We Made It To Friday!

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It’s been a pretty brutal week, so I fully mean it when I say Thank God It’s Friday!!!  I’m looking forward to the weekend, having Nate around, maybe finding a little down time, and laughing at some hopefully good commercials with friends on Sunday.  I am sad to admit I am one of those unAmerican folks that really doesn’t care about football, and the Superbowl is the only game I watch the entire year, but I pick a side to keep it interesting, and it’s always fun.

We’ve learned some new things about the kids this week.  Gabriel’s struggling with what is referred to as audio and visual discrimination, meaning he’s having trouble discerning one object or one word from another when he is presented with several options.  This makes it particularly hard for him to follow directions (forget 2 step directions), and it explains a lot of our issues.  I have to think about how we’re going to manage with that, but a picture book to provide a visual aid to directions has been presented as one option.

William officially needs to nurse to move his digestive system at this point.  It is SO sluggish on it’s own.  The poor kid tries so hard, but nothing moves.  At this point, we’re going to try taking him to the chiropractor several times a week.  The doctor is able to keep clearing his blockages and use his cold laser to stimulate the system.  I’m hoping if we keep away at this, his digestive system will finally kick in and run by itself, kind of like yanking at a rip cord repeatedly till the motor turns over on it’s own.

So here’s to a good weekend, and naps all around for everybody!  🙂  Love to you all.

Sleep Frustrations

So the little guy still won’t sleep.  Unfortunately, due to all the issues he went through in the last 6 months, he has now associated nursing with sleep and doesn’t know how to pass out without it.  I wear him during he day because it’s the only way he’ll nap.  I sleep with him at night because he can’t sleep without me.  He gets up in the middle of the night because his tummy hurts, then he’ll wake up if I ever leave the bed.  He’s up with me in the early morning when I try to have alone time (I’m currently typing this one-handed with lots of typos).  He even comes with me to my monthly girls’ only nights!  I get a little jealous that my girlfriends with younger babies are already able to leave their kids home with daddy, especially when he fusses constantly.

This is really getting to me.  I don’t like having someone in my space 24/7, especially such a needy someone.  I got a book about sleep training from the library because I want to get him sleep trained so Nate and I can get away together in a few months.  It’s a good incentive, and I hope it works because I know he still has abdominal discomfort.  We’re off to the chiropractor again for another digestive tract check later this morning.

I definitely need to devote more prayer to this because this momma wants to get some sleep in her own bed.  BABY. FREE.  The book claims results in several weeks, so here’s hoping there’ll be a good report in a month or so.

 

Haircuts!

I haven’t cut the kids hair since Thanksgiving (you remember, I cut Gabriel’s hair and then he smashed a hole in the back of his head and the Urgent Care doctor had to remove all the hair around the wound the very next day).  It’s been way overdue.  My webcam isn’t so great, but you can probably see why we were starting to call Gabriel MacGyver.

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So after much bribery (it’s the only time I let them have candy), we have some respectable looking children again.

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Of course every time we ask Michael and Gabriel to pose together, they start wrestling, but I guess that’s boys for ya!

Happy Tuesday!

Saying Thank You For Adversity

I don’t like it when things are hard.  I’m not crazy about sleepless nights, they tend to make me lose my Christianity.  It’s frustrating when situations are so out of my control that my only option is to pray.  Sometimes that feels like an exercise in futility.

The last few weeks have been all of that and more.  After all the prayers and doctors, the kids aren’t much better, the situation hasn’t really changed.  Michael is still buried deep in his autism, waking up screaming sometimes at night.  William’s digestive system was diagnosed as collapsing closed in places, unable to process his food and the cause of his pain and discomfort and inability to sleep.  Gabriel is exhausted from everyone’s restlessness and is acting out, feeling his place as the unattended middle child.  I’ve had to make decisions I don’t like regarding therapy and school.  There were some days that spiritual war was so hard, I just held the baby and walked around the house praying, because I couldn’t do anything else, the oppression was so strong.

This is hard, and I’m tired.

And yet, somehow, God is moving in a way that I never imagined.

All the sleepless nights, all the physical trials, all the times my heart aches with all the troubles my kids face, I’m forced to pray like never before.  I am holding up my kids’ futures, their destinies, before God daily, waging a spiritual war I never would have if things were going well.  Let’s face it, we just pray differently in adversity.  I know that if all these problems were to disappear overnight, so would this intense time of prayer.  And I don’t know what it is about these boys, but I feel like I just need to move heaven and earth in prayer over them now about things that haven’t happened yet.

During a particularly rough patch, as I was praying over all of our issues and obstacles, I felt the Lord say, “Don’t you see?  I am answering your prayers.”  Nate and I have dedicated our children to God, we’ve prayed that they would be mightily used in His service, that they would be leaders and shakers in His kingdom.  And greatness was never achieved in a day.  It’s only ever come through hardship and victory over adversity.  So here’s the hardship.  Here’s the adversity.   We’re starting now.

