It’s November!

Happy November! Time for warm clothes and hot drinks finally! A couple exciting things have happened since my last post. For one, Michael finished his language training! We are all so proud of him for his hard work and his high scores. He is taking a little bit of last minute leave to enjoy some family time before moving on to the next portion of the course. We don’t know exactly what to expect, so we are trying to enjoy this last calm before the storm, together.
Opie had his final evaluation for speech therapy. We are just waiting for a few things to come together insurance wise, then we will get on the schedule for in home therapy twice a week.
Opie is still growing and gaining! I will say that I prefer things to be natural as much as possible, as often as possible. However, in the last month I have seen such a HUGE change in Opie with his eating that all I can do is be so grateful that this medicine was an option for us. Obviously I wish I wasn’t having to give him 3 doses a day of medicine to make him eat, but knowing it’s a temporary tool to help him to be hungry and therefor eat and get nutrition, sure makes it easier! Whether you believe in pharmaceuticals or not, vaccinate or not, or whatever, we are lucky to live in a time to have the choice and to have so much medical help available to us when needed.
We had a fun Halloween this year. My friend Jami came over for the day with her son Austin and we made treats and met up with our neighbors/friends for trick or treating! Then after trick or treating, we enjoyed cookies and other fun snacks all together. Opie was dressed up as buzz lightyear riding Rex the dinosaur. Austin was a ‘real’ fire fighter. I didn’t even consider dressing up this year, but I think next year we will dress up as a family.
This next week should be fun! We are doing some fun nature lessons and story times. Tonight we are spending time with our neighbors doing a fish fry! I’m making some honey cornbread muffins to bring. I haven’t shared any gf recipes lately, so I’ll be sure to share this recipe this week with pictures. I’ve had a few friends messaging me asking for gluten free tips and recipes, so I’ll try to get back to sharing more on that portion of the blog. Cooking and baking gf has become so second nature, that I haven’t even thought “I should share this recipe”. I’ll try to be better about it!
I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend!
Here are some pictures from the last two weeks!

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3 months until 2015

Happy Wednesday! It’s October 1st. Which means this year is starting to wrap up already. That’s bananas. I’m looking forward to what every 20 something year old woman looks forward to this time of year. Hot drinks, big sweaters, lots of baking and soon, Christmas music. It’s a wonderful time of year. Then it’ll be spring and down south, that means swimsuit season. That is one big difference between living in the PNW and the south. Up in Seattle we have MONTHS, like 7 months, to get ready physically and emotionally after the holidays. Here it’s game on in April. If we are still here next spring, I’m sure we’ll be more than ready to start hitting the beach though! That is one thing our family will miss if we move back to WA! Pros and cons to every situation I tell ya. I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to talking about this week.
Yesterday Opie had his speech and food therapy evaluation done. It went really well! He doesn’t need food therapy at all. He CAN eat just fine, he just doesn’t WANT to eat. So we are going to keep seeing the dietician and checking with his pediatrician to mark his progress. We were told today to increase the dose of the medicine he’s taking to stimulate his appetite since we haven’t noticed much of a change this week. We are going to increase it gradually so he can be on the lowest dose that is effective for him. I was told he does however need speech therapy. He’s having difficulty with articulation. He knows what he wants to say, but his words that are coming out are mostly all sounding like duhs or buhs. So we are waiting to see if he is eligible through this organization, or if we will need to restart the process through insurance. Either way, I’m not stressing. He will be speaking eventually. At most, we are looking at a couple months out and in that time I feel like he can only improve anyways.
Besides all that, we are having a very calm week. Opie has another cold, so I had to cancel everything that’s not necessary. Poor guy. I swear if there’s a hint of a cold or flu virus around, he catches it.
In an effort to be more “un-plugged”, I have really tried to limit how much screen time he gets. My thought is that if he is crying or throwing a fit to watch a movie, he assumes that it’s his right. Which would be because it’s turned into a habit… Which is my fault. There’s no reason why he (an active two year old boy) should need to watch a movie or a show every single day. So today we listened to music, read about 100 books and colored instead. That time was put to much better use I think. I know I’m more tired anyways lol.
If it’s October that means that Michael is at the end of his language school already! He is half way through this course for training! Hard to believe. We probably won’t know where his assignment will be until the spring but there’s a chance we may start hearing this winter? No matter where we end up, I am so proud of him and all the work he has been putting in towards accomplishing his goals and providing for our family.
I hope you are all having a great week and that the rest of the week is easy peasy or you. I’ll be doing some baking, deep cleaning and a few craft projects:)
Here are a few pictures from this week

