Thursday, January 29, 2015

Oodles of Noodles

We are so proud of Colin as we have made some pretty big strides this week when it comes to eating.  Colin has been eating cottage cheese for 3 meals for as long as I can remember and only on rare occasions would he stray from that for something like pancakes or a piece of pizza.  However this week, Colin has had noodles with red sauce for dinner for the last three nights! While him and I were eating noodles together last night I asked him if he would eat them for lunch at school and he said no.  However, I am attempting it tomorrow anyway.  I can't wait to see how it goes!

Keep up the great work Colin! We are SO PROUD of you!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Progress in Karate

Enrolling Colin in Karate this year has been one of the best decisions Chris and I have made for him.  We seem to have found something Colin REALLY loves, keeps his focus on for an entire 30-40 minutes, and is a class that additionally focuses on following directions, building strength, self esteem, etc.  We are so happy with how it's going and even happier that we found such a great location in Paul Prendergast Karate and group of teachers to work with him. I honestly can't say enough about the main two teachers who have been working his class with him.   They have such patience, know how to really push him to work hard yet recognize when they may need to back off or reevaluate that moment, and are incredibly motivational. He consistently looks forward to each class and even today when Chris told him it was cancelled because of the snow said "but dad, I want to go!".  I'm not sure if the two are related, but we have seen a nice improvement in his behavior at home where we've been able to back off the visual schedule and other strategies we had been using on a regular basis.  He has made such positive progress and is headed soon for his first test. 

Below is a sampling of short videos from the last class that Chris took Colin to.  It's amazing to me to see some of the things he has been doing! I think the last one is my favorite!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Little Man

Lately I have felt as though I have this big post brewing and then when I sit down to write, I just feel like I don't know how to get it off my chest.  While there were some challenging times over the past 5.5 years, it has been for the most part, very normal.  In trying to think about what I felt was hard at the time seems very inconsequential now.  However, right now when I try to sit down and write about things I want to get off my chest related to challenges from this year, I can't seem to find the words.  So instead, I'm sharing more pictures of my little man whose light shines.  Until I can find the words, I'll share pictures of my little man who I love so much...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Little Boy

We recently had an awesome opportunity to have photos of Colin taken playing a variety of sports activities at the Special Olympics facility.  The photography company that took the photos shared a good amount of them with us and when I saw them, I couldn't help but wonder where my little boy went.  
I look at these photos and wonder how we already got here to this place; to having a 5 (well, almost 6) year old little boy.  Although we are halfway through, it's hard to believe that he's in Kindergarten and not the little boy anymore that we cheered on through learning how to roll, crawl and then walk with the round little face.  Having therapists come to our home for Early Intervention seems like a lifetime ago when Kindergarten seemed like a distant future. 

At first glance through these pictures, it's easy to stare at that smile with happiness that radiates from his face and forget about the struggles and challenges.  In these pictures, you see a little boy who is happy doing something he loves so much; playing sports with those he loves the most. 

Looking back now on Colin's first 5 years, the "challenges" we faced don't seem like they were that hard.  However, we hit this Kindergarten year and then things changed in a way we weren't quite expecting.  We have had to work through many challenges with Colin in school and difficulties stemming from his still improving communication skills.  Some days have been really hard and other days have been filled with so much happiness and laughter. 

The thing with Colin is that even on the most challenging days, he is still filled with so much love that it's impossible to hold on to that frustration for too long.  He is so adept at sensing your emotional status and becomes visibly uncomfortable with someone around him crying and being upset or mad. 

Colin is constantly growing and changing around us and so much of it has made us so incredibly proud of him.  There are so many things that have to be broken into steps for Colin to learn that come naturally to those around him. Because these things often take longer and are often harder for him, we celebrate accomplishments as they come.  His communication skills are improving, we are helping him to work on socialization skills (a BIG challenge right now), he's eating more variety, and seeing changes in many other areas of development. 

I look at these pictures and wonder where my little baby boy went and how he turned into this handsome, loving, strong willed, determined, sometimes challenging 5 year old boy.  He's come so far and with our help pushing him has so far to go. 

I know we are in some new territory right now with challenges we weren't quite expecting but I know there's always a way to get to the other side and with some help, we will get through.  There's nothing we won't do for Colin....because we know there are big things ahead for him.

~Photo credits to Dennis Mosner Photography~
Thank you for the beautiful photos!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cody is 4 Months!

Our little man Cody is 4 months old today and it's been such a fun (and fast!) time with him.  He has changed a lot over the past month and he's become so interactive with us.  
While I'm not sure of his exact measurements (he was supposed to have his 4 month check up today but we had to reschedule), I am pretty sure he's made some big gains in terms of weight and length since we were last in the office.  

He's a pretty happy baby most of the time (don't test him when he's ready to eat) and is really easy going.  He is easily amused by Colin and Kailey (which is encouraging for the future when he gets older!) and is starting to really reach for, grab, and play with his toys. 

