Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Daniel

I have been thinking about this post for a long time without writing it. But I want to write it to share my thoughts about Daniel and some of the things we have been going through with him. Recently he was diagnosed with ADHD. Nothing life threatening for which we are grateful and in some ways the diagnosis is a blessing. I have always believed that ADD and ADHD were way over prescribed. But I never understood how disruptive it can be to a family and to a child.
Daniel has always been a loving and a happy child. Happy until we moved from VA to UT. Saying goodbye to Daddy, Aunt April, all his friends and familiar places was really hard on him. He enjoyed his time in UT but Lois and I were treated to a whole new Daniel while there, and he's never really gone back to the way he was. We were suddenly confronting major tantrums that would last forever! (Okay maybe it was only an hour or two but it was way too long.) He hates change and is supremely stubborn (Wonder where he got that from?:-) I literally would spend all day putting him back in time out. No reward or punishment system seemed to work for him at all. He has a hard time focusing on things, for a time he withdrew and it was starting to be hard to draw him out of himself. Potty training was a constant headache, and sensory issues have become a problem. There may possibly be other issues as well but for now we are working on the ADHD with medication and with play therapy.
From the first week the medication has helped. No more accidents with potty training, because he could concentrate enough to remember. While he still has emotional breakdowns (including a doosey today), I can reason with him better and bring him out of it much faster. Several days at the end of the day I looked at him and said "I'm so happy I get to be your Mom." Play therapy has been a gift from heaven. He LOVES going to play with "Miss Val" and is much better after playing with her for the rest of the day. She has helped me to come up with coping mechanisms to help teach him (and for me) that have helped a lot.
We have also had him tested with his speech. We've been concerned about it for awhile and I previously had him in speech therapy but the speech pathologist didn't seem to think he really needed it. This time the first tester caught on right away. He can say most of the sounds but when he says more than one or two words they all get jumbled. It's so bad that they have to reteach him how to speak. So he's now attending a "conversation classroom" twice a week. Everything they do is supposed to have something to do with conversing. We just started this week so we have yet to see how things will go with that.
What I really wanted to write about in this post though is how you grieve for the loss of your "perfect child". That grief is real. Even if the idea of your perfect child never was. All children have their issues at some time of their life I think and I've come to realize no matter the issues you face with a child that those issues aren't the child. When he's screaming and falling apart it's hard to remember that sometimes. My sweet lovable Daniel is still there, but he has to deal with some issues that are hard for him too. Several years ago I learned a truth that applies to Daniel too. I was mad at God at the time for placing a certain trial in my life for me to deal with. I was asking why do I have to deal with this? The thought came to me that I wasn't being punished. God loved me. I had chosen before I was born to take this burden on as I knew that it would help me grow. I firmly believe that before we came to earth we knew what our lives would be like and that we chose to come to earth with many of the trials we have now. You are born with things like ADHD, cancer, genetic diseases, no one did anything wrong. We decided to come to earth and be parents of Daniel who would have ADHD and that that was a trial we decided to take on because we knew it would help us grow. Daniel chose to come to earth with this particular trial. What we have to learn from that we have yet to learn.
No matter what, my sweet lovable Daniel is still there with his amazing laugh, his love of life and learning. I am grateful for the little man who both challenges me and brings me joy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Must read Blog Post for All Parents

I follow a blog about motherhood in Alaska and today's post should be shared with all parents and anyone who is involved with kids. So check out Scribbit and the post on "sexting". The author's brother sets down the legal ramifications of sexting. It's pretty scary. Even if your child isn't the culprit but just receives it they can be in trouble, or you finding it on their phone and giving it back to them- you could be in trouble. This is a very important issue that we should all be aware of. So check it out (Note, it doesn't show it's a link and it's not letting me change it, but click on the following words)- Sexting: One More Thing for Parents to be Aware Of

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Random pictures from Aunt April's visit

There will be at least two more posts about April's visit here, but I'm going to post all the random pictures in this one.

These are the wild blueberries we picked on "Flat Top" mountain. I wish we had brought the camera that day as the view was incredible. You seriously felt like you were in the scenes of Heidi or "The Sound of Music". It really fed your soul just looking at the view. We planted the kids literally on the side of the mountain laying down stuffing their faces with as many blueberries and crow berries as they could eat. I kept asking Daniel if he was asleep because he was laying there and I didn't hear anything from him. He was too busy eating! Definitely a place we will return next year. Though I think we will invest in blueberry pickers this time as the berries are really small like you would find in a blueberry muffin mix that you bought at the store. They are delicious though. About half of these we used and made into a couple of Lemon Blueberry cheesecakes that were DELICIOUS! The rest are sitting in my freezer waiting for that special occasion to pop them into something really good.




This one is Reagan really excited about the 7 bags of candy that "Aunty " brought with her for her and Daniel. I wish you could have all seen the scene at the airport when we went to get April. Reagan, Daniel and April couldn't have been happier. Everyone in the airport was enjoying the shear joy on their faces.


















Two cute little kids ready for church.






































This is at Potter's Marsh where we took April. She was really hoping to see Moose while she was here but unfortunately she didn't get too. (Probably the fact that hunting season started that weekend had something to do with it.) She did get to see Dahl sheep which were climbing the side of the mountain on next to the highway going out of town. They look a lot more like goats than sheep, but that's what they tell me they are.




Great food, not just good food is a must at all gatherings large or small of our family. Here we have homemade vanilla pudding fresh and steaming from the pot. YUM!










Aunty and Reagan enjoyed making chocolate ship cookies together.
























Daniel "waking up". He likes to pretend he's asleep when it's time to get out of the car.
















