Tuesday, July 8, 2014

a rest from therapy

It’s Monday night as I sit here writing and today was nothing like a typical Monday.  Life seems to stand still today and I am rested, refreshed, and quiet.  My older 3 kids are off spending most of this week with Grandparents, an Aunt, Uncle, and cousins.  Zachary is an only child this week and I think so far he doesn’t mind!  He likes the quiet like I do so we are soaking it all in – for now!  I’m sure we’ll crave the activity of a houseful in a couple days.  Amidst all of the deep cleaning I did this morning with no extra kids around, I found time to read a book in the afternoon.  Unbelievable!

Not only are the kids away to make the day slow but this week there is NO crazy therapy schedule!  As I drove to Walmart this afternoon my car almost automatically headed towards therapy.  Zachary has “graduated” from his first round of intensive therapy and amidst the excitement for a much more open schedule I think we already miss our therapists who have become more like family to Zachary and I. 

Intensive therapy, which included 8 sessions of PT/OT a week was absolutely the best choice for Zachary.  He progressed at a pace I never thought possible.  By the end of our crazy schedule he was walking with a walker, standing at a wall with one hand, crawling on all fours, and drawing circles on a magna-doodle.  We are amazed with his progress!

But now the hard part.  For the next 4 months it’s all on our shoulders now to continue to push and challenge him.  We were sent home with pages of pictures and instructions on how to keep him learning and we have the equipment we need.  We have our UpSee (what an incredible gift and help it is especially when we are Z’s only therapists for 4 months!), a walker, and soon will get his Orthotics (little foot braces).  It’s so much easier to take him to therapy and let a professional who know what they are doing spend hours a day with him.  Me?  I find myself surrounded by laundry and cleaning and job responsibilities.  I didn’t sign up to be a physical therapist!  But I guess God signed me up for this over 3 years ago.  He blessed us with a special needs boy and with that comes the need to find/make the time to be therapist, nurse, caregiver, mommy. 

I pray about how all of this time off will work.  I pray for the creativity and discipline I need to spend time helping Z continue to progress.  I thank God for this quieter week and seek direction on being the best mommy Zachary needs.  (And I look forward to 4 months from now when we see our PT and OT therapists and friends and start therapy mania all over again!)


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How I lost 17 pounds and dropped 2 pant sizes!

This is a blog post that I’ve started to write about 18 times.  The picture below that a friend put on facebook last week prompted comments and personal messages asking what was up with my weight loss.  Writing and talking about myself is so hard for me but I so badly have wanted to share a new journey I have been on and the successes I've had.  So here goes try #19 – or so!

At the end of March I started hearing through a couple of blogs I follow about a 2 month fitness challenge.  The challenge was called the “1800 minute challenge” and the goal was to get active, log minutes of exercise and see if each participant could reach a total of 1800 minutes for the months of April and May.  Since I became a mom over 14 years ago I’ve struggled since then to get my weight down.  With each baby brought more and more pounds.  I also have a secret about myself – I don’t like to always follow the crowd and can be oh so stubborn.  So when my parents started getting fit a few years ago and always talked about their exercise and weight loss?  That threw me into an obstinate routine of wanting to eat more.  Yep – just imagine how I was as a teenager! 

But April 1 something changed for me and I honestly don’t know what was different this day than any other time I got on an exercise kick.  But 30 minutes a day turned in 60 and I wanted to push myself harder and harder.  Running and working out became something I looked forward to, especially when my husband joined in – I definitely don’t want to be outdone by him!  By mid-April I was in a new routine but wasn’t seeing physical results other than feeling better.  That was when I stumbled upon a DVD series put out by Team Beachbody called Slim in 6.  It was ½ off (still is) and I ordered and was so excited when it came!  A six week commitment to finish these DVDs?  I thought I’d at least try.  Worst case scenario it’d end up on the dusty bookshelf with all of the other workout DVDs I’d tried over the years with no success.

I don’t think I have ever been so sore in all my life.  I vividly remember Zachary had a doctor appointment at Children’s Hospital a few days into my program and I could only slowly hobble out of the parking lot and into the building.  I kept pushing play every day, worked through the pain, and was amazed at the things that once seemed hard were becoming easier and easier!  I sweat A LOT, yelled through some of the moves, and sometimes prayed for Jesus to save me from this torture I’d put upon myself.  Believe it or not I slowly began to enjoy squats and lunges!

I am living proof that this program works.  It’s legit people.  Those infomercials for Beachbody programs whether Slim in 6, Hip Hop Abs, P90X, etc. that you see when you can’t sleep in the middle of the night?  They really work!  In 6 weeks I lost 17 pounds, over 8 inches, and dropped 2 pant sizes.  Serious! There’s a lot of research and science behind those programs and they really work if you put forth the effort. 

