No "year in review" post (although in reflection I am proud of all our progress) or "resolutions" to share. Just an update on what I love to talk about most - my kiddos.
So if you're following our crazy-chaotic life you'd know it is not odd for me to go so long between updates. Because, well, I'm crazy-chaotic-busy. I'm falling back into life after the holidays and wanted to share some pretty wonderful things happening in our lives!
[Side note - even when things are NOT wonderful I still share them. No illusions of perfection because God is at work in ALL times and ALL things. He is glorified in our suffering as much as our blessings. He promises perfection in Heaven and that there WILL BE affliction in our sinful world. I'm not complaining when I talk about the burdens. He may not bring every issue to a perfect resolution in THIS life (although at times He does and it is SO encouraging) but I am assured that He will ultimately. He is always at work.]
For the most part I LOVE nursing, I do. There are a few times breastfeeding is physically painful. I'm not sure how to convince him to eat or drink other foods until he is fully weaned (which he is no where close to doing on his own). I'm not a fan of the whole slapping me in the face if I say no to boob. And I'm REALLY REALLY not a fan of the reactions of others and lack of support. I'm appalled how comfortable people feel saying hurtful things to me or telling me "it's past time to quit nursing."
I never intended to become an "extended breastfeeder." I didn't set out wanting to still be nursing at 23 months. But here we are. It bonds us. It is a source of comfort for Baby Bruce and closeness for me. And with his outrageous plethora of food allergies it is a very real and important source of nutrition for him. I said from the start I would nurse as long as it is mutually beneficial and that is what we're doing. Please be kind to this very sensitive, very tired mama!
It's a huge struggle to find out what is causing Bruce's allergic reactions. We're thinking dairy (not just lactose), rice, and fructose (even fruits and some veggies). I had no idea how many things fructose was in!
So when he eats something he shouldn't this is what happens. Sometimes his face gets pink around the mouth and cheeks right away, which helps me realize a problem right away. Sometimes though I don't realize there was a problem food until I change his diaper. In just minutes his bottom is covered in these hives and sores that break open and bleed. Any place that the bloody poop touches instantly gets raised bumps and hives (like when he touched the diaper and then his tummy and got hives on his stomach).
This mild pinkish rash on his mouth and cheeks was from ketchup with high fructose corn syrup. That's how sensitive he is. Would you please pray we determine the source of the pain, eliminate problem foods, and he outgrows his allergies? Can you blame the kid for wanting to nurse when it's the only thing not causing him pain?!
Bruce LOOOOOVVVVEESS Christmas trees. I mean, he is really fascinated by them. Decorating the tree with the kiddos was precious - it looked magical!
Here's Dean building a "Leaning Tower of Letters." I snagged these alphabet pop blocks at the thrift store and 3 letters are missing (but it comes with 3 animals so those can be placeholders). I love playing these with him because it is an opportunity to work through some of his rigidity. He MUST be alphabetical (or numerical, or rainbow order) in all things so missing 3 letters forces him to find a new way to play. In this photo he made patterns with colors but later his Fraser therapist and I convinced him to MIX UP THE BLOCKS - no pattern of any kind! He DID IT! There was some anxiety about it, but still....
So we are going back for MORE testing. I'm not sure what they are looking for at this point, as we have done 3 rounds of testing already, but I'm told the research is important in the grand scheme of things.
In December Katie came from Canada to stay with us for a couple weeks. She's pretty much amazing and it was so fun to have her here! She is so sweet to be a pen pal and FaceTime Friend for the kids but I'm not gonna lie, staying up all night to talk to a girlfriend like I was in middle school was pretty fun!
The remnants of my over-the-top photoshoot makeup and fake eyelashes were still on for 80's Night at The Shout House later that night. And yes, I did dress up. And yes, I was the only one in the place who did (except the girls at my own table), lol!
Dean has been sick A LOT this winter. It used to be when he got sick he was REALLY sick so we've been fortunate this year that it hasn't been worse than it is. He is very easily dehydrated so he did need to go in for fluids one day. We missed a family Christmas party because the kid had pinkeye, influenza, and an ear infection all at once.
As you can see from the above photo, taken in the waiting room of the ER when he went with his also-sick friend, that he's in pretty good spirits even when he is under the weather! :)
Julia was excited to be promoted to her yellow (gold?) belt in karate! She's really been enjoying it and the instructors are very understanding of her whole can't-not-fidget thing. I'm also so spoiled by her foray into cooking! She helps with meals all the time!
She's even EATING the meals! She is still 8 lbs from her most recent goal weight of 85 lbs and we need to focus on high-fat healthy snacks to add to those meals. The meds for gastroparesis to help her stomach empty are helping to make her hungry. She eats seconds and even third servings sometimes!
Her vitals are good, overall her body is recovering from the years of Failure to thrive. I'm so encouraged by her weight gain and health improvement!
Her Doctor at the eating disorder clinic has referred us to an allergist for her chronic rhinitis. I wonder if part of how her nose picking began (which is something her therapist says will never stop - it is ingrained in her) is that her nose is always running and she can never breathe through it? Crazy how each doctor visit simply leads to another!
Having a teenager with autism AND depression is a new cocktail for me; I find myself in uncharted waters often. How do I equip her to navigate these raging waters when I have my own mental health issues? Thankfully Jesus can walk on water and calm the storms. I know He cares for her and will equip us both.
We were able to get in with the child psychologist at the eating disorder clinic right away, which is pretty awesome since mental health visits usually schedule out for months. She may need a change of medication or some talk therapy.