Friday, January 30, 2009

Nathan Update

So anyone who follows this blog or has the personal joy of knowing Nathan knows that we've been struggling for some time with how to, for lack of better words, parent him. He's so different from Ava and nothing that worked with her works with him. Here is a small excerpt from a report I sent to the FDA after struggling to control his asthma and figuring out the Singular was definitely not working for him. It's long, but I've put it in here for posterity's sake.


My son began taking Singular (Montelukast Sodium) once a day pills for pediatric use in Oct of 2008, following an asthma attack that resulted in our visiting the emergency room for 2 consecutive days. He was on the pills for over 2 months, along with daily Pulmicort Respules and occasional Xopenex treatments, both taken by nebulizer. His symptoms cleared up and he did not have any significant asthma attacks during the time was on the Singular.

While using the Singular we experienced severe mood issues, much more than related to the normal "terrible twos". He stopped sleeping at night, waking for up to 3 hours in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep, even if we laid by him or tried helping him settle. He also had extreme rage and aggressiveness, constantly scratching us and the baby, headbutting and biting occasionally. We visited our pediatrician concerning these behaviors and she discussed several restraint holds we could use with him, none of which were effective. He also had extreme agitation and jumpiness and seemed like he was crawling in his own skin. He wasn't able to sit still to read books or watch a movie. He also suffered from an outbreak of some sort of hives or bumps, which were severely itchy and seemed to bother him most at night. He scratched them until they bled most nights. We treated them with a steroid creme and also for scabies but they remained for over 2 months.

He also exhibited unusual fear and anxiety over normal things, such as the cars in the parking lot and had terrible meltdowns and tantrums with extreme screaming periods. In short, he was almost unmanageable and a severely different child from the one we had before he began taking the Singular.

We went to see his asthma specialist (independent of the pediatrician that placed him on the Singular) and when we told her these symptoms she told us to take him off Singular immediately. The results were amazing. That night he slept the entire night through and his behavior the next day was markedly different. He stopped headbutting, scratching the baby and biting. He became much more reasonable and we were able to logic things through with him. His fears seemed to vanish over the next few days and the meltdowns and tantrums turned much more typical for a 2 yr old. Over the past month his behaviors have drastically changed, and while he is still a 2 yr old boy, he is definitely more like the child we knew before the medication.


I'm so happy to say, Nathan has done a total change for the better and he's so much fun to be around now. He's happy, he's playful, he's cute and he's potty trained. Yep, in the past week, he's decided that he does want to go in the potty and he's pretty much done it all himself. This may be why I'm feeling like writing about him right now since he's definitely on my good side.

His favorite pasttimes are singing, cutting with scissors, riding his tricycle, playing pretend animals and cars with Ava, and eating anything and most everything. Today on the way home from church he was singing " Cun-tee (country) Road's take me home, to the pace I belong - West Aginia (virginia), mama rock me, Cun-tee Boy, take me home". This is a mix of his three favorite songs (Country Roads and Thank God I'm a Country Boy by John Denver and Wagon Wheels by Old Crow Medicine Show) but it's the cutest thing to see him belt it out in the backseat. Another favorite song is "Jingle Bells, oh it's too fun to ride in a one horse sleigh". And today at lunch he ate almost an entire avocado by himself. Weird, but cool by me, and definitely Nathan.

He's quite a introspective little guy and has the greatest insight into life's mysteries. If we ever lose anything he's quick to bring us the item, although most of the time it's just an imaginary one that he's conjured up to hand us so we won't be sad. He's very sensitive and cries when he thinks anyone is mad at him... but he hasn't figured out that if he listens and does what we ask when we ask it then we won't need to get upset with him. He tells me frequently "Don't be fus-tated with me, Mama".

I've started calling him buddy and he thinks that's pretty cool, unless he's pretending to be something else that day. Tonight it was an elephant and I got in trouble if I asked the real Nathan anything, I needed to address the Elephant. He's also started calling me "Mommy" in a whiny voice I can't stand so I call him " Natey" back in the same voice. He tells me constantly that he's not my little boy, but he is Dada's big boy. And he loves telling Lias that he's his big bruzzer. Every morning he runs into my room, climbs on my bed and announces to Lias that "hea's you big bruzzer. did you sleep good last night baby boy?" May the terrible twos be over for good!! Welcome back Na-ten!!!

