Welcome to our journey!

If you are new to our blog, you may want to start with Beginnings - Part 1 and Part 2 to catch you up to speed on Jackson's arrival on December 11th, 2010 (yup, 12/11/10).

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wrapping up 2015...and on to our next exciting adventure...

I'd love to say that my New Year's Resolution is to be better about updating this blog, but I know in reality it will take the back burner to that little thing called life.  I don't even have to look at the date on the previous post to know that it was before school started.  This is always the point when asked how things are going and inevitably the response will be, "busy".  And it certainly has been...So I will give a recap (I'll try to brief) on what's been going on the last few months since school began...  Let the countdown begin...

10) We built a deck! And by "we", I mean Adam, his Dad, and Mr. Bob.  It's been a nice addition to our backyard and thanks to the table and chairs from Adam's parents it'll get tons of use in years to come!

9) Grayson turned 3 years old!  He is 100% a momma's boy, but he loves to go outside with his dad.  Most of the time he is good with Jackson, regressing to annoying little brother mode here and there.  He has difficulty being told "no", has a stubborn streak like no other, and likes to win.  Whoever thought 2's were hard, clearly coined the phrase "terrible 2's" before their child actually turned 3...

Overall, a sweet little monkey.

8) Jackson began his new school here is Carroll County.  We have been so pleased with his new teacher and her team (PT, OT, etc.).  They have done an amazing job getting to know Jackson and trying to find the best way for Jackson to learn.   Some of the big things they've discovered: 1) Jackson needs less talk - Jackson does best with short, simple directions (with a visual model).  This way he doesn't have to continue processing what you're saying but can process and then do what is directed.  2) He needs a model of what he needs to do.  This could be verbal and/or visual.  For example, Jackson continues to have a lot of echolalia (repetition of what someone says).  So if you simply ask him, "What is this?", he will likely respond with, "What is this?".  But if his teacher models it but saying, "This is a tree."  Then if shown a picture, he knows to respond by saying what it is.  3) He needs wait time.  For Jackson, he can need as much as 19 seconds to process the question.  That's a lot of wait time.  But imagine if you didn't realize this, you may assume that Jackson doesn't know the answer or that he doesn't understand.  Try counting 19 seconds - its a long time.  4) Jackson has difficulty with tracking from left to right which is an important task when it comes to learning how to read.  However, if the information is presented almost at eye-level (rather than flat on the table), he is much better able to track.

Let the horrible school pictures begin...

His teacher was almost apologetic at our review IEP meeting that she didn't really know as much as she wanted about Jackson - we were amazed at how much the team had discovered about Jackson in only a few short months.  We continue to look forward to the progress that Jackson will make over the second semester and then we can make decisions about Kindergarten.

7)  Adam and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary by going to my co-worker/friend's wedding.  Seven year itch - lets hope not!

6) We were able to participate in trick-or-treating this Halloween.  This may not seem very significant, but we didn't make it out of the driveway last year and Jackson wouldn't wear his costume.  This year, Jackson not only wore his costume, but he was also able to walk throughout the neighborhood to visit the different houses.  He exhibited some reservations initially, but once I modeled what to do and gave short directions (ie. Pick up candy, put in bucket"), he caught on pretty quick.

5) We celebrated Thanksgiving our traditional way by visiting with my grandfather at Charlestown for brunch and then headed over to my in-laws to celebrate with Adam's side of the family.  The following day, my side of the family headed back over to my house to hang out and eat more food.

4) In November, we had a brief scare around midnight one night. Jackson was perfectly fine at bedtime but woke up struggling to breathe and crying hysterically (which didn't help the situation).  Normally Jackson has a pretty high tolerance for discomfort, so when he didn't calm down when we went to console him, we knew we needed to take him to the ER.  So I threw on some clothes and got Jackson in the car only to realize I had no idea where to take him.  I ended up calling 911 and they directed me to Carroll County hospital in Westminster.  Jackson cried and struggled to breathe the whole way...Luckily he was taken immediately back to be given a breathing treatment for croup.  But because of the treatment he had to be monitored for 3 hours since it could raise his heart rate.  He responded really well to the breathing treatment and was given a long-lasting steroid to help keep his airway open.  While he was sleeping, they kept alternating between mist and oxygen.  His breathing was so rattly that they ended up putting a tube down his nose to suction the mucous out (he was such a trooper).  Unfortunately his oxygen levels kept dipping when oxygen was removed so they ended up admitting him to the pediatric unit.
 When we got to the pediatric unit, they ended up quarantining his room since the mucous tested positive for RSV.  We were warned when Jackson was a baby that RSV would likely end with Jackson in the hospital...