Rubbing the bear's belly for good luck on a trip downtown for music in the park. We enjoyed amazing Reindeer and Elk Gyro's. April said she needed to come downtown and have one a day while she was here they were so good. It was raining this day and it was pretty miserable. The kids were good sports but April used to the 100 degree weather back in Virginia was freezing with our 55 degree weather and rain. Luckily we broke our rainy spell about halfway through her trip (32 consecutive days of rain). Daniel and I had prayed the night before for sun. My son just really wanted to go to the park and play, and I really didn't think that it was uncalled for to pray for sun after that much rain. So we prayed. The next day was bright and sunny and Daniel woke up and saw it and said, "Mommy Heavenly Father made the sun! We were VERY happy.

Anchorage AK Temple





























I finally took the time to take the kids to see the temple here in Anchorage. If you haven't seen one of the small temples you would be surprised at just how small they are in comparison to other temples. This temple is a little bit hidden from the road unlike a lot of temples that are on hill for all to see. Driving by you have to be looking for it and really only see the angel Moroni. One of my favorite parts is the tile floor that is warmed. During the winter I just want to stand there basking in it's warmth. Daniel was really excited to be at the temple again. He really enjoys seeing the Angel Moroni on the temple, and he has looked for it on the temples since he was really little when we were in D.C.
Oh, and it isn't me in the pictures with the kids, it's my sister April who came for a visit (Yes, everyone says she looks like me. It's funny having a twin born 10 years later...)
In exploring the temple grounds we found an honest to goodness fairy ring. Who would have thought? Several of the mushrooms had been broken down but it was there. I've also never actually seen mushrooms like this. Maybe they are common up here? (Heck, after 32 days of straight rain I'm surprised we haven't all become mushrooms! (And yes I did just say heck. Thank you Grandma Lyman for teaching me that one!)) April was telling me that a friend of hers served his mission in Iceland and up there they firmly believe in "the little people". Let's see if I get this story straight- The little people came to be when Adam and Eve were alive. God had come down to visit them and Eve couldn't get all the children ready in time so she hid some of them. God asked her, "Eve where are all the children".
She replied, "They are here".
"These are all the children?"
"Yes."
And because these children were hidden they became "the little people". I thought it was a fun story if nothing else.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Elemendorf Air Show



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Yesterday we went to the Elemendorf Air Force Base Air Show. I was a little nnervous going with the kids as I went by myself with them as Paul had to work. It took an hour to get from the off ramp on to base and to where the parking was. The kids were almost asleep before we got there.

Daniel was really anxious to see the planes. Luckily they allowed us to go on a lot of the planes. His favorite thing was to try out all the different seats on the plane, buckle up and say, "I'm ready to go Mom!". He really like to see where Dad jumped out of the planes and helicopters too.
They got to climb in and go on all kinds of Army vehicles. You didn't need to buy your kids any souvenirs as there was so much being given away.

We spent about 2 hours there but we literally would have needed all day to see everything. When we got there the Canadian Snowbirds were flying. They are Canada's equivalent of our Blue Angels. The crazy roller coaster like flying would have definitely had me sick. We didn't see the Blue Angles yesterday but we did see them the day before when they were practicing. I swear the planes were touching as they were flying sideways. You have to have a death wish to be able to fly like that. I tried to get pictures and videos of the various planes flying but most of them didn't turn out.

Here we have the a Radar one that was really cool, you can see the dish spinning, but if you watch in the background you will see the Harrier Airplane. The plums of smoke that you see in the picture are from that aircraft as it was taking off. It actually burned the runway. video


Behind all these people are is a memorial for the Airmen who died in a crash last week up here on base. There were piles of flowers that people brought in and laid at the base of pictures and short biographies of the men.













It was a good day and we enjoyed ourselves until the fighter jests started flying. It scared the kids to death as they were SO loud. We had ear protection but apparently for Daniel that wasn't enough. Reagan once she got used to it was fine. Daniel wouldn't remove his hands from his ears until we got to the car.
The trip home was thankfully much faster as I had very tired kids.

Music in the Park












There is a park downtown that has live bands that play everyday during the summer. We have gone a few times and Daniel keeps asking to go more. So Wednesday in spite of the rain we went out to the park. Both the kids enjoy listening to the music and Daniel just climbs a tree and sits there and listens. Reagan can be induced from time to time to get out and dance. One of the times we went they were celebrating Canada day and they were giving out HUGE cupcakes which the kids had for lunch. It was a little strange being there celebrating Canada day in the U.S. Last week when we went it was an Air Force band called Top Hat. They were pretty good but a little loud. I was thinking we needed ear protection. They also have music at the Library on Tuesdays and while we haven't made it to that one we did make it to a little kids music party on Thursday. Reagan enjoyed the music but mostly she enjoyed picking all the flowers. That is one of her FAVORITE things to do. No flowers are safe from her. Guess she's Grandma Lois' girl. (Those are your pearls you gave her by the way Lois.)

Reindeer Anyone?

Thursday we went to Wild Berry Park. The main attraction was of course the reindeer. Its a family of reindeer that they bring down from the reindeer farm every summer for the park. I learned that reindeer were domesticated and the countries they are native to they are herded like sheep. They were introduced here but apparently the local population wasn't really interested in herding them. They would rather have the caribou which are slightly larger, in the same family and they don't require the maintenance like the reindeer. We were impressed that they let us come right in the pen and were happy to see us.

Inside one of the little cafe's there was this stuffed Polar bear which Daniel was enamored with.








There is also this huge 20 ft. statue shaped like a person. There is a native word for it- Inukshuk. These statues are apparently found frequently up here and apparently they are used to help people find their way, which if you think about it is a good idea when you are in the middle of no where and you are in multiple feet of snow.











A silly picture of us being caught by a bear.











And remember the world's biggest chocolate fountain? Well we had to stop in there as well.