Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mima's Wedding

I know, I know, Mima's wedding was on October 1st and I'm JUST posting it now, but better late than never!
Here are some pictures from her day...

Family Picture!

The happy couple!

 There was even a rainbow outside after the ceremony!

 Cheers!

 VERY funny story!  After the salad course they brought out these little raspberry sorbets to cleanse our palattes.  They were so yummy.  Alexander liked them so much he had two!  Well, come to find out, these weren't raspberry like we thought.  They were cabernet! 

 What a beautiful couple...isn't Mima's makeup just fabulous?  Hint, hint!

Mima and Don have been going dancing since they met so they tore up the dance floor all night!

Me and my beautiful Great-Grandma Guggino!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

2 Updates

Update #1: WE HAVE POWER!!!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAY!  After 7 days of no power, we got a call from our very excited neighbor late Friday night saying, "WE HAVE LIGHTS!"  This was amazing because they had just extended their estimate saying Sunday by noon we'd have power.  So, praise God, we are home!  A giGANtic thank you to Barry and Natalie for hosting our family for the entire week!  I will be doing another post soon with all of the funny things that happened.  A little sneak peek: I almost killed my mother-in-law!  (No really...I almost actually killed her!) 

Update #2:  I got the report back from Alexander's diagnostic pediatrician out in Boston and they do NOT think he has autism!  They are leaning more towards ADHD from what I can gather from the report.  So, even though ADHD presents many challange, we are a little relieved to hear that.  In saying that, they are continuing to watch him over the next few months.  We have another appointment in December.  Thank you for your prayers!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More tricks than treats for our halloween!

Most of you know or have probably heard, MA has been declared a state of emergency by Obama with this last snow storm. We got 12+ inches of wet, heavy snow that stuck to all of the leaves that were still on the trees.  That resulted in downed trees, limbs, power and communication lines and basically a complete mess.  We have been without power since Saturday at 5pm.  More than 80% of Springfield is without power...3 million total between MA and CT.  By the Grace of God, Brad's mom never lost power.  We have been here since Sunday morning.  They are forecasting that we will have power back by Friday at noon.  Cross your fingers!  All schools have been canceled through the week and they actually CANCELED HALLOWEEN!!!  The local mall has this thing called "Mall-O-Ween" each year so we decided to go there to do some trick-or-treating along with 3000+ other people!  It was nuts, but I think we made a good decision.  Alexander had fun and we ran into some friends from church!  Their 3 year old son who is friends with Alexander dressed up as a conductor!  Alexander was Thomas the train!!!  Their costumes were completely unplanned as was our meeting.  Here are some pics of the storm and of our Mall-O-Ween experience.  Oh, to top it all off, Alexander now has a stomach bug and was throwing up and having diarrhea all night and today.  Thank you in advance for all of your prayers!

hugs...

Tree in our front yard.  Usually the branches are about 7 feet off the ground! 
 
 You can see how much snow we got. 

 Barry and Natalie's neighbor's tree that is now in their yard!

Alexander tucking into some waffles and reading over the "Cars" DVD case!

 Alexander and his friend Ben at Mall-O-Ween!  Do I spy an envious look from the conductor???

 My little Thomas the Train!  I'm glad he got to wear his costume.  I spent SO long on it! 

Of course he got tired of wearing it so Barry decided to put it on!  Alexander thought Djadiew made a great Thomas!

 Maybe next Halloween will have more treats than tricks!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Evaluation results...sort of

