Saturday, March 14, 2009

Warm Weather

The weather is finally starting to warm up and we're able to play outdoors again. Hip, hip, hooray! I really hated being cooped up all winter. Of course, we went out and played in the snow sometimes, but it's been cold and I'm really a wimp when it comes to the cold. Warm weather also means more pictures of the kids - outdoor shots are always the most fun. Jaden has just learned how to ride his bike (sans training wheels) and Noah also learned how to ride the little bike. Which means that Danielle got a new (well, pre-owned) bike of her own. Everybody wants to ride as often as possible. Today we rode to the park and enjoyed the warm day!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Year Home

Next Wednesday, we'll be celebrating Noah being home with us for one year. It's hard to believe. This year has been such a crazy rollercoaster ride. I'm not going to lie - some of the twists and turns have been painful. I haven't always been sure I was going to make it to the end in one piece either. Luckily, God has been my safety belt, and He won't ever fail.

So, here we are, one year later and I'm finally feeling a sense of peace. A sense that not only is this God's plan for us (which I've always felt), but that I'm up to the task at hand. We can do this, we really can!!

We're settling in. I honestly never thought it would take a year to be able to truly say that. But, sometimes life doesn't meet our expectations. It's taken time for Noah and I to let go - to give up the constant struggle for control that dominated his first months home. It's taken time for me to open my heart completely to my sweet, funny boy. And I think it's taken time for him to open his little heart to me - to seek love from his family rather than broadcasting out overwhelming, desperate pleas for affection that seemed to be aimed toward anyone at all. We're both starting to trust that this truly is right. And once we trust that, it can actually start to feel right.

Noah's developmental issues are still there. He's still dealing with the sensory issues, but we've been going to a great occupational therapist who is giving us lots of great tools to help him. For example, we've been doing a technique called brushing with him and this seems to help calm him. His speech is still significantly delayed, but we are making great progress thanks to speech therapy at school and through private therapy. We've been working on full sentences ("I want the ball please" instead of "Ball please"). Tonight, Scott and I rejoiced at the sound of Noah correctly pronouncing his name ("Noah" rather than "Woah"). Rejoiced!! You should have seen how proud he was. He was so happy with our reaction that he just kept saying, "Again!" and then he'd say it one more time for one more whoop of joy. Pronunciation is only one small aspect of his speech problems, but there's something special about him mastering his name. It seems like a true milestone. We're definitely making progress.

In the meantime, Jaden has been officially diagnosed with ADHD. We were really trying to avoid putting him on medication, but finally broke down in January and decided to do it for now. We have been on a special diet for the past 9 months that has really helped him a lot (absolutely no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives). I am now an absolute believer that the artificial junk in our foods is completely unhealthy. We changed our diet for Jaden, but it had unexpected results for us as well - I got a stomachache every night for years, but this completely went away when we took out the artificial ingredients from our diet. And Scott found that he gets many fewer headaches now. Unfortunately, while Jaden was doing really well at home, he was still having a lot of focus and behavioral issues at school that we just couldn't solve. The medication seems to be helping a lot, so we'll leave him on it for now and revisit some other options over the summer. Add a few more loops to that rollercoaster that I mentioned earlier. :-) But, really, I'm just so thankful for my sweet, creative, imaginative boy. ADHD or not, he has something special.

And then there's Danielle, who always gets the least amount of mention just because she's so, well, normal. Okay, she has her quirks (it took us over a month to convince her to take most of her Christmas presents out of their packaging), but in general, she's your average lovable 4-year-old girl. She just stopped sucking her thumb, which makes us incredibly proud. Apparently, she was just ready now, because nothing we did before ever got through to her, but this time she pretty much quit cold-turkey. See, miracles do still happen!

Kids are such a blessing. I just can't imagine my life without these three little faces, these three little personalities. And I know the roller coaster ride isn't over yet. I'm sure there will be another stomach-lurching drop around the corner. But for right now, I'm going to just enjoy this gently curving piece of track and be happy. And trust that God's controlling the ride.