Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Minnesota and choas of repairs

We are just full of adventures lately!
We headed out of town on Friday afternoon to go visit Jay's sister and her family in Minnesota. Our nephew Aidan was receiving his First Communion, so we made a weekend out of it. We had never visited them in their new house since they moved from St.Louis last year (military family) so it was about time we made the trip!
We visited the Mall of America on Saturday, and the boys pretty much think it's JUST an amusement park. Jay and Uncle Clint stayed with all the boys to go on rides all afternoon, while the ladies shopped around for a bit. It was a nice afternoon, followed with dinner and then brunch the next day from Clint the Chef! (I never get cooked for, so I slightly obsess)
Aidan's First Communion was in the afternoon, so we left directly from church. We were lucky to have nice rides to and from Minnesota.

We've had SO much going on around the house lately with contractors. Our whole attic/bathroom debacle that happened in the winter has started to get repaired now. The entire attic was scrubbed/antimicrobialized and all the old insulation taken out. We are waiting to see what repairs need to be completed before putting insulation back in and also the bathroom ceiling and shower need to have their repairs done as well - so that's all going on.

Our carpenter has started the next phase of cedar siding planks to replace - we do about 30% of our house at a time to take out the old painted stuff and replace with new stained pieces. The stained parts look SO much nicer, and he's also taking out the old wooden porch railing and replacing it with non-painted pvc pipe - so that is all going on.

We had our tree-line cleaned up, and needed to be out of town while they did it since they use a chemical to treat the large buck thorn stumps, so it had to be done this weekend. We also have plans to seed a big portion of the tree line, so it was best to do it now in spring - so that was going on. I'm waiting to hear from our landscaper for options to with the new open space in the front yard. I'm a little shocked how much was taken from there, so we need to make some plans of what to DO with it now!

Our original heavy wooden garage door is being replaced, so we got that all contracted last week and are waiting for the door to come in - which hopefully times well after the cedar siding over on that side is replaced and painted. I think that door will come in sometime mid-May, so that should work out.

I don't know why we have SO much going on at the same time other than we don't want to deal with any of it in summer, so we kinda have pushed to get most of this done within the month.

The Lego area of Mall of America

Jay thought the boys looked like Hans and Franz of SNL this day.

Jay has a better photo of the boys, but you get the point. I'm pretty convinced that Jax is the human-version of Sponge Bob. Constantly EXCITED.

The boys were the last ones to see these guys so they got sandwiched! The worker was laughing pretty hard.

 I loooooove his cooking.

My sauce almost set the kitchen on fire!

With the guest of honor Aidan!
All the boys chillin before church.
On the way out of town on Friday, we had trucks arrive to cut down the dead trees and weeds that were becoming hazardous.

Apparently our entire front yard of tree line consisted of dead trees and weeds. Ummm...
A big ole' truck needed for those big ones!

Monday, April 20, 2015

IEPs for 1st Grade Complete

We had a really nice weekend away just the four of us to Wisconsin Dells. I had won a night stay at a suite to an indoor waterpark and had to use it by the end of the month. The boys had so much fun running around in the water park, getting some dinner and hitting the arcade before bedtime. On the way out of town in the morning, the boys got to ride some go-carts and had a blast.

Over the past week we had IEP meetings for each boy for the next school year. Brady's meeting went as expected. He'll continue speech every day with the availability of his iPad for communication breakdowns. He's had the most one-year-improvement since turning 6, so we have a lot of hope for him to overcome this speech disorder. He still has a long road, but he's really doing well. We couldn't be prouder at his reading and math scores, so speech is really his only area of 'need' so far at this level of academics. I hear school starts to really speed up in the next few years so I hope we can stay on top of it!

