Nov 26, 2012

We don't do things by halves!

Once upon a time, there was an amazing couple
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with three very attractive children

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See what I mean? Very attractive...

Anyway... this amazing couple were eager to go away to celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary. So they booked in at a caravan park at Port Broughton, packed up their caravan (newly repaired from a bingle with a pole) and headed out to the caravan park. The kids were all excited. The couple were all excited. Approximately 40kms away from their destination they heard and almighty BANG and then the feeling of the car shuddering. The woman looked out her window and saw sparks flying from under the caravan and the dude attempted to pull the car over. She got out of the car and took a look - the whole wheel was missing!!! WHAT??

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They looked back at the huge scrape of the road and saw the wheel a hundred meters or so back.
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This was not good. The caravan was taking up the majority of the lane. They didn't know what happened! A car approached, slowed down and three guys got out of the car, asking if we were ok. They were, but the caravan wasn't! They said they saw a policeman at the town  that they had just driven through and the blokes offered to go back and get him to help out. The couple thanked them and accepted their offer.
The couple assessed the damage. The wheel was cactus. The axle had seen better days and the new side that we had just gotten repaired had been given a dint by the wheel flying off! This was not good!! The couple glanced nervously at the field near the road, full of waving, ripe wheat. One spark from the wheel could have set that whole thing on fire! EEK! So the dude got on the phone with the insurance company to work out what our options were. The guys came back saying that they had found the policeman and he was on his way. One of the younger guys said "I'm going to pray with you, if that's ok" and he offered a simple prayer for help and guidance. The lady was gobsmacked! She had never seen anyone be so open with their faith with a perfect stranger before.

Then the policeman arrived. He assessed the damage and asked a few questions. He helped find a towing company for the couple and waited with the family for 3 1/2 hours, blocking the lane where the caravan rested until the caravan was taken away. The policeman seemed interested in their choice of name for their son, he said it seemed very Biblical - which it is! It turned out that he was a Christian man as well! He looked over the caravan and car and said that the couple were very blessed that the car didn't flip over, because he had seen many like this that had not turned out so well. The couple thanked the Lord that they were safe and unharmed.

Then the towtruck turned up and it kinda looked like this - red and blue flashes, with the orange, who needs Christmas lights eh?...
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What a shamozzle that was! It took a very long time to get it on the back of the truck because of the missing wheel. A few more things were broken and then finally after the dude helped the towie haul the injured caravan onto the truck.  Under police escort they had to drive back about 30 minutes to a major town, and dropped the caravan off at a wrecking yard/depot. Then they all headed back home again. The children were upset because their holiday didn't even start. The lady could have cried with them because she so desperately needed a break. So they decided they would look for a cabin in the morning and head back out. They arrived home at 1am. What a very long day!

The next morning the couple piled the kids into the car once more...
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This time they were headed to a completely different town...

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It was quiet, quaint and really what they needed.

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They had a whole beach to themselves.... I know.. rough right?

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(Malibu and pineapple juice - the perfect summer bevvy!)

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So in the end the couple celebrated their 12 years together, surrounded by sea water and having a quiet restful weekend. They were refreshed by the end, enough to gird their loins for the next few weeks of craziness that lays ahead for them.

Even though it didn't turn out so well for the caravan, they are blessed. Blessed to have met lovely people, blessed to have not had a more serious accident, blessed to have been given an opportunity to go away and rest and relax with their children. Yes. Blessed. God is good!

Nov 18, 2012

Sorting out Mop

Ever since Mop started school, I've had teachers telling me that Mop was struggling socially.
"Well she is introverted"
"She's younger than the rest of the class"
"You have to remember that she is young."
"She has an ASD brother"

But lately, her social issues have been blaringly obvious that something is wrong. She spits at people who crowd her and threaten her. She is happy to be alone, and has to be strongly encouraged to play with her friends. She has poor eye contact. She doesn't know how to talk to people, how to have a conversation, and she doesn't care less about people. Sounds harsh I know, but for those who are in the know, they are blatant warning signs of ASD. Because they haven't been so in your face signs like EJ's, she has flown under the radar and then when it suddenly came to light, it was like being hit in the face with a chair!

