Monday, June 23, 2014

Ryan's Journey

Ryan is officially out of physical therapy! Although the therapist did not release her or advise it, I just had to go with what I felt was best for us and I felt it was time to stop therapy. Overall our therapy experience was not the best. I have not said much about it lately because it was kind-of a sore subject but has a happy ending at least.

Little weak on the left side
 We started out in December looking for help with Ryan because she had developed a bad habit of scooting and was not showing much interest in walking and had trouble holding weight on her left leg since that was the leg she was keeping tucked under when she would scoot. The therapist kind of threw us for a loop with her initial screening results. She basically scared the crap out of us with worst case scenarios. She said Ryan was showing so many signs of delays that she wasn't sure what all she had wrong with her and that we needed to have her screened for occupational therapy and genetic disorders also. I point blank asked her "so are you saying she may not walk ever?" and she replied "I really don't know at this time but possibly not". That was not what I was expecting. I blogged some about this then and had several people private message me about how Ryan sounded like she had what their child had. I remember sitting at work on the phone with Nathan crying because I was in shock. She just needed some help with her leg - it was not any deeper than that - or was it?

I went to her check-up with her pediatrician and he said he really didn't think there was anything wrong with her at all. He said he thinks she just needs a little help with her leg and that she would for sure walk and he was unsure what the therapist was seeing to come to her conclusions. He said he would go ahead and do the referral to Arkansas Children's Hospital for genetic testing to put everyone's minds at ease but he really doesn't feel it is necessary. In the meantime we got the initial screening back on Ryan where they had her skills at a 2 month level when she was 16 months old - I did not like this at all. She was obviously WAY more advanced than a 2 year old. She could do almost everything except walk and had trouble getting up sometimes because of her weakness on her left side - which is all from her scooting habit.

We went to the genetic testing and they said they had no idea why she was even there. He said she looked totally normal other than some leg tightening that should be resolved with therapy. He said he couldn't believe she was even referred there since she was talking so well and meeting all other milestones. He said if she seemed delayed in 4 months to come back but if not then he saw no reason to see her again. That was a huge weight lifted, but it also should have never been a worry according to him and her pediatrician.

We started therapy 3 times a week and it was rough. She was seen at daycare 2 times and I would take her one day a week so I could observe her. Ryan would cry the entire sessions - sometimes until she would vomit. She HATED it - she didn't want any of them touching her. Just like Noah, this was a time in her development where she wanted only Momma all the time - no one else. She was fine with Daddy and her sitter too if I was not around, but she just really wanted me then. Everyone kept telling me she would get used to it and stop crying and after 4 months she was still just as bad. She would start crying as soon as we would walk in the door to the therapy office and not quit until we left. She was doing a little better at daycare with the Physical Therapy Assistant Sara that she saw there - she was crying a little less but would still immediately start crying when she heard Sara knock on the door. As a mother, this was VERY hard.

Momma working with Ryan on her therapy ball at home :)
One of the days I took her to therapy the therapist took her in the other room away from me, Ryan was screaming of course, and I could hear her in the other room saying things like "you just need to learn to be away from your mom" and "crying is not going to help so you need to just stop". I was holding back the tears and texting Nathan what she was saying - he was not happy to say the least. If any stranger (this was the second time this particular therapist had seen her so she was a stranger) takes my child from me then I fully expect them to cry and throw a fit. Then she made Ryan walk to me but wanted me to let her cry at my feet and not pick her up - I have no idea what this was supposed to prove but it broke my heart. Then she asked me how we disciplined Ryan at home. I told her she got time-outs or I ignored her if she was throwing a fit and I would spank her hands if the situation warranted it. She said that all Ryan was doing at therapy was throwing a fit and I needed to discipline her in the same way there as I would at home. I will never discipline my child for throwing a fit because a stranger took her from me. Ever. I was ready to end therapy that day, but I didn't want to make any rash decisions out of anger. I told them that day that I would not be coming back to observe and that I wanted all her therapies done at daycare - that way I wouldn't be expected to discipline her and Sara would be doing the therapy and she is getting along with Ryan better than anyone. The therapist ended up sending a list to her pediatrician of all her delays (half of which she can do but doesn't want to do for them because she is not comfortable with them) and that she has severe separation anxiety. I was not happy with this. Neither of these are true and now they are in her medical history - it is just causing problems and could cause insurance issues later on. She does not have separation anxiety - she doesn't like strangers, there is a difference.

