Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Mushrooms, teeth and eyes

Wed 7th: Asher spotted this game when we arrived today and started playing with it straight away. She has been working on verbalising her colours and shapes. I didn't even know she knew any shapes - but it sounds like she does.
Treat time for Ruth and I. It was a little cooler today, so I enjoyed a scone and cream (so just Ruth's ice cream Sunday tall enough to be in the picture).
Thursday 9th: Enjoying some time outside throwing and catching bean bags. It's so good to see the variation to games that has been able to be introduced so quickly.
This evening she had a seizure just before 9pm. Thankfully just short 1 minute ones again this week.

Friday 9th: I got a quick glimpse of Asher's daily plan when I dropped her off this morning. So much detail and so much effort put into helping Asher, each step of the way. I am so thankful.
Primary assembly today. It didn't go as well as last time, but it's all a learning process. Some good things came from it.
Asher received her "Welcome to Whero" certificate today.

We had quite a few mushrooms in the garden again today, but different to last weeks ones. In shape colour and size.
This was the huge one that we brought in to try and find out if it was edible. We got different feedback (some saying it's a safe field mushroom and others saying it looked too pink underneath). So in the end we didn't risk it.
The comment I most appreciated was: "Doesn't leave 'mushroom' for anything else on your plate." :-)
No photos from the weekend. Anastasia had been feeding more at night for a few nights (1:30am, 3:30am, 5:30am), so I was exhausted. I ended up staying home on Sunday morning while the rest went to church.
Anastasia and I had such a long sleep through the morning. We were asleep by around 10 and only woke just before 1 when they got home. It was just what I needed to feel more alive again. I'm guessing she is going through a "growth spurt" and hopefully it will settle soon.
Monday 12th: Hezekiah has been enjoying Anastasia a lot over the last couple of weeks. So it was nice to catch this photo today of him chatting to her. She is so lovely and responsive - so it's very rewarding chatting to her. :-)
At 1:15 Asher had her first seizure at school. It was only about 40 seconds but the strange thing was that she was conscious. She didn't fall over but grabbed Rachiel and was very stressed by it, breathing very quickly and clearly scared, so I'm glad it stopped so quickly.
Tuesday 13th: A busy day in town for me today. First was Ruth's orthodontist check up. She has lost 3 baby teeth since her last check up. She still has a lot on the top to come out.
Her mouth is still pretty crowded. They plan to see her again in 9 months. The good thing about this is that we don't pay for these follow up appointments. We only paid for the original one - and all the follow ups are free.
They will make their money when it's eventually time to do some work in getting them straight (she has one top tooth totally in the wrong place, biting behind the bottom ones).
And then we headed to the hospital for Asher's follow up eye appointment. Thankfully today was a quick appointment and they didn't need to put drops in (which you have to wait for 30 minute to dilate the pupils).
The first blessing was that when we arrived there was a mobility parking spot available (Asher has a mobility parking permit as it's really hard with her to keep her safe around roads).
We were 40 minutes early and so I anticipated a very long wait. I was really pleased when I was able to get Asher to play with a big 4-in-a-row game they had there. She does love posting, so it did appeal to her (and they have a similar one in her classroom). This was a huge blessing as previously Asher didn't even want to look at things in the room but stuck to her familiar toys and her iPad, to keep her from getting stressed about the unfamiliar room.
The next blessing was that we didn't wait long at all (I was just about to take a photo of her playing and we got called). So we were all done before her appointment was even due.
The check up went really well too. The lady was really friendly and good with Asher. She asked if she was verbal and I said no. So she checked without asking Asher to answer any questions.
She even managed to get photos of her eyes on just the 2nd attempt. So many blessing that I left feeling so very thankful. I even had enough energy to make a stop at some shops on our way home. Not an easy thing to do with Asher and Anastasia, but we put Asher into a trolley seat and Anastasia was in her car seat in the trolley (and then Ruth had a 2nd trolley for the shopping). We got Rachel some potting soil for her gardening projects and some other things we needed (like a new washing line). Anastasia did so well through the whole day. So much time out and so much time stuck in her car seat. I couldn't have asked for the day to have gone any better.
Rachel made mac-n-cheese for dinner which is always much enjoyed. Ruth decided to let Asher help dish up (her 2nd helping). It was lovely having Ruth with for the day and it's the one negative about her going to school. I love how she interacts with her younger siblings. She is such a great big sister.
Anastasia had a great time this evening with Dad playing "This is the way the ladies ride". She was laughing so much that I got my phone to try and get a video. As soon as she saw it she got very serious though. She was eventually smiling again at me, but no more laughing. It was so much fun to watch though.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Goggle success and giggles