Last month she had an IQ test. She has rated "Very Superior" - the highest level on the kids IQ test. We always knew she was a clever clogs, but this shocked me. I didn't realise she was THAT smart. Her Psychologist said her particular strengths are in her memory. And because of this, we should look into getting an Savant Autism diagnosis.

I must admit, I don't know a great deal about this. All I know that it's autism with a gift and that it's rare. So we are in the process of waiting for that assessment.

So we are starting this stage all over again, but with a different child. Assessments are coming up over the first part of December.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree! Thy leaves are so unchanging...

This weekend we finally got the Christmas tree up. It was a wonderful, exciting time to spend Sunday afternoon as a family.

First of all we put the kids tree up. This is the tree that they are free to touch, play with, decorate and redecorate if they wish. They don't have the freedom to do that on the main tree, because some of the baubles are fragile or made of glass.

So here is us working on the kids tree.
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Here is us working on the main tree:

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Finished and at night time so it looks more impressive!

Tis the season folks! I don't feel very Christmassy unfortunately. I guess I've been so busy with other stuff that I just don't feel very festive. What stuff you might ask? Well that is a whole other post.

Nov 8, 2012

A catch up

Right! I really need to get back into blogging.

Last weekend it was my brother Pete's 30th. Him being the grown-up mature man that he is chose a very sedate and serene party place. Greenhills Adventure Park!! WOOOOHOOO!!!

Here are some snapshots of the day....

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Elijah on the quad bike. He did brilliantly and I was proud of him. He was about to lose it at one point when he crashed into the side and another rider overtook him, but he held it together and carried on and really enjoyed himself.
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We played some putt putt mini-golf.

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Here is Daz and I enjoying ourselves.

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This kids all enjoyed the waterslides - here is Milly on a junior waterslide.

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Caitlin on the moonbike.

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The race is on!! (we have a highly competitive family!)

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The view of the lake.

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Trying to launch off the paddleboats.

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The Mop and Molly (cousin) taking off - and Milly in the background drowning in her lifejacket.

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Milly riding in an electric car.

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Mop riding on the go-carts - and ended up crashed or stuck for the majority of her ride!! LOL

Because I am always behind the camera, you hardly ever see me enjoying myself, but I had lots of fun. I waded around in the kiddy pools, catching my younger nieces from the slide. I went down a huge bumpy slide, I paddled on a paddle boat and generally had a fantastic time.

Moving right along....
During term 3 school holidays we had some lovely days out. One particular time, Mum and I bravely took all three kids on the train and into the city and to the zoo. The kids love the train and they had a lovely day out. Mum and I were a bit disappointed with all the empty enclosures, but the kids barely noticed.
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A few weeks ago, we had a scare with Milly. Daz overheard her tell EJ that she had put something in her ears. Daz asked her about it and she admitted to putting polystyrene balls in her ears. I took her straight to the doctors and he took one look and said "I'm not touching them, take her to the emergency department". It was getting late, and I knew the E.D. was going to be full of drunks and drug overdoses - so I waited until morning. The nurse on duty took one look at them and sent us to the Women's and Kids hospital. Three very painful procedures later and a very sad Milly was referred to an Ears Nose and Throat surgeon. We saw him the next day and he took one look and said "She needs to have a general anesthetic to get them out." Two days later, Milly bravely climbed up onto the operating bed, and smiled up at the anethesist (sp?) as he popped a strawberry flavoured LipSmacker mask on her face and began to tell her a story. The anesthetic took a long time to take effect, and the story was drawing to a close, as the amount of anesthetic went up. Just as the story ended, Milly's eyes shut and I was able to give her a kiss and escorted back to the waiting bay. The nurse on staff sent us off to have some breakfast while we waited. I just got my last mouthful of breakfast in and we got a call saying that Milly was in recovery and wanting her Mummy. We couldn't believe how fast it was!! 20 minutes in and out!!

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Milly just about to go in to theatre

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Milly in recovery with her new toy that she got for being such a brave girl.

Then finally..... winter was over and we had a lovely warm spring day. What is the best way to spend a nice warm sunny spring day? HIT THE BEACH!!!!