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Our south cackilacky (?) weekend and pictures from this week

Last weekend we went for a visit to Columbia, SC! We had such a great weekend. We went to an amazing Italian restaurant that is extremely gluten free friendly (I’m already excited to go back next time we are there). I actually picked Michael up from work Friday afternoon and we drove straight to the restaurant to meet his mom, sister and his sister’s boyfriend for dinner. Michael didn’t get a chance to change his clothes, so he was still in his acu’s. It was something seeing how many people stopped by our table to shake his hand. I think it brought a tear to both his mom’s and my eye to be honest. It was just so sweet seeing such gratitude towards him from complete strangers. Someone even sent us an appetizer. It was so kind… And also delicious!
The next day we all took Opie to the zoo. We ended up having perfect timing because it started to rain right after we left. Later that night we were fortunate enough to also have a date night out as well. Sunday we had lunch at Zoës kitchen (another great, gluten free place), then made the trip back to NC. The weekend flew by. Here are a few pictures from the weekend and this week so far.

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Unfortunately Opie and I spent this week mostly at home because we caught whatever bug Michael had. This is how Opie spent most of his time (half naked on the couch).

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We forgot his beloved giraffe in SC, so his Mimi express mailed him back. We were all happy when he was delivered!

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We have started getting some of his lab results back and it turns out he is in need of some additional supplements. He just isn’t eating enough to get proper nutrition and his body is suffering. We also have been contacted for food therapy and have been researching a medication that would stimulate his appetite. It’s a lot at once but the hope is that on e we get him going, it’ll be a snowball effect and he will gain, grow and thrive.
We’ve missed the outside world this week, but a week spent mostly at home except for a few appointments, has been a nice reset for the rest of the month.
I hope you’re all having a great week, and that you have an even better weekend!

