Horses, Antibiotics, and Doughnuts- Oh My

A Weekly Update

Life looks amazing when viewed from the back of a horse. Today I got to spend the morning with my Sister on a trail ride for her birthday. It was wonderful. We got some great time as sisters, without the kids all running around us, and we got to spend time doing something we both love to do. We got to ride through the woods and across a river for an hour. It was a gorgeous day and my horse (Pocahontas) provided a lot of laughter. I managed to lose my phone during a trot so Chazlynn and I got to go for a hike through the woods to hunt it down. Chazlynn was sure to come with a big stick since we passed a snake the size of my wrist on our ride. Miraculously, we found my phone without too much trouble and it had not a scratch on it. I would go on a trail ride every day if it were feasible in life right now. Such joy and peace can be found there.

While we rode the kids were all enjoying time having a cousin-palooza of playing, running, and laughing. The kids love spending time with their cousins and it is great that they are all so close in age and can have so much fun together.

Facebook informed me today it was National Doughnut Day so we took the kids (cousins and all) to Krispy Kreme to partake in the sugary fun. We took over half the sitting area of our local Krispy Kreme and the kids ooh’d and ahh’d over all the choices. Sprinkles were had by all, even Caleb, and you cannot always assume he will enjoy outings like this. It was one of those outings where I was super impressed it was going smoothly- no crying, no feeling like why did I even try leaving the house, no major meltdowns. Everything was great. Then it was time to leave. Ahh the transition struggle. Caleb decided that leaving and getting back in the van was too much. So we spent some time with him protesting it all and sitting on the pavement. He eventually decided leaving was not the worst thing in the world and all seven kids were able to be buckled in and off we went with little drama. Doughnut outing for the win! Some things go off without a hitch and some things become a struggle. A few minutes sitting on the pavement is not too bad, his meltdown mid walk earlier this week that involved me carrying a thrashing screaming boy over half a mile home was a bit harder.

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This week  has been an adventure because we are working on our second solid week of all being sick. I got it the worse and ended up needing two rounds of steroids, an antibiotic shot, and a round of oral antibiotics (and I am still not completely well). All five kids have also gotten to the point this week that they needed to go on antibiotics. Everyone has used them before and for the most part had no problems, except Mister Caleb. Caleb has only used antibiotics once and he developed a pretty crazy rash. The doctors told us he must have a sensitivity to antibiotics and to be cautious with them in the future. This is the first time he has needed antibiotics since. The doctor prescribed Caleb something a little different this time and although it has made me very anxious we gave it a go and he has had no issues. Thank the Lord.

With everyone being sick we have missed a lot of therapies over the last two weeks but that doesn’t stop the process at all. We also have started our summer break from Equine Therapy so that frees up a little time.

Damien has been working really hard on being able to identify feelings, especially fear and anxiety, and talking through those feelings. He has also been asking about once every other day when we are starting school back up. I love how much he loves learning. He is so inquisitive lately and wants to know exactly what everything we encounter is and how it works and of course if he can use it, operate it, ride it, etc. He is also becoming very interested in identifying emotions in other people, “Are you feeling happy?” is a question I get at least once a day.

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Perry is getting ready to start occupational therapy and just finished both a speech evaluation and a developmental evaluation. Both evaluations left more questions, he does not fit easily into any one box- other than we know he is not Neuro-typical. There seems to be a consensus that ADHD fits. There also seems to be strong indicators for visual and auditory processing disorders, however, both are hard to diagnose before the age six. He is showing much higher levels of expressive language skills than receptive language skills which is not incredibly common. At this point the therapists are compiling the data so they can more easily spot patterns, connecting with each other and then making their recommendations about how we should move forward.

Caleb has his great moments and his struggles. We have discovered that he is Hyperlexic, which means he really is reading and decoding words. He may not always be able to apply meaning to the words but he can read them. His amazing speech therapist is helping us develop cards with pictures of his most requested items and activities that also have the word written out in the hope that he will begin reading them aloud and connecting the idea of verbalizations and getting his needs and desires met. He has really started getting physical trying to get his sensory needs met with me when he is overwhelmed. Lots of crashing into me, mouthing my fingers, trying to sit on my shoulder like a parrot, you name it. We recently got some new chewies he seems to like (FINALLY) so that is helping the oral needs and we just got in some compression clothing I ordered to see if that helps him. I am taking him next week to get his blood drawn so we can start getting some answers on the genetic testing side of things so that will be great. More information is always welcome. We also have a new place we are going to try for physical therapy, the last place was not at all a good fit for Caleb or our family. Hopefully, we can get him going with the physical therapy soon and get him the orthotics he needs. We are also awaiting our referral process to get Caleb his psychological Autism diagnosis the insurance needs so we can begin in home ABA therapy as well. Like I said, it never stops, even when we are sick.

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Alize has been a chatty cathy lately. Apraxia isn’t keeping her down. This morning she was very excited to tell me there were “Cherries” on her shirt and that the toy truck she found while I was making breakfast was “Orgge” (orange). Her latest favorite thing is to yell up from the back of the van when I am driving. It is usually a combination of actual words and, what we call her Ze-Ze speak. She is sure to grunt her frustration in true diva fashion if I cannot figure out what she is trying to tell me.

Oliver has been such a little sneak. I thought last week that he had been swiping Caleb’s cup and sure enough he must have been, his eczema is out of control this week. He loves dairy so much, it just does not love him. He also has been chatty, mainly about food because the boy loves his food. The only new word he has added has been “Appe” (apple) which he is sure to yell at you when he wants an apple ( I end up with apples with one bite taken out stashed all over the house) or to tell you that he still has his apple. I am praying he keeps this new word and doesn’t lose it like he did “Dog”.

The other fairly new thing we have added into the mix is our weekly family dinners. Life can get so hectic and busy and we can miss out on very important connections. We were feeling like we saw our local family only slightly more than we did when we lived out of state. So we decided to institute a new tradition, a weekly family dinner on Thursday evenings. It is nice in the middle of the week to have a break from the race and rush to enjoy some good food and some family time. This week the kids ended up dressing up like superheroes and chasing each other around the house laughing hysterically. It warms my heart to watch them because I know these are the memories they will cherish when they are older.

It has been a day of much needed sunshine and joy here.

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