Sunday, December 07, 2014

November pictures

Some random pictures from November. Because Tyler wasn't home for actual Thanksgiving, we put our tree up early. We decided to buy a slim fake tree since I didn't want to put a real tree on the carpet. 

This is Tyler before he left for training. I cried my eyes out when he left. I don't like for him to be gone. I much prefer to be together. So grateful for our marriage. 

My nephew, Carter! Welcome to the family. 

I designed this chore chart. I change it up every day. The kids love it. 

Anna had Young Women in Excellence and she had to get up and speak for 2 minutes. She was so nervous, but we practiced at home and she did a great job. Super proud of her!

Anna (behind the paper) and her good friend, Elyzabeth.

Scrub-a-dub-dub! Three boys in the tub!

Waiting at the dentist. Having kids is expensive! ;)

So it never fails, when Tyler is gone things go wrong. I had to battle the toilet for several hours one day. It was clogged. I *think* it's working now. I was not meant to be a plumber.

Silas' spider-man pose.

One afternoon, these two were sent to the wall within 5 minutes of getting home from school. Oye.

Anna's Hawaiian quilt block. I love how they turned out.

I went to a nearby farm to get some fresh milk and eggs. I was really pleased by how good the milk was and hope to go back again soon. They had this big sand pile for Silas to play on - if it had been warmer, we would have stayed longer!

The quilt top is done!

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year we ended up celebrating Thanksgiving twice. You know, because once is never enough. Tyler was going to leave for some military training in later November, so we had our own family Thanksgiving early in the month. It was fabulous, actually. No chaos in the grocery store and everything was in stock. I even got a nice turkey. This was my first year making a gluten free Thanksgiving feast and everything turned out beautifully. Even the pie crusts!

This is normally where our story would end with regards to Thanksgiving, but Tyler was scheduled to fly to OK to visit family for the actual Thanksgiving dates and I was going to stay home in the DC area. But then...I had this crazy idea to pack up my kids and drive out to OK and surprise Tyler. And that's exactly what I did. It took a couple of days, but I was pleased with how the trip went. Tyler was blown away when I picked him up from the airport instead of my brother, Coulter. It was wonderful seeing him again after him being away for training. Here are some photos of our trip. 

My dearest grandmother has alzheimer's. The day I left for OK, she had a stroke and fell and hit her head. She was in the hospital during my 4 days in OK and I was able to visit with her on two of those days. The first time, we sang the Doxology together. Her voice was muffled, but she sang along with me. I will never forget that special moment. She has now returned home from the hospital, but it isn't likely that she will live for much longer. We are in the process of preparing for a funeral and a second trip to OK, if we can make it happen. I love this woman so much. I am sad that she is leaving us, but I know that I will see her again one day. 

We spent actual Thanksgiving day with Tyler's family. We had a wonderful time and the cousins made some new memories. 

The kids loved 4-wheeling with their Uncle Travis.

Fun with the Conover Family.

Keith's latest obsession is motorcycles. He was in heaven!

Tyler's high school friend, Tommy, and his newest arrival, Heidi.

Our sweet niece, Macie, was baptized while we were in OK. It was such a blessing to be part of that wonderful moment with her. Tyler gave the talk on baptism and I spoke on the Holy Ghost. The drawing is from Calvin to Macie, describing what happens when you are baptized. Calvin is especially thrilled to be getting baptized in January. 

Our trip was very quick, but we were able to meet Opa & Maamaw for a lunch at Chick-Fil-A. We were also able to meet our newest nephew, Carter. He is such a cutie! Congratulations Landon & Ashley!

The day we left, we were able to spend some time with my sister, Heather, and her kiddos. On the left is Tyler with Florence, who is Rachel's daughter.

This was our first day in OK - spending time with Aurora and Rylee.

We made sure to stop at Braum's for some yummy ice cream!

I am so grateful that we were able to spend Thanksgiving with our family. It is difficult living far from family, but those times when we can see them are so very special. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Developmental Psychology for Calvin

Calvin met with Dr H yesterday, who also evaluated Silas and is scheduled to evaluate Keith and Iryna next week. The evaluations are 90 minutes and very thorough. Dr H said that Calvin is adjusting beautifully. She said he is very smart and has wonderful manners. She did see some FASD in Calvin and wants for him to see a geneticist. I am guessing an MRI will be part of that, too. I am grateful that my children can receive the medical care that they need to have more productive lives.

