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Growing Up

Nate started his junior year of high school this year. It’s starting to sink in that we have limited time with him at home. He is busy with football. He has left the sport of soccer to become a kicker for his schools football team. He loves it and is in hot pursuit of becoming a college kicker. I am so proud of his success. Still struggling to wrap my head around him growing up.


Noah started his second year of pre-school. He continues to improve his speech. He has speech therapy in a group twice a week at school and has one on one therapy once a week. Receptive and expressive language gets better each day. He still struggles at times but he continues to amaze me with he sweet demeanor. He is so loving and happy. I love to see him learning and growing into such a big boy. It’s hard to believe that is will be 4 in just a few weeks!

Quinn is our little fire cracker! She is strong willed and has a big personality. She keeps me on my toes all the time! She is a Mama’s girl and has a hard time being away from me. At her 15 month check up she was a little behind with her speech so the pediatrician recommended us starting her in a Mothers Day Out program to help her socialize with other children her age. The first few weeks were hard but she now loves her teacher and has adjusted so well. Her speech is now booming and she’s saying new words all the time. We volunteered for her to participate in an Autism Sibling Study at Vanderbilt University. She has brought so much joy to our family. She’s our curly haired cutie and we all love her so much. 

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New adventure of single parenting

Life has been a little tough lately. No Leslie and I aren’t splitting up. But I have been functioning as a single parent for the past 7 weeks. We are officially in our last year of medical school and with that comes residency audition rotations.She decided to do 5 away residency auditions. Each of these are 4 weeks long and are all at hospitals that she could potentially become a resident next year. Her travels will take her to Michigan, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Ohio, then back home to finish up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

While she’s been gone I have all three kids to manage by myself. Luckily Nate is old enough to mostly take care of himself minus making him meals and staying on him about laundry. But man Noah and Quinn are quite the handful this summer. With Noah out of school I’m trying my hardest to get out and do something everyday. Somedays it’s big stuff like trips to the zoo or splash pad but most days it’s just little stuff like going to the pool or to the park to play. Most days I feel great and enjoy my time with the kids but around 5 everyday I start to feel sad that Les won’t be coming home. This is the longest we’ve ever been away from each other in the nine years we’ve been together and it’s been hard on both of us.

I planned to make trips to see Les during her rotations. In June I made a 7.5 hour drive with the kids to Michigan. We were there for 3 days and it was just nice to be together again. 



It was a short 3 days but we enjoyed every minute of our time together. 

After Michigan she made a quick trip home before heading up to New England for her month in Rhode Island. 

After three weeks away the kids and I were ready to see mommy. So we took to the skies to go see her. I was beyond anxious to fly alone with 2 kids but I was determined that I could handle it. 

We had a full week to be there in Rhode Island and it was so nice to have so much time together. We had so much fun. We went to the beach on Block Island, Providence Children’s Museum, the Mystic Aquarium and site seeing around Providence. 

The trip to New England was fantastic. I surprisingly like it so much more than I thought I would. Traveling alone with the kids was stressful but I survived. 

Les is off to Tulsa, Oklahoma right now and it will be a long few weeks since we won’t be visiting her there. Thank goodness for FaceTime!

Adjusting to being home alone with the kids is still taking some time but I know it will be worth it in the end. Just 8 months to go until we have completed this journey of medical school. We’re really looking forward to having this behind us.

~M

parenting, Uncategorized

Keeping my Sanity

Being a mom is an amazing job. Its a very rewarding job. It’s a selfless job with very little recognition. There are no yearly evaluations or raises. I’m lucky enough that I can stay at home with our kids during the week and only work weekend nights.  This is something I have chosen and I know it’s not for every mom. I enjoy it but there are days that it can be a very lonely gig. Sure I have my kiddos but I still long for adult conversation and interaction. I’ve learned over the years that there are a few things that I need to do to keep me sane. 

So here is my short list of things I do.

1. Scheduling play dates are a must. It doesn’t always have to be something big like a trip to the zoo. Even a play date at a friends house is refreshing to be out socializing with another adult. 

2. Rotating toys and books! I keep toys and books out all the time but I’ve learned that toys and books that have been put away for a few weeks are treated like brand New when I bring them out.

3. Taking time for myself when the kids are napping. I used to take this time to get things done around the house but now I take this time to read, do yoga, watch something on the DVR, calling and chatting with a friend without distractions or just enjoy a cup of warm coffee without being interrupted.

4. Letting the kids watch a movie or play on the iPad for a while. I used to feel guilty for putting the kids in front of the TV or iPad but now I realize that if this is something that can give me some time to get things done around the house it’s ok!

5. Getting a babysitter at least once a month so we can go on a date or just go to dinner without the kids.

These are just a few of the things that help keep me enjoying my life of being a stay at home mom. 

