Tuesday, April 28, 2009

37 Weeks - 20 days and counting!

I haven't posted in awhile about where things are at with my pregnancy because recently there hasn't been much change. And really there is still no change today - but I thought I would share regardless. I know that many of you probably have burning questions that have gone unanswered so I am going to attempt to answer them here!

Yes - I am counting down the days at this point. I really do want to go to my due date, it is good for the baby and good for my summer at home with the boys - so although I am very ready to meet our son I spend the time counting down the days to when that might be. My doctor said today that I am not progressing towards labor at all and she anticipates being right on target with our date of May 18th.

Yes - I feel and look like a GIANT meatball. My ever expanding belly and now the newest addition of sausage fingers and legs - help me to see that I am truly a walking meat market. Lovely!

Yes - I hurt in more places than I can mention and am trying my hardest to not complain about it. Gabriel has caught on though and worries that I will "never feel good again ever!"

Yes - I will be upset if I have to go to work after the 18th. My patience for waiting for my due date stops on the 18th! :) Although as I remember fondly back to my pregnancy with Gabriel and the questions every day like "Oh you are STILL here?" or "You haven't had that baby yet?" or "When are you due again?"

Yes - those questions, if they come, may just push me to the brink of insanity - but not of course until after the 18th, until then I am counting the days.

Yes - I still believe that this pregnancy is a miracle and I am enjoying every kick, turn and hiccup. I know that once he is here I will miss those feelings and so I am trying not to take it for granted at all!

Yes - I am very excited about Beth's due date also. I check my phone every time I get up in the middle of the night just to see if she has left me a message and I know that she is even more excited than I am about her daughter's arrival!

Yes - I am a little worried about the size of this baby. My doctor said today she guesses (because we all know it isn't an exact science) that he is 7.5lbs right now. Hopefully she is also correct in that he might not pack on too much extra weight in the next 20 days. Isaac was 8 lbs 15oz and Gabriel 7lbs 5oz. Somewhere in between would be manageable I would think!

Yes - I know that right now we really have it easy and our lives are going to dramatically change in hopefully 20 days. Are we prepared? I think so - as much as we can be, and we are trusting God with the rest at this point.

Yes - I think this is going to be a difficult transition for Gabriel. I think we are going to see jealousy rear its ugly head and I am already trying to think of ways to make Gabriel feel special during this time.

Yes - that is about all I have. I would ask for prayers for both Beth and I for our deliveries and also the health of our little ones! Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I need your help!

Isaac, along with 4 of his classmates, recently won the honor of representing our State of South Dakota in an International Competition for Future Problem Solvers. He and the rest of the team will be traveling to Lansing Michigan, May 27th - May 31st to compete against other states and countries across the world. This is part of the PROBE program that he is involved in at school and basically the kids were presented with a "futuristic problem" and had to come up with a way to solve this problem and also put on a skit at the State competition to represent their solution.

In addition to raising funds to support this trip, each student is encouraged to bring at least 300 items each of something that represents our State of South Dakota. At the conference all of the kids from around the world get together and "trade" these items with each other.

We have contacted and received 100 pins from the Department of Tourism but need to come up with more ideas on what else to bring and where to get them.

This is where I am hoping you can help me! If you have any ideas of items that would be fun to bring please let me know. If you know of who best to contact - someone who might have access to South Dakota memorabilia to be donated - that would be awesome! I am not always creative in thinking of where to look...so if you are please leave a comment or e-mail me at kasmith03@gmail.com!!

Thank you so much! This is a unique opportunity for Isaac and something he is really excited about so if you could also pray for the group and the brave women that are driving these kids 12 hrs to MI that would also be appreciated!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"I Believe"

Every once and awhile I like to share lyrics from a song that really touches me. I recently found a CD I hadn’t listened to in awhile and very quickly I was reminded of why I enjoyed it so much. The group is Sierra and the song that I want to share is called “I Believe”.

The lyrics seem fitting to me, especially this week, as we approach Resurrection Sunday. This time of year we are given an opportunity to celebrate the amazing gift that God gave us in the sacrifice of His Son and the hope in a life with Him forever as He has overcome the grave.

