Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Back in December, you may remember, I had a fetal echo to check the development of Rebekah's heart and our cardiologist, Dr. S, discovered that she has a small intra-muscular VSD (hole in the muscle tissue between her ventricles, the lower chambers of the heart). Dr. S wanted to see her after she was born to check the status of it and get a better look at it. That appointment was this past Thursday, the 20th.

She still has the hole, but it's not anything anyone is concerned about. Mom and the midwives listened for it very carefully the night Rebekah was born and didn't hear anything. When I mentioned that to Dr S, she said its because the pressure in the lungs and the ventricles hadn't evened out (or something along those lines) so that makes this type of VSD very hard to hear at the beginning. It's apparently there, but faint. Not like Eden's.

We're going back in a year to check in on it. I'm not sure how long it should take to close, but Dr. S fully expects it to close on its own without needing any surgery, which we like to hear. It will get louder as it closes (think of a water hose when you put your thumb over the opening) but that'll be a good sign.

So it was a relatively pain free appointment. I say relatively because our part we had to pay was nearly $3500. We get reimbursement from Austin's work but still. Gah. Plus two hours at the hospital for an appointment is never fun. All the staff at the cardiac clinic were asking about Eden and were both bummed and excited that they don't get to see her until December.

It looks like we'll have two girls with annual cardiac appointments for a while. It's not too terrible. Everyone loves Eden, so that makes it a little easier. I'm sure over time they'll come to love Rebekah, too. Because she's just adorable. But I may be biased.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My kid's a smart ass....no really.

A few people have inquired about Asher's status in the evaluation process and we wanted to wait until we'd heard everything before posting anything. We aren't at the end of this journey, far from it, but we've got a more definite picture of where we're going.

Asher is NOT autistic, but he is at risk for depression, anxiety, and emotional disturbance. He's been having behavioral issues in school because he's so far advanced beyond his classmates and he's not being challenged at all. He needs a more structured classroom situation and a stricter teacher (nothing against his current teacher, we love her and she's worked with us to get Asher what he needs).

Also...his IQ is 134. So there's that.

The reason people went into the evaluation process thinking he might be autistic is that he shows several tendencies in the way he interacts with people and situations. The recommendation is to move him to 2nd grade next year and if he's still exhibiting these tendencies, to reevaluate him and see if maybe it IS autism after all.

He's been doing 2nd grade work in pretty much every aspect of class work except reading. There, he's on a 5th grade level. His vocabulary is extremely high for a kindergartener. Not just the fact that he knows the words, but can use the correctly. And even spell some of them.

The areas where he's "normal" are his writing, which is very much a kindergartener (all caps, no spaces) and that's not anything to be too concerned about. He's below average on his social interactions with others. He doesn't do well socially, so the recommendation there was to get him into day camps and activities this summer where he'll be in a structured environment with other kids. They also think that being in a class with his intellectual peers will help a lot with that. No longer being the smartest kid in the room will be a good thing for him.

We've got him signed up for a couple of art camps at the Grace and we're working on getting him enrolled in a G&T program through HSU called Threshold. They do science type stuff with other kids and it's just a half day for two weeks in July. I think he'll enjoy it and there's a two hour seminar for parents of gifted children that Austin's looking forward to (it's during the day on Tuesday and Thursday during Asher's program so I can't go).

This past Monday we had an ARD (which I forget what that stands for, sorry) with the psychologist, the principal, Asher's teacher, and another woman who's position at TLCA I missed and talked for over an hour about what the results were and what our next step should be. Definitely skipping 1st, since he knows 99% of it already and the 1% he doesn't is the stuff they're learning right now. It doesn't make sense to move him to 1st for the last 4 weeks of school, so we're going to work on those things with him over the summer. Those things are learning to read an analog clock and the decimals that go with money. He understands the value of coins and adding them up, but if you ask him to subtract from a dollar, he gets confused. I think we'll have that figured out pretty quickly.

All throughout the meeting, they kept saying "he's like a man in a little boy's body: he's confused as to why he's grouped with all these kids who aren't as smart as he is." He lacks a filter, so he sometimes says things he shouldn't, but that's typical for a kid his age. He hasn't learned that even if you really think the people around you are idiots, it's not nice to point it out to them. We'll be working on that, too.