Saturday 3rd: We finally got to test Asher with her goggles at the pool during the middle of the day. We headed down before lunch today. The water was very cold though. Even Asher hesitated about going in.
Hezekiah didn't mind the cold at all. Even during the Wai swim lessons, when it was really cold, he was the one that stayed in the pool the longest. It sounds like one day he ended up the only one left in his group having his lesson. The others were all out and trying to warm up.
He is doing so well with his confidence in the water. He was excited about showing me how he can jump into the deep end.
And how he now swims in the deep end (with a pool noodle). We had an issue the following week though, as he went into the deep end without a floating device, and got tired and felt like he was going to drown. Thankfully one of the boys in his class who is a really good swimmer helped him to the side.
So he understand that for a while still he will need to have something with him to keep him up. At least it didn't put him off swimming.
He also showed me how he goes backwards. He has a nice strong kick and keeps showing me how he keeps his feet in the water. :-)
Asher then decided to try the big pool and Hannah supervised her for a bit. She didn't last long though as it was so cold. She was in and out.
Hannah then showed me what she had to do with the pool noodle during her lesson. Good balancing practice.
Asher decided she wanted to try the pool again (it is just too tempting for her as she loves swimming SO much). So she went in with Ruth. Ruth played with her for a bit which helped her get a bit more used to the water.

And in no time she was off. She decided she wanted to swim the length of the pool. It was great that she stayed close to the side. Once Ruth was out of her depth at least we were right there and able to grab her if she had a seizure.

She had such a good time and we were so pleased that it was a seizure free swim. So it does seem as if the later afternoon light is more of a problem for her. Unfortunately we have discovered this a bit too late in the season. I don't think they will worry about trying to get her to the pool for swimming at school for the rest of the term as it has started getting cold. With the fact that one of the Teacher aides will have to go in with her - I think we will just leave it for next season when it's nice and warm again (and when us adults are happy to venture in).

Nice to get a video of Anastasia laughing. It's always tricky as she still tends to just stop everything when the phone comes out to take a photo or video.

Playing peek-a-boo with Asher. Asher does so love this, so it was nice to get her playing it with Anastasia too.

Sunday 4th: I decided to rather wait till today to take the children's photo so that we didn't just have school uniforms again. :-) It was so easy to get a great smile from Anastasia, but proved challenging to get one out of Asher today. I did love how Anastasia had put her hand on Asher's arm. And wonderful that Asher allowed it.

Rachel is planning an ice skating trip for her birthday and wants to practice on rollerblades a bit before she goes. Unfortunately the ones we were able to lend were just too small. They fit Ruth though, so she has been enjoying using them a bit.
Monday 5th: It was so good to see Asher invite the children in her class to come and join her with her magnet board this morning. It's also great that she is not doing the very same thing every morning when she arrives (it was the magnet board every single day at preschool).
She even tolerated having him stop doing stamps and draw like this with his magnet. It's a big thing that this didn't stress her.

