Sunday Tyler had another karate belt ceremony. My mom, Al's mom, myself and Jason attended. Ty did a great job and by the end of the morning he became a new high yellow belt.

After the karate belt ceremony they spent some time with Teddy. He's adjusting quite nicely to his new home.

While Jason napped Tyler and I set off for a Valentine's Day date, a day early. We chose to go to the movie theater to see Gnomeo & Juliet, which was a 3D movie. Actually pretty cute.

Valentine's Day was exciting for the boys. They started it off with pancakes (frozen boxed variety) which I cut into heart shapes and decorated with chocolate chips. Intended on making heart shaped chocolate chip ones from scratch, but that didn't happen. Regardless, they are easy to please. After sending off Ty to school we enjoyed a little outdoor time, as there was finally some sun and a break from frigid temperatures. Jason actually walked down the steps of the house holding my hand, which was a first. And didn't make me carry him to the car! We picked up soft pretzels for Ty's school party, so that made everyone happy, especially Jason. And of course after Ty got out of school and his party we had more treats at home!

After weighing Jason the day or so prior I realized that he was reaching the max weight limit for his carseat to remain rear facing. So after a thorough cleaning and desanitizing, I finally faced his carseat forward. My baby is growing up. He was definitely unsure about this change.

On the 16th my mom and i went to the AT&T store to see if I could get a new phone (current one was still quite glitchy after tub fall) if I renewed my contract. Long story, but the answer was yes and my mom and I both left with brand new iPhone 4's (mine was my xmas gift from my parents). Quite fun.

That evening I was feeling pretty crappy, as was Jason, so we decided to leave Jason at home with my dad so my mom and I could attend Ty's student of the month "ceremony". So proud of my little man, given a certificate for first-grade Student of the Month for the month of January. He got a certificate, his name went in the school board packet, and his picture was featured in the display case at the two schools. His teachers even came to see him receive his award. How sweet.

The next morning, my little boy who barely says anything legible, decided he can say "do bess" (two breasts) while he walked in while I was getting dressed. Go figure. That afternoon we enjoyed a nice bit of time outside, finally. Jason is getting quite fond of looking for the ducks.

On Friday the 18th their father drove up from North Carolina to see them for the weekend. He arrived early enough to spend a little bit of time playing with Jason before surprising Tyler at school pick-up. After installing the new carseats I bought and getting their stuff in the car, we all went to McDonald's (Ty's choice) for dinner. Then we all went to Tyler's karate practice where we were met by Al's mom and stepdad. From there, I did the hardest thing I ever did. I watched as he put the boys in his car and said goodbye to them for the weekend. As much as I was happy for them to get to spend time with their dad, I cried as I watched them drive off.

The boys had a busy weekend. The spent the nights at their grandmothers. Saturday was spent at the FunPlex. Sunday I gave them tickets to the circus (I had originally planned on taking them and bought the tickets before this visit was scheduled). That night they had dinner at their Aunt Dottie's. Jason was the one I was worried about, but he apparently did quite well. Tyler had a harder time than I expected, but I think overall he had a nice visit. Me, my time was bittersweet. Like I said, i was happy that they were with their dad. But, right or wrong, i was worried. I enjoyed myself, but I had trouble really relaxing. It was tough. Next time I think will be easier I'm sure. Sad to report that daddy says he didn't take ANY pictures. No fair.

The boys returned early Monday morning (presidents day) from their weekend with their daddy.

It was a long day as they recovered from their weekend. A very long day. I was less-than-pleased when we ended up with yet ANOTHER snow day on Tuesday. As much as he was getting on my nerves, I was later thankful for the snowday as Tyler was clearly a sleepy little boy. After some sleep he was much more tolerable.

Believe me though, I was never so happy for a return to school on Wednesday.

Here's a random video of Jason helping out with singing his favorite new song.

Thursday night, after science club, Ty had his friend Luke for a playdate and then we all went to chick-fil-a (my favorite).

I spent a rainy Friday morning at the mall with a friend. Jason decided he no longer needs a stroller. So he got some exercise. And he also got to make a shamrock Build-a-bear. He was a little upset about some of the routine of it, but overall he enjoyed it. He was quite thrilled with his cheese roll-up from Taco Bell in the food court, and later his Aunt Annie's pretzel of course!

That afternoon, after picking up Tyler from school, I got to enjoy another child-free night at a hotel in Atlantic City, with a free room courtesy of my parents. A huge thanks to them for watching the boys for me.