Well the day finally came, but my 4 am alarm came waaaaaay too soon!  Brad and I left at 5:15 this morning for our 8:30 am appointment in Boston to find out the results of Alexander's evaluation that he had last week.  We beat the traffic and got there an hour and a half early.  So, we got some breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and walked around, watching the morning hustle and bustle of downtown Boston on a Tuesday morning!
We met with Dr. Levy, the pediatrician that evaluated Alexander last week.  She had a lot of really great things to say about Alexander which I'll get to later, but I won't keep you in suspense.  Basically, they don't have many solid conclusions about what is going on with him.  She said that he does show some "red flags" for signs of autism, but because he has so many positive qualities and behaviors they make them a little less "red flag-y!"  (She definitely did NOT put it that way!)  They are most concerned with his sensory seeking behavior, his social issues including his less than normal eye contact, and his speech delay and speech apraxia.  Speech Apraxia is a common speech impediment that can be corrected with therapy.  Danielle (his speech pathologist) concluded that Alexander most likely has this.  I copied and pasted some info from Google on what apraxia is.   "Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a motor speech disorder. For reasons not yet fully understood, children with apraxia of speech have great difficulty planning and producing the precise, highly refined and specific series of movements of the tongue, lips, jaw and palate that are necessary for intelligible speech.  In typically developing speech, children make word attempts and get feedback from others and from their own internal systems regarding how “well” the words they produced matched the ones that they wanted to produce. Children use this information the next time they attempt the words and essentially are able to “learn from experience.” Usually once syllables and words are spoken repeatedly, the speech motor act becomes automatic. Speech motor plans and programs are stored in the brain and can be accessed effortlessly when they are needed. Children with apraxia of speech have difficulty in this aspect of speech. It is believed that children with CAS may not be able to form or access speech motor plans and programs or that these plans and programs are faulty for some reason." 

Some of the positives they see in Alexander is that he has a wonderful sense of humor!  At the evaluation, he put some stickers over his mouth and was trying to talk.  He was doing his funny, forced laugh because he knew he was being funny!  Also, he is definitely connected to me and Brad.  He wants us to be involved in his play by showing us things and physically turning our heads to direct our attention to something he wants/needs.  Dr. Levy also said that he is simply a joy!  She actually had a great time doing his evaluation which is rare.

So, they want to follow up with Alexander in January to check in and see if anything has become more clear.  He will have been in preschool for about 2 months by then and they want to see how the structured environment is for him.  Brad and I surprisingly feel really good about this conculsion for now.  We respect that they don't want to slap a label on him just for the heck of it.  They really want to take their time, get to know Alexander better, and give him a diagnosis that really fits him instead of just being convenient. 

Yesterday we had Alexander's preschool evaluation.  I'm SOOOO excited to share that he WILL be receiving services for speech, occupational therapy and his social challenges!  YAY!  When he turns three on November 9th he'll start preschool, going 5 half-days a week in an integrated classroom.  Dr. Levy was thrilled about this and she was even more assured that NOT giving Alexander was the right move because even without one he still will be receiving services. 

Again, thank you so much for checking in and being involved with this long, frustrating and emotional draining proccess!  Our little family has received so much encouragement and prayers over the past year.  We are all in a very good place and excited about our next venture of preschool!  We of course will continue to give you updates but feel free to check back anytime! 

Love and hugs to you...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Alexander's Evaluation and Aquarium

So, the day finally came...and everything went great!  Basically a diagnostic pediatrician played with Alexander for about 40 minutes.  She looked at how he transitioned between activities, how he played with the toys, and how he interacted with her and also me and Brad.  There really isn't much to say other than that because we don't know anything yet.  We'll find out the results and discuss what the doctors saw next Tuesday.  We also visited the New England Aquarium while we were in Boston, so here are some fun pics!  Thanks for all of your prayers, thoughts and well wishes. 
hugs...

Huge turtle...I think it was bigger than Alexander!

 We got to hold star fish! 