Sometimes I grumble because we never seem to get ahead with our finances, or the car keeps breaking down, or one of the kids misbehaves. Many times I forget to see the simple beauty in the world around me, the gifts that God has given to me time and time again. Often I feel underappreciated, undervalued and slighted when I don’t get what I feel I deserve in this life.

And then there are times, when I hear the lyrics to a simple song that remind me of where my value should lie. The reminder that God chose to sacrifice His Son for me. Sure there were multitudes of people He sacrificed for – but if it had just been me – I believe that He still would have chosen the same path. In that gift is a reminder that I have value in ways I cannot comprehend.

He chose me. He chose you. Isn’t that amazing?! I can think of 1000 different reasons why I don’t deserve it but in spite of all of my defects of character –He chose me. The price for my sin was paid on that cross over 2000 years ago, long before those sins were committed the price was paid.

Today I rejoice in the peace that comes with having a relationship with a Savior that sustains me. A Savior that I believe has set me free…..I Believe!

"I Believe - Sierra"
I walk in light
I am no longer in the darkness
I am a child
Of the Most Holy One
And every day I will thank Him for His mercy
That chose willingly
To be a sacrifice for me

I believe in the cross
I believe there was a cost
The blood of Christ was shed
To pay the price for the lost
And I believe the Father gave
His son so He could save
This captive heart of mine
And set me free
Yes, I believe

I live by faith
I choose to stand upon the promise
That God's sweet grace
Will hold me close to His side
As I feel His Spirit's warm embrace
Flowing through me, changing me
I will never be the same

I believe in the cross
I believe there was a cost
The blood of Christ was shed
To pay the price for the lost
And I believe the Father gave
His son so He could save
This captive heart of mine
And set me free
Yes, I believe

Heaven opened up and sent my Savior to me
And I have been redeemed

I believe in the cross
I believe there was a cost
The blood of Christ was shed
To pay the price for the lost
And I believe the Father gave
His son so He could save
This captive heart of mine
And set me free
Yes, I believe

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pregnancy Pictures





The first two pictures are of just Beth and I. The last picture is of myself, my sister Beth and our grandma. They were taken at Beth's baby shower last weekend! Pretty cool that we both will be welcoming new babies into our lives within the next month or so!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Results

As I sit down to try and organize my thoughts I am finding that they are jumbled so I apologize upfront if this post doesn’t make much sense.

Several years ago when Gabriel was just a little tike we were having some issues with him at his daycare. We were called in one evening to discuss Gabriel’s behavior. Apparently they were having problems with him being out of control, throwing tantrums etc. We were, I think at the time, completely unaware that his behavior was causing such concern. We knew that he was more of a “high-maintenance” child, but I remember leaving that meeting that night after the Director spent an hour describing my son, and felt we must have raised a monster. It was implied at that first meeting that Gabriel’s issues we a result of bad parenting, that Gabriel was just a “naughty” boy. (As a side note – thankfully that Director is no longer taking care of our children and we currently have a WONDERFUL Director whom Gabriel adores!)

They suggested that we have Gabriel go through some preschool screening to see if they would find anything. So that spring we signed him up and after a couple of rounds of testing, the group came back to us saying that they believed that Gabriel might fall somewhere on the Autism spectrum.

The feelings I had after that meeting ranged from sadness to disbelief. My picture of Autism at that time was of Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal in the movie “Rainman”. I was sure that Gabriel was doomed to a life of solitude and misunderstanding – and as a mother this was very difficult for me because I don’t want to see my kids struggle.

Because of that initial evaluation Gabriel qualified for some extra services through the preschool and we enrolled him to start that fall. In the two years since he started preschool he has made AMAZING strides. He is able to transition from one thing to another easier, he has become willing to try new foods – although toast/bread will probably always be a struggle! The tantrums have diminished significantly and he can deal with change a lot better. We are so very grateful for all of the work that his preschool teachers have done with him.

