Friday, November 25, 2016

Preparation for Thanksgiving break and the new baby

I am 35 weeks pregnant now, and I have slowed way down. Being pregnant at almost 40 has been very different than pregnant at 30. My blood pressure has been running very low, which requires me consuming at least 150 ounces of water a day, so that I don't feel light headed. I also take extra Iron due to anemia, which has it's own issues. I haven't been lifting Andy for a couple of months. I feel like it is too much of a strain to lift him now as he is almost 50 pounds.

Every day I try not to overdo it, but I always feel the need to clean and organize things, while the kids are at school. I get worn out fast and easily in this pregnancy. Knowing that Andy would be off of school for the next 5 days due to Thanksgiving break, I started to panic and wanted to get everything vacuumed before he came home from school. Andy hates hearing the vacuum cleaner, and if he hears it he is set off into a one hour meltdown of crying.

The same thing goes for using a blender or mixer. Andy gets set off by these noises. So, I quickly made three different kinds of cookie dough for the holiday with my mixer before he came home from school. All while being sick with a sinus infection. I just keep chugging along and trying to make sure I am getting all the rest I need for the baby.

Andy having time off from school is very tough, because he gets bored easily, and will start crying and become inconsolable. We always dread the summer vacations and the two week breaks. They are really hard for our family. On a better note, things have been going well with my daughter. She is so excited about our new daughter on the way. She has bonded with me again, and tells me that the baby will help bring us girls together. We can all bond and be close is what she feels. I really hope things go well, and I'm not torn from her like I was with Andy being so overwhelming.

We know that our lives are going to be completely rocked by this new baby, but I feel like my head is in a good place. I've done all kinds of prep for the arrival and I've tried to get myself psyched up for the challenges ahead with the baby coming into the home. The baby is due right at Christmas time, so I am trying to get all my shopping wrapped up right now, while I'm still mobile.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Rough patches from constipation and boredom

Lately when Andy is at home, he has a rough time on most days at least once a day. If he becomes bored or is uncomfortable due to constipation, he has meltdowns. We try our best to soothe him with music, television, and cuddling with him. We sometimes try a change of scenery and go for a ride in the car.

I am now eight months pregnant. I've been trying to avoid lifting Andy, and have my husband do it. It is difficult to lift him now that he is 48 pounds and I am quite big. I am worried about when I will be able to lift him again after the c-section surgery. I will probably be afraid to try to pick him up for quite a while, because I have been out of practice with it for a couple months.

Bringing a new baby into the house will be quite challenging. I hope we can survive it, and the baby doesn't have any issues of her own. Seven more weeks to go!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Rough transitions after school

The first three weeks of school consisted of Andy getting used to long days again. He loves school, but he was very tired when he got home, and would get to bed early. The next two weeks after, he would cry as soon as we got home from school, and would be hard to console. I tried to do everything, including giving him Tylenol, in case of a headache, toothache, leg pain, etc. He just seemed to be in a funk as soon as I started to walk him into the house for about the first two weeks of school starting. Andy seems to be better adjusted now.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Andy got pneumonia from aspirating food/ choking on food (aspiration pneumonia)

Andy has had food go down the wrong way (lightly choked on food) a few times in the last couple months. I hadn't thought much about it. Sometimes, Andy aspirates food/ inhales it into his lungs accidentally, because he's overly excited while eating. 

A few weeks ago, Andy was appearing a bit more tired than usual, and was being cozy. It wasn't like him to take naps any more, he never wants to slow down. However, he took a couple for two days in a row. I took a few pictures, because I wanted to show my husband how worn out Andy was. When he started showing a slight fever, I was worried he was coming down with something. He had not had a cold or flu or anything in over a year and no one was sick that we knew of.

The next morning, Andy awoke with a fever of 104 degrees and was very irritable. It was a Saturday, and we went straight up to urgent care. I suspected an ear infection. The nurse practitioner said his ears, nose and throat were clear. She told me she'd like to take a chest x-ray. I was shocked. 

She said, "Sometimes when I see a kid come in with an unexplained fever, and nothing else is wrong, they end up having pneumonia". I contemplated having the x-ray, and was against any unnecessary radiation. I asked what would happen if I didn't get the x-ray. She said if it was pneumonia, the fever would stay high and he would start looking worse. I could come back in 24 hours and observe the fever if I was unsure, but antibiotics couldn't be given unless pneumonia was confirmed. I decided to go ahead with the x-ray right then. 

I'm glad we did, because he had pneumonia in his lower right lung. They ordered ten days of antibiotics. He continued to have a slight fever the entire course. At his follow up visit, they told me to bring him back in if his fever went above 100.3. They felt he appeared happy and wasn't tired and worn out anymore. They didn't repeat the x-ray, because they felt it unnecessary as he was "clearly on the mend". The doctor told me there was an "infiltrate" on the x-ray, and that it was most likely aspiration pneumonia. 