We got to enjoy a little more time outside. A bit chilly, but still good duck viewing.

Nora's party was Sunday afternoon, followed by our first scouts Blue & Gold dinner that evening. I have to say, it was, ummm, long. But we have a nice group of kids (and parents to talk with), so that helped. The boys had fun, but as soon as that cake was cut we were out of there!

The boys finally enjoyed their first Skype experience with their father.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

January 2011

2011 started off with 2 parties on New Year's Day. First we were off to Kristen's parents house. She was visiting from Florida for the holidays with her husband and little girl Ava. Jen joined us, as well as Veronica, Tom, and their kids Gianna and Michael. The kids all had a great time and it was nice to catch up a bit. We did discuss how different our "gatherings" are now versus how they would have been 7 years ago (before we started having kids).

Directly from there we met my parents at my Aunt Maureen and Uncle George's house for a downscaled version of our normal New Year's Day celebration. Beth, Tim and Patrick were there as well and we had a nice time eating, catching up, and watching the kids play with new presents.

January 3rd came and Ty was back to school. I am happy to report that I did in fact survive Christmas break, but I was ready to be back to our typical routines as well. That night everyone came over for pizza to spend some time together before my grandparents left for Florida for the winter.

The next day Jason's early intervention case manager and his speech therapist came to the house for his therapy re-evaluation, as it had been one year since he started therapy. Seems hard to believe. He had made lots of gains in that year, but obviously still has a ways to go. He will continue to get speech and OT (with his new therapist) as he had been, with an increased focus on his sensory issues with the occupational therapist. They also decided to pursue vestibular therapy with him, so that should be interesting. We discussed his transition from early intervention to the school system, as he will "age out" of the system at 3. Crazy to believe that we're already starting the process of getting him into the preschool program.

Tyler had a pinewood derby clinic for Tiger Scouts that he attended with his pop-pop. I gratefully handed over that task to my dad! While he was there I spent some time sitting in my car while my mom attempted to put Jason to bed for the first time ever. Yes, that's right, after 27.5 months, someone else was finally going to try to put him to bed. Well, she succeeded, with only minimal tears (approximately 5 minutes of crying, if I recall correctly). Hallelujah!

Jason finally learned to say his name, or at least a version of it. He started to say "day day" (Jay Jay) if you asked him his name. He also decided that any grouping of things were the number "do" (two). He also is "do" years old. Unfortunately if you ask him his name he often answers "do" or replies that he's "day day" years old. He's working on it. Here's a short video (for some reason, sideways) of him saying some animal noises and stating his name.

After a tiger scout meeting we quickly went to Beth and Erich's for "Princess Olivia's" 2nd birthday party. Both the kids had a great time playing and of course eating. Jason even joined Olivia in a little princess dress-up in a "do do" (tu-tu). It'll be great bribery later in life.

Later that night I joined a friend at PJ's for some appetizers and drinks. That night I started having some intense abdominal pain which got progressively worse and lasted about 5-6 hours. I've had this pain before, and always attributed it to perhaps a cyst on my ovary or uterus or even just eating something that didn't agree with me, but that next morning I noticed that my lower right abdomen was still tender to the touch. Not really thinking it was anything significant, I figured I should at least have it addressed while I still have medical insurance. I got an afternoon appointment with my doctor, figuring maybe they'd at least refer me to the gynecologist. Instead they did a urinalysis and blood work. They found protein in my urine and the doctor was unsure about the pain I was experiencing and decided to send me for a CT-scan with contrast dye the next day.

Still not really expecting to hear anything, i went to that appointment the next day with very little anxiety. I figured worse case they'd say there was in fact a cyst and that would be that. In reality they called me into the back of the lab and got me on the phone with my doctor, who informed me that there was a large amount of inflammation in my small intestine and they needed me to go to the hospital. I ended up convincing them that my pain was not urgent enough to warrant that and they settled for an emergency appointment with a GI doctor the next day. They also started me on a liquid diet and 2 heavy-duty antibiotics. After I got off the phone with my doctor the x-ray tech told me, in no uncertain terms, that what he saw on the scan was in fact Crohn's disease. He told me that he was sorry, but that it could be worse and it could have been something more serious like cancer.

That night I didn't sleep well, at all. I tried to convince myself that the lab tech did not know what he was doing. The next day, in the midst of the snowstorm, I went to the GI doctor in Lumberton. He confirmed, based on my symptoms, weight loss, and results of my scan, that it was almost definitely Crohn's. Sent me on my way with a prescription for Pentasa (8 pills a day) as well as the continuation of my 2 antibiotics, with strict instructions to go to the hospital if pain gets worse. Fun. They also scheduled the colonoscopy for the next earliest appointment. A colonoscopy is required to confirm the diagnosis, as well as to get a better idea of the amount of inflammation and to biopsy tissue. Sounds like fun, huh?