The TLCA administrators were sure to point out that they don't have a G&T program, and one woman was honest and said she thought he might actually do better in public school where he can take advantage of a G&T program. We told them we have a friend who has a private school she's in charge of and she wants him to come to her and we're going to be exploring that as well.

We know that she would be great for him. She could create a curriculum tailor made for him and she will NOT take his sass. She will love him, and teach him, and guide him extremely well. Plus, she's my second mother and I've known her my literal entire life. I trust her 100%. So that's a huge huge selling point. The only reservation I personally have is the social aspect.

Yes, academics are hugely important....but so are social skills. A class of 6 or 10 is intimate and close knit (I had 9 years of those from K-8), but I worry about him not getting enough exposure to other kids in a school that small. We could sign him up for other activities, but then that's more for us to deal with as far as scheduling and finances goes.

In a perfect world, we'd get the teacher we want with the socialization that we want.

So that's where we are. We're going to do what we feel is best for him. We're kicking off the summer by signing him up for all kinds of camps and VBS's (when they're available) but still letting him have a summer. We're going to keep him enrolled at TLCA until we make a final decision about where he'll go next fall. We may double enroll him to make sure we have a spot at our school of choice.

We have an interesting road ahead of us with this one. Because of course.

Sunday, April 16, 2017


Having so many kids can be expensive, and one way we save money is by storing clothes. I buy things in sizes they haven't grown into when they're on sale, I shop at resale shops and consignment sales whenever possible, I happily accept clothes that friends' children have outgrown, keep what I like and pass on the rest. As a result, I have tubs and boxes FULL of clothes for my kids in the attic an on some shelves in the upstairs room. It's all actually pretty organized, a result of hours of work on my part. I've passed on stuff to friends, sold things online, donated stuff...and I still have a small mountain of children's clothes.

I rotate my own clothes, too. I have a tub of maternity clothes, a tub of out of season clothes (summer and winter). I even have a smaller box of nursing tops, but that box is currently empty since all those items are being utilized. I rotate everything around with the changing of seasons and sizes for the kids. It's a lot of work, hauling tubs around, making sure everything is in the proper place, that sets are together and that everything is clean and the boxes are labeled. I even have boxes of clothes that were mine as a child that my mom saved for me to give my own daughters. They're pretty little dresses with smocking that my aunts made me. Very 80's styles, so I've only pulled a couple out for Eden and Rebekah to wear, but it's still really cool to have those mementos. I've got bags with special items for each kid, though each subsequent child's bag is a little less full that the older ones...lol

Recently, I've put away the maternity clothes and pulled out some summer stuff and made sure I had all the nursing stuff. The kids have been switched from winter to summer. And Rebekah is moving out of newborn and into the 0-3 month size.

When I put away the newborn clothes for Eden, I cried. Her early infancy was so tainted by her diagnosis that we didn't know anything. We thought she was probably our last child, but her future was so ambiguous it was hard to completely accept that fact. I cried each time she outgrew a size for the first few months because who knew what would happen next.

I'm not the only mom to be sentimental like that, but I wasn't that way with either of the boys. Maybe because I knew neither of them was the last?

Unless something unexpected happens, Rebekah is my last baby. She's outgrowing her newborn clothes. She's starting to sleep through the night...sort of (4 hour stretches almost counts). She's not nursing as much and she's able to be awake and pleasant for stretches. She smiles at me every day.

I started packing up her newborn clothes today. And I didn't cry a single tear.

There's some relief in knowing that the newborn phase is almost behind me for good. It's exhausting. My body is sore from holding her in certain positions for long periods of time and from feeding her seemingly constantly at times. I wake up a couple times to feed her, though Austin helps tremendously by giving her a bottle at night when I'm tapped out, both milk wise and energy wise. They spend times together snuggled on the couch so I can get some rest without a fussing hungry baby nearby. He does better on less sleep than I do, but I think he'll be just as happy to leave this phase behind.