The exciting thing is I’m not stopping at 17 pounds.  In fact this week I’m so very close to making the 20 pounds lost mark!  I have Peter on board with me now and last week we began P90X3 – 30 minutes of insane working out but oh so fun.  Every day is a different workout so it doesn’t get boring.  At all.   
I have a few things that have most definitely helped me on this journey:    
  • ACCOUNTABILITY. Having Peter do this with me has made a huge difference.  When I don’t want to work out, he does.  And when he doesn’t want to, I’m dragging him into the living room.  (I also have this thing where I don’t want him to lose more than me – so I regularly try to get him to eat cookies and ice cream.  But so far his willpower is staying strong!)
  • NUTRITION.  I’m eating and planning meals differently than I ever have before.  I’m eating as much fresh foods as I can and am trying to stay away from anything that comes in a box – especially those with ingredients I cannot even pronounce!  My goal is 50% protein, 30% carbs, 20% fat and I use the My Fitness Pal app to track my food and calories.
  • COACHING.  So those DVD programs you see?  One thing I didn’t realize is there are people out there to coach you along the way!  Not to necessarily sell you products (even though you can buy the programs through them) but to encourage you.  About a week into my Slim in 6 program I learned a close friend from when I was that stubborn teenager  – a friend who was like my big sister – had just become a Team Beachbody coach!  She helped me learn how many calories I should be getting, taught me about that 50%, 30%, 20% ratio for my food intake and has just encouraged me when I would get discouraged.  Between Kim & her husband they have lost 177 pounds!  I know, right?  Crazy!
  • FACEBOOK GROUP.  Kim added me to a summer slim down challenge group on facebook.  It’s a whole bunch of people who are keeping each other accountable and encouraging each other with every workout we do.  Checking in and saying “yes – I worked out today” makes me want to keep pushing play on that DVD.

So here’s why I’m telling you all this.  If I can do it, seriously anyone can.  You can!  I can’t believe how much better I feel and the energy I now have.  It’s really amazing.  And I can’t wait to see how much more success I will have during my 90 day commitment with P90X3.

Do you want more info on Slim in 6 and want to purchase?  All you have to do is contact my friend Kim.  Drop her and email at naturallyyoursdoula@live.com.  Tell her I sent you!  Kim will help you get started and moving, and don’t forget Slim in 6 is still ½ off – I don’t know how long that will last.  Slim in 6 is low impact and was definitely the best way to get my body ready for the insane P90X3.

Let me know if you want to make your own commitment!

Oh and my minutes for April & May?  2,620 minutes!
Friday, May 30, 2014

Therapy Mania Update - A Picture Tour

After a few weeks of Therapy Mania in the books I think I can say with confidence that this was the BEST plan for Zachary yet.  Oh how our morning schedule is crazy.  The two days I leave him in the hands of the therapists and go to work are stressful and rip my mama heart out a little.  He cries through a lot of the sessions and regularly makes his opinion known, but physically he’s making such great strides.  I truly think it’s the consistency of how often he’s there and the creative determination of his therapists that’s really making this beneficial.  

How about a little picture tour of Zachary's mornings!

Here he is supposed to be learning to stack - but of course crashing the tower is much more fun.

Sitting on the edge of this stool with open space in front of him is a massive improvement for Zachary in the past week.  This is something his PT has been working on with him for months.  He's had a huge fear of sitting alone and used to scream and shake and cling to his therapist when she'd try to make him sit like this. Of course toys with music and lights are required as a distraction.

Look at Zachary on his legs!  

Aimee is great at pushing the limits and trying things with him that seem impossible right now.  Here she's just trying to get him used to the idea of a walker in front of him.  He'll also have to get used to holding on to a walker if he's going to one day use one.

This is the fun new skill.  He's actually starting to enjoy this little bike and pushes on his little heels to make this tiny bike go!  

They sent this bike home with us for the weekend to keep working on it and here's a video clip from here at home last night.  Such a miracle!


Thank you for your prayers and encouragement over the past couple weeks as we get this therapy mania started.  Just asking how we are doing has meant so much.  It's crazy, but so far so worth it.

Last month an amazing group of people surprised me with an incredible gift - they raised money to purchase a Firefly Upsee for Zachary.  My sweet friend texted yesterday to say it arrived at her house clear from England yesterday and we'll be getting it TODAY!  I am so incredibly grateful for the thoughtfulness and love my friends from today and years gone by showed toward us, and I can't help but see God's hand through this gift.  The timing of getting the Upsee during these therapy intensive weeks?  Zachary is at such a perfectly motivated spot these days.  I can't wait to see how the Upsee helps in crazy amazing ways on his journey of growing and progressing. 

More on that later!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Intensive Therapy - Here We Come!