Silas got sick a week ago with a terrible cough. It is still around now, but better than before. Over the weekend, everyone except for Calvin was sick. We missed church and I sat around looking pitiful as my children played on despite sniffles, coughing, and sore throats. How is it that children can do that?! I sat in a chair for most of Sunday. And then, two priesthood holders from church just showed up at my door to give blessings to everyone who is sick in the house. Tyler was out of town, so he couldn't give us blessings. It was a way for me to know that God is watching over me and caring for my needs. I felt God's love through those humble servants. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Full Time Job

Recently someone mentioned to me that being a homemaker is a full time job. And you know what? It's true! This past week, I had a doctor's appointment everyday except on Monday. EVERYDAY! Having the children I have certainly keeps me busy and usually I enjoy that. Right now, we have a house full of sick people so we weren't able to go to church today. I don't like missing - it throws off my whole week and I miss teaching my primary class, too.

I want to write down some of the recent results from doctor appointments. Silas and Calvin met with their new pediatric cardiologists last week. Everything looks good for both boys. No surgeries on the horizon and hopefully not for several years to come. Great news!

Iryna met with a pediatric gynecologist and then with a pediatric urologist. The issue is that ever since we adopted Iryna, she has to sit on the toilet and bed completely over - hugging the toilet seat - to make sure the urine goes in the right direction. If she sits normal, then the urine shoots straight out and hits the wall. Very odd. Well the urologist said that nothing was wrong at all and that he didn't know why that was happening. We met with the pediatric gynecologist to discuss her microperfiated hyman and the doctor said that the hyman was causing the urine to shoot out. It was nice to find out the reason why! Unfortunately, they want to delay that surgery for a few years, so Iryna will continue to hug the toilet seat until then.

Iryna was on busipar to help with anxiety, but it is not helping. Her psychiatrist just started her on strattera. It has been a few days, but I'm not sure if it's helping or not. She did have an amazing day at school the first day on the strattera - which is BIG news, because she has been bringing home negative reports everyday: hitting, poking others, screaming, throwing things. One day the principal had to be called down to help restore order. I don't know if medicine, alone, can help improve her behaviors. I am hopeful.

Both Calvin and Silas are taking Tenex to help with their ADHD. Neither of them are behaving any better on Tenex, so our PCM is wanting to switch them both to Vyvanse, like Iryna. Iryna has had much improved behavior taking Vyvanse. I am hopeful it will help Calvin and Silas, but I am concerned that they will struggle sleeping, like Iryna, and have to be put on medicine to help them sleep, like Iryna is on. Time will tell.

Iryna has been diagnosed with FAS, and Silas has been suspected to be on the FAS spectrum, but no official diagnosis has been made. About the time that I noticed that Silas had facial features and behaviors of FASD, I couldn't help but look at Calvin, too. Calvin has the smoothest philtrum of all of my adopted children. He is also the highest functioning child that we have adopted. Although he does very well, there are times when something just isn't quite right. We know that his mother lost her parental rights due to drinking alcohol. We know that congenital heart defects can be caused by drinking alcohol during the pregnancy. We know that a smooth philtrum comes from the pregnant mother drinking alcohol. So, in my mind it makes sense that Calvin has some degree of FASD, albeit less than Silas and much less than Iryna. I don't know if I should try to get that diagnosis or just proceed with keeping it in mind. In the past, I wasn't worried about making it official, but now I wonder if that knowledge would be helpful? I welcome any thoughts on this topic.

This past week, three of my five kids have had dental work. Anna needed one cavitity filled and a sealant on two teeth. Iryna had three baby teeth removed so adult teeth could pop up. Her mouth is such a mess. She is so little and her mouth is tiny - but her adult teeth are HUGE! Calvin had two cavities filled. His mouth was numb and he was hilarious in describing how that felt to him. The older four kids have been referred to orthodontists. I have heard it is best to wait until the kids are older before getting braces. It seems that there are many opinions on this topic. It's hard to make a decision. It seems that if your last name is Pierce then you will need glasses and braces. Ha ha ha.

