Sunday, April 03, 2011

No News is Good News, Right?

First I'll Talk About Richard
Not much to say. I guess that's part of why I haven't blogged lately too. He's feeling pretty good. He's definitely had more energy. His legs have been a little sore from the Prednisone and me dragging him along on some walks with the boys, but other than that, and other than still being on a crap-load of drugs, he's looking good. Oh, that reminds me, he's on blood pressure meds again. Bummer. Hopefully, he'll blog soon and tell you how he's really feeling.
He's lasting for full grocery trips. He's been making almost all the dinners. It's a little taste of normalcy. I'll enjoy while it's here, as will he. Hopefully, it only gets better and more frequent.

Why Am I So Behind?
Wow, I have no idea how I got so far behind. I guess because things have been reasonably normal feeling. Plus, it was the boys' Spring Break and then mine overlapping that, so there's been a lot of just 'being' without any stress of needing to be places by certain times.

So what did we do over spring break?
Here's a snipit in no particular order:

Science World
magic show
bike riding
birthday party
balance bikes
skate park
doctor's appointment
skate park
skate park
speech appointment
the gym - but not as much as usual
RCMP Youth Academy graduation


I'll briefly discuss the events of which I have no pictures.

Science World
AJ was very lucky to be invited to Science World with his friend Josh (and his family) to spend the day and night hanging out at Science World and having pizza! They headed back to Josh's house and AJ stayed for a sleepover! Big exciting stuff.
I took that opportunity to have a special date at the zoo with Dexter. Just me and Dexter. So nice.

Magic Show
Our friend, Ryan, and her cuties, Charlie and Colm, invited Erica and I (and our kids) to a magic show out in North Delta at the library. The kids thought it was really funny. It was nice and long (about 45 mintues). They spoke of MANY favourite parts afterwards. AJ gave me another run-down of the show and how much he enjoyed it once we got home.

The boys and I took full advantage of the paved path behind our house. Walks and runs and dried up worms and mud and sticks and fun and bikes and scooters and runbikes.

These were aplenty. AJ played with Josh, Josiah, Jack and Rya, Makenna and Emerson and Jaxon (once they were back from holidays), and his future-wife - Olivia. When commenting on another girl over Spring Break, AJ said, "Wow, she's pretty. But Mom, I love Olivia more. I'm still going to marry her. She is the most beautiful." Dexter got to have Rya over for his very own playdate too.
Today, Dexter asked me if Emerson could come over to play. He said, "Can Emerson come over for a playdate? She's so cute!"

Birthday Party
Emerson and Jaxon turned 3! The kids had a fun birthday party at Safari Kidzone. Awesomeness. It was a kick-back-and-enjoy-some-chit-chat-and-coffee for the parents. Well, maybe not for Jen, but for the rest of us. hee hee.

Speech Appointment
LOVED the new lady we got to see this time. I really liked the last girl too, but this girl was, I don't know, I can't put my finger on it, but she meant business! It was great.
She reiterated the need for Dexter to see the ENT (I need a doctor referral that my doctor would not give to me last time). Dexter needs to see a feeding team, and I think do one of those Barium swallow things due to his texture issues and all too frequent choking episodes. She was hoping that the Child Development Centre could do that, but nope. I was going to need a doctor's referral for BC Children's or Sunny Hill. Oh, and Dexter needs 'intensive speech therapy'. The wait list is still sitting at about a year. She encouraged getting a private speech therapist if possible. I'll have to take a look at our insurance coverage on that. In the meantime, she gave me some more things to work on with Dexter.
That being said, as they like to see happening, Dexter IS getting better all the time. Sentences and paragraphs are there. He's witty and funny and knows exactly what he's saying and uses a surprising amount of advanced tenses and such, as she was saying. She (being around this type of speech often) was very impressed with Dexter's vocabulary and reiterated what I already knew. Understanding and vocabulary are not an issue. Dexter's 'above average' on his ability to follow many-stepped commands and his breadth of vocabulary. The problem is all in his pronunciation. He's nasal-y and ends most works with 'n', and blends a lot of words together. When you can understand him (which is me most of the time), he says clever little things, but man, if you don't understand Dexter's way of talking, then it just sounds like a lot of jibberish and babble.