I recalled other parents of children unable to swallow food saying that their kids would get pneumonia whenever they tried to work on swallowing with their therapist. Some of them felt it wasn't worth it to keep re-visiting trying to eat food orally, when the repercussion would be pneumonia. A lot of the kids had to go through bad hospitalizations because of it as well. Luckily, Andy did not have to be hospitalized, and is doing great!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Waiting for school to start

We are waiting patiently for school to start. Andy has been home for July and August. He gets bored so easily and melts down. Now that I am almost 6 months pregnant, I am too tired to put Andy in the car and drive around for an hour. When we took him out yesterday for 30 minutes, it didn't really work that well. He just needs the structure of being back in school, which he loves. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Time to stock up on Huggies!

Now that I am pregnant again, I have been searching around for diaper deals. There is a coupon site that has been pretty good, Krazy coupon lady , and they also have a phone app. I am also looking around at all the diaper options, and I recall really liking the newborn Huggies, because they have the notch cutout for the umbilical cord. So, once I find the deals, I will be stocking up on lots of huggies !

I've decided that this time I will make things easy on myself, and have the diapers delivered right to my door. No more lugging around heavy diaper boxes with baby in tow. seems to be a pretty good option for diaper delivery. They offer free shipping over $49, which I will easily spend on monthly diaper needs. I also like their site, because they offer other products that I will need soon after the baby arrives, such as pantyliners, maxi pads, and breast-feeding supplies. I don't want to waste a bunch of time driving around trying to get these things, when they can be delivered right to my home.

I've also been looking around at mom forums for their opinions on diapers and deals, such as You can get some great honest opinions there on all things baby, and being a parent.   I also enjoy What To for pregnancy issues and concerns.  I feel that this time around as a new mom, I have lots of great new resources to work smarter instead of harder, and have more time to enjoy parenting.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Taking Andy to a party

We brought Andy's trusty headphones and iPod to my brother's house for a first birthday party. Andy needed to wear his headphones the whole time to keep from crying. We also sat him in a room with a few other people in it. The small kids mostly stayed in a different room at the back of the house. We fed him right there on the couch with his headphones on, and didn't try moving him to a table. The party had about 30 people, which can be chaotic for Andy, but the headphones help us to stick around.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

We are having another baby!

There are all kinds of emotions and thoughts we have about adding a new member to our family. We've been hesitant to have more children for years, due to our son being severely disabled. I found myself always feeling sad about having to suppress our wishes to have more kids out of fear of the unknown. The question of having more kids or not has been answered for us, and we are now expecting this Christmas. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

How I survive in public with my Autistic child

It's hard bringing Andy into stores because of his meltdowns, but I do it anyway. A way to make things better is to have Andy wear his iPod nano and noise-canceling headphones. Andy has a playlist with pop songs on it from artists like Black-eyed Peas, Kesha, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Meghan Trainor, Lady Gaga and Jason DeRulo. 

I took Andy to Ikea just a few days ago, we went for breakfast and to pick up a few things. Andy really enjoys riding around in the car, so he really enjoyed that part. I pushed his wheelchair into the store with no problem and we rode the elevator. I got our breakfast and put it the trays on the cart and dragged it behind us as we made our way to the table. Andy was good until he heard a woman sneezing behind us several times. Then the whining starts and his lip is sticking out. "Okay Andy, lets put on your headphones". I start playing his music, and he's fine during the next half hour of shopping. 

Next, I had to stop by my brother's house and they have a one and two year old. Andy had to keep his headphones on the whole time, because any peep he hears from the kids makes him cry. He stayed busy with a bead toy while we were there. 

The next day, I took him to an outlet mall for back-to-school shopping. The headphones were a lifesaver again. I charge them at night or in my car on the way there to make sure they'll last for several hours. Andy started whining in the first store we went into until I put his headphones on. 

We are going to the one year old's family birthday party this weekend, and I will definitely be bringing the headphones and nano! They were also very helpful at a camping weekend we just took. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

American Girl Store now open in Novi, MI

I got to go visit the American Girl store today with my daughter at 12 oaks mall in Novi, Michigan. We've traveled to American Girl stores in other states. This store is a temporary pop up store. It doesn't have a cafe, but does have a hair salon desk at the back of the store. The store will be open until January 31st, 2017. American Girl will decide later whether to have a permanent location in Michigan or not. We visited on the Monday after the opening weekend. We had about 15 people ahead of us in line at the check out, but we were able to just walk into the store. Opening day had people in a long line wrapped throughout the mall, and only those that got tickets could get in, a mall employee told me.