There's so many phases ahead of us, not just with Rebekah but with all four of our kids. School, dating, adulthood, teen years, driving, etc. The newborn phase has its sweet spots, like those first unintentional smiles and the midnight snuffling to mama's breast, the deep sleep laughter (this girl laughs in her sleep a few times a week and it's my favorite thing ever...I WILL miss that). So for now, I'll pack away the newborn clothes until such a time as someone else needs them. And with so many people in my life having babies, that time will come sooner rather than later.

Friday, April 7, 2017

A different kind of April Shower

Well, it's been five weeks and all six of us are still alive. Hallelujah! There were times it was iffy.

Breastfeeding got off to a sort of rough start. I hate pretty much everything about it, but soldiered on and Rebekah nursed like a crazy woman for, oh, about 4.5 weeks. She ate like she was starving all. the. time. so we supplemented with some formula in the first week or so but our periodic weight checks showed she was packing on the ounces like nobody's business, so we kept up with what we were doing.

She's currently about 9#7, a good increase from her birth weight of 8# even. She lost a few ounces in the first few days so overall she's gained over a pound and a half since her birth. She spits up a lot and as any mother can attest, that means I get very short time spans when I don't have a spot or dribble or smear or pool of spit up on me somewhere. I sleep on a towel when she's against me in the night to cut down on linen laundry.

She sleeps pretty well, several hours a day. She's starting to figure out that she can be awake and not eating, though she seems confused by the concept. She enjoys being cuddled and sleeping with my bare breast as her pillow and easy access to the nipple in case she needs a little midnight snack.

The older kids all seem a little obsessed with her. She's the first one they want to see when they come home from school or church or when they wake up. Elijah is constantly trying to pick her up, sometimes to her terror and our annoyance. He means well, but he's just not big enough yet to carry her around like he wants to. Eden is always trying to kiss her face and mouth, but will settle for her head and knees and elbows. Asher likes to put his face right up in hers and make faces at her.

She does annoy them at times. Asher doesn't like it when she cries loudly due to a diaper change or delay in eating or other mild baby annoyance. Eden used her head as a foot rest the other day (I put a quick stop to that) and Elijah thinks she takes up too much room when she's on her little pillow on our bed.

Asher's already put in a request that the next time I have a baby it be twins. I have NO idea where he got that idea. When I told him that we were done having babies he asked when we were going to adopt a kid, then. Again, not sure where that concept came from. I told him we had no plans to adopt and asked if he didn't think 4 kids was enough. He shrugged and said he didn't know.

That kid.

We've generally gotten back into the swing of things. Spring Break was rough and the next week was hard, too, so Austin did a work-from-home thing for a few days last week so he could help out and it was great. He was able to keep the Es out of my hair so I could rest and nurse almost exclusively. This week was better and I'm hoping we're on an upward trend. Her nursing constantly has been the toughest part of our adapting.

When a baby wants to nurse for 45 minutes of every hour, it's hard to get anything done. She seems to be getting a little better at lasting a while between feedings, but every evening she spends a few hours constantly nursing. Occasionally I let her cry for a few minutes just so I can have a break to, you know, go to the bathroom or fix something to eat.

I've been able to pump some so that when she's inconsolable in the middle of the night and I'm just not cutting it, Austin can help out by giving her a bottle. Because of this I've been able to get a few "full" night's sleep this past week. We keep a couple bottles in the fridge and we have some in the freezer, too. It's great. I'm excited to be able to wear real clothes for church and grown up occasions or have the option to go out in the evenings without her if I want. I'm hoarding the milk, though, for when I'm not able to nurse anymore so she can have milk as long as possible. I really think that's a big factor in Eden's health the past two years. She's had a couple of ear infections and croup but hardly ever really acted like she felt bad. I'd like to think that the months of pumping breast milk and doing the measuring and storage and everything we went though for her first year were worth it.

So yeah. It's been an up and down few weeks around here. Everyone is enamored of the baby (except maybe the cats) and she looks a little less horrified with her lot in life every day. She's started to give me big gummy smiles and she laughs in her sleep, sometimes so hard she snorts (the most adorable thing EVER). She's got a tiny bit of congestion so she occasionally snores, surprisingly loud for such a tiny baby.

I'm looking forward to how her personality develops and what our family dynamic will change when she's mobile and active and can fight back against being a foot rest or a pillow.