September 28, 2011

i just gave my kid an emo hair cut.

it's a true story. today i just whacked off most of Calvin's hair, just like that.

although impulsive, this was a'coming.

i have been contemplating cutting cal's hair ever since kindergarten.

because kindergarten is when mean little girls say "you look like a giiiiiiiiirl". {true story. happened to finn a few years back.}
i really love the semi-faux-hawk that finn and ollie have.

but calvin looks way better with bangs.

what to do? i contemplated and contemplated.

i wanted it short in the back and longer in the front, but did not want him to look like the biebs.(sorry katy and uh-lish-uh. don't hate.)

today i met a little boy at church with short hair in back, longer in front, parted to the side. i thought he looked really cute.

so i stole his hair cut.

it's one thing if my kid wants long hair; it's another story if mama wants his hair long. {which i do}. i loved calvin's long hair.

but we don't live in santa barbara where it's completely normal to see little shaggy-haired boys running around all day.

where I live? long hair on boys is a rarity. and i don't want someone calling calvin a girl because of my preferences. because he actually wanted shorter hair(at least in the back. the back got shaved with a razor).

don't worry. he's still the same old happy boy. see?
ok this post was way long and rambly and angsty for just a simple hair cut. jeepers.

p.s. john hates it and says we're going to the barber.

September 23, 2011

it's ollie's turn...

...for school pictures!

Finn and Calvin just had their school photos sorry for the redundancy... but Ollie's classes did not start til a couple weeks later. But I did not forget about him!

little pointed toe.

When Ollie started his {speech} preschool last year, he was very pensive about the whole thing.

When he got home, I would ask about his day, but he just did not have the words or sentences yet to tell me.

I just had to wait and wonder what in the world was going on inside that little classroom.

Last year in class, Ollie was shy and quiet. There were times he would cry and not want to go.

As the year progressed, and his sentences started to develop, he was finally able to tell me one thing. "had fun at school today mama".

That was my first glimmer of hope that this school thing was gonna be okay.

This year. Oh my word! Night and Day!

I met with his teacher last week and she could not contain her excitement and enthusiasm over Ollie's drastic improvement!

He is now her eager little sidekick.

He wants to volunteer and be her little helper all the time. He now talks in the classroom all the time. He is having so much fun and I am still blown away by it all.

So this post sounds really peachy and optimistic and pretty much like Pollyanna. Or like Mary Poppins who is 'practically perfect in every way.'

We struggled really hard to get to this place today and there are still days we fight just to get out the door.

But two things have REALLY helped us.
1)Getting up early(that means 7 a.m.). Ollie needs lots of time to eat and play and get ready. Otherwise there are tears.

2)Bribes. Calvin gets chocolate milk at his school, so therefore Ollie wants chocolate milk at his school. So I make up a batch of special chocolate milk, made of coconut milk, ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder and honey.

Tastes like a yoo hoo. And if you like yoo hoo's you'll like my concoction. Otherwise...notsomuch.

I think it's yum and I drink it too because I cannot digest regular milk.

September 16, 2011

rapunzel, rapunzel, let down your hair.

This was my awesome birthday cake this year, made by some of my dearest friends: Angela and Alisha, supervised by Melisa. Very official business.

The yellow frosting is Rapunzel's golden hair, LOL. Flowing out of an ice cream cone castle. Creative and ingenious if you ask me. I LOVED it.


A few hours before my little party, I sat in a dental chair happily watching Rapunzel.

"How do your teeth feel?", my dentist asks.

"Oh great!" I reply. Back to Rapunzel.

My dentist starts checking my teeth. "Hmmmmm" he says poking around. "When did your wisdom tooth get a crack in it?"

"WHAT??!! I have no idea!!" I wailed.

Not the news I was expecting to hear. My four wisdom teeth had always been such little champs.

He then went on to explain how it was basically impossible for me to clean any of my wisdom teeth because they were tilted or something.

"Here, let me show you this x-ray of your wisdom teeth..."

"Um, no thanks", I say. "Those pics gross me out. I believe you". Back to Rapunzel.

"Oh no...You need to look here" he insists, pointing at the x-ray, shoving it my face. "And let's also look here at all the spots you missed flossing..." he continues.

"Ew gross! Don't make me look!" I plead.

"You really need to see this right here" he lectures.

"Please no! I am very busy watching Rapunzel!" I insist.

Sighing in resignation. "Ok. You win. Go back to your happy place", he says.

Nice man:)

However, I'm probably getting all my wisdom teeth pulled next month. I am filled with dread over the prospect.


But. No time for moping too long. I have a lil Rapunzel party to attend. And it's impossible to stay too glum, with some of my dearest friends to cheer me up!

And I am also very happy because I get to wear my new yellow{high-waisted} skirt. It was from Francescas's(buy one get one free sale). Angela, Katygirl, Melisa.

