February 2010 Update

For a while I wondered if Iwas done with this blog altogether, but since it’s something I enjoy doing (and it helps keep my family in Trinidad up to date with what the kids are up to) I decided to start blogging again.  It has been so long since I last posted that I decided that I’d do another update.

Isaac is 9 and in 3rd grade.  He does GREAT academically, but if you ask him, he always says he hates school.  He loves video games, reading (especially manga and other graphic novels a.k.a. comic books), and playing the piano.  He doesn’t always enjoy the songs his piano teacher assigns, but often plays songs from the Legend of Zelda video game series just for fun.  Since I don’t play any instruments, I’m always impressed to hear him play the piano.  Isaac also plays soccer in the spring and fall because we make him.  He is a wonderful big brother to Ben and Nate (but just manages to fight and disagree with Jonathan on a daily basis!)

Jonathan is 6 and in the first grade.  He does fairly well in school, but is one of those kids who has trouble sitting quietly at a desk all day.  He does well with his schoolwork, however, and is an excellent reader.  He is an active kid who enjoys running around the house, playing video games, helping me cook desserts, and building with Legos and K’nex.  He is definitely a snuggler, and even now loves to sit on laps for hugs and kisses.  He talks non-stop at home (just like at school), and says such funny things sometimes.  I took the photo below after he asked me to give him a faux-hawk just like Ben’s.

Nate is 19 months old.  Wow.  I’d forgotten what it was like to have a “typical” toddler in the house.  Nate started walking at around 14 months, and since then we haven’t had a spare moment to ourselves it seems!   He is very sweet but manages to get into all sorts of mischief.  His favorite pastime lately is scattering things everywhere.

He enjoys emptying the contents of the dishwasher onto the floor.  He puts silverware into the trash.  He puts chalk into the bathtub.  He hurls toy cars and hard wooden blocks at our heads.  He sets the oven to self-clean.  He loves playing with DVD and video game cases, so we decided to get a cabinet that mounts on the wall.  Did that help?  Nope.

Thank goodness he has stopped splashing in the toilet for fun!

Nate says quite a few words as well, but still resorts to screaming when he’s frustrated or bored or tired or hungry.

Benji will be 4 at the end of April.  How time flies!  He still has a sweet, quiet, easygoing disposition and is such a joy to have around.  He loves playing with toys that spin, or anything long and skinny that he can hold in his “big” hand.  He weighs around 28 lbs and is in 2T clothing.  He has gained nicely in the last 6 months and is starting to look rather chubby!

Ben gets around by rolling or “army crawling”.  He can get from a lying to a sitting position by jamming his little feet under a heavy piece of furniture and sitting straight up with his strong abdominal muscles.   He can stand and use his arms for support on furniture, but he will throw himself backwards without warning, so he can’t be left in that position by himself yet.  He has been doing much better in his gait trainer, and finally seems to get the idea that he’s supposed to propel himself forward.  Nate also loves the gait trainer.

Ben still wears hearing aids and glasses, but is getting more opinionated about whether he wants to wear these or not.  I suspect that his glasses are a little uncomfortable these days because he’s grown so much in the past year and also because a certain little brother chewed the pieces that fit behind his ears.  In any case I think he’s due for a new pair even though his prescription hasn’t changed.

Ben is still g-tube fed, and is still very resistant to oral feeds.  Every so often, he changes his mind and willingly eats and tastes food that I’m feeding Nate, but that only happens once in blue moon.  We keep working with him, but it’s discouraging at times.

The biggest change that has happened with Ben over the past few months is that he has been attending preschool 3 afternoons a week!  We were so anxious about him going to school, but it has turned out to be wonderful for him.  He attends a local preschool for children with special needs.  The class is very small, and he has lots of one-on-one attention.  He loves going, and is full of giggles when Mark takes him in.  He has PT, OT, and ST at school, and they also work with oral feeds.  He also has circle time and playtime just as “typical” kids would in preschool.  He’s one of the smallest kids at school (if not the smallest), and everyone loves him!  I think I’ll have to do a post just about Ben’s preschool.

Ben continues to be wonderfully healthy, and we’re thankful for that.

Mark and I are doing very well, but we are tired all the time it seems.  I still work full time and Mark is home with the boys full time.  We still enjoy cooking together, and trying out new recipes.  “Santa” brought us a new TV and a PS3 this Christmas, and we’ve both been enjoying playing “Dragon Age Origins” after the kids go to bed.  We’d like to go to the CdLS conference in Dallas this year and are still working out the logistics of that.  We’re also planning a trip to Trinidad this summer…if we can get everyone’s passports organized!  We already struck out once; we got caught in a traffic jam on Friday afternoon and ended up not being able to get the boys’ done.  Maybe this week.

Hopefully I can keep this blog updated on a semi-regular basis.  We’ll see.

Where has the summer gone?

Good question, since today is the first day of fall.