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*Pant pant*! I think that is enough for today. Hopefully I can get back into the swing of posting more regularly now that life has quietened down for now. But more about that later.

Aug 15, 2012

2012 the year of the non-blogging

Well kids, when you get this blog all printed and looking lovely, you will notice a rather large hole where 2012 was. That's because your poor old Mum had so much on her plate, and her energies were invested into other things. When it came to having the creative capacity to write, I can assure you that I couldn't even muster up a paragraph.

Nothing much has happened this year. Really. It's just been trying to survive and trying to get EJ's therapy stuff done and working. But now I have a moment - I'll tell you some recent newsy stuff.

* Daz has a new job. - He was headhunted by another company and the perks were too good to turn down. He loves the work and he is excited by all the new challenges.

*Mop is in the school musical. We can't wait to see her perform at the end of the month.

* EJ is responding well to therapy - we are happy with his progress. Still a long way to go, but that's ok!

* Me - I haven't had time to breathe let alone do anything exciting. My role this year has been Mum and nothing else.

On Tuesday night EJ was feeling really sick and kept crying that he was going to puke. Then he started complaining of pain when he urinated and so after me having a bit of a prod found the pain was on the right side of his stomach. I took him to the hospital and they diagnosed him with appendicitis. After a traumatic time getting his cannula into his arm (4 people holding him down and one to put the tube in) we were transferred via ambulance to the Women's and Children's hospital. Elijah LOVED that! :) The ambo girls were entertaining him and playing with him to keep his mind off everything. Daz had to get the girls out of bed and bundle them up and drop them at my Mum's. I don't think they minded too much!
The surgeon at the WACH came in and tentatively diagnosed appendicitus, although she questioned his blood results and the enlarged lymph glands in his groin. She thought it could also be another condition that mimics the signs (quite convincingly!) of appendicitis which had to do with lymph glands. We were transferred to a ward and EJ was drugged up and put to bed. He was soooo cute! He lay in the bed, popped his thumb in his mouth and fell asleep immediately! I'm not surprised, it was 12:30 at night! I stayed with him in the ward on a tiny pull out cot. That night was the LONGEST night ever. The hours crept by. The nurse kept coming in every hour to check EJ's drip and fiddling around with the machine that beeped really loudly. The little girl in the cubicle over was restless and kept coughing. After 3am EJ was whimpering and crying and drawing his legs up to his stomach, so he got more drugs. He spat out the panadol when the nurse gave it to him, so I had to give it to him. :) Funny boy! He woke at 7 and he was less than happy to have the drip in his arm. Aunty Deb popped in after her shift at the hospital and cheered him up. She taught him how to play with the bed and chatted to him.
The surgical team came in to examine E again, and to talk about the surgery. The pain was not as bad as last night, and they were baffled. The head of surgery was sure it was EJ's ASD causing confusion and possibly confusing his sensory input and output plus he was very obviously drugged (slurred speech etc). They dressed him in a surgical gown and they were ready to take him into surgery that morning. The surgeon who saw us the night before was a bit dubious about EJ's lack of sharp pain though - she still thought that the lymph gland could be the culprit. We were taken to the radiology department and E had an ultrasound on his appendix. What they found was that yes, E had an inflamed appendix, but it wasn't inflamed enough to remove. He also had enlarged lymph glands on his bowel that may or may not be irritating that appendix.
After all this E had had enough. He was tired, cranky, hungry because he was nil by mouth until the surgeons could come up with something. He started to meltdown like a pro. :) And I am so incredibly grateful that he did. The surgical team got a bit more compassionate instead of treating him like a body part. The hospital team felt sorry for him because he just couldn't handle it anymore. The doctors rustled up a wheelchair for the boy and sent us out on the play deck. The sunshine, fresh air and the activities that kids in wheel chairs could do cheered the boy up a lot! We shared an iced coffee and played and looked at the art and water fountain for a while. When the surgeon came in late in the afternoon, they found a very cheerful and happy boy. I asked if we could take him home so he could sleep in his own bed and be in an environment that he felt safe and happy in. They wanted to keep us in overnight for observation, but I asked if we could observe him at home and if he got bad again, I would bring him back. The surgeon thinks that it's a 50/50 chance it could flare up again in the next 48 hours and he would need the op. The other surgeon thinks it's the lymph nodes causing problems.... whatever... you two can debate all you like.