Amber, Ashley, Kristen.

Melisa and Alisha.
I only snapped a few shots at the beginning, so if you got there later we missed taking your photo. Sorry:(

Some of my loot, box included.

Amazing scarf and shirt from Melisa and Angela, Forever 21. Box from Alisha, found in a field, haha.

Necklace and bird scarf from dearest Becca, World Market.

Little pile from loriloo.

She hand-embroidered it. Never ceases to amaze me.

HAHA. Lol, Katygirl. You know me toooo well. From williams sonoma

Crochet hat/band from Kristen, scarf from Ashley(target).

Lorie also made this beautiful necklace.

Alisha makes these gorgeous headbands.

I wanted this one since the first time she opened up shop. Go check out her etsy store. She's amazing!

Happy night after all. Thanks guys, for being so very kind to me!

September 9, 2011

"i'm falling!" Ollie & spd

spd=sensory processing disorder

I tried explaining to a friend the other night, "Ollie has a sensory processing particular, an auditory processing disorder..."

Friend, joking, "is there an app for that?" and "is the fix available in the next software upgrade?"

To which John laughs and says, "I can't even find the usb port on this kid..."

If it were not my kid, I would think spd sounded make believe. Seriously.

But spd is real. And if effects my Oolie-boolie. In a nutshell, Ollie has a problem with his vestibular system. What does this mean?

Imagine feeling like you are falling all time and have no idea which way is up and down.

This is a vestibular/gravitational problem.

Apparently this need for humans to feel attached or connected to the earth is even more crucial than the food we eat. The child that lacks this basic sense of gravitational security may feel completely anxious and out of control(Ahem...Ollie). It's one of our basic needs that trumps all else. Who knew??? Not me!! Never even heard of this vestibular system before!!

But our vestibular system is SO crucial because it provides the basic foundation for all of our 5 senses. And when our vestibular system is off, our other senses are off.

The sun is too bright.
Normal chatter of children sounds like a herd of elephants. The sprinkler sounds like a machine gun. A barking dog sounds like a roaring lion.
Wind and sand feel abrasive and irritating.
Food smells super intense.

This was Ollie's life...

So what? So my kid has supersonic senses and vestibular issues. What's the big deal? It's actually quite a big deal. As a little child, it effects even the simple ability to learn and play(a child's occupation). For example, legos and train tracks are a complete disaster because your child pushes down too hard or not hard enough. Without proper therapy it can even effect how your {older}child learns to read, write and do math. But with help, especially during ages 3-5, the child's brain can be re-wired to function normally.

How did we find out that Ollie's vestibular system had problems?


We knew something was up with Ollie. By age 3, he was speech-delayed. Fussy. SUPER SENSITIVE. Cried a LOT. But on the flip side, he loved his family dearly and seemed more friendly and out-going than his brothers. Ollie and I were very close.

I first suspected something was amiss, when we took our first vacation to the beach {lovely Cayucus}, when Twain was a little baby and Ollie was 2 years old.

Bright sun.
Loud crashing waves.
Itchy sand.

"This is FUN!", thought my older boys.

"This is an assault to my senses", thought Ollie, in terror, as he tried to burrow into John for dear life.

Poor baby. I had no idea at the time what he was experiencing. I just knew that my other boys were having FUN(for the most part) and Ollie was completely MISERABLE.

It was one of those "red flag" moments where a mom just knows.

At age 2.5, I take Ollie to the pediatrician for an evaluation. He has around 75 words in his repertoire, but only uses roughly 5 of these words per day. My pediatrician tells me that according to the developmental stages, Ollie is still within normal.

I am the 'wait and see' type of person. So I wait. And see.

Am I in denial?

To some extent. It's only natural. Nobody wants to believe something is wrong with their precious pooh-bear. Some nights when everyone was sleeping, I would sneak up to my computer and cautiously peck in a few 'disorders' on the keyboard. Nothing seemed to match up with my boy. Hmmm.

A few months before his third birthday, Ollie is still not using sentences. I ditched the 'wait and see' approach in favor of 'shock and awe' approach, LOL. It is now time to take swift, immediate dramatic and drastic action, starting with his diet.

Ollie had been developing eczema/allergies and constipation. So I put him on an aggressive elimination diet, aka, hell. Eating nothing but meat, eggs, nuts, fruits and vegetables. I went on the diet too, for moral support of Ollie, and I thought I was going to jump out of my skin.

This extreme diet lasted all of 2 weeks, wherein my slightly 'out-of-sync' child went into full blown melt-down mode. This diet just made everything way worse and magnified all of our problems. It was truly awful. But it helped clear up his eczema and constipation! What to do???!!!

Right about this time, another 'incident' happened--the sprinklers went off on Ollie while he was playing in the backyard.