Gabriel will be 6 in October and will start Kindergarten. Because of how the law is written we were required to have Gabriel officially “tested” prior to age 6, to see if he is still eligible for support as he enters this new phase of school. So a few months ago we got the ball rolling working with a team of individuals who do the testing for Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorders. As parents we had to fill out lots of different assessments and then this team went to do specific testing with Gabriel.

Today we met as a group to discuss the results of everything that had been done and to determine what is the next step in creating an educational plan that best fits Gabriel’s needs.

The team found that he did not have enough of the triggers to meet the criteria for the educational diagnosis of Autism, however he does meet the criteria for Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).

Pervasive Developmental Disorder – they sound like such harsh words to me. And although the “label” as it is will allow us to receive supports for Gabriel that will benefit his educational career, I can’t help but worry about what the future will hold for our little man.

Some of the things that the team observed and commented on caused me to feel a little sad as a mom. “Gabriel appears to play well with others but does not seem to have a best friend.” “Gabriel will get agitated when the other child didn’t play the Memory game according to the rules.” “Gabriel will correct others at the table if they are not following the rules.” “Once outside at recess he walked around the playground, not joining in any of the play activities.” “Gabriel prefers to play alone. When he does play he is still at a parallel play level rather than interacting with his peers.” “Gabriel does not have a conversation with others, but rather gives comments and recites facts and it is never initiated.”

I am trying to figure out if I am more sad for him or sad for me. I am the type of person that likes to develop close personal relationships with my family and friends. I try to become invested in their lives, remembering details they tell me and then asking about those things later. And so I think this kind of relationship development is important. When I see that is an area where Gabriel struggles – then I feel sad. I need to put myself in his shoes though. It is possible that he is quite content in his environment. Maybe he doesn’t need to play “with” friends, maybe just playing “parallel” to them is fulfilling enough for him. At this point I really can’t know for sure, but I have to trust that is the case.

In any case, the good news is that this diagnosis means that Gabriel will qualify to receive supports as he heads off to elementary school. We have a great team of people that are working FOR Gabriel to make sure that his time in school is most beneficial to him. Gabriel’s preschool teacher Shelley even suggested that she take him over to the kindergarten classroom next week to introduce him to the teacher and let him see what he can expect for next year.

This team has come up with many great ideas that I know will only aid to his success. So for today I must be content in the gratitude I have for those people and trust that God will be walking with us in this journey. Gabriel’s road may not be the one that I would have chosen for him…one of least struggle, least difficulty. But I believe in a God that has something even bigger planned for Gabriel, something more than my mind can comprehend. A God that loves Gabriel more than I as his parent loves him and I know that He has given Gabriel to us as a gift. I want to protect that gift from anything difficult but I realize that there is One who can handle that job much better than I.

And today I recommit to being the best mom I am capable of being to God’s child. For all of His children that he has entrusted Dominic and I with are gifts.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Oatmeal

I cannot believe it, but Gabriel likes oatmeal! I am surprised and shocked that he was even willing to try it. Last night, out of the blue, he says to me “Mom guess what I had for breakfast at school?” This in itself was an out of the blue question because usually I have to initiate that type of conversation. When I asked him to tell me he said “Oatmeal, sugar and strawberries.” So I asked him if he liked it and he enthusiastically answered, “YES”. Then he asked me if I knew how to make oatmeal so I asked him to tell me. He said, “Take the oatmeal, add the sugar and stir it up.”

So there you have it – simple as that! Not that I need to know because I am sorry to say that oatmeal is NOT something that I will be making at home. I believe oatmeal is probably one of the worst foods known to man. There is something about the texture, the smell, and the color of oatmeal that has always been gross to me. Gabriel has had issues in the past with the texture and smell of certain foods so I was shocked that he would eat oatmeal. He won’t eat toast – how can he possibly like oatmeal?!

I know a better mom would choose to serve their kids oatmeal in spite of their personal feelings about it, but I just can’t bring myself to do that. Sorry Gabriel – you will have to just enjoy your oatmeal at school.


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