And because God has shown me all this, I’m OK with what’s going on right now.  I’d seriously pay money to take a nap, but I’m OK with what’s going on.  This is my real job, this is me seeing eternity, and while I’m imperfect and may whine about how hard this is and how tired I am, this is what I was made for.

I asked God to deepen my relationship with Him.  I never pull this close in good times.

He’s answering prayers, and so I have to say thank you.

It’s Focus Time

There’s no way to beat around the bush about this.  The heat is on, and we’ve got some stuff going on in the house.  All three children seem to be fighting some deep-seated digestion problems.  Michael’s autism appears to be getting comfortably settled, and both he and William are experiencing some trouble with severe abdominal pain.  My next week or so is filling up with research, therapy, doctor’s appointments and the like.  I’m determined to figure this out and beat it back, and yet I’m overwhelmed at the same time.  I’ve been directed to start keeping food journals and the like, not to mention that we just got our first RDI homework assignment which while awesome and exciting seems to be an exercising in breaking our brains (believe it or not, that’s actually it’s purpose).

So, I have to take a blog break.  I hope to keep it very short, just a week or two until I get some answers and a handle on the health chaos that seems to be breaking out all over the place, but I just have to focus now, and while it’s awesome sharing with you and receiving your words of encouragement, there’s been lots of sleepless nights, interruptions, and a fight on every front and it’s getting too difficult.  I promise to come back as soon as I can.  In the meantime, please pray for us and our kids.  They are truly suffering with some issues that we just don’t know how to handle and we need wisdom and divine intervention.  We’re going to figure this out, and now it’s time for me to focus.

Love to you all!  See you soon!

Tough Cookies

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t get a chance to write yesterday, because that would have been a sad, angry, pathetic blog.  I still get frustrated when I work hard to get up early to be alone and then am never alone.  But, God’s dealing with me on that, and I’m praying very hard for a change of heart in this area.

It’s been a tough couple of days.  Each kid is really giving it to me in his own way.  Michael has a cold and is being very autistic right now.  We had an hour long meltdown Monday that totally took the wind out of my sails.  Gabriel’s doing the terrible 2’s defiance thing and having a blast with it let me tell you.  He’s discovered he can move furniture, and every time I walk into the kitchen, I find him elbow deep into some food container, stuffing his face.  Then he refuses meals.  ::sigh::  I’m obsessively trying to keep my counters cleaned off for this reason.  At least that could be a good thing, right?

My toughest cookie right now is little William.  I am praying very hard for this guy, and I hope the next few days will be informative.  In addition to having a sensitive tummy and digestion issues which keep him from sleeping well, he has been starting to demonstrate some behaviors that in themselves seem harmless, but appear disturbingly familiar to when Michael was this age.  I’m seeing some headbanging and restless limbs, a crying cranky child where a happy one used to be.  We’re jumping on this one and having him observed on Thursday as well as a visit to the chiropractor to help with his gut.  I’m hoping and praying that this is all just the result of him having an upset stomach and will go away when we can take care of that, but part of me is bracing and readying for another sensory disorder child.  I’m OK with whatever the outcome, it’s in God’s hands and I know He has it, but the important thing for me is to find out exactly what’s going on with him as soon as possible.

Patience, discernment, wisdom, love.  It’s hard for me to practice these all at the same time particularly with sleep deprivation, and I forget myself constantly, but God is being loving and patient when I can’t, and I trust that He will be faithful to complete this work in me that He has started.

In good news, we have finally begun our RDI consulting, and I am SOOOOOOOO excited because Michael has been particularly trying the last few days.  Nate and I had to each take turns playing with him in an empty room with a single toy while our therapist hid behind a curtain and videotaped us (yeah, that wasn’t weird or anything), and we will go for our first training tomorrow night.  I’m really depending on this a lot to bring some peace into our lives and some knowledge on how to better relate to Michael.  I can’t wait to see how it goes!

Thank you for your encouragement and prayers.  I’m hopeful that this will be a great year and am still praying very hard to see God move in me and my family.

It’s All About the Gut

So it’s been the little one that’s been keeping me up at nights for the past few months.  It’s just always been one thing after the other: hungry from growth spurts, teething, being sick.  The last few weeks it’s been terrible tummy pain.  No matter how careful I’ve tried to be with what I ate, this poor kid has had terrible bouts of gas to the point where he just cries and thrashes all night long.  He wants to nurse for comfort, and it’s the only way to keep him quiet, but then that creates a self-perpetuating cycle.