Loud sprinklers sound like machine guns
The water blasting on him felt like pellets

He freaked out and boycotted the outdoors for days and days.

I did not know what to do. I just held my boy in my lap while he cried all the time. We prayed to the Lord for guidance on how to deal with Ollie's problems. I remember John saying, "We'll just try something and if it does not work, we will try something else". That simple philosophy became our motto.

A dear friend randomly calls and recommends Dr. W for Ollie's issues. This was no coincidence. This was from God.

After Ollie's FIRST adjustment with Dr. W, he was a new boy, no lie. My child, who was boycotting the outdoors for days on end, opened the back door, walked outside and never looked back.

Ollie still had problems, but now they seemed MUCH more manageable. We still had Ollie on a restricted diet, but added many more food types. And we went to Dr. W every 2 weeks(we still do!). She says that babies born via c-section, like Ollie, did not go through the birth canal and so the bone structure of their head was not forced into proper position to optimally circuit the cerebral spinal fluids. Interesting, no? God designed the birth process so intricately. Obviously this is not the case for all c-section babies, but it was part of the puzzle for Ollie.

I did not do a whole lot that summer. Basically I was trying to figure out Ollie's diet and just trying to console my dear boy. It was a sad little summer. And I must thank ALL of my family and friends, from the bottom of my heart, who listened patiently while I prattled on endlessly, trying to figure out what was going on with Ollie. Those who showed love to Ollie were showing love directly to me. And I love you for that forever.

We did manage to take a trip to Hume Lake that summer. My dear friend Ally, who happens to be an OT(occupational therapist), just happens to be there at the same time. Coincidence? I don't think so.

She tilted Ollie at a 45 degree angle and spun him around. He spooked(normally kids tend to enjoy this type of spinning). Ally mentioned a vestibular problem.

And that was the first time I heard of the vestibular system.

She also explained how Ollie's vestibular system was connected to his speech, hence his speech delay. I believe that Ally was at the exact place at the exact time, orchestrated by God. I truly do.

Ally helped give me advice on working with the school district for help, possible OT and therapeutic listening on CD. She was so loving and sympathetic.

That fall, I had an appointment with the school district to have a team of professionals come to my HOUSE for official evaluations.

Talk about unnerving, oi. The speech pathologist comes for a 3 hour evaluation. Ollie greets her enthusiastically and cooperates to the best of his ability on the questions. He does ok at first and then seems stumped. He tries to distract this 'nice lady' by playing with her necklace and trying to charm her--always the ladies-man, haha. By the end of the evaluation, Ollie can no longer answer even the questions I KNOW that HE KNOWS. I start acting all weird and defensive(blah), kind of like Monica Geller on crack. Not my best day.

The speech pathologist falls in love with Ollie, but does not fall for his tricks. She is the first to mention the possibility of "auditory-processing disorder", which is part of spd. Basically, he can hear the words just fine, but processes inaccurately and has trouble decoding what is said, or is too distracted by background noise to focus.

The psych comes to evaluate the following week. Ollie is at his worst that day. Crying and fussing. He's stressed. I'm stressed. By the end of the evaluation, I'm pretty sure she is gonna lock us BOTH up. Ha.


She sees us at our worst and still thinks we have potential. Ollie does poorly on the verbal/auditory parts of the test but scores well in other areas.

Together, the speech pathologist and psychologist recommend speech preschool, two times a week.

Within a few weeks, it became apparent to me, that speech preschool was just not enough. I remember one Saturday playing trains with Ollie, as he has melt-down after melt-down after melt-down over the trains falling apart. I've had enough.

I called the pediatrician's office, practically in tears, and made an appointment with the head doctor, begging for help/referrals/occupational therapy(OT).

He agreed.

And thus began our amazing journey toward helping Ollie with the root of his problem...his faulty vestibular system.

Here at OT(occupational therapy), Miss Jenee develops a sensory rich program, to help Ollie with his gravitational insecurities.

Scared to death, Ollie learns to conquer his fear of heights and climbing.

On the trampoline, Ollie is forced to learn how to get a feel for his body in relation to the world. His vestibular system starts to respond in a positive manner.

The rock climbing wall also challenges Ollie's fear of heights, while at the same time forces his body to discriminate his hands from his feet while clinging to the rocks. Plus it's a good work out for muscles!

In time, my son develops a deep love for climbing the rock wall. And a deep love for Miss Jenee.

Miss Jenee also helps teach Ollie many basic "self-help" skills, like getting those pesky socks on and off, buttoning and zipping etc.

And here we are, flying with Miss Jenee.

All these things are designed to help regulate and desensitize Ollie's gravitational fears. Hence, making Ollie feel more secure and less frightened of the world around him. It was working.