In March Ryan was walking well and I wanted to start the transition of getting her out of therapy. The therapist said she wasn't only there to walk and that she was still very delayed for her age. I looked up the age appropriate guidelines that my pediatrician told me to use and she was fine with all of them and even doing some things advanced for her age. I asked to see the goals that she sent to her pediatrician (which started out as 8 goals) that was now 25 goals and she was doing all but 4 of them and the others were on the list for a 24 month old and she was 18 months old. The therapist said she needs to see videos of them or she was not going to mark them off. So, I videoed her running, bending to pick things up, kicking a ball, etc. She said she would reevaluate her at the end of that month and let me know what she thought. The end of that month she said her leg was still tight and needed further therapy. When she was doing her therapy on my leg to show me how to do it to Ryan at home she said my legs were also tight. I don't notice anything with them and walk fine so I don't think this is an issue.

She is a great climber :)

She loves to jump at the jump houses :)
Ryan was still being seen by Sara at daycare and she was not crying for the most part for her, but still had her moments. Then the entire staff of the therapy office went out of the state and Ryan wasn't seen for 2 weeks. I was watching Ryan play with her cousin who is three and a half months older than her and her other cousin who is a year and a half older and she was doing everything that they were doing. She was running, climbing, jumping, and everything else little kids do. I just think it is time for her to be done and move on and see what she does. She will have her 2 year check-up with her pediatrician soon and he said he would evaluate her for any delays then.

I just keep getting this gut feeling to take her out of therapy. I am not sure what it is, but I learned long ago not to ignore my mothers intuition. I tried to not let my conflicts with the therapist play into my decisions in any way.  I did consult with her pediatrician and some other therapists first and they all said there was no harm in taking her out and watching her for delays. So that is where we are now. The experience was not all bad though. Ryan can walk and run and jump and do everything any other kid can do and I fully believe this is because she was worked with weekly. The Physical Therapy Assistant Sara that she saw the most was amazing. She really worked hard to win Ryan over and develop a relationship with her. She is part of Ryans history and we are very thankful for her.

Sara and Ryan on her last day :)
Ryan is going to do great things in this world and we may not even remember all this one day when she is running track or playing softball - but I wanted to make a note of the experience for her. Thank you to everyone for all the prayers over the last 6 months. They were felt and heard. We had so many awesome people asking about her everywhere we went. She is one loved little girl.

"My flesh may fail, my God you never will". Thank you God for healing our Ryan.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The 3rd Anniversary of my 29th Birthday!

It is that time of year again, my birthday. I say this every year and I am saying it again - birthdays are way more fun when you are a kid. I get SO excited about my kids and Nathans birthdays but find myself getting less excited each year about my own. I guess that is just part of being old. I plan to always make the kids birthdays a big deal - after all their birthday changed my life.

My mother-in-law made me an awesome wreath for my birthday! I love it! My mom got me some rain boots, a new scarf and a book on different ways to wear scarfs. I love scarfs and wish they were good for summer too - tomorrow is the first official day of summer and I miss them already!

I had to work on my birthday - but we always go out to celebrate office birthdays so we went out for lunch and shopping :) I picked Cracker Barrel for my birthday lunch - I love their food but Nathan is not a fan so I rarely ever get to go there. Plus - I love their store! I found the cutest snail table to spend my birthday money from my dad on :)

When I got home I saw my present from Nathan - it was exactly what I asked for even though he wasn't wild about it when I told him it is what I wanted. I got a little porch makeover! I have been spending lots of time outside with the kids and really have been wanting to fix the porch up some. So, he got me big planters and potted some pretty plants in them, a new door mat, solar lights, a cushion for my chair and a bird feeder.

With a little hint from someone (thanks Laikken) Nathan remembered that I told him that I wanted him to make me dinner in his big cooker pot. So, he cooked that on the porch and the kids and I played in the yard and went for a walk. It was the perfect end to my birthday :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Noah's Swim Lessons

We just completed Noah's last swim lessons that I will have to get in the water with him. Nathan is not a strong swimmer so we wanted to get the kids started early to maybe help if he happens to be the same way. This was his 4th straight year of lessons and he is doing great! I think he was the oldest one in the class and he seemed to be ahead on all of the skills except swimming underwater - there was a little girl in the class that could swim underwater pretty good.

He learned how to glide (pushing off me or the wall and swim to me or the teacher underwater) very well - he would yell "this is my favorite" every time :) He learned to float on his back and belly pretty well and he can blow bubbles and hold his breath very well. I think it was safe to say he was the class clown - he was always making everyone laugh - as usual :)

His jumping in really impressed me - he was very skittish about this before but jumped at least 8 foot to me before it was done! His teacher, Miss Debbie, was very good with him. Noah is a talker and Miss Debbie always listened to what he said even when it had nothing to do with swimming. She remembered that his favorite color is green so she made sure he got the green ball or noodle every class - she really made it fun for Noah.