Asher only had a half day today and spent a couple of hours after lunch at home with Lynda so that I could attend her IEP at school (Individual Education Plan). We had a great meeting and it was good to get so many people from her team together to discuss things. I am so very thankful for all the lovely ladies that are involved in helping Asher with her education. We feel so very blessed.
Anastasia was with me and she did wonderfully too. Fell asleep without any issue when she was tired and I was so thankful for how much she has improved (thankfully the months of crying with colic feel ages ago already).
Rachel headed to town early this morning for an Event Management Course (part of her high school NCEA levels). It's run from Monday to Wednesday, so she stayed with people in town to save of travel (money and time). She had a great time and did really well.
This afternoon Ruth was playing "hide and go seek" with Asher. It was sweet to see Asher go to the previous spot each time. At first she didn't even notice Ruth in there. It was almost as if seeing her leg wasn't enough.
Asher had a seizure at 8:30 this evening. Brendon spotted it on the monitor just as it started - so it was good we could be with her through it. She has had a 12 day break and so it felt so strange to deal with a seizure again and the restlessness afterwards. It took a while to get her settled but she then had a good night's sleep.
Tuesday 6th: Asher had her day off today as the teacher's aides all went on training today. It was a busy day for me having both little ones at home and Rachel away. The trickiest times being when I was feeding Anastasia. Thankfully Asher didn't try and get out the back door (as she can unlock it now).
We headed to bible study again this evening and Asher managed to fall asleep in the room with us. So sweet. And I'm so glad we could attend.

Friday, March 2, 2018

My creative Hezekiah

Monday 26th: Thankfully Asher's energy levels have improved every day. She headed off to school this morning and as soon as we got into the class room she said good bye to me. I was a little nervous about her last visit ending so quickly with her feeling sick. So this was a relief for me. She remembers being there happy.
She is also eating so amazingly well at school. The new medication can cause children to loose their appetite, so this is a real blessing to see. As Rachel said - with Asher's history of reactions to medication it's not a surprise if it's actually having the opposite affect and giving her an appetite. Let's hope the appetite stays. She actually lost weight after stopping the Ketogenic diet (it's normally the other way around).
NOTE: It only lasted for about 3 days and she has gone back to not really eating much.
Tuesday 27th: Hezekiah made a train track this evening. I love how creative he is.
Wednesday 28th: Asher had a day off school today. She was a bit confused about not going with all the others getting ready. It was a short day though as school closed at 12:30 and then they had an Open Day the whole afternoon.
I headed back to the school with Hannah, Hezekiah and Anastasia at 2:30 (Ruth had stayed at school to help with things). I got to spend a bit of time chatting to Hezekiah's teacher and then spent time in Asher's class. It was good to meet some of the other parents and be able to be available to answer any questions about Asher.
Then Ruth, Anastasia and I just hung out, chatting a bit to Ruth's teacher and some of the other mothers there. They had a sausage sizzle going on through the afternoon and Hezekiah and Hannah had a great time playing.
Brendon then joined us for the official time in Ruth's class and then Hananh's. It was a lovely afternoon and so good to catch up with so many people.
Thursday 1st March: Ruth thought it was very appropriate that the garden was full of mushrooms this morning. She had read that Autumn was the time of year  for mushrooms, and so it was perfect being the first day of Autumn.
We were too busy to collect eggs yesterday, so Hannah and I headed off this afternoon to pick them up and have a treat.
Hezekiah brought this piece of wood home from school today. He often does have creations to bring home. And it's always lovely listening to all the amazing things they can do. I'm not sure that I even want to try remember what this can do as I may get it wrong. It did remind me of Diego's magic backpack that can change into anything. :-)
This evening he was "surfing" on it and Asher went over to join him.
Some more of Ruth's creations.
Friday 2nd: Full school assembly today and Asher's first assembly attended as a student. She did amazingly well. I stood up to take this photo of Hannah and she spotted me. She just said "Hi Mum" and didn't try to come to me - so that was really good. She only said it again a couple of times (I had thought we would constantly here it through the rest of the assembly).
Ruth and a couple of other children that do Kiwi Watch with her were invited to attend a schools enviro group hui at ECan this afternoon.
They left school at around lunch time and were only back after 6pm. What a great opportunity for them.

We moved the side board over today so that it was in front of the TV. We are trying to stop Asher from touching the TV. The one good thing that came from the move is that even though it was only a 2 meter move, it made the cupboards something "new" to look through and Hezekiah got playing with these domino accessories. Who cares that they were designed for dominos.
They made awesome car ramps. It was so much fun watching him play.
That is also not a watch on his arm but a Velcro strip that he found that became some fancy gadget. :-)
In general Hezekiah is so very creative with his games. I love that he can often just play on his own with his wonderful imagination.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Swimming, new meds and fundraising