My personal favorite is the swing suspended from the ceiling. Wish I had one of these in my house. Wouldn't it look great in my family room?

I believe that this contraption single-handedly cured most of Ollie's gravitational issues.

He used to HATE HATE to swing and spin. And now he absolutely LOVES to spin and swing. This is huge.

A few days ago Ollie told me all on his own, "I love Miss Jenee". I kind of melted all over the floor.

Yep, that's my little love-struck Romeo.

Along with his gravitational therapy, Miss Jenee also works on Ollie's fine-motor skills like cutting straight lines, cutting out shapes, drawing shapes, etc... All the stuff he needs for school.

Last week, Ollie graduated from OT.

Miss Jenee said he improved faster than anyone she's ever had, in the shortest amount of time. He is now gravitationally secure and average or above average with all his motor skills. You should see this boy on the playground. He is a wild child, climbing up and down the slides, flying on the swings, jumping everywhere and climbing rock walls. He is fearless.

We are still in speech and language therapy with Mrs. Margie, who is also a God-send. She quickly assessed and confirmed that Ollie has an "auditory processing disorder".

Miss Margie is working very hard(with amazing success) at building up Ollie's conversation skills. The better he is able to communicate, the less frustrated he becomes. We have been blown away by her efforts. She is directly targeting all of Ollie's specific problems. If Ollie just isn't "getting" a particular concept, like "which does NOT belong", she will lay awake at night to develop new strategies to reach him. WHO DOES THAT? She's very special. We heart her, so very very much.

Another major contribution to Ollie's improved speech has been homeopathy. We took him up to Santa Cruz to be treated by Dr. Karen. In just a few weeks after the first remedy, his temperment and speech dramatically improved. Every time his dose was changed, he talked more.

Now Ollie talks nonstop, all day long. I love it. He likes to talk about Jesus.

Of course, all of the combined efforts of OT, speech with Margie, adjustments with Dr. W and homeopathy have all targeted different aspects of the sensory disorder to have a mutually beneficial synergistic effect. I will never know which one was the most effective because of the complex nature of our sensory system. And I'm ok with that. And I must give God all the glory and credit for guiding me to each and every one of these therapies, because there were times I had NO IDEA what to do next.

I just read a book called "The Out-of-Sync Child/Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder". Holy moly, this book basically described my child for me. A text-book for my kid(Ollie falls in the hypersensitive category, whereas other spd kids may be undersensitive). This book has tied everything together for me, and has connected all the dots. I feel like I'm finally starting to understand my boy. We still have long way to go, but I feel like we are on the right track.

Now that Ollie has graduated from occupational therapy, I am now Ollie's occupational therapist.


No pressure! I need to make sure he has a sensory-rich program here at home. It involved so many things to do, my head is spinning. Like jumping on the bed(weeee!), spinning him on my swivel chair, rolling down hills, etc. The list goes on and on. Basically, the more Ollie is moving and playing the more he'll improve. Use or lose it type thing. So Ollie MUST ride his bike, run and visit the playground almost every day, rain or shine. I find this to be simultaneously overwhelming and exciting.

So far, I've had two of my own little OT session with Ollie. It has been challenging to motivate him(he's more cooperative for Miss Jenee). And I'm trying hard to keep my house neat and orderly so Ollie is not so distracted. We've been listening to a lot of Mozart to help keep our brains organized. But it's been so rewarding and I feel a HUGE sense of accomplishment and joy. You should see my little stacks of stapled papers of his work. Yah, I'm completely nerding out.

Most importantly, I can deal with Ollie's frustrations more effectively. For example, when I am tempted to get impatient(or wrip my hair out) when Ollie dawdles when getting dressed...or fusses for the upmteenth time that the van door is open...or for some reason today he can't buckle his seatbelt while yesterday he could just fine... I BITE MY TONGUE. He's trying VERY hard but sometimes just can't help it. Some days he's "on" and other days he's just "off". Now that I understand, I get down on his level and give him a sympathetic and encouraging pep talk instead of getting all frazzled and frustrated. Now I constantly praise anything positive, so he'll feel more confident. And I give him more time to do things.

This has done WONDERS for both of us.

We have always been very close...but I was not always so great at understanding his excessive frustrations. He was a puzzle. A mystery.

My little mouse. The Lord has BIG plans for him, of this I am confident.

I have always veiwed Ollie's issues as a unexpected gift, but a gift all the same. He adds so much pizazz and spark to our little family.

With all Ollie has been through, he's quite attached to his mama. It's like having a little possessive boyfriend at times, LOL. I love him so much and it gives me just a glimpse of the enormity of God's love and patience for me.

References. Most of my info on spd and the vestibular system in this post comes from 'The Out-of-Sync Child' by Carol Kranowitz.

p.s. feel free to email me(link on my sidebar) if you have any questions or concerns!