Adventures with Declan

It’s so hard to describe how our world has changed in the last year!  It’s been so long since I even used this blog, but in an effort to keep family and friends updated about Declan, I think this is the perfect reason to revive this blog.

When Declan was born I quit my job teaching so I could focus on him, knowing that I would need to go back to work when he was around 2 years old.  From my experience with Adalyn I expected colic, expected reflux, and knew the first year with our children is just hard.  With Declan the challenges just didn’t stop… sadly I would give anything to go back to waking every 2 hours to nurse him and changing diapers constantly because yes, that would be easier than our day to day now.  But life changes and seasons change and Declan is teaching our little family all sorts of things.  I now know even more acronyms than I knew as a teacher, I know which processed foods have vitamins hidden in them, and I am starting to get the hang of this special needs mom thing.

Declan looks completely “normal”, whatever that means anyways.  And in lots of ways he is!  And I feel confident that on the other end of this he will be a successful adult who just has some quirks (but who doesn’t).  However, in the midst of this season, his dad and I (and his sister Adalyn) are all struggling  very much to try to get him to eat, speak, and poop (yes, you read that correctly).  I keep saying in my head “If he would just eat and poop like a normal kid then he would be so much happier!” – but the fact that he doesn’t means that Declan is atypical.  Early this summer he started stimming.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but now I know how to identify his stimming and know to get him to a more controllable situation.  Aside from the food aversions and bathroom aversions, he has a very large speech delay making communication difficult and he’s very sensitive to touch and noise.

I’ll try to keep the blog updated with our journey.  I’m comforted with the friends who have chosen to walk this road with us, and for my parents who have been there for us.  I love that he teaches me so much, and I believe he teaches everyone around him lots!

Here’s a few recent photos of Declan :)  I miss when he was able to make direct eye contact with the camera, but sheesh he is a little ham when he decides he’s ok with being in front of the camera :) :)  Makes my photographer heart happy!

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Our family would really appreciate some prayers if you have a moment to add us to your prayer journals!  Some specific requests include

-direction on whether to seek out another developmental pediatrician whose wait list is not so long

-for Declan to start eating some healthy foods

-for Declan’s energy level to increase so he can attend all these therapies at a high functioning level

-for Adalyn to understand that while our life is different, it is good too

-for God to work some magic with our finances as we attempt to fit in over $1,000 monthly in therapy and a very very large dental bill

-and for peace in our little home in the midst of it being meltdown central at the moment

Thank you friends!!

Glitter Slime!

Adalyn and I had a blast while Declan slept away during naptime (thanks to 2.5 hours at the pool this morning!)  We found this really fun activity HERE.  Just a few supplies from Target yesterday, and all I heard for the next 24 hours was ” When Declan takes his nap, WE will make slime”  I love how it’s so easy to entertain a 6 year old :)

Here’s how it turned out!  Thanks to My Four Hens Photography for releasing some super fun new actions!  I used “Faithful” from her new set on these :)

 

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I can’t believe it’s been over 2 months

I can’t believe it’s been over 2 months since I’ve had “time” to post anything on here.  School has ended, I have a big first grader now, and an 18-month old.  Time is flying, and we’re treading water to keep up with life around here!  (well, some days, some days not so much!)

I haven’t had time to edit april/may photos.  However, I felt I needed to blog my little girls Kinder graduation.  We LIMPED through the end of the school year.  Hobbled, crawled, held on to the person’s coat in front of us… you get the picture.  I am totally THAT mom, a former teacher who didn’t even turn in her child’s last homework assignment.  GULP.  We ate more fast food than I’ll ever admit this past month, but we made it!!  I’m not one for pinterest style celebrations.  And this is far from pinterest pretty, but we had a little “Welcome to summer” celebration!  I think we all needed a day to celebrate our accomplishment of making it through the school year :)  Addy was a star at her graduation!  Can you pick her smile out of the first picture?

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And her little brother watching…

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In her “getup”

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And Declan trying it on too!

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This is Addy and her oh so fabulous Kinder teacher!

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One of the (too many) nights we ordered pizza with friends.

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These were taken the morning of her last day of school.  She was so excited to be a “first grader” but a little sad when she realized first grade doesn’t actually start until NEXT year!

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Declan and Addy playing around. Whenever I see them climb up on the piano bench it’s like I’m instantly taken to Christmas when my grandmother would play silver bells.  Such good memories :).  I have become ever so thankful for such good female influences in my life!

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And then this was my attempt at a “welcome to summer” fun time.  Streamers and balloons, at least they had fun!

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Finally, it’s day two of summer and we’ve had some super nice rain.  Followed by some not so nice humidity, but hey, I’ll take it!

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So so happy for summer!  I have missed having Addy home, and I find myself so thankful to be one of those moms who LOVES having her kids home over summer.  I always looked forward to summer when I was a teacher, I’m thankful I still do as a stay at home mom :)

Until next time, XOXO!