Iryna and Keith met with ophthalmologists and both of their prescriptions have been updated. The doctor was surprised that Iryna didn't walk into the appointment already wearing glasses. Iryna needs glasses, it is true, but lately she hasn't been able to handle wearing glasses. After moving to the DC area, I thought we would wait until we had been moved in and settled before getting out her glasses to wear. In October, I sent in a pair to school and asked her teacher to be very watchful in her wearing them. Less than 30 seconds on her face, she took them off and snapped them in half. The next day I sent in her second and last pair that I had. She made it 1 minute with them on before breaking them, too. Even though the glasses aren't expensive, because I buy them on, I don't want them to last 1 minute before they are destroyed. And so it puts me in a very odd predicament. Iryna needs glasses to see clearly, but Iryna cannot/isn't/won't handle wearing the glasses without breaking them, therefore - Iryna doesn't have glasses. I did order two more pairs of glasses with her new prescription. We have been doing timed trials with them at home, with her wearing them for 20 minutes at a time and I have to watch her to ensure she doesn't touch or break the glasses. She has done fairly well with this approach, but did touch them yesterday during her 20 minute stint. I don't think I will send in glasses to school at all in the near future, but perhaps she can learn to wear them at home. I feel badly about this, as I want for her to see more clearly and I can tell that she can see better when she is wearing the glasses. Sadly, this isn't enough motivation for her to leave them alone. I wish she could get corrective surgery!

Tomorrow Calvin has his appointment with developmental pediatrics. I am hopeful that she can give me some insights into Calvin, like she did with Silas. Anyhow - that is it for now. Tyler suggested that I make folders for each child to keep all of their referrals and appointment information organized. I think this is a wise idea, because I can have a hard time remembering all of this information.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Silas!

Silas is now 5 years old! Can you believe it? I first met him at 18 months old and brought him home at 2 1/2 years old. This means he has been with me for HALF of his life now. Amazing. I find it funny that Silas is obsessed with SPIDER-MAN, when he has never seen a Spider-Man movie or tv show or anything Spider-Man-related. Kids are funny, aren't they?

Silas' birthday began with the balloon fairy dropping by some blue and some red balloons. Silas requested chocolate doughnuts for breakfast. We had two friends come over to help celebrate, Spidey-style. It was a fun day for everyone, despite Silas being out-of-control-crazy-on-the-go-non-stop. In the end, he had to go to bed early because this mama couldn't handle it anymore. Here are some photos:

Last week, I took Silas to be evaluated by a developmental specialist. Her results surprised me. She said that it is apparent that his ADHD meds aren't working whatsoever. She also said that in all her years of experience, she has never had a child try to test her knowledge of things the way Silas did. She would draw him a picture and ask him to copy it. Then he would draw a picture and ask for her to copy it. She also indicated that once Silas is on the correct ADHD meds that she expected him to be in advanced gifted classes in school. I wasn't expecting that news, folks! We now have an appointment to change up his meds to something else. Wish us luck in finding something that works. He is currently taking Tenex.

Silas is a passionate person. Whatever emotion he feels, he feels it strongly. Silas would eat constantly and generally likes all foods. He asked for macaroni and cheese with cut up hotdogs for his birthday dinner. Silas is the sort of boy who runs everywhere. He doesn't stop moving, it seems. Silas enjoys "reading" books, playing with trains, and snuggling with his mama. He is really into pretend play and plays best with Keith. It is fun seeing him become friends with kids from church and with kids at school. He is becoming more social. It is strange to think that next year he will be in kindergarten. I love my pumpkin so much. Happy Birthday Silaska!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Camping out

Cute new cardigans from old navy. I love their plus size clothes. 

Tyler decided to tackle the bookcases in the office. 

My sweet friend, Amie, met us for lunch. 

Our good friends from Ohio stopped by to visit us. So grateful that we can keep in touch even after we moved away. 

Our cute kids!

We went to a nearby national park. It was a bit chilly!

Tyler and our pup, Maggie. 

I finished all the squares for Anna's quilt. Now just to sew them all together. 

A smile from Anna Belle. 

Anna made this at school. She is an engineer in the making. 

I finished decorating the wall above our master bed. I love how it turned out. 

My little pumpkin and I. 

I finally succumbed and cut off my hair. Tyler prefers me with short hair. 

I dropped a glass Pyrex measuring cup on my foot. It really hurt!

I made some new recipes for dinner. Above is Locrio - a chicken and rice dinner. Below are some fried plantains. 

Tyler took a day off from work and took the kids camping in the backyard. 

Tyler and I went to the temple yesterday. It is a beautiful place. I cannot wait to go back. 

Here I am wearing my new Choosing Hope t-shirt. I love the colors.