Today he's doing better. His stomach is tender, but not in excruciating pain like the day before. He slept well and didn't need panadol overnight so that is a good sign. We will keep him home for the rest of the week and let him rest and relax. The bad news is that our camping trip that we had planned to do this weekend has been cancelled. But the good news is that so far, so good. Another thing - we decided early on not to tell EJ that he was going to have an operation, we thought that would terrify him. We were just going to take him in and get him put under and explain later. I'm glad we did that!! Imagine all that terror and anxiety for nothing!

Jul 29, 2012

Better late than never!

Happy 9th birthday to my beautiful big girl!


We had a birthday party for her on the weekend - an Arty Party, where she and her friends were able to do all sorts of arty projects. They all had a wonderful time, especially the birthday girl!


Mar 14, 2012

Remember me?

It's been a long time between posts, but I have a good excuse, I promise! Since EJ was diagnosed with ASD, we have been so flat out organising therapists, and then seeing those therapists for assessments and the like. Then trying to work out what areas we want to deal with first, and then proceeding with actual therapy. I feel like I have just come up for air. *pant pant!*

Things are starting to settle down a bit. EJ's routine has become part of the normal routine. I fit everything else around it. My days are busy, but doing different things now and it's all ok. I'm happy and enjoying life still. I'm still doing things I love and enjoy. I am learning to balance work, play, caring, mothering, wifeing etc. I am juggling well... just don't throw another ball in! :)

So what's happening?

Daz - doing well, plodding along as usual.

Mop - 8 and a half and freaking me out! Her legs are long, her body is tall, and she carries herself in a really different way now. She is fast becoming a young lady. Her face is looking older, and she is growing up so fast. Not too fast thankfully which is nice!
She had some issues with bullying (she the victim) which has been happening for some time, and I was showing the perpetrator some grace while she received counselling for this bullying. On day two of the school year Mop was down, quiet and withdrawn because she had been bullied again by this child. This Mama had had enough! So I went down and sorted it out with the teacher. This bully got dealt with quite quickly and firmly which is great, and Mop has regained confidence and her enthusiasm for school and friends.

Milly - aka Miss Chatterbox. Seriously my ears sometimes bleed because she talks SOOOOOO much. She's a darling though. She is a social butterfly and likes to "go out" and see people and play with friends. She doesn't like Wednesday, which is my one and only at home day and looks forward to when her brother and sister come home from school. She is growing up fast too, it only feels like yesterday she was a tiny little bubba.

EJ - he's doing well overall. As I type this, he is hanging upside down on the barstool while he eats his dinner. LOL. He has a fantastic teacher this year who seems to be doing the right thing - he comes home a lot calmer than he did last year, and she is a very dear and sweet girl. I like her - sometimes when I come to the class to pick EJ up for different therapies, she is on the floor with the kids, teaching them or doing some sort of activity. EJ likes going to his therapists which is good, considering they deliberately push his buttons to make him react a certain way or to do things he doesn't want to do. He likes leaving school at lunchtimes to go and see them and do something different. EJ knows he has Aspergers, we gave him a book "All Cats Have Aspergers" which the first time he read it, laughed so hard he nearly pee'd himself! By the second time, he knew that HE had Aspergers. When he behaves in his quirky little way, he explains it by saying "I have Aspergers". Earlier on he asked "Why do I have Aspergers?" so we told him that God thought that EJ would make a great kid with Aspergers, and that it wasn't a sickness, it was just different and special. God chose him because He knew that EJ could change the world with his incredible gifts and way of seeing the world. He seemed happy with that.

Me - Doing well. I have an inner joy and peace about my life for this year and I'm not phased in the slightest that I seem to run around all the time. It's ok.

I thought I would just quickly post, I don't want anyone to think I've died or anything. I am just so incredibly busy doing other things, that writing this blog has been put on the back burner.