Friday 23rd: Rachel had her first NCEA course in town yesterday and today (so she stayed with friends overnight). This meant I could not just leave Anastasia or Asher with her to attend the swimming sports at school today. Rachiel (notice spelling - Asher's teachers' assistant) offered to come and watch the little ones so that I could go, but Asher was really not looking good, so I just stayed home with them.
Asher woke in the night sounding like she might vomit. It happened again this morning and I was following her around with a bucket for a little while. I started wondering if it was indeed a stomach bug that Hezekiah had on the weekend. She didn't get sick though and had such a low energy day that I went to check side effects of her new drug.
Not only sleepiness, but nausea too. So that was why she was struggling through the night and this morning. And also why she was so very tired yesterday and today. It can take up to 2-3 weeks to settle, but we are praying it doesn't take that long.
I asked Kerry if she would take some photos at the swimming for me and she sent me so many lovely ones.
The ones above of Hezekiah's freestyle race.
Hezekiah has just taken to swimming and is doing so well. He is my first child to be doing so well at just 6. Such a contrast to growing up in South Africa with a swimming pool in our garden. I'm sure all 5 of us kids were swimming by the time we were 3 or 4. We just had so many months of swimming and were in the pool every day.

Kerry took so many photos that I felt like I was there watching them. Thank you so much Kerry. It was a real blessing.

Hannah getting ready for her freestyle race.
2nd and 3rd place seemed to be very close. Hannah came in just behind her friend to take 3rd.
Such a great shot with their arms out.
Hannah has improved with her swimming so much over the last month. It's been wonderful to watch.
Hezekiah part of their pool demonstration. Showing how they can go under the water and swim under their friend's legs. This is a huge thing for Hezekiah as he has only gotten comfortable putting his head under the water in the last month.
Showing their kicking. Hezekiah tells me that he also had to do it on his back (holding the board on his tummy) and that he came first. So he may have a nice strong kick. He has shown me how he needs to make small kicks with pointed toes and told me how he must keep his feet in the water. So he is learning a lot and doing very well.
Asher having some cuddles with Ruth this afternoon. It is really hard seeing her so totally exhausted. Hopefully her body will adjust quickly.
Saturday 24th: A lovely dry day to get some gardening done. The hedge has grown so much so it was great that Brendon could give it such a good cut.
Great strong helper.
And Ruth was keen to help replacing the water filters.
Sunday 25th: Asher was a bit better on Saturday and then better again today too. Eventually at 11am her energy just dropped though and she got hungry too. Thankfully we had popcorn in the car, so she nibbled on that (perhaps she still has a bit of nausea). Someone had brought a bag full of teddies to church and the one pictured was a teddy pillow. It was a great help to encourage her to lie down and rest. I think she wanted to get to her bed and kept trying to run out. Once I put her down on the chair with the pillow, she settled though and had a good rest. She didn't fall asleep, so that is also an improvement.
I asked if we could borrow the teddy pillow as it would be a good think to have at school if she needs to rest.
This afternoon Brendon was cutting the grass and Asher always loves watching him. She was so tired though, so I encouraged her to sit down and she rested her head on the teddy while watching. She didn't sleep today, but just rested quite a bit. It's encouraging to see improvement every day. Her body is getting used to the new meds and I'm sure it won't be long before she is back to her normal energy levels.
Many years ago a friend gave us her MASSIVE collection of beads. She had made jewellery as a source of income for a few years, and so had quite an amazing collection. She no longer made and sold, so she gave us her collection as well as unsold jewellery. Rachel then sold the jewellery and it was a huge part of her fundraising for the week long Jamboree camp she went on with Guides.
Ruth has a week long Wellington trip coming up later in the year and the children have been encouraged to do fundraising for it. So Ruth got started in making some jewellery to sell.
The plan now is to hopefully get a few more of the children in the school making jewellery that they can sell and fundraise together.
These are Ruth's first two creations.
It's going to be fun seeing all the creations that come out of this box over the next few months.
And another fundraiser that is happening is for St John Youth. They are selling bulbs this year and Rachel plans to buy some for outside her bedroom. She also found some sweet pea seeds that I was given and decided to clear this section of fence line for the sweet peas.
She still remembers the wonderfully successful sweet peas I had over a decade ago. It will be lovely if we can get some success here too.