So, I spent the next few days dealing with side effects from the medicine, or perhaps the Crohn's disease that I never knew I even had symptoms of before. Guess we'll never know.

By Thursday I couldn't sit around anymore so Jason and I picked up Beth and Olivia and we went to the Discovery Museum. The kids had a great time. I was a little disappointed that Jason wouldn't go the kids music and movement class they had, but he was too busy in the ball pit.

That next night Ty had his very first sleepover at someone else's house, his friend Mackenzie's. I knew he'd be nervous, but I didn't expect the phone call I got that he was having a meltdown before they even ate dinner! I talked to him, he slightly calmed down, and I convinced him to at least stay for dinner. Luckily Erich came home briefly for dinner and Tyler "manned up" and quickly stopped crying and was fine from that point out. They had a great time playing Wii and making brownies before eventually crashing while watching a movie shortly after midnight.

A short video of Jason "singing".

The next afternoon Ty had a birthday party to attend for his friend Alex at the bowling alley. He had a great time with Alex and her sisters.

I spent that evening and the next day in horrible pain again, having to cancel all of my plans of church, the Junior Women's newcomer's brunch, and a birthday celebration for Al's mom and stepdad.

That Monday Ty had off of school, but he still had a tiger scouts activity to attend. They went to Medford Lakes middle school basketball game. My dad took him, thankfully, and he had a nice time.

Our 3-day weekend was followed by a 2-hr delay due to snow.

I unwrapped a box from storage and the boys found good use of the wrapping paper. Body tracing and decorating. Ty now has a life-sized cutout image of himself taped to his door, which scares the heck out of me every morning.

Ty and my dad got to work on his pinewood derby car.

On the 21st Jason started off his day with his first ever 3-word phrase, "muh ooo peas" (more cheerios please). So cute. That was followed by an afternoon in Mt. Holly for a required Parent Education class. Fun. That evening I went to a friend's 40th birthday party, so that was a nice night.

Tyler had his first tiger scout pinewood derby race on the 23rd. Tyler was incredibly excited to race his car. In my dad's defense, the design was all Tyler's, and it was what he really invisioned, despite the fact that my dad tried to gently convince him that it was not necessarily the best racing design. Tyler didn't care, and had successfully created his "porcupine" car, a lovely red, white and blue design with yellow and green spikes. Ha, ha. Anyway, we were all just hoping Ty's car would make it down the track, and I'm happy to report that it did in fact make it. He even won one of the four races, so according to him he's the winner. He was pleased with that, and with his "most unique" car ribbon.

That afternoon my parents watched the boys so I could take advantage of the frigid weather we've been having to take Ty ice skating. When I say frigid, that would be totally accurate. It was bone chilling. But Ty had fun. I wouldn't say he could skate, but instead he can glide occasionally while I hold his hands. Otherwise he maybe can balance on his own for 5 seconds. Then he falls.

Later that week I finally had my colonoscopy. Let me tell you, the prep for that test is horrendous. The test itself was easy. They did find inflammation and small ulcerations in my large intestine and took some samples for biopsy (which were negative for cancer). The inflammation in the small intestine was too significant for them to continue the test. The crohn's diagnosis was confirmed.

We tried to enjoy some playtime with Bella. She's still a little puppy-like. Jason thinks she's great fun though.

We enjoyed yet ANOTHER crazy snowfall and snow day. Beautiful to look at...but it's getting old.

The boys still think it's great fun though. Well, it's undecided whether Jason actually likes it. He usually lacks any expression. He refused to help with the snowman. But he asks for "muh" (more) when he's on his little sled.

That weekend Tyler had a sleepover with his friend Mackenzie. We went to Chick Fil A for dinner and then kids went a little Wii crazy, especially with the borrowed Just Dance game. Jason didn't get to bed until after 11. After midnight they had slowed down a little and were making paper snowflakes. After 1 (yes, 1am) I made them turn off the lights and settle down. I think they were finally asleep around 1:15. Yawn. I can't complain though as they all got along really well.

Jason did his first ever Valentine's Day craft, a bit early. Ty is an old pro with crafts.

Speaking of crafts, Ty had a playdate which included crafting a lot more Wii. The dance game is a major hit!