Jax's IEP meeting went pretty good, but he's still having a really difficult time with focus and attention. He will still require the same level of aide when performing anything with fine motor skills. Most specifically writing and art-based projects. He will still get "preferential seating" throughout the day for most activities - meaning he'll always be seated near the teacher or aide since he stays on task when re-directed.
The special-ed director and the Occupational therapist came up with a really great game-plan for him that I think will create some success for him. Since kids are expected to do much more writing in first grade, the plan is to pull Jax out for 10 minutes before his daily writing time to review technique and practice the letters for more confidence and a better chance at success. He'll also receive Occupational therapy (OT) twice a week for 15 minutes at a time to help strengthen his fine motor delay and low muscle tone.
He'll continue his speech therapy as well as have his medical-pass in case he has trouble with eating and has reflux. By law, a child has to go home if they vomit at school unless they have a medical-pass. He's also allowed to have his feeding therapist come in once a week to help with lunch and he'll have his formula in-take monitored.

The special-ed director is going to talk with the phy-ed teacher to make sure he feels Jax is keeping up with his peers since we took him out of specialized phy-ed this year and removed his braces. Jax seems to be doing well with gross-motor skills, but we have noted a lot of accidents over the year. But he does have attention issues, so that's most likely the culprit.

We talked about how Jax functions at home, and I had mentioned that we have to stay on top of Jax through every single step each morning to get out the door, which can be daunting sometimes. They asked if the boys were competitive to make it more of a game, and for this in particular, we wish they were! But they're not unless it were a sport, and even then they cheer each other on. We may start a chart with steps, but really, this is just an area that Jax struggles with. Eating and getting dressed are not fan favorites of his!

I asked the staff if they felt Jax's obvious attention and focus issues could possibly be more of a clinical problem, like ADHD. They had a discussion with each other about it, and so far they're leaning toward Jax having an attention/focus issue mainly with areas of his delays. In other words, he's extremely un-interested in fine motor projects and tends to try and find other things to focus on. Add that to an insanely outgoing talkative kid hopped up on daily asthma meds and we have a common scenario of Jax turned around, looking around at other's projects or striking up a convo even with the aide instead of looking down and working on his writing!
Since he can focus on some things, they don't see it across the board for him. They also said it's not typical to see a child with ADHD without any behavior issues and it's typically seen more across the board. There are so many varying degrees of the disorder, but there's almost always some form of behavior associated with it and he just doesn't fit it. But they do agree he has a "clinical issue" meaning he struggles with focus beyond his control, but so far it hasn't impeded his learning or the learning of others, so they believe that with all the planned interventions and help, he may be able to remain on his successful path. Because so far he's successful with scoring at the top level for math and reading. (But writing gets scored next year, so we need this plan in place, eek!)

It was nice to hear such nice things said about each boy. Some of the descriptions overlapped, but the ones that were different were that Brady was considered super sweet, very helpful and extremely hard working. They are so impressed to see him as outgoing as he is with the obvious disability, and they love how well he handles his own frustration when not understood. I'm sure I'd be MUCH more annoyed then he is, he amazes me!
Jax was noted to be THE MOST excited and happy child who wanted to please all the teachers and therapists. The special-ed director said she's never in her entire career met a child who finds every single task through the day to be exciting. The kindergarten teacher finds him to be charming beyond his years. It's so nice to hear these things since Jax was so miserable as a baby and I always worried so much about him not being a happy child with the lack of cuddles and lack of food for development for cognition - we are so grateful for his chipper little dude.

I'm excited to see what first grade brings for them with growth. I feel better knowing there's a solid plan in place to help Jax with his fine motor skills. We'll be receiving summer homework to use each day from the OT, so that also gives me a little relief as well. We try to remain positive with meetings that are based solely on our children's weaknesses, so it's nice to not feel down about it all. I love their school!

I will miss times like this of their age. They're negotiating with each other which prizes to get and share to add up to the number of tickets they won.

The boys loving the mini-track.

Jax and Jason cut from the same cloth after we finished dinner. A long day at the water park left everyone a bit tired!

Brady kickin' like mom on our side!

The boys loved the whirlpool in the condo - they used it after the park and had a blast.
Brady glovin'up for a little batting in the back yard on Sunday.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Break

We are all back into the swing of things coming off of spring break from last week.
Jason and I were in Costa Rica for a company incentive trip and the boys had their babysitter here doing SO much fun stuff. They went to a children's museum, a Brewer game, a movie and the zoo! They had a blast for sure, and they stayed healthy which was giving me the chance to relax a little more while being away.
We enjoyed our trip away, but it was a quick 3 days there with the other 2 days committed to travel to get there and back. It was great to see the ocean and sun again!