There are lots of sounds though that Dexter does not use, but CAN use. This is a big focus of hers during the meeting. For instance. He can say:
If you asked him to repeat those words and really emphasize the last consonant sound.
But, in his regular speech, he would say:
dun or duh - not duck
um or uma - not up
hon or honna - not hot
ping - not pit
ben or bun - not bed

So, really it's more of a 'bad habit' you could say. The speech therapy will help that.

However, improvement is already being seen even since the appointment a week and a half to two weeks ago. We've been doing the practice stuff 5-10 minutes a day and I'm doing what I usually do to repeat things back to him the correct way.

Now when Dexter is ticked off if we don't understand him the first time, he doesn't get quite as frustrated or angry. Instead of just saying it over and over or saying it slowly, he's definitely shown us that he knows that he doesn't pronounce the last sound of the words. He knows they're supposed to be there. So, he says it all again, slowly, but wherever possible, he adds the correct endings.

For instance, today, in Costco -
D - "Mom, I wun a new cahyee."
M - "You want a new car?"
D - "NO! Mom. I wunt a new cahr."
M - "I'm sorry Dex. You want a new car? You only brought Bumblebee with you. You only have one car."
D- "AAAHH. Mom! No. I wunt a new cahh-t."
M - "OH! You want a new cart!?"
D - "Yessss. I wunna new cahhh-t."
M - "Oh. Well, sorry. We're using the same cart. They're going to give us back the one we were using."
D - "Oh man! I wunnin a sekon cahhh-t."
M - "You wanted a second cart."
D - "Yah."

Which leads into some funny stuff/examples.

He's all about being 'second' right now. He and AJ are always in this constant race to see who can get to the front door first. ARG. Needless to say, since AJ can easily undo his own five point harness and Dexter cannot master the bottom push-button on his, AJ is always at the front door first, leaving Dexter a blubbering mess, shouting, "I wanted to be first! I wanted to be first, AJ!"
Which in Dexter-ese sounds like,
"I wanin to be sist! I wanin to be sist, Dee-Jee!"
To which AJ and I encouraged Dexter to be excited about being 'second'. He's now really taken to the idea of 'second'.

Like how he wanted the second cart.

He had also told me about how he wanted to watch a 'sekon' movie in the car.
Today, he wanted a 'sekon' chocolate egg.
The list goes on. It's cute.

After Costco, we took Dexter through the Wendy's drive-thru to get him a kid's Frosty ($.79). We thought he deserved a little pick-me-up since AJ keeps getting to go on all these playdates without him or even worse, brings his friends here in time for Dexter to have a nap!

As we passed my Starbucks to go backtrack to get to Wendy's, he saw us pass my Starbucks and said, "I wanin to go theyee!" (I wanted to go there!)
I said, "Where?"
He said, "To Stahyeebun." (To starbucks)
I said, "Why do you want to go to Starbucks?"
He said, "Because I wun a kohsee." (Because I want a coffee)
I said, "You don't need a coffee. Mommy drinks coffee, not you. But guess what? Daddy's going to get you a Frosty from Wendy's!"

He didn't seem to mind.

