Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Not Perfect

Of course everything can't be perfect. I deal with postpartum anxiety and a panic disorder which after each pregnancy makes one of my pre-existing phobias a big problem. After Cole it was my PTSD about the car accident almost 8 years ago. This time it's made my phobia about stomach bugs unbearable, which has required a lot of doctor and therapist appointments.

Elias had colic and while a very happy baby, he still has a sensitive stomach that causes him problems occasionally. Mostly Elias, Blake, Alex and I are all healthy, though and for that I'm very thankful!

Cole, on the other hand, has had problems since he was a few months old. It started with sinus pain which caused him to scratch his forehead between his eyes then quickly moved into eczema all over his body. We struggled to get it under control and never did fully succeed. In June of this year he finally got an allergy test done which helped us narrow down his main food allergen as soy. So he has made improvement but he also has a lot of environmental allergens which aren't so easily controlled.

What weighs heaviest on my mind and heart currently is his development. He's on target physically but I have been concerned about his speech for more than a year. I got him evaluated in July by Early Intervention and while his score was low, it was still considered average. I was told if he hadn't had a speech explosion in 4-5 months to bring him back for another assessment... so I did.

He had his assessment last Wednesday and he scored even lower on his expressive language and low in his social skills. While his scores alone weren't enough to qualify him for therapy, the therapists were concerned enough about the way he talks to provide it. He starts weekly therapy in the beginning of January.

He of course doesn't have a diagnosis yet but the likelihood is that we're looking at more than a simple speech delay. Now we're trying to figure out how to better encourage him to talk, how to help him learn to form words, how to keep him from losing words, how to help him start using simple phrases, etc. to help him communicate what he's thinking so he'll get less frustrated.

It's an awful feeling, knowing there's words and ideas in your toddler's head that he's trying so hard to express, but can't. I hope to keep this blog updated as we tackle this newest hurdle.

Lots of changes on the horizon, and the busiest schedule isn't the only one we're facing, so stay tuned!

THREE Boys!

It's true, we have three boys! We always get comments about it so I'll just say it, no, we will not be trying to have a girl!

Now that that's out of the way, let me introduce you to our boys.

We have Blake, who is our first born and is a mature, loving, empathetic, big brother, who is fierce and strong and determined. He's 4 years 9.5 months at this point and is so determined to be a big boy. I'm excited to start homeschooling him when he's ready but until then he's learning through life and it's fun to hear his explanations and understanding of everything.

Next we have Cole who is 34 months (in a couple of day) and is a sweet, quiet, calm, cuddly little boy. He loves cars and balls and Paw Patrol. His bamboo blanket is his constant companion and he loves feeding every animal he possibly can.

Last, but not least, we have Elias. He's a wild 10 months old with crazy hair to match. He's walking and babbling and waving and signing and clapping. A true joy of a child who has never met a stranger and is quick to flash a smile and share a laugh (and a few teeth indentions for his mama!).

I share daily photos on both instagram and facebook as social media is the majority of my socialization during the long weekdays while Alex is at work.

I love our family and this life that we've built, but of course not everything can be perfect. That will be a post of its own, though.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Been Awhile

It's been awhile, almost 3 years in fact, since I've visited this space.

A lot has changed. When I decided that I wanted to try to make the time to blog again I considered creating a new blog, because my life looks almost nothing like it did when I started this blog however many years ago, but I couldn't. No, life is different, but it's still a joy!

In a nutshell, since I last posted we've had two more children, bringing us to three, all boys! We have Blake, who will be 5 in March. We have Cole who will be 3 in February. And now, we have Elias, who is almost 10 months.

We had to make the decision to send River to a new home after having her for 2.5 years and spending thousands of dollars on her mysterious health problem which caused chronic pain. We pushed on and discovered it was chronic pancreatitis, not a spinal issue. With a small house, a big dog who grew up in very poor conditions and could jump any gate, and three little kids, we were unsuccessful in keeping her from getting ahold of food that would cause her pancreas to become inflamed and make her ill. She started spending too much time in her crate and it just wasn't fair to her. Similar to the decision we made regarding Teddy, we made for her. We could not risk her life by keeping her here. So, she now lives in Arizona with Emily's (of Ellis and Gelly!) parents and has a fantastic, safe, life. While we miss her we know, unequivocally, that we made the absolute correct decision for her.

