Thank you all for sharing in the lives of our three amazing children- Mairead, Jack, and Ben. We hope you visit often!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Where it all began..

Well, I guess that it technically all began in the Yellow cafeteria at Brockton High School (a school that is now finding some much-deserved recognition for the efforts of teachers and students over the past few years, by the way). But officially, this family began on October 8, 2006, when Dave and I were married. We were surrounded and supported by family and friends, and we know we continue to have that support today. While I wish that every day could be that much fun, and that I could wear my beautiful dress again, I couldn't ask for more than we have now. Three amazing children, a happy marriage, an incredible extended family, and friends that we treasure. Thanks to all of you for being part of our wedding and of our marriage.

Sigh. I just love my dress.

Ok, how crazy is this picture?!? I had forgotten about it. It's me, in my wedding dress, holding a toy that Rachael had handed to me. It's a crib with twin babies inside. Spooky, huh?

I LOVE this picture of my parents- they look so great and so happy.

The original four, plus one... how lucky we are to keep adding siblings as everyone finds someone to share his/her life with.

Thanks for letting me share my pictures-- again-- I could look at these all day! I have, in fact, already spent too much of today doing so... time to get back to work!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Stroke Clinic Appointment

Good and bad. The bad started with traffic for 90 minutes and Mairead being in no mood for the doctor when we got there. She was cooperative with the resident who came in first and seemed to like her a lot, so things started out well. Then, the doctor came in and things started to go down hill a bit. Mairead didn't warm up to him, and was getting sick of being there by that point. So, we are in this tiny room and he is asking her to do stuff, and this leads to tantrum/shut down mode. I can't blame her THAT much after being in the car for so long, being patient in the waiting room, being good with the resident, etc, but she has GOT to learn more patience for being someplace she doesn't want to be. Anyhow, I digress..

The good- he is very willing to help us. He said he will call the developmental medicine center and see if they can bump us up on the waiting list (right now, we are looking at sometime in March). He will write a letter for insurance and the schools emphasizing her need for OT, PT, and speech, and relating these needs to her specific diagnosis (and in his opinion, disability), and he agrees that I should take her to a neuropsych for more testing. He wants to help, he agrees with what I have done so far, and he seems to listen to me.

The bad- about her language/comprehension, he said, "based on her MRI, I would not expect to see this level of dysfunction, so I have concerns there." Ouch. I literally felt my stomach turn when he said this. In other words, he can't really explain why she has this level of delay with language and comprehension, so he is not quite sure what to do about it. I know that sometimes an MRI just doesn't show a good 'reason' for a person's disability, but this was still not ideal news. He is going by the results of her IFSP and the LAP (done by the schools) which put her at about a 12 mos delay. The developmental pedi we saw says he doubts that is accurate because he believes her receptive language to be better than that. So, the 12mos delay is too much for neuro guy to be comfortable with, but 12mos may not even be accurate. Does that make sense?

I was afraid he was suspecting ASD and was not telling me, so I brought it up and said, "No specialist or therapist who has seen her believes that she should have an ASD diagnosis." The resident is nodding her head in agreement as I say this. I then said, "So, if it's not Autism, and you don't think it's the stroke that is causing this, then what is it?"


He didn't immediately answer, but then said that is why I need to go to the developmental medicine center and the neuropsych because they do more comprehensive evaluations, we'll go from there, etc, etc.

I don't even know if insurance will pay for any of this. They told me a long time ago that they WOULD cover a neuropsych eval, but that was before they started denying all of this other stuff, so now I am wondering if they still will or if I will get the run around again. I strongly doubt that they will cover the developmental medicine center- it is a 4 hour appt with a team of specialists... I can only IMAGINE what that costs since my neuro guy bills out at $1,200 per hour. This is something that is very important to us, though, so we are going to do everything we can to make sure that this happens for her. It still just blows my mind that getting care for a kid with a legitimate diagnosis is this difficult. It really makes me feel for parents of children with needs that are much more profound, and who have to fight for every little thing.

In other news, I am going to meet with an advocate next week to try to convince the school department to place her in a preschool setting. When I spoke with her on the phone the other day, she was pretty much instantly offended that Mairead was not getting more services, so I hope that means she will be an asset for us. I have also recruited Mairead's former Occupational Therapist from EI to do some private sessions. This should be great since Mairead knows and likes Ashley and Ashley will come to the house for the same price I would pay for a co-pay at a rehab center. So, the silver lining to the insurance company denying our request for OT is that we get Ashley to come back!

Side note- when I got home, I found that my mom had let the boys use markers (they are allowed to do this) and that Jack had drawn on Ben's forehead (they are not allowed to do that).

Right now, Ben is wandering around saying, "Daddy? Daddy," while Jack is moving a little chair from room to room. Mairead is coloring upstairs so that her brothers cannot steal her new crayons.

Oh, and I have a Top Donut problem. We were about 100 yards from it yesterday and Mairead piped up from the back seat. "Ice coffee, Mommy?"

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quick Trip to Parlee Farms

This weekend, we had a special visit from Aunt Ry, Uncle Dave, and Rachael. Aunt Ry has had to work the past few weekends and they just needed a little break, so they came to enjoy the foliage and visit us! We love to see Mairead and Rachael play together, so we were thrilled that they could spend some time with us. We were so busy chasing kids, though, that I didn't get any pictures!

Thanks for visiting us, we hope to see you soon!

After our visit ended on Sunday morning, we needed a way to get out and enjoy the beautiful fall weather. Luckily, some friends had planned a trip to Parlee Farms and we were able to join them at the last minute.

Mairead loved the goats- she has no fear of animals at all and just runs right up to them. Jack hung back a bit and wanted me (or Becky) to hold him, and Ben mostly just ran around saying, "I see puppy." Jack was too funny with our friend, Becky. I was holding both boys so she offered to help and took Jack. He literally studied her face for a minute and then snuggled into her shoulder, so he must have decided that she was ok.

Ailish's dad helped her to feed the goats.

The kids spent pretty much the entire outing running in three different directions. Unfortunately, this did not leave a lot of time for Mom and Daddy to chat with their friends. We apologize to them for being MIA most of the time!

Jack did not really see why it was so great to take handfuls of hay and throw them in the air while older children jumped over us as they ran over the haystacks.

Ben, of course, DID see the value in throwing the hay and loved it.

Ummm, still not seeing it.

Mairead thought it would be fun to cover Daddy with the hay.

This looks like a cute picture of Mairead sitting in a field. It is actually a picture of Mairead sitting in a field where she is not supposed to be, and refusing to come with her mother. Sigh. I feel like we always look inept as parents while we are chasing them all over creation. I try to remember that most parents don't have three kids so young, and that Mairead's communication issues make things harder, but still... even fun family days are hectic.

Thanks to the Donahue and Luz families for being so understanding about our having to run all over the farm to chase kids. We would have loved to spend more time with you and your adorable kids!