“Are you ready for therapy mania?”  she asked on Monday as we walked down the brightly colored hallway for PT and OT.  I’d quickly argue that Zachary has the best physical therapist out there and about a month ago she first suggested we consider putting Zachary in a 10 week intensive therapy program.  I trust her completely and know she has Zachary’s best possibilities in mind every time she works with him. 

Today is the beginning of intensive therapy mania.  Between today and mid-July Zachary will have 75-80 physical and occupational therapy appointments seasoned with a splash of speech therapy once a week.  They will push him 4 days a week. 

He will complain the only way he knows how – by crying. 
They will calm him the only way he allows – by singing.  

A fellow special needs mom and friend explained it this way “the brain and body just handle things better, retain things better, when there’s a flood of effort.”  I’m praying her words for Zachary.  I’m praying for his brain and body, trusting God for incredible results during these weeks of consistency. 

So here we go!  The work schedules have been changed to make this possible.  I’m on the hunt for an additional car seat for Peter’s car as some days I’ll drop Zachary off and Peter will pick him up while I’m at work.  We have a plan.  It will be exhausting – but if it helps my little guy?  Totally worth it!
Thursday, May 8, 2014

go to the movies this weekend!

Three posts in one week.  Can you handle it?  I had to pop back in and tell you why you should most definitely go to the movies this weekend.  Three words.  Mom’s Night Out!  

Several weeks ago Peter and I had the privilege of attending a pre-screening of this movie and let me tell you, it is outstanding.  By far one of the funniest (non-cheesy but super clean) movies I have ever seen.  Every mom will relate with the struggles, laugh till it hurts, and probably cry by the end.  Your husbands will like it too.  Trust me – mine is super picky and he liked it! 

Watch the trailer below then run to the phone, find a babysitter, and go on date night.  This weekend. You won’t regret it, and you deserve it!  

Happy Mother's Day!

The Not So Quiet Birthday Presents

Birthday shopping is quite different with Zachary.  He doesn't really play with a toy unless there is a button to push with bright lights and continuous music. (and when I say continuous, I mean it!)  We have a giant bucket of toys that just sit while he plays with just his select few.  A select few that I've already changed the batteries in countless times!

So we gave him an activity table complete with countless lights, plenty of buttons and lots of noise and music. But the catch is he has to at least pull up to his knees or stand to reach.  Any way we can force him to use his sleepy weak muscles is a plus!

Lowe Syndrome kids can have autistic tendencies, some of which show up in Zachary in the way he plays - or doesn't play.  His favorite activities include repetitively slamming a door, twanging the door stopper, and tapping on walls.  He could spend hours at that door stopper at the top of our stairs.

His other gift was my husband's best idea ever and I think we could probably sell these.  Zachary loves this...I don't know what you'd call it. Zachary's love of door stoppers turned into a toy?  My Lowe Syndrome boy's dream come true!

Why I have no pictures of him using it?  I have no idea!  Other than it may have driven me crazy and I left the room.  Because he can make those door stoppers play for the length of a Beethoven Sonata before he moves on.  

I'm thankful for the banging, twanging, slamming, and the challenge of having to think outside of the box for present for little Z.  He's a blessing and joy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy Birthday Zachary & Choosing Joy

Birthdays are quite different as the parent of a special kiddo.  Zachary turned 3 on Sunday without the rambunctious, activity filled, fun themed party.  There wasn't a favorite cartoon character cake, no piles of wrapped presents and no little friends to run and play games with.  In his mind and body which is more like a 6-10 month old it was just a normal day.

I’m learning a lot of this 4th parenting journey we are on is about choosing my own attitude and what I will dwell on.  I could have chosen on Sunday to have thought about all of the other 3 year olds I know having fun birthdays this year.  I could have taken time to remember all the impressive parties I did with my other kids when they had their 3rd birthdays and feel sorry for myself and Zachary.  Don’t think I have it all together.  Those ugly thoughts tried to sneak up on me throughout the day.  Often!  But I’m learning and re-learning that so much of this journey is about CHOOSING JOY.  It's about my choosing to see GOD and the good instead of dwelling on what I cannot have. 

Zachary might not "get it", but we celebrated him anyway.  It just looked a little different!  We celebrated another year of life for our boy.  We celebrated God’s hand in his life.  We celebrated the crawling, the climbing, the pulling to stand that came in the past year.  We celebrated the way he can communicate a couple of signs and sounds.  We celebrated his beautiful tiny life!

And a trip to the zoo with a few close friends was just the perfect quiet way to celebrate!

Come visit me here tomorrow and I tell you what we gave Zachary for his birthday.  We have think a little differently when giving gifts to him as he doesn't "play" like a regular 3 year old.  But I think we nailed it this year!