Since this started as a dog blog, I'll do dog updates. We said our final goodbye to Teddy Bear on October 26, 2015. We didn't get to see him in his new home except from a distance, his new mom "D" knew he couldn't have handled getting to see me and then say goodbye, but I got regular updates and pictures and "D" has become a good friend who comes to our home to be with our animals when we have to leave home. Anyway, the congestive heart failure he had ravaged his body and eventually, he had a stroke or aneurysm, or something, that caused him to suddenly lose function of his back end. He was alive, but he was gone, the light had gone out. We visited with him at "D"s house the day before he was to be euthanized and it took him a long long time to give the tiniest hint that he knew who I was. We spent an hour or two with him, sitting in the back of our van, cuddling and enticing him to eat some lunch meat. He did relax enough to release his bladder, which had become rare, and he gave me a kiss and a smile and almost looked like himself, but we knew it was time. The next day I met "D" and a couple of her dear friends at the vet and we cuddled on the bumper of my van until it was time to go inside. I tried to give him an ice cream cone and he refused. He didn't notice the cars driving by or that we were talking to him. I carried him inside and cuddled him in the waiting room. Once we got in "the" room I stood beside him and he put his head on my shoulder and stuck to me as the anesthetic took effect. He kept his head on my shoulder until he couldn't anymore, then I helped him lay down. "D" told him how much he was loved and kissed on his perfect face, but I couldn't. I'd failed him. If any dog had ever deserved to have one home their entire life, it was him, and *I* had failed. He was so so loved, and I still miss him every day.

We have two dogs currently, Eclipse and Kira, of course. Kira just turned 13 and she's perfectly healthy. She does have a number of fatty tumors but none have changed or grown and don't bother her. She's active and loud, and has selective deafness and fading eyesight but you'd never know she was 13 by watching her! Eclipse is 8 and as crazy as ever!

Of course their impulse control has deteriorated since there is so much opportunity for their lack of control to be reinforced, but we still love them and they'll live out their lives with our boys and us.

Sorry for the down post upon my return!

I'll post soon about these crazy boys of mine and maybe what our daily lives and struggles look like.

Until then,

Ally

Monday, December 23, 2013

Introducing...

River!



She's a 3 year old female standard poodle that we rescued from California. The timing of her arrival was both accidental and fortunate. She's help fill the void that Teddy leaving has left. She's been here 4 weeks now and is fitting in almost flawlessly. She's now getting comfortable enough to really start training and she enjoys playing with Eclipse and Kira. Blake loves her and Alex, well, let's just say he thought he wouldn't be a poodle guy but he totally is!

We received Orijen freeze-dried treats from chewy.com to review and they've helped River adjust so much! She even let me clip her face, feet and sanitary without fuss due to the treats being so high value. She even almost completely relaxes which was so nice to see since the first time we clipped her it took her a week to forgive us! Thank you, Chewy.com for helping our new girl adjust to her forever home!
They're all very excited abput these treats!!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Never Thought I'd Post This

Teddy went to a new home today.... We were going to get all his vet work done and see how he did, but then we realized he'd never be comfortable with little kids in the house and it wasn't fair to him. He's such an amazing dog, I think I'll always miss his presence but I think we found the perfect home for him, where he can be an old dog that sleeps on the furniture and doesn't have to deal with kids. To me, dogs are forever, and don't deserve to go to a new home because you've had kids BUT it wasn't fair to Teddy. His new owners are aware of the vet care he needs and will take great care of him. They have experience helping dogs live years with heart disease and called within 1.5 hours of leaving with him to let us know how he was doing.

My heart is broken, my boy is gone. I never thought I'd say goodbye to him until the day he died. I know he's where he needs to be but that doesn't take the pain away.