Let’s see…we visited our family in Pittsburgh and went to a very cool museum…

Jonny Isaac Stegosaurus

Ben digs the dino bones

We visited Washington DC for a day…

Washington Monument

And the next morning visited Mount Vernon and learned all about George Washington…

Jonny and Isaac Mount Vernon2

We took a brief trip to the Jersey Shore (which the older kids LOVED even though the water was much too cold for my Caribbean sensibilities.  Ben agreed.)…

Isaac and Jonny Cape May

Babies under rain umbrella

Meanwhile, Jonny turned six…

Jonny 6th bday

Isaac turned nine, and Natey turned one.  Isaac decided on hermit crabs for his birthday present…

Isaac and Nate

Isaac and hermit crab

Mark had a birthday this summer too, but I forget how old he is!  😉

Benji had his last home-based Early Intervention sessions with his awesome therapists, and got to visit his new preschool…

Benji preschool

…we played too many video games, learned some new piano pieces and read a couple of Narnia stories and Charlotte’s Web and tons of books for the school reading list, cooked with lots of fresh veggies from our local CSA, and before I knew it fall was here, and I hadn’t updated my blog in months!

I hope everyone had as much fun this summer as we did!

Has it really been a month?!?

Soccer photo

More like six weeks!  I haven’t posted at all for May – I don’t think I’ve ever missed an entire month since I started this blog.  Since this is my “journal”, I feel obligated to at least mention where some of the last month has gone…

Isaac recital

Isaac has just completed second grade.  He has also finished his soccer season with lots of improvement in his soccer skills and attitude (for the most part).  He’s doing GREAT playing the piano, and genuinely enjoys playing.  Everyone but Mark (who was horribly sick with food poisoning) went to hear him play in his spring recital.  Even my dad was here at the time, which was a blessing since he was able to help with Ben during the recital.  Ben and Nate were big fans of  Isaac and his classmates; both enjoyed the music, but were a little loud and had to be escorted to the back of the concert hall!

Jonny's sixth birthday

Tonight we all went to see Jonathan in his kindergarten concert which was so cute and very entertaining.  Jonny turned six on Saturday, and we had a great birthday celebration at home, and one of his friends from school was able to spend the night.  He has come a long way since he started kindergarten – he is reading very well, and his behavior in class is much better than when he first started.  Jonny and I put together a time capsule of his kindergarten year as part of a class assignment, and I really enjoyed doing that with him.

Ben at dinner

Benjamin is doing great, still has healthy and happy as always. He turned three at the end of April, and we celebrated by going to the beautiful Hershey Gardens for a walk and some photos.  After that, we went out for dinner.  Ben had a great time being out with the family.

Hershey Gardens

We still struggle from time to time with getting him to leave his MIC-KEY button alone, so these days we usually have him in overalls or an ace wrap over his belly.   We’re still working on oral feeds.  For about a month we took a break and didn’t really push the issue at all, partly because I felt it was turing into a power struggle of sorts. We restarted in the last week or two, and there have been good signs of progress.  Ben has actually started opening his mouth for the spoon, has been mouthing toys and objects more, and has been willing to take tastes of foods or drinks that other people are having.  I am cautiously optimistic, and hope that this new curiousity about food continues.  I hope he realizes what he’s been missing out on!

Nate dedication

Nathaniel is 10 months old, and growing by leaps and bounds.  We had his baby dedication on Mother’s Day.  He definitely outweighs Ben, and this week he officially has surpassed Ben with his gross motor skills.  He now crawls forward (after a month of crawling backwards and getting stuck in tiny corners), and can now pull to stand.  He is such a social boy and isn’t happy unless someone is either holding him or helping him to stand.  He loves Ben’s therapy sessions and seems to think they’re for him…Mark is constantly having to corral him during therapy.  He now shuns baby food, and loves to eat whatever we’re eating.

Let’s see – what else…

Graduation

My dad stayed with us for a few weeks in May.  The yard never looked so good, and he helped out immensely with the dishes and the boys.  I’m afraid he spoiled Nate terribly!  😉  My sister Aliyah graduated from college.  The ceremony was outdoors, and we all attended, and then all went out to eat afterwards.

Mark and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary at the end of May, and my awesome sister- and brother-in-law watched the kids for us so we could have a rare evening out (we went to a restaurant called “Eleven” in Pittsburgh.  The food was amazing!)  What an awesome gift.

Anniversary dinner

Well, let’s hope I do better with blogging this month.

It’s Been a Good Year…

Pumpkin patch 1 

Today was my one year blogiversary.  How time flies!  When I first started this blog, Ben was only 5 months old and 9 lbs, and had just had his Nissen fundoplication/g-tube surgery.  We were still reeling from the shock of having a new baby who had so many medical and developmental issues.  I started this blog mainly to keep in touch with friends and extended family.  I also hoped it would help me remember to be thankful for all the happy, funny and silly times that we have, even though life is difficult sometimes.  I think blogging has definitely helped, and it has been therapeutic for me.  Best of all, I have met so many other awesome people who are also sharing their stories online, and that has helped me alot on my journey.   

Pumpkin patch 2 

We’ve been busy lately.  My Mom is paying us a visit all the way from Trinidad, and the boys have ALL been very excited to have her here.   Isaac is thrilled that she enjoys hearing him play his Legend of Zelda piano solos, and Jonny has someone else to bother since Auntie Rhoda isn’t here anymore.  And Ben enjoys having someone else to spoil him.

Last weekend we went to the pumpkin patch.  The weather was actually not too cold, so Ben didn’t mind at all this year, and actually enjoyed being in the stroller.  The older two had a great time (Isaac is still wearing his soccer uniform from the morning’s game).

Pumpkin patch 3 

We did carve the pumpkins, but perhaps we did this a little too early.  We had 70 degree weather and rain all week, so I fear the pumpkins will be nothing but mush by the time Halloween rolls around!

Pumpkin patch 4