Some updates on the Opinator

I’ve been meaning to post pictures from Opies birthday party last week. We have so many people to thank and praises to share about our wonderful friends. I keep trying to set aside time but then it doesn’t happen. Then I meant to do a birthday post for him turning two a few days ago. The day of his birth and the weeks that followed were crazy and I wanted to document how far he’s come and how lucky we are to have such a sweet and funny kid, buuuut again, it hasn’t happened. Things have just been really busy with dr appointments and I haven’t found the time. So instead of those fun posts, I’m going to do a quick update on what’s going on with his health.
He is 32 inches tall and just over 21 lbs, or as I say, he’s a shrimp. Getting him to eat is still an uphill battle. We are meeting with a dietician every few weeks right now to try everything we can to fatten him up. He is also seeing a pediatric gastroenterologist up at UNC. We saw him yesterday and he seemed a little concerned about a few things so he took blood to do lots of tests. He’s testing for some possible deficiencies, blood cell counts and a few other things. We should start getting results back in a week. It was a good appointment but also frustrating for me personally. I thought I was really prepared and brought blood test results, op reports and letters from his previous dr, the insurance company etc.. What I didn’t prepare for was needing to remember dates and details on the spot. When I’m stressed I tend to freeze up, so in my mental fumbling trying remember dates and times, I gave some incorrect answers. I later called them back to give then the correct answers, but it was still annoying and a little embarrassing. The Dr will either understand because lots of moms do that (right?) or think I’m an idiot. Oh well to either option I guess. We will be seeing him again in 6 months, or sooner if test results indicate we need to.
Today we had an appointment with his regular pediatrician. Opie just loves him. He is wanting to get those lab results back and hear about how our next appointment goes with the nutrition clinic next week. It is possible that there is something else going on that is making it hard for his body to gain weight or that he just can’t get a big enough appetite. If he starts eating lots and still doesn’t gain or grow, we will do more testing. If we just can’t get him to eat more with behavioral training with the dietician and by seeing a food therapist, there may be an option to give him a medication that has a side effect of increasing his appetite. Both of those are future possibilities but hopefully won’t be necessary.
He is also going to be monitoring his feet/ankles/gait for the next couple years. He said they’re just a little “funny” right now, but to not worry about it. It could just be he got his daddy’s flat feet hehe. If not, we will catch any issue quickly. I honestly think he got Michael’s feet so I’m not going to give it another thought.
He’s happy about how well he has done since cutting out gluten, dairy, strawberries and soy. He said we may still find things here and there to remove from his diet but that things are definitely going well and I agree. Something else I appreciate about this Dr is that he doesn’t hesitate to just run blood tests vs going to an allergist for skin tests. I mean I could take Opie to the allergist, but 1 poke by a needle for blood is better than 20 to find out he isn’t allergic to something. The things that can be tested through blood is more limited, but at this point we don’t need thorough allergy testing.
Something I’ve been wrestling with is his speech. Opie understands what we are saying and talks back to us. It just isn’t English he is speaking. His ‘real-word’ vocabulary is small and he isn’t using multi-word combos. I have been saying that I’m just going to give him time and let him go at his own pace, and his Dr has agreed. However today while we discussed it, he recommended getting an evaluation by speech therapy done and doing some sessions to speed things up if they think it would help. I feel like once he gets the hang of using real words, it won’t be long before he is where he is supposed to be verbally. He’s a smart boy, too smart sometimes. He just might have had a few setbacks because of how rough my pregnancy was and being born before he was good and ripe;)
We will get that appointment made for sometime soon. Then we will see his pediatrician for a follow up and continue to see his dietician probably every few weeks or monthly. She has brought up the possibility of food therapy if his not eating seems to be a true food aversion vs. Behavioral issues, so we will see. I’m not going to push that at all, but if it is recommended for him, I will explore that possibility at that point.
To try and correct some behavioral problems with food we have had to get really strict with meals and snacks. They are scheduled and timed and are at the table. His snacks have been limited and are also timed and scheduled. His drinks are after meals and he doesn’t get 10 choices for lunch or dinner anymore. He gets to eat what we eat or not at all. It’s been harder on me by the way than it has been on him. We are also using distraction techniques and both positive and negative reinforcement. Overall I’ve noticed he is eating better at meal times, but he isn’t real consistent yet. It’s only been two weeks though, so hopefully with more time we will continue to have more progress! I’m also going to be looking into kid friendly, gluten free multi vitamins to help get him nutrients he is missing out on. If you have any recommendations, please share. He is also taking iron drops daily.
So, all this to say we have had lots of appointments and probably will continue to for the rest of this year. We are praying and would appreciate your prayers that:
– he will start eating. Bigger quantities and more often.
-when he does eat, it won’t make him sick and will stick to his ribs;)
-for positive news with his test results
-for his speech to pick up
-for patience and wisdom for myself as his mom, that I can do what he needs
-for wisdom and understanding for his Doctors

If all those prayers were answered, we would only see Drs or other medical professionals for bi-annual checkups!

We have been lucky to have a wonderful pediatrician and gastro specialist. They have been overly cautious and they do extra tests “just to make sure”. I couldn’t be more grateful for that! Our calander is pretty full, but I’m making sure we get good time with friends too. Whether it be time at the trail, library, park or in a friends living room.. I want him to have plenty of fun too! We are also doing Pwoc and mops on Tuesdays and a bible study on post on Thursdays. He seems to enjoy being busy so that’s good! He cries whenever he realizes we are at the dr or when he gets weighed and measured, usually anticipating being poked and prodded. My hope is that he will lose that fear ASAP. Here are a few pictures from our appointments. One of them, and you’ll know it when you see it, is a picture of some of the pictures he took. I didn’t know he was sneaking taking pictures of his dr and I lol. The rest are just him being goofy!

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This next one is from today on the way home. He was crying for more blankies. He likes to rub them on his face when he’s tired. He already had four in his lap.. I’m not sure how many more he needed lol.

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Tomorrow I have a dr appointment, then we are getting ready to hit the road to visit South Carolina!