Look for an Ava update soon too, in case anyone was starting to think that I'm playing favorites.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fabulous Friday

Me and Jayme (the mom to all these adorable boys) worked our tails off on Friday, searching my house high and low for good lighting to try a Valentines Day photo shoot with our kids. I think we did a pretty good job considering that between the two of us, we've got 6 kids under the age of 4 1/2. I realized the other day that I liked hanging around these guys so much cause with a 4 1/2 yr old and almost 2 yr old twins, their lives are just as crazy as mine, if not more. Now if we actually use the pictures for the cards we'd like to make then I'll really be impressed.

I'm trying to use my Photoshop Elements that I got for my birthday but I think there's a little bit of a learning curve. I'm not quite happy with these yet but it's about as good as I think I'll get in the 30 minutes I steal here and there to play with them. Does anyone know of any good online Photoshop classes? And does anyone know if Photoshop Elements will support any actions that you can download free online? I've found a bunch for the CS2 version of Photoshop but, alas, I just can't justify or afford that yet. However, I just signed up for a digital photography class next month at the local highschool and I have high hopes that I'll actually learn how to use my fancy camera. Then maybe I can talk myself into the real deal Photoshop.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Life as we know it (this week at least)

The mighty fighter of the cold and provider of heat...

......kinda. The stupid furnace keeps shutting itself off so John has to get up a few times each night to push a button so the heat will come back on. But he and his guys have been working on it all week - they're learning a lot and haven't blown us up yet (even though there was a VERY loud bang down there yesterday). And it's the coldest week in Virginia in like 20 years. Go figure.

The messy and twerpy eater of vanilla wafers...

.....Lias. He's 7.5 months and 24 lbs and the kid won't eat anything yet. He snacks on like 9 cheerios every morning and thinks that constitutes a meal. I'm getting sick of being this kids main source of nutrients. But I found something he will eat the other day - he snarfed down 3 vanilla wafer cookies in like 2 minutes and now he's got a rip, roaring red bum to show for it. I guess we'll go back to trying the normal baby foods.

"I'm innocent, I swear.."

The builder of handmade boxes and no hardware -only joints and pegs -tables and such......

....John and Dan (John's bigger little brother) who visited for the holidays. John and he had fun working in the woodshop until the wee hours of the nights and made some pretty cool stuff for us. Here's my new sewing table that got utilized for a kitchen table for awhile and Nathan's new toy box to hold all his airplanes and cars.

The maker of yummy pies and bigger thighs.... I actually made this a week ago but just found it on the camera so thought I'd show it off. I don't really love pie but John does. I like cake instead but must admit that this pie didn't live to see the morning light. We ate it all that night. We also just joined a gym so we can hopefully get rid of all the extra holiday/baby/old age weight that we've gained. And it has 2 hours of daycare every day so I'll be there hiding in the locker room just so I don't have to change a diaper and maybe I'll actually exercise sometime too.

The eaters of snow and makers of snow men and wishers of more snow than we got......

..... Ava and Nathan. We got a good little snow shower the other day and everyone got so excited but by the time we got ready to go outside it was pretty much over. Nathan was just a little overdressed for the occasion and decided the snowsuit just isn't as fun as it looks. Ava is still convinced that winter won't be here until it really snows. I keep trying to convince her that we live in a place where it might not snow much but she's sure it will. Patience is a virtue...

The owner of the hottest body in the house and the wearer of many rolls but no clothes.....

....Chunka munch again. Sorry, I can't resist putting these naked shots on here, especially since you all now know that I'm the sole source of his chub. Wouldn't it at least be fair if he took it from my thighs to put onto his? Really, have you ever seen such lushiousness before? And these were taken before the heat went out, lest anyone think that this little walrus is getting cold. He had just blown out of his diaper of course and I wanted to get these rolls on film cause he's on the brink of crawling and hopefully he'll be slimming down soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Still cold

4 days later and one fired (no pun intended) heating company, John and his guys are still working on the heat. We've been off and on for the past few days and right now is off. my fingers are numb. arghhh.....

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Baby its COLD inside

Winter 2007 - No snow yet this year but it's cold enough

Virginia (actually the whole Northeast area) is going through one of the coldest snaps we've had in like 20 years and man, oh man are we feeling it.