Doctor's Appointment
ARG. I seriously don't even want to talk about this. The speech pathologist made it sound like I just needed to 'get a referral' from my doctor for the ENT (which he wouldn't do last time saying there was nothing the matter with Dexy's speech) and for the Feeding Team.
Long story short, I give him the same info to which he's feverishly typing as though I've never mentioned this stuff before, and he's like, "Slow down, I need to write all this." I said, "Well, there isn't really any new information. It's the same issues I mentioned at the last visit. I just really need the referral for the ENT, and I didn't get that last time. It's very important." He was all upset saying that he's not supposed to just 'give referrals' and where's the form from the SLP, and I'm like, "I'm just doing what she told me to do." I told him that I called them after my last visit with him to have all the info from their files sent to him (which apparently, they didn't do). Anyhow, blah blah blah. It looked like he wasn't going to give me the referral, so I had to pull out my awesome super-power of being able to cry on demand as creatively needed by me in any circumstance. It worked. I got the referral for the ENT, but he wasn't going to do the referral for the Feeding Team until he saw the stuff from the Speech lady. So, anyhow. I had to call them again... etc. etc. I need to call his office tomorrow to see if it all made it there. Otherwise, she sent stuff to me as well. I'm sure that I just have to make another appointment. Good grief.

Just a regular dental appointment. Nothing exciting. No pictures.

Swimming lessons ended. AJ's putting his head under the water while doing a front glide now, finally, and he can actually swim now. Not all the way across the pool or anything, but rather, he keeps himself afloat and swims for a couple meters with his head in the water. He's quite baffled really. He said, "Mom! It's so awesome! When I take my feet off the bottom, I don't sink!"
Still has a few skills to master before he passes that level though. Dexter too.
It was great that Makenna and AJ got to split private lessons and have semi-privates. It only costs $3.10/lesson extra to add another child. So, Jen and I just split the total cost between us, meaning that it costs barely more than regular lessons. AJ and Makenna's teacher was 'the great teacher'. She's the one who doesn't take crap and whining from the kids, but she's not so harsh that they don't like her. She's perfect. She took AJ so far in only 6 lessons.
My plan for the next set of lessons (whenever that is) is to have Dexter and AJ share private lessons. You get so much more for practically the same amount of money. Not to mention, it guarantees only two kids in the class. (Thanks again, Grand-Dan for paying the boys' swimming lessons).
Ice Skating lessons just ended at the same time before Spring Break began. Not only were those lessons super, as I've already said, but AJ passed his level. Hmmm. I think I already said that before, so I won't continue that any longer in this post.
So, I asked AJ what he wanted to do next. More ice skating lessons or something else. I gave him lots of ideas and he really wanted to go back into gymnastics. That's what the boys are doing now. I got to take them to their first class on Wednesday, but Auntie Kim will be taking them to all the rest of the lessons. Dexter's in the 3 year old independent class, AJ's in the Kindergym 4/5 year olds, and I'm drinking my coffee at the side of the gym watching (or I guess A. Kim will be!). They both had a blast. Dexter's class is 45 minutes long, AJ's is 60 minutes long, and they both start at the same time. Couldn't have worked out better.

Remember the contest I was in last year? Last year they did a walk to support the comfort fund at our hospital. This time it was a 5k jog/run. I am WAY out of practice. I think my last real jog was back in October. I was probably averaging 6k or so and doing okay. I've still been visiting the gym regularly, so I figured I'd be okay to jog the whole thing just taking some walking breaks every 8 minutes or so.
YIKES. Ouch. It took about 42 minutes which is way longer than it should've for me, considering where I was in October. I was REALLY sore. All over.
Then, I got the whole 'achey body feeling sick' thing.
Seem to have just gotten run down, but not actually contracted a cold. We'll see how that pans out. Dexter had a slight fever today and has the sniffles. He's actually quite miserable today. I'm anticipating having to get out of my bed many times tonight, and have already told myself to just bring Dexter into my bed if that happens.

The Gym
Been going, but not my usual 4 days a week. There's been lots going on over spring break and then feeling sickish. Haven't stopped going or anything drastic like that!

Before I get into posting a whole whackload of pics and stuff (mostly from my phone... sorry), I wanted to link to a particular post from one of my VERY FAVOURITE blogs ever. It's called Enjoying the Small Things. In this particular post, she says why she loves to blog and put pictures up of her kids. It sums up my feelings PERFECTLY. If you have a moment, read the post. If you have even more time and some tissues, then you should read her birth story. It's just beautiful.