~M

autism, lesbian family, supportive, Uncategorized

Making Autism Look Good

April is Autism Awareness Month and I have to take a minute to talk about our sweet boy and his journey.

Three years ago I knew very little about autism. We didn’t know that 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism, boys are 4 times as likely to have it and early intervention is key. I had all the typical assumptions that autism was a disorder where the child made no eye contact, had melt downs, non social, not affectionate, and a child locked inside themselves. The truth is that autism can present itself differently in every child diagnosed. We have learned Noah is all about eye contact, has very few melt downs, is very social, extremely affectionate, and is not locked inside himself at all. But we did learn that he had many of the classic early signs of autism.

Noah was a happy and healthy baby. He was developmentally on track and met all of the milestones that each baby achieves in the first year. When it came time for his first words we waited patiently but they never came. He babbled a lot but still no words. This was our first sign that something was wrong but just assumed that he would just start talking in his own time. Our next sign was that he did not answer to his name.We thought that he was just ignoring us and being stubborn. At one point we even thought that he might have a hearing deficit. Then our next sign was when we noticed he wasn’t playing with toys like other kids his age he was fixated on lining them up and organizing them by color or size. He wouldn’t point to anything he wanted. He wouldn’t mimic our sounds or facial expressions. He couldn’t understand simple directions and it would always upset him when he couldn’t do what we were asking of him. Large crowds and loud environments seem to overwhelm him. He loved to dump everything he could get his hands on: cups of water, baskets of clothes, boxes of toys, etc. He would him or sing the tune over and over again to songs he had heard on movies.


 
 At his 2 year check up my heart sank as we answered no over and over again to the questions that they asked about what he was able to do and say. Realizing just how far behind he was developmentally. I remember crying as we left his appointment thinking this was something that I could have prevented or done more as a mom to help him. But the truth is that there is nothing I could have done. We were referred to our states early intervention program. They came to our home to evaluate him and  determined that he had significant development and speech delays.  He also had sensory processing problems. We began speech, occupational, and developmental therapy. We slowly started seeing progress. Two months before his 3rd birthday we finally received his official diagnosis of autism.

 They strongly encouraged us to put him in blended pre-K class at our local elementary school. As hard as that was we did it and he has just bloomed since then. He is talking more and more. He knows his colors, shapes, letters, and numbers. He can identify body parts and animals. He still struggles with expressive and receptive language but we are making progress. He can tell us when he wants to eat or wants a drink now but has trouble telling us other things that he wants or needs. If he has injured himself somehow he cannot tell you what hurts or where he is hurting. He is getting better at understanding directions and things that we are asking of him but that is still a daily struggle.
Being a parent of a child with special needs is something I never imagined I would experience but here we are. It’s our new normal. We celebrate all of his progress and all of his successes no matter how small they may be. We don’t take for granted that he is such a loving and sweet soul. We adore him and would never change him.

We are beyond thrilled with his progress and know the reason he is doing so well is because of early intervention! I can’t say enough to parents about seeking answers when you see red flags. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for our little guy! We know he’s going to do great things and continue to teach us about the beauties of autism!
***He still sings all the time. He loves singing his ABC’s, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and many other nursery rhymes. I’ve added a few short videos of him singing and talking.

 

 

 


~ M

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We Survived One Year!!!

Well this is really delayed but here it goes. Quinn turned one on March 13th and I could not ask for a sweeter girl. As cliche as it is this year with our girl has gone by so fast. 

We had a sweet little party for her at my sisters house with a few friends and family. We did a simple girly pink theme. She was beyond adorable in her pink tutu!  

    
   
  
She loved her big cupcake and had no trouble digging right in! Haha! Our girl has never missed a meal! 💗

  
  
She still loves her big brothers and they love her! 

   

   
The next week we went for her one year check up and on trend this girl is still in the 90th percentile in all areas. She was 25 lbs and 31 inches tall. She refuses to sit on the table during her check up. She wanted to show off her big girl standing skills. 

 
She has one big personality. Loves to laugh and smile. She can be quite demanding and has no trouble using her screaming voice if you aren’t fast enough with what she wants. Haha! She loves sleeping with her blankey and drags that thing around after waking up.  

 
We can’t get enough of our girl and we all just love her to pieces. 

  
Life without her would be pretty dull. Happy One Year Miss Quinn Marie.

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We Survived 11 Months!

   
   
Holy cuteness our little girl is 11 months old!!! She weighs in at 24 lbs and is 28 inches tall. She is wearing mostly 18 month clothes. She loves to scream at the top of her lungs for any and every reason. 

   
    
    
   

She is so close to walking alone. She can take a few steps unassisted but doesn’t quite have her confidence built up enough to just roll on her own. 

She has mouth full of teeth so we made our first trip to the dentist to have a cleaning and check up. She was so good! Went much smoother than I had thought it would.

Can’t believe that my next post will be her turning 1. Wow. This year has just flown by.