This has been a big month for Cody because with my return to work last Monday, he also started school.  It's been a really easy transition for him (probably harder for me!) and he has adjusted well.  His teacher at school has said that he's been very easy going (which makes me so proud!). 

While he is on a schedule, I am having trouble fine tuning it.   He just started getting into a routine of eating cereal and a fruit mid-morning (this comes after a bottle when waking around 5:30).  Depending on when he gets to school and if he is awake or not, it typically is around 9/9:30.  This breakfast has shifted his other bottles of the day and with the attempted addition of a dinner, they're off schedule from what we've been used to.  I know we will figure it out, it's just so difficult this time around because of the busyness of the other two and their activities after school.

His fussiest times of the day come when he is either hungry or tired (mostly tired).  He hasn't proven to be a good napper just yet unless we are traveling in the car, but thankfully, he is sleeping through the night so I'll take that over the napping.

We all love Cody so much and are so thankful for what he has brought to our family. 

 We can't wait to see what the next month will bring!



Saturday, January 10, 2015

Floor Hockey Clinic with SONJ

Today was the Special Olympics of NJ annual Floor Hockey Tournament that was held at Stockton College.  Last year was the first year that we attended and we had fun doing it so we decided to do it again this year.  Colin had his Special Olympics gear on and was ready to go this morning!

He is always so excited when he knows he is participating in a Special Olympics event (he even asked me at 3am when he got up to go to the bathroom if it was time to go). 

Last year Colin was a little grumpy so his participation wasn't great but this year, he did a really nice job working with the volunteers.  He always seems to hit a wall around the 25/30 minute mark in all activities he does which did happen today but then he was back at it again here and there through the rest of our time there.

Just like always, Kailey was able to participate too (we love unified sports!) and she had fun as well!

This was just a short snippet from today because I was constantly checking to make sure I had all 3 kids in the same place!

Another fun SONJ event! #genuinejerseypride

Friday, January 9, 2015

Feeling Reflective

I can remember growing up and the feelings of anticipation I used to get on Christmas Eve, the night before leaving for vacation, or other big events and how I couldn't sleep due to the excitement of what was to come.  I was having the same kind of feelings leading up to going back to work this week except the excitement was replaced with worry about how I thought my life was going to change from being the "stay at home mom" I was now used to.  Would I hear my alarm when it went off? What if I forgot something in someone's lunch box? Did Cody have everything he needed for school? How would Colin handle the change? Would Kailey be ok with having a new teacher and now going 5 full days a week? How was I still going to be accessible for everyone? How would I continue advocating for Colin with less time in a day to do so? Would my little baby be ok in daycare in the winter at such a young age? Would I be ready to handle my students coming in mid-year? Would I be able to handle work and home together?

I can sit here tonight and say that we did ok this week.  The big picture is ok; we are getting into a routine and everyone is still happy and smiling!


I am so thankful to have the support of some great friends and family who have checked in with me this week to make sure we are doing ok.  I am even more thankful to Chris who is my teammate in all this.  I am thankful to my mom who made some dinners so that I didn't have to.  I am thankful to our daycare and the people that work there who take care of all of my babies (Colin included) when I cannot be home to do so.  We are lucky. 
Yes, it's hard. But to be honest, the first real tears I cried were today on the way home with everyone in tow listening to Colin laughing hysterically at Kailey and Cody cooing at the two of them.  I love my little family and am willing to do what I have to do to make sure everyone is happy, even if it's hard for me.  I left work sort of feeling like I never left and went home to some little kids that were happy to see me.  All is ok, we can do this!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Colin's Eating Progress

In the past few months, we have been seeing some really nice progress with Colin and his feeding therapy, and even greater progress in the past week.  He has been attending feeding therapy one time a week with a GREAT therapist and he has always been very receptive to her and her methods.  She has always stressed pushing Colin without forcing the food into his mouth.  On a daily basis, Colin will still mainly eat cottage cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner with yogurt, pudding and ice cream as snacks/dessert.  He will have a string cheese or fruit snacks on occasion as well.  We can occasionally throw in pizza or pasta if we are all eating together.  One of the things Colin's therapist has been working with is a sandwich with cheese with various different lunch meats.  He will eat an entire half of a sandwich with her, but we haven't quite been able to bring it home yet.  He's also been eating apple sauce and chicken nuggets with her.  After a great day with her on Tuesday eating all of his chicken nuggets, he asked for EGGS after his breakfast (Kailey has one every day) and then ate a chicken nugget with me at dinner time. 

He loves the praise for eating and is so proud of himself when we cheer him on for eating really well.  In addition to those great moments, I have been sending a string cheese and fruit snacks with a yogurt for his snack after school and he's been eating that for the teacher at the daycare.  He's never really eaten it anywhere but home, or this often, so that is exciting too.  I'm going to try apple sauce for his snack there after shopping this weekend.  Watching Colin chew is interesting because it does take some work for him to chew more challenging objects and he is still building the muscles to be able to do it.  We are so proud!