We were told we would end up spending the night again unless Jackson was able to show his oxygen levels could remain stable while he was sleeping.  Luckily I was able to get him to take a nap and his oxygen levels were satisfactory, so after about 18 hours in the hospital we were finally discharged.  Quite the whirlwind!

3) Jackson turned 5!  It is seriously hard to believe that this little barely 5 pound baby is now walking and talking more and more...and bonus-he now climbs into his own car seat!  Makes it that much easier to get two kids into the car.

We planned on doing a movie-themed birthday party (low-key since Jackson is not big on large crowds) and since its winter and he loves movies (still loves Thomas, Cars, Planes, and Penguins).  Who would have thought it would be super warm that day and we would be outside eating cake and running around...in mid-December.

Unfortunately Jackson had a bit of a melt-down later in the day (a combination of getting up at 3:30am that day, yes, you read that right and feeling a little under the weather).  He did not want to open any of his presents and ended up crashing for a nap later in the afternoon.  Overall though I'd say it was a success...

Jackson's favorite birthday gifts - mini iPad, Fisher Price Learn Through Music, Thomas Book (I'm ready to read with Thomas)

2)  Which leads me to Christmas....this year we ended up having my parents up from Virginia for Christmas.  My sister's family and our grandpa joined us Christmas day to open presents and hang out.  Jackson, once again, wanted little to do with opening presents (perhaps I'll forgo the wrapping for him next year???) and I think just found the crowd overwhelming.  Grayson, on the other hand, wanted to open everyone's presents, kindly asking between each gift if he could open another one.  Lucky for Grayson, Jackson is typically disinterested in much of the toys in our house, so anything Jackson got ultimately gets a lot of play-time from Grayson.

Christmas Eve
Christmas morning

Showing Jackson how to play Pop the Pig
The day after Christmas, we headed over to Adam's parents and spent time with them, Adam's brother Tyler and his uncle Keith.  It was a much quieter, low-key day which benefited Jackson, who still wanted to remove himself from the opening of presents.

Using tools from his sensory kit
Favorite Christmas gifts - remote control Thomas, Disney Cars Track, and Step 2 Kitchen

and duh, duh, duh...

1) And then there were really three...

We look forward to the crazy, chaotic, and awesome addition to our family in 2016. 

From our (growing) family to yours - I hope your holidays were wonderful and that you have a happy New Year!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Lake Trip 2015

 Another lake trip in the books.  A few weeks ago we did our annual trip to my parent's house in Palmyra, Va.  The week was sure to be filled with lots of splashing, giggles, tired little ones (and tired parents).  We had perfect weather with only one so-so day where we probably could have squeaked out a few hours on the beach in the afternoon.  Daddy was able to join us for most of the week before having to head out on a business trip...

 The boys enjoyed some art time in between beach trips.  Grayson has continued to ask to paint since we've been home, so I have a growing collecting of paintings that are a mish-mash of colors that only an almost-3 year old and his parents would appreciate (although...at what point are you allowed to toss a few???).

This painting is called "Black".  He is very deep.

 It was great watching the boys interact with each other, "new" toys, and their cousins.  The Cars and Planes characters are still favorites in our house and the grandparents don't disappoint.

Passed out after a busy day...although he woke up seconds after I picked him up and tried to lay him in bed.

Scary Dinosaur movie on Netflix.
 The boys all slept in the same room on trundle beds.  They all did a great job staying in bed...and it doesn't hurt that they were crashing pretty good after being very active all day.
Grandpa supervising quiet time

 Much of the week revolved around Grayson splashing Jackson by running around him.  Jackson loved it.  They had a blast.  If Jackson began to wander, Grayson would get upset and try to call him back to the water.  Unfortunately for Grayson, Jackson has a mind of his own and if he's got something else on the brain (like darting to the street or checking out the canoes) then there is little Grayson can do to get him back.

 I think swim lessons are in Jackson's near future.  We did some when he was really little, but now it is really time.  He has no real sense of safety in the water...as in...I can't swim, so I probably shouldn't go in over my head.

I love this photo...John vs. Grandma

What do you do with four boys when they need to burn a little more energy?  Laps...

Work starts up tomorrow for this momma...so its going to be full-steam ahead in this house again.  I will be squeezing in another post on Jackson's updates with therapies, school, etc.  Check back soon!