Last night it seems we finally found the solution.  Digestive enzymes!!  It wasn’t enough for me to take them, I slipped some in his food as well.  We had the quietest night we’ve had in weeks.  Seriously, I can’t remember when I’ve slept so well with a baby in bed next to me.  He turns 10 months old this week, and I feel like he could be sleeping through the night or pretty close if it wasn’t for all these pains or illnesses that keep waking him.  Anyway, I’m doing a little celebratory dance over this one!  This will get me back an hour or two of sleep a night!

It’s amazing how important gut health is.  Many studies are starting to show how it’s particularly important with spectrum kids. The health of our intestines seems so incredibly and closely related to how well our brains function.  When Michael’s regressing, I put some probiotic in a fruit smoothie for him, and things settle down a bit.  I’m always impressed.

So there’s my little health moment for today.  Give yourself a break and help your body digest a bit better!  I’ll bet you’d be surprised at some of the positive side effects.

Box Boys

They’re like cats when it comes to boxes.  If you leave them out, they will come!

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Michael is a ridiculously skilled contortionist when it comes to boxes.  I was shocked when I saw this.  I couldn’t figure out how he folded up his legs into such a small box.

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And this would be Michael’s idea of playing with his baby brother.

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For those of you in the Northeast, may you enjoy your snow day!  If the kids get bored, may I recommend some boxes. 😉

What’s On Your Prayer List?

This morning I was reviewing the list of things I am going to pray for this year and asking God to make it His list.  There’s no point in praying for something that isn’t His will, right?  The list is definitely heavy stuff, stuff that will never happen without divine, miraculous intervention.

Then I read Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

Suddenly my list seemed small, so in the moment.  Where was the legacy factor?  Where was the testimony that would live for generations like those from the Faith Hall of Fame?  And just like that, God is changing my list.  Not the items on my list but how I see them, how I will pray for them.

For example, I’m always praying for my kids’ health.  I want them to grow up to be strong and healthy and unencumbered by the neurological issues that affect them now.  I even know that God may be using their healing process to minister to others who are watching them, and I pray for that too.  But now it’s time for me to set that aside for the legacy factor and remember why I prayed for children in the first place.  I prayed for children who would grow up to be mighty men of God, men who were movers and shakers and leaders in His kingdom, whose sole purpose would be to bring Him glory and further His will.  That’s the ultimate goal.  And I will pray for their health as far as it will aide them in their calling.  I don’t want anything to keep them from following God’s leading, and if their health is included in that, so be it, but that’s not going to be the focus of my prayers at this time.  Because my kids are the only lasting thing I’m going to leave behind on this earth when it’s all said and done.  They are what is going to carry on after me, and I want to hold them up in prayer while I can, to ensure their success.

Talk about seeing eternity!  What is so big, so important for you to pray for, that you’re willing to spend your life praying and believing for something that will come to fruition after your time is up?

Taking the Adventure

I didn’t always get excited about the new year.  I used to consider celebrating the calendar change and making resolutions a pretty banal exercise in futility.  But my pastor said something once that made me change my mind.  He said if we didn’t expect anything from God, we’d get it every time.

I’m now convinced God wants to show up and blow our minds.  It gets a lot harder if we’re not looking for it or expecting it.  Now I look at each new year with a little more suspense and enthusiasm.  What does God have in store?  Life would be pretty boring without adventures, and I’m looking for mine.  Like I said yesterday, 2012 was a year of blessing, and 2013 was a year of triumph over trials.  What will this year be?  I’m pretty excited!

In the spirit of things, I’ve made a list.  It’s more of a hefty to-do list than resolutions (I’m AWESOME at making to-do lists), but I guess I’m resolved to work on my list, so it counts.  But I’m trying to be wary of two things.

1 – I’m not holding on to my list too tightly.  It’s important to have a list.  Without goals, we’d just float through life, wasting years without the drive of accomplishments.  We’re here on this earth to make an impact, and each of us do it in our own unique way.  But on the other hand, as I just wrote a few days ago, I’m learning to let go.  There are a lot of things I’d like to do, things that I think would help me be a better person, better mom, and a better wife.  But I’m OK if God changes the plan.  I have three little jumping beans at home, my plans get changed all the time!  I have stuff I’m going to work on, but if God has other plans for me, I want to be wiling to go with the flow.

2 – I don’t want to ride on last year’s victories.  God did some pretty awesome stuff last year.  And it’s going to make for some great landmarks of faith in my life.  But I don’t want to keep living on those highs and not move forward.  I want God to blow my mind this year and make lasts year’s adventures about as exciting as a trip to the grocery store.  I want to set those things down now and embrace the new things He has for me, whether they are blessings or hardships, because I trust that He is good and only has my best interests at heart.

What are you expecting from God this year?  Make it big!  Dream for miracles.  Hope for stuff that’ll never happen unless God shows up.  “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21  Think big, and then let Him put your imagination to shame.

Now in the words of the great C.S. Lewis, “Then in the name of Aslan, if ye will have it so, let us go on and take the adventure that should fall to us”.