The store is located on the second floor near Nordstrom. The store also had changing rooms, books, rainboots and limited accessories for girls. Previously, if Michiganders wanted to visit an AG store, it would require a 4-5 hour drive to Chicago, or Columbus. Now that the store is here in Michigan, I'm sure tons of girls will want to visit, given a way shorter travel time. I would recommend visiting during the week, because this mall is normally very packed on the weekends, and so far the store is a huge hit. 

Sister time

Andy loves time with his sister. It's usually only at mealtime and barely ten minutes a day otherwise. I try to point out to my daughter how much Andy lights up and squeals when he sees her enter a room. She often doesn't want to be around him due to his frequent outbursts, and doesn't want to pay him attention when she's with her friends. 

Andy loves when she plays with him though, if she does. Andy loves toy pianos, and also likes to watch other people play the piano. She started playing it, then started singing, and he was thrilled. 

I know someone who grew up with an impaired sibling, and she tells me not to get on Gabby too much to pay him attention. She told me to just let her be with her friends and not drag her back to him, and make her spend time with him. I don't do that, but I do point out to her when he is ecstatic that she walked into the room, and could she say "Hi" to him for a minute? 

I don't see any harm in that. My daughter has explained to me that she doesn't want to be bothered when she's with her friends, and I understand that. But I don't want my son to live his life in the same house as his sister and they never interact. That isn't right. So, we at least have mealtimes together, and traveling in the car, and sometimes ten minutes of playtime when she's not too busy...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Keeping Andy entertained

Andy's been bored with summer vacation days when we are just sitting around at home. When we go to the campground this usually helps, but he had had meltdowns on the beach too. If he's had enough swimming or kids around him are yelling and squealing too much, he will break down. Today, everyone was worn out. He doesn't have structured activities going on and starts crying hysterically. I took him for a ride in the car in the evening, which he enjoyed, but I can only drive around for so long. He will love to be in school again. 

We will probably go on a couple more long weekends which should switch up his boredom for a bit. It's just hard because we run out of things to do with him,  and then everyone suffers the consequences.

His hair is the color of the sand! Here's some of his fun moments at the lake.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Andy enjoys half days at school through July

Andy is enjoying being able to go to school and see his friends through the next week. He loves the routine. After it's over, we will have to visit the beach more often and go out of town more to keep him busy. When he gets bored in the summer the crankiness gets bad. We've been going to the lake on the weekends, which he loves.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Perfect water raft for Andy

When I take Andy to the lake or beach, it is hard to keep him from reaching down and grabbing the sand and putting it in his mouth. He doesn't understand "no", and loves to put everything to his mouth except food. He only has to get a small amount of sand in his mouth before he will get an upset stomach from it. I like to sit Andy at the shore in a few inches of water and let him play with a water-filled bucket of toys. There is still a problem of him reaching down for the sand under the water and he wants to put it right in his mouth. So in the past, I have found that if I sit Andy in an inflatable raft with a floor on it and put water inside, he can sit in there and play in the water without access to the sand/rocks/shells. 

We have since found a better solution, which is a River raft. My inlaws picked them up for floating down the river, but they are perfect for Andy.  It is an inner tube with a mesh bottom on it. This way he can float in a few inches of water, and it doesn't have to be filled up. He doesn't have access to the sand and the rope around the tube can be tied to my chair  to keep him from floating away. They also have cup holders, which we used for his water.  It is a better alternative to him sitting in a chair in the water, because it keeps all his toys contained. He hasn't learned to throw them out of the raft yet. The one we bought is the Intex River Run inner tube. This raft can be found on Amazon, Walmart or Walgreens. We love it and so does Andy! 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Andy's camping

Andy loves being outside by the lake. We have a travel trailer/camper that we use in the summer. It's just the right size to accommodate Andy's wheelchair which we use to feed him in. We eat outside also and fold up and carry the chair outside. 

Yesterday, I laid out four outdoor blankets on the ground with Andy's toy piano on it. He played while my daughter was with her cousins in the paddle boat having fun. He will also play on the blankets while we are trying to grill food outside and stays happy and entertained. He also enjoys being driven around on the golf cart. My sister piles it up high with all the rafts for the kids. It's pretty funny! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Andy's 7th Birthday

It's Andy's 7th Birthday today! He brought goodie bags to school and had a great time. He came home and had a nice evening with us. It was a great day!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Andy's been happier lately

Here is Andy, in the driveway, putting his feet up on the back of the passenger seat. It makes him look like he's really enjoying the ride. He's been feeling better lately with less constipation. He's been happier. Things have been great with my daughter also. She's been less angry and we've been fighting less. Andy's 7th birthday is coming up in two weeks.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Ways to fit standing time in

I let Andy stand at the sink in front of me while I do the dishes and load the dishwasher. He enjoys playing in the water. I also have him stand at the sink for toothbrush time and hand washing after school. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Standing time

Getting some standing time in today while there's no school for the week.