We went to bed warm last night but woke up a little chilly and realized that our brand spanking 2month old new $6,000 furnace had decided to stop working sometime in the night. And the thermometer was reading -2 outside which doesn't make for a very warm house. Our house is heated almost entirely by hot water baseboard heaters moving very hot water through these incredible annoying pipes that cover every baseboard all over the entire house. They buckle and moan and clink and clatter all night and day during the winter, but they do a good, if not a very expensive, job of keeping our monstrous house nice and cozy. One of the reasons we just replaced our furnace is cause our heating bill last year tallied up to something near the $10,000 range. We were hoping this new one would be just a tad more efficient and also reliable (this isn't the first time we've sat in the cold in these old farm houses).

Anyhow, the kids and I went to a birthday party this morning, leaving Lias and John to fix the heaters. When we got back at 2pm they were still working on it, thinking it would be fixed any minute. After 2 more hours and poor Lias' fingers and cheeks all red and icy, me and the kids ditched the cold house for our friends Beth and Robert's house down the road. We enjoyed our 4 hour stay there and warmed up quite nicely until the guys (Robert works on the farm with John) showed up for dinner and deseret, having gotten the heat going again at last.

John hates the landlord part of his job and hates it even more when his whole Saturday is spent dealing with his own cold house and cold family. Whenever it's freezing like this he's guaranteed a few hours of dragging heaters around to rentals to unfreeze all the pipes in this old uninsulated houses. He was outside all day and just wanted a warm shower when we finally got home tonight.

But just as a big house like this doesn't loose heat quickly, it sure doesn't heat up quickly. The heaters have been back on about 3 hours now and we're still only at about 60 degrees. Unfortunately, since the house got so cold during the day, a bunch of our water pipes for the showers and such (not the pipes that push the hot water around the house but the other pipes - the plumbing is quite confusing around here) are frozen so we have to wait for the house to heat up enough to take showers and flush toilets.

But everyone is now bundled under three layers of blankets and hopefully the temps keep rising during the night. All I can say is - man, I'm glad we don't live in the days when this house had to be heated with just the fireplaces (even though there were about 8 of them)! Oh and I'm especially glad that we don't pay the heating bills either.

Winter 2007

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Blah, Blah, Blah

Could we have more of a blah day? Or a blah week? It's gray and raining outside, the kids are STILL semi-sick so we're STILL sitting around the house in our pajamas and it's just blah....

Luckily Ava and Nathan aren't bugging me entertain them at the moment so I'm surfing uninterrupted. John is sleeping with a feverish Lias, who was in our bed all night since he's so sick. I'm not sure what he has but they've all had colds and coughs this whole week with little fevers thrown in here and there. Ava, my one that never gets sick, even got it so it must be yucky. Nathan, my one that always gets sick, has the cough and cold and the asthma that's triggered by it all so he's all out of sorts. And poor Lias, who is still smiley even when he's sick, has had something (nose, cough, fever) on and off for the past 2 weeks which makes it hard to get much done around here. And John and I, the ones who it doesn't matter if we get sick or not cause we're not getting a day off anyway, are also sick. I don't think I'm a fan of the winter.

On a better note, we got our car and it's quite fancy. We got a great deal on it and only had to drive about 2 hours to pick it up. It has the stow-n-go seating in it so the first time the kids got in they were very confused about why we bought a van without any seats in it. We shouldn't need a van for a long time but when we do we'll probably buy on Ebay again.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Nathan and Ava - isms

Nathan today (in a mean voice as he smacked me):
"I KILL you, Mama."

Me (grabbing him roughly):

"We don't talk mean like that Nathan. It's not nice and hurts people's feelings."

Nathan (still mean and grumpy): "BUT I WANT TO."

Me (trying the higher law rule):

"But Heavenly Father told us not to be mean or kill people."

Nathan in a sad, teary little voice as he lay huddled on the bed cause he's super sensitive to criticism lately:

"No Heavenly Father be mad at me, Mama."

Ava to John while sitting at the computer:

"DAAAADDDDAAA, where did the fox with the world around it go???!!! I can't find it!!!"

(Somehow the Mozilla Firefox shortcut disappeared from the desktop and she couldn't figure out how to get on to play Elmo. We were thoroughly confused though since the fox hunters had hunted in our backyard today.)

On another note: We just bid on a used minivan on Ebay and won. We seem to have gotten a good deal but it was kinda a spur of the moment thing so hopefully it turns out well.