Crystal

Our Life – Round 1

I have wavered back and forth on how I would capture our daily life for a long time.  For one, I would love to look back and see what my kids did day after day when they were little.  But two, there are lots of hard moments in this stage of life.  I kept thinking “Do I really want to look back on this and remember things like:  1) Declan following me around and biting my heels because he wants to nurse {True Story!  I just can’t make these things up} 2) missed naptimes 3) kids who inherently stop doing something cute as soon as I grab the camera?”  This list could go on… but in the end I decided to capture it all.  I DO want to remember this time, I want to be able to look back and see where God worked in our lives, where He carried us through the hard days.  I don’t care if it take 20 pictures of a kid crying to get just one of their precious smile.  Motherhood is definitely the highest highs and the lowest lows, but the highs make is soooo worth the lows.

I never realized that committing to be a stay at home mom would be the hardest job I’ve ever had (and I’ve had my share of jobs).  I never realized what it truly meant when people said “It takes a village”.  I never so badly wanted to be surrounded by family; but there was no family close by to come be my voice of sanity in the middle of the week.  And I’ve never so badly wanted to just be able to snuggle with these two precious kids, keep them little, and protect them forever.  I ended up doing a daily project to try to remember all these “I’ve never’s…”  And to make sure I never forget how important it is to help the younger generation of mothers as my children grow.  I know that right now I can’t be the person to bring meals, work in the nursery, babysit, and do laundry for those who are so sleep deprived; but one day I will.  Somehow writing it, documenting it, will help me remember.   I can honestly write this blog post because I feel like my husband and I are finally coming “out of the trenches”.  I have not nursed in the middle of the night for 3 nights, and I am finally starting to have some coherent thoughts again.  I say starting to, because one look at my writing and you can tell I have a long way to go!  I may have just jinxed myself, too.

And don’t get me wrong; I love my kids.  They’re adorable, lovely, have amazing hearts, and so “squishable”.  But raising kids is hard work, and even with all that hard work you still manage to mess up all.the.time.  I am so thankful for my ever so wonderful friends (you know who you are) so we can play with our squishable kids together!  And do some messing up together too…

So here it is.  I didn’t even make it to bedtime because we had to run off to a photo session and church for the evening.  The light was stinky on the day I chose to do this, but I went for it anyways.  These are all with my new 35L lens :)  Early on the kids were tired of the camera, and many perfect moments happened in horrible light.  I’ll have to pick another day to do our nighttime routine, but I am just thankful I snapped as many as I did!  My favorite from the day as at the bottom :)

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And truly, this is my favorite.  Declan being fussy from waking too early from his nap, but finding comfort with his daddy.

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What’s new in 2013

As the first month of January comes to a close I find that God is continually growing me in 2013.  Hard?  Yes.  Worth it?  Definitely.  God has brought me so far in the last 18 months I am completely amazed.  And I hope the trend continues through this year.  When I became a stay at home mom, I thought all of a sudden I’d have all this time.  HA!  I find that I have less time, because I have no sitter or daycare center to fall on…  just going to the dentist is a big challenge, let alone if I actually get sick.  Never in my life have I been more appreciative of homeopathy!  I have always been so busy I’ve had a hard time building deep friendships, and I was looking forward to actually have time to deepen friendships once being a SAHM.  Well… I once again got my “too busy”.  Some people LOVE this constant state of busy-ness.  As for me, God is constantly reminding me NOT to stay busy.  To stop and smell the roses.  To enjoy life.  He constantly brings people along my path that remind me for Him.  It’s actually quite amazing!  And he has made Declan (in his perfect way) the kind of kid that does not do well just being toted around with whatever my plans are.  I have to make my schedule mesh with his plans… and that combined with carline at 2:45, then snack/homework/Addy time from 3:15 on means I have very little time to do anything… besides a playdate at 9:00 am.  And that’s IF everyone is healthy.  Thankfully, I have always loved being at home.  I love keeping my house clean, I love what comes along with being around your kids and being able to teach them the little things that we call life.  So we do a lot of smelling the roses.  We have been playing with the neighbors, learning lots during the day, and Addy and I have been crafting once she gets home.  I have also really developed this powerful sense of prayer.  I can’t serve a lot right now (in fact God has pretty much changed all my serving idea and thrown alot of MY idea up in the air:/)  but God has showed me the power of prayer.  He’s shown me that this, in fact, is a way more powerful sense of serving than any other.  Someone once told me I’d be an intercessor; and I never believed it because I’m terrified to pray with/in front of people.  But God has shown me this intense importance of interceding every hour, minute, and sometimes second of the day.  With Declan right beside me; and that’s His way of using me for now.  I.love.it.

Here’s this week in pictures.  From art lessons, bath time, playtime, and bedtime, I.love.these.kids.