 Looking at seals swimming underwater!


video

This is a touch tank with sting rays and sharks.  The sharks don't come around very often.  We only saw one of them once.  Alexander loved it though!  You can see when he actually touches one
because he jumps and pulls his hand out of the water!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Evaluation Update

Last time I updated everyone I was filling out the application for Alexander to be evaluated for Autism.  I sent in his application a month ago, and usually it takes 4-6 weeks to get a call with the appointment date which is usually 6-8 weeks out from there.  So, we were still looking at a 2-3 month wait from now.  I got a call last Monday from Tufts Floating Hospital in Boston (where Alexander will be evaluated) and they had a cancellation for the next day!  (Last Tuesday)  Well, I immediately took it.  Brad wasn't able to get off work with such short notice but Alexander's therapist, Heather, rearranged her entire day and came with me!  She even got to my house at 6 am.  I know, she's amazing!  The evaluation is done in 3 appointments.  The first one is basically a question/answer time with us and the pediatrician to get a better idea of our concerns and to get to know Alexander.  We were in a room with a double sided mirror and a couple of students and doctors were observing him while we were talking with the diagnostic pediatrician.  The second one is this Tuesday, the 27th.  That is the actual test and evaluation.  (Prayers please)  The third one is October 4th and we discuss the results.  (More prayers please!)
A lot of people have been asking me how I'm feeling.  It is so mixed, really.  On one hand I am so thrilled that he got in so soon, but on the other hand, oh my goodness.  My son is being evaluated for Autism.  Right now.  Not in the future.  It's not something we're just talking about anymore.  It's real.  It's hard.  It's scary and I have no idea how I'm going to handle this.  However, I know that God picked me to be Alexander's mom and Brad to be his dad.  God has been preparing me for this my whole life.  I have a peace from Him that we are ready as a family to deal with this and anything else that comes our way.  I feel strong as a mother, knowing that only the strong get "dealt a hand like this."  (At least that's what I tell myself!!!)  We have such a strong support system around us.  Between all of Alexander's therapists, our parents, other family, friends and people from church we are covered pretty much everywhere!  I will make sure to update the blog after next Tuesday and also the following Tuesday when we get the results.  Thank you for your specific prayers.  We love you and are so happy you are in our life!

hugs...

The Big E

If you live in New England, then you know about and have experienced the Big E!  It is one of the most anticipated events of the year locally and one of the top 10 events nationwide.  People talk about it for WEEKS in advance and mentally prepare (and finacially prepare) for all of the food, fun, and shopping!  Basically the Big E is like a town fair multiplied by 1,000!  It is a fair that lasts for 3 weeks.  Vendors come from all over the country to display their crafts, products and "as seen on TV" stuff.  There are concerts as well.  This year Reba is performing and Brad and I saw "Daughtry" a few years ago.  There are state buildings...one for each of the New England states.  All the stuff that is special about the states are in the state buildings.  For example, Maine has fresh lobster rolls, Vermont has all sorts of maple syrup stuff (maple syrup cotton candy included!)  Local vendors and artisans from their home states fill the buildings.  And the food...oooooooh the food!  Last year they came out with the "Crazy Burger."  It is a bacon cheeseburger.  Not so crazy right?  WELL...substitue the bun for a toasted glazed donut and there you have it...the best darn burger ever!  This year they had "Peanutbutter and Bacon Pizza!"  (Subsitute the sauce for peanutbutter.)  We didn't try it, but from what everyone said, don't knock it till you try it!
The infamous Crazy Burger!


Each year our church volunteers with The Hollow Creek Cider Mill in the VT building.  We work shifts at their booth and they pay the church for each 4 hour shift filled.  Its a huge fundraiser for our church.  Plus, we get free admission and parking which saves us about $60!  They make fresh apple cider donuts, apple pie (either a la mode or with sharp VT cheddar cheese), apple crisp and the best apple cider you've ever tasted.  Their specialty is apple cider slushy!  Soooooooooo good!  We volunteered in the morning and enjoyed the Big E for the rest of the day.  Natalie and Barry dropped off Alexander after our shift. 

Me and Alexander after a parade.
He caught two bead necklaces that were being thrown from floats.

Daddy and Alexander eating fried dough.  (Mommy MAY have had a bite too!)

They also have lot's of animals and petting farms.  You can ride on an elephant and camel.  Here is Alexander taking his first camel ride!  He was so excited- he didn't stop smiling from the minute he got on!  You have to zoom into the first picture...It is a look of pure wonderment!


I love this one!!!

video