We are already doing preparations for summer school and first grade for the boys this month. We have the boy's IEP meetings over the next week to make their plans for first grade. I'm pretty sure how Brady's will go, but I'm not totally sure how Jax's will go. Brady was recommended for the 'extended school year speech therapy' again this summer. Only students who would regress without the summer therapy qualify for this program. We planned on putting the boys in some fun summer school courses, so Jay and I had to figure out Brady's schedule since he'll be pulled out for 30 mins of therapy. Otherwise it's all FUN classes for them since neither need extra help in reading or math. I'm wondering if I should find something OT related for Jax and his writing, but I hate to pile on the therapies over summer since he does have feeding therapy each week too. I'll have to see what the options are where he takes feeding.

The boys are signed up for Dr Seuss Galore, Science experiments and Playground games. They'll attend each morning for the first 6 weeks of summer, which makes childcare a little easier until August. They're pumped for these fun classes, which are for FIRST graders... so weird to think of them as that when June comes :)

Jason brought the boys an Air Force One and limo kit from DC. The boys like to play "protect President Obama" with it - too cute!

Jax learning to work hard at a shake - he usually doesn't have enough power to do it!

First Bunny photo on a whim - they were SO pumped! And the only kids not dressed up :)

I will miss these nights some day...

An intense game of Guess Who.

Egg hunt and basket search on Easter morning!

They found them in the basement bathroom shower!

TOTALLY spoiled this year since we wanted to leave them with some fun stuff to keep busy while we were gone. I pulled everything out for a photo and they're DYING for the photo to be DONE!

This wrestling championship belt will be a toy-staple for a LONG time around here...

Jay and I loving a mariachi band in Costa Rica during dinner one night.

Our favorite hidden lunch spot down the beach on our last afternoon. Lola's!

Home and the boys are SO happy! Brady wore his pirate costume every moment for the entire weekend.

Brady's second tooth is out!

What a nice "helpful" dad... he's just holding the tissue up because it's bleeding here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

All Good

We've had a busy week. We had Jay's oldest goddaughter visit from New Mexico (Olivia!) Thursday-Saturday. Jay's cousin was getting married in Green Bay on Saturday, so we made the trek up there and dropped Olivia off with the family. She will be 17 and a senior in high school soon, and our youngest godchild will be 7 months then with a baptism coming up in May. Jay and I have been blessed with a total of 7 godchildren!

The boys had their last night of baseball camp on Sunday night and they're already asking when their little league starts!
They start spring break on Friday and have a fun museum trip tomorrow for their last day of school. Jason and I leave Sunday night for the week in Costa Rica for a work-reward trip. I've been prepping the house, meds, supplies and sitters for the boys. I *think* I'll get on the plane without an anxiety attack for leaving them, but send good thoughts that they don't start an illness to really push me over the edge! My poor sitter had to listen to me ramble for TWO hours on Sunday reviewing protocols, she's a saint!
The boys are SO pumped for spring break since they'll be going to a Brewer game one of the nights and a bunch of other activities planned - they should have a blast.

Everyone is in good health and spirits this week, let's keep it GOING! Brady's skin allergy to the antibiotic was still giving him trouble into this week with bright red patches when he'd be running around or getting a bath, but it's really calmed down now. The doc said it should be gone by this Friday, so let's hope we don't have to deal with that anymore. He couldn't stop SNEEZING and scratching during the wedding ceremony and his skin kind of exploded, so I'm glad it's much better now - his body does NOT like Amoxicillin. NOTED.
Jason gets back tonight from Washington DC, so the boys are pretty pumped about that. I survived just fine over the past 4 days - mostly because the boys DID have such good health and attended school :)

Hunky cousins

Anesah has to deal with these goons

It's not a party until thumb wars break out!
Auntie Christa schooling Jax

Uncle Clint fighting the good fight.

Last night of baseball camp

My handsome little men

Brady requested the David Beckham haircut - love that kid!