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And yes, that’s a little baby belly love at the end there :)  Blessings on your week, friends!   Oh, and this week Declan got his first pair of shoes ;)

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A New Year, same fun kids

I was so excited when I blogged TWO days in a row at the start of the year… then the flu hit.  Actually, Declan had it before then and we didn’t realize it was flu (he fared pretty well, it just seemed like a severe cold).  Then it hit Addy and oh my goodness, we were already so very sleep deprived and then had to do it all over again!  To you mommas of 4, 5, 6, I admire you, and you deserve many many gold medals as well as a throne in heaven.  So we had some snuggly days on the couch, lots of movies, and a LOT of time in this little house.

Declan is not my “easy” child.  He fights naps daily, his bedtime changes depending on his mood, and he still isn’t sleeping through the night.  The only trend I have seen so far is that on Thursdays, he just decides he doesn’t want to nap.  I lay him down when I think he’s asleep, he’s there for about 5 minutes, then he pops awake and doesn’t nap the rest of the day.  I caught this little moment of him “resting”.

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I have really wanted to get sleeping shots of both of my kiddos for awhile. I have lots of Declan, not very many of Addy.  I want two big canvases in my bedroom of them sleeping :)  Since they were sick, I took the opportunity to grab those shots!  Clayton and I have never really decorated our house; and now is the time to start!

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For several days in a row Addy didn’t want to do much, but one things she liked was playing games with daddy.  Clayton found an old school sonic game, she loves it!

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Yes, still sick, and if you look closely you can see how red her eyes are.  But oh my goodness, I just love this child, I love how she’ll sit there and be patient with me while I get the perfect camera settings for a backlit photo.  I love how her eyes just stare into yours, and I love watching her grow up into a little young lady.  Well… the lady part might be a stretch since she’s still fascinated with bugs, dirt, and lots of boyish things, but you know what I mean.

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Adalyn was pretty much a cue ball until around 2 years old.  She didn’t get a haircut until 3 1/2, and that was just a slight trim to even up her thin hair.  Declan, we just aren’t sure where his hair came from!  It’s getting so curly, and it’s basically a hot mess.  I just can’t bring myself to cut it.

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Adalyn was supposed to go back to school Tuesday, but she had a fever Monday night so it was an extended Christmas break for her.  It was a stormy day, lots of rain, and lots of movies.  I was slightly jealous of her being able to lay around and watch movies all day while it rained; while I was chasing after a fully recovered 13 month old.

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And finally back to school!  Adalyn, with her little fake grin and everything :)  She was so excited to return to school, and I am counting down the days until Spring Break so she will be home for a week again!

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I have tried getting shots of Declan in the bath several times.  I have really wanted a color shot, but only succeeded in getting a good black and white.  FINALLY, I got him to look up at me at the perfect moment, and with some editing magic I have my color bath photo.  Canvas for the bathroom?  Yes Please :)

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Both Clayton and I are pretty grossed out with the thought of pulling a tooth.  Adalyn has had a loose tooth for a month, no lie.  She has wiggled it until it was just hanging there by who knows what.  She would just wiggle it every night during story time… we’d see it flopping around while she talked =/  It FINALLY came out!!  She was super excited about her first tooth fairy visit :)

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And Declan… my “not easy” child, still not eating.  But I did figure out he eats slightly more if I give him a bowl of cheerios on the floor.  So yes, I’m one of those moms who lets their kids eat off the floor.

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If you are reading this, it is most likely because you are a close friend or family member.  So I have a little something to ask.  If you could please pray with me for direction for my photography business.  I love love love doing it, and it really helps me to get out of my house and bless other people with photos of their own family.  Some days I feel like “I can’t NOT do it”.  But with Declan not sleeping through the night, and the fact that with photography you always have to challenge yourself and constantly learn new things, it gets really overwhelming and I am wondering if the business side needs to not happen… for now.  I would love to have my close family and friends pray with me for God to give me clear direction as to whether to stay open, or just focus on family.

Love you all :)  Hope this week gives you too many blessings to count.

~Crystal

Craft and Pjs

Today’s a “stay in your pjs and pull out all those crafty things with your 5 year old” kind of day.  Poor Declan had a fever last night (again) so we had to cancel the playgroup with friends today.  So sad, because one of the mommas lives in North Carolina!  (thankfully she is moving back this summer, but still, that’s 6 months away!)  This morning during a break between the tears Declan got himself in the middle of all his toys….

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While Adalyn enjoyed the time to watch cartoons on the couch

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Declan has been so tired that he just keep fussing, but finally went down for a nap.  He slept for awhile (still asleep) so Addy and I had some time to play.  Her Aunt Danielle had a surgery today, so we fingerpainted a note for her, then Addy went to town on the rest of the paper.  She pulled out some paint brushes, and we just finished taking old crayons and melting them down in the oven to make new “swirlicious” crayons.  They are cooling on the counter as I type….  More pictures of that later (most likely tomorrow!) :) :) :)

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