Okay, so, here's some stuff we've been doing....

Skatepark Rained-Out, So How About Making One of Your Own?
I gave him an old cardboard, scribbled back of a giant colouring book, a whole roll of masking tape, scissors, toilet paper tubes, and some ripped box flaps. I made one ramp for him and then off he went. He LOVED doing this. I have no idea why I didn't think of it sooner. He was just completely focused on building this and played with it for about 1.5 hours. He uses his little finger-skateboard and his little BMX on it. He still has it. It's been a good two weeks or so.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Making
It's just a chocolate chip cookie. How does the chocolate get all around the perimeter of his mouth? I don't get it. This is his third. He snuck it.


So cute the way he gathers all three of his dinos to sleep.

The Zoo, Of Course!
With scooters this day.

This baboon just loves playing with big logs and sticks. He's hilarious to watch.
Look at the sun! We were so happy that it came to visit us during Spring Break. There was even a day in there that I almost put the boys in shorts!

Why oh why can I not just pick one picture of them on the swings to put on here?

There needs to be an intervention.

The Skatepark
This day, Landon and his mom, Jennifer joined us. Above, AJ is riding Landon's giant bike!

Birdhouse Painting!
Which is a good reminder that I still need to go hang this up outside.
Good job, AJ!
Dexter added some design to it the next day when it was his turn.

The Zoo Again

The Path

Here are those fuzzy branches. For everyone that was interested in knowing the answer....
It's evidently (according to Erica), Sumac. Which, she adds, you definitely DO NOT want to have growing in your yard.
It just grows up out of the ground much like bamboo. Not on a tree.

Over Spring Break, while Jen and her family were away, we borrowed her son, Jaxon's, balance bike. AJ's old balance bike that I made is still a bit too tall for Dexter. Jaxon's can go nice and short. Perfect. AJ took Dexter out for a lesson.

In no time, Dexter was getting the hang of it and zooming to keep up with AJ on his.
Before you knew it, AJ was teaching Dexter how to lift up his legs to go through puddles.

The Next Day on the Path Again
YAY, Dex! There you go, Buddy! You're doing it! You're balancing on two wheels!

The Skatepark Again, But This Time With the Skateboards and Lots of Padding

RCMP Youth Academy Training Camp Graduation

This doesn't give you too much of an idea of what is going on, but that's because I forgot my real camera and only had my phone.
Paul went to a 9 day training camp. He was one of the 50 chosen out of 150 applicants to go to the RCMP Youth Academy Camp. Currently, Paul is hoping to become a police officer. He was leader of one of the 6 'troops' and was one of the 6 valedictorians.
My brother is in the back row, fourth from the left.
Here are some hand-cuffing demonstrations shown by the students.
This is him way over there giving the speech that he and his troop wrote.
Congrats, Paul!
Awwww, my little Pollywog, all grown up and serious! How can this be?
To Paul's great surprise, waiting in the parking lot after the ceremony was his very first new car (new to him, not 2011, of

Thank Yous

I haven't done thank yous in a long time, but believe me, that doesn't mean that people aren't offering their help, support, concern, or love. Seriously. You all know who you are.

Thanks to Josh's mom, Kiran for taking AJ to Science World, AND for a sleepover, AND for MANY playdates, AND for your constant offer to take AJ (and Dex). AJ has a blast over there, and always comes back beaming, (or crying because he's sad I took him away from Josh).

Thanks to my dad who's letting us use his wicked awesome van. I'm thoroughly enjoying the doors that slide open on both sides. Seriously, that's the best part to me so far, as a mom. The gas savings will be awesome too, of course, and it's just great for so many things. Erica won't always have to do the driving when we go long distances with all four of our kids together! This way, we can use the car for commuting to VGH and to my work. AWESOMENESS.

Continued thanks to all of our parents for all of their help and love and support.

Continued thanks to all of my friends for being there in all of your different ways.

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