Our new indoor aquatic center is very nice - I love that our town has this available. One thing I did not like is that anyone who wanted to watch Noah have lessons had to pay $5 to get in to watch. The pool area Noah was in was closed and there was a special place for visitors to sit - it would not be hard to let them come in for the 45 minute lesson to watch without having to pay. Noah took lessons with this program before and anyone was allowed to come and watch for free, but now there is a fee. Our water park and aquatic center is great - some of the rules and prices are not, in my opinion.

Next year Noah will be able to do swim lessons with the older kids without a parent - he is already excited for that! I am too, but it is hard for me to believe that I have a kid old enough for these things already!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Father's Day 2014

I love all holidays and try to make them all special and Father's Day was no different. I just like giving that person a little extra attention to make them feel special on that day. So, on Father's Day Noah and I got up and made Nathan breakfast and gave him his gifts (while Ryan was still sleeping of course). We got him a new laptop for his race car but gave it to him a week ago because he was going racing then and I wanted him to have it. We also got him a new shirt, Iron Man, Noah filled out a questionnaire on him and we made him a special craft with his boot print and the kids foot prints. I got some tears so I knew I did good :)

Daddy and his biggest fans :)

We then went to church for an awesome message on worrying and following God. It was one of those messages where I knew the preacher was talking to me but I didn't want him to be. I told Nathan that I wish the preacher would quit looking at me in the eyes :) After church and the kids napped we went to my brothers house for a Father's Day pool party! I love that we can get my Dad and Stepdad together at the same time and all celebrate as a family together - they are great co-parents! I got both of them a rock for their yard with their last name painted on them.

Me and my dad
It was a good day and I hope my dad and stepdad felt the love. Nathan and I prayed to be able to celebrate this holiday for years and I am so happy we finally got to. He is a good man and a good dad - he loves our children more than anything and always puts them first. He works long hours to make sure their needs are met and also tries to make time to spend with them as much as he can. The kids are very proud of him and light up when they see him so he must be doing something right!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Walks & Puddles

That is pretty much what our weekend consisted of. Both kids had some kind of virus over the weekend that made them run a low temperature - but they still acted fine. So, we stayed close to home and to keep them from going stir crazy I took them on lots of walks around our house. It is times like this that I wish we lived in a neighborhood so we had some sidewalks to walk on to keep the kids out of the road and away from the snakey woods around our house - but we like our country house :)

Talking to the ninja turtles :)

Sunday after church, Nathan and I were cleaning the shop so the kids got to play in the rain outside the shop door and with their outside toys in the shop since Nathan's race car was in the trailer. It was actually a lot of fun to watch them have so much fun doing something different and get dirty :) Later we loaded up all the recycles and trash to haul off and took a chance at taking Ryan out to eat (it has been a few months since we last tried) and it was not a total disaster - but the food was out fast so that helped. Maybe we are getting closer to getting to eat out in public again - which is good because I am tired of cooking all the time - HA!

I love weekends that Noah comes and sneaks in and attacks me with dinosaurs, Ryan helps me with the dishes and laundry, and I can hear the kids and Nathan playing and laughing in the other room - it is good for my soul and makes my heart happy :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

T-ball is Over!

Well, Noah's first year of t-ball has come and gone. I have mixed feelings about how it went. He learned a lot - he now knows about running the bases and what to do when he catches the ball and has a general idea for the game. He learned all of this however from me and his dad. Our coaches were not the best coaches as far as teaching our kids anything. They are very nice people and were always great with Noah and encouraged him even when he got out or messed up, but didn't say and do as much as I felt was necessary to help the kids know what was going on during their games. I believe they said they were asked to coach because of lack of people wanting to do it - so I respect them for stepping into that role. We did not practice - we had 2 practices before the season started and that was it. We averaged 6 kids at each game (totally not the coaches fault) so that made things difficult at times. At one game Noah was the only one there at game time and we had to forfeit! Nathan is throwing around the idea of coaching next year - and since we were unable to coach this year we cannot complain much - I have been a coach, it is hard work! It was good for him to get the exposure to the game and get a taste of what it is like so maybe next year he will be better at it. We are really hoping he finds a love for this game - I played softball for 9 years and Nathan played baseball/softball for most of his life (even recently he was still playing) and we have great memories from playing. If this just is not his thing, then that is fine too, he will find his thing. I am just thankful for the smiles and laughs he gave me this year (and I may have teared up when he caught his first grounder in a game, just maybe). Those are memories I will have forever! So, until next year it will be backyard ball!

They all love to play in the dirt!

Daddy had to block the sun for the all-star :)

Thumbs up!

The team after the last game

He was SO excited to get a "challenge" (that is what he calls medals and trophies)