Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's a Boy!

Jack Michael Patrick Ashbee
Born at 10:30am on August 19th, 2010
Jack weighs 7 lbs 11 oz
Christine is doing great. See expects to be out of the hospital by Monday.

Jack is named after his great-grandfather and two of his uncles - Sean's brother Michael and Christine's brother Patrick.

More pictures to come...


P.S. Check out the iPad App the hospital is using and the machine that goes "ping."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday (Belly Shots)

I know it's late but It's still Wednesday on the West Coast :)

- Christine's "Baby Daddy"

P.S. There will be more shots taken over the next two months...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We're moving to....

Nathan was diagnosed with Autism today. Yes that's right he has both RTS and Autism!!!! What are the chances of that???? I am both relieved and overcome with emotions upon this diagnosis. Relief because there's so much about Nathan's behaviour that didn't make sense to me. So much about him that I couldn't connect with or understand. I'm overcome because I have a whole new disorder to learn about.
Today is such a weird mix of emotions... I am absolutely exhausted as I type this. I have cried so much today and yet the diagnosis of Autism is a good thing because it will open up SO many more doors, so many more services and more funding to help Nathan. It's all in his best interest.
Nathan is still Nathan. That hasn't changed! He's still the same kid with the same challenges; the diagnosis has confirmed suspicions we have had for the past few months and will help us help Nathan the best we can. So now we pack our bags and move to Schmolland. I'm going to start researching this new world and once the initial shock settles I'm sure we'll adapt to living life in a new country.
I know many of you are familiar with the poem "Welcome to Holland" I am posting it again for those whom may not be familiar with it.
The second version "Welcome to Schmolland" is a version that hit close to home as it has been rewritten to reflect Autism.
Hope you enjoy them both. I will blog again soon but for tonight, I need to take in all of this... It's a big move and I hadn't planned on moving after Holland.

Welcome To Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability... to try to help people who have not shared the unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this: When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip... to Italy.

You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, Michelangelo's "David", The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian.
It's all very exciting. After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go.Several hours later, the plane lands. The flight attendant comes and says, "Welcome to Holland." "Holland?" you say. "What do you mean,Holland? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy." But there's been a change in the flight plans. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. You must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And, for the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposedto go. That's what I had planned." And the pain of that will never ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

Welcome to Schmolland
by Laura Krueger Crawford

In Schmolland, it is perfectly customary to lick walls, rub cold pieces of metal across your mouth and line up all your toys end to end. You can show affection by giving a "pointy chin." A "pointy chin " is when you act like you are going to hug someone and just when you are really close, you jam your chin into the other person s shoulder. For the person giving the "pointy chin" this feels really good, for the receiver not so much, but you get used to it. For citizens of Schmolland, it is quite normal to repeat lines from videos to express emotion. If you are sad, you can look downcast and say "Oh Pongo." When mad or anxious, you might shout, "Snow can't stop me!" or "Duchess, kittens, come on!" Sometimes, "And now our feature presentation" says it all. In Schmolland, there's not a lot to do, so our citizens find amusement wherever they can. Bouncing on the couch for hours, methodically pulling feathers out of down pillows, and laughing hysterically in bed at 4:00am, are all traditional Schmutch pastimes.

The hard part about living in our country is dealing with people from other countries. We try to assimilate ourselves and mimic their customs, but we aren t always successful. It s perfectly understandable that an 8-year-old boy from Schmolland would steal a train from a toddler at the Thomas the Tank Engine Train Table at Barnes and Noble. But this is clearly not understandable or acceptable in other countries, and so we must drag our 8 year old out of the store kicking and screaming while all the customers look on with stark, pitying stares. But we ignore these looks and focus on the exit sign because we are a proud people. Where we live, it is not surprising when an 8-year-old boy reaches for the fleshy part of a woman's upper torso and says, Do we touch boodoo? We simply say, "No we don't touch boodoo" and go on about our business. It's a bit more startling in other countries, however, and can cause all sorts of cross-cultural misunderstandings. And, though most foreigners can get a drop of water on their pants and still carry on, this is intolerable to certain citizens in Schmolland who insist that the pants must come off no matter where they are, and regardless of whether another pair of pants are present.

Other families who are affected by autism are familiar and comforting to us, yet are still separate entities. Together we make up a federation of countries, kind of like Scandinavia. Like a person from Denmark talking with a person from Norway, (or in our case someone from Schmenmark talking with someone from Schmorway), we share enough similarities in our language and customs to understand each other, but conversations inevitably highlight the diversity of our traditions. Oh your child is a runner? Mine won t go to the bathroom without asking permission. "My child eats paper. Yesterday he ate a whole video box." "My daughter only eats 4 foods, all of them white." "My son wants to blow on everyone." "My son can't stand to hear the word no. We can't use any negatives at all in our house." "We finally had to lock up the VCR because my son was obsessed with the rewind button."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Weekend in Pictures (Guest Poster)

Thinking about eating a fry from KFC...

Playing a little Kneebouncers...
Shooting some hoops...
Helping Daddy wash the car...
Hiding from the sprinkler...

Jumping for joy...
Smile number six...
Feeling sleepy...
Bunny Bear is tired too...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's day

On Sunday morning- Mother's Day
I woke up a little later than usual, I heard the laughter and giggling of happy children playing with their daddy....

I was greeted with much love by all...

I even cried because all of it was so meaningful and a little overwhelming.
The kids each worked hard on their own surprises....

Alyssa made me this very beautiful card,
a puppet and a special Walrus pin.

Nathan too has been working hard at school,
Here is the card he made for me and with it came a silk flower snow globe.

I just "love" his little hand flower

My wonderful husband treated me to a pedicure and a wonderful day of complete relaxation.

Being a mom is the best gift I've ever had.
I love being a mom and I'm excited about doing it again soon.!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mommy and Alyssa day!

Friday was a special day for Alyssa and I.
I took the day off work and we spent the entire day doing all kinds of fun girly things. We started by having a bit of a sleep in followed by breakfast at home and then we went shopping in Sidney.... there's a little consignment store that has tons of great stuff for kids.... we found some books, a summer dress, new capri pants and we also found Maggie..... Alyssa fell in love with her and we had to take her home.

Here she is outside the store with Maggie

Then we drove to Brentwood Bay and met up with Daddy for lunch at Smittys. We hardly ever get the opportunity to go meet dad for lunch so that was fun.

Maggie and Alyssa shared the most amazing chocolate milk!

After lunch we went to the Victoria Butterfly gardens and saw some really neat things. Here are some of the pictures we took while visiting the gardens...

Just outside the entrance to Butterfly Gardens

Butterflies that had just come out of their cocoons, drying their wings

The biggest Moth I've ever seen . It's the size of both of my hands!!
Alyssa was terrified it was going to land on her head!

Pink Flamingoes!!
We never see those birds here in BC - It was neat to see them.

More Butterflies, there were so many different kinds and they were everywhere. One even landed on me and another landed on the camera. Made it hard to take a picture of it. That's one smart butterfly alright!

A quail... there were a few of them running around the gardens

Alyssa and I.
She was keeping a close eye on the butterflies. She was worried they would land on her. She was also worried about another bird that we saw that likes to peck feet. The bird is the size of a duck and has a long very narrow beak. He scared her and she then referred to the bird as
" the evil bird"

Then Alyssa had a mini spa experience at Lizzi Lee and Me. A kids salon here in town. Unfortunately the pictures are nowhere to be found. I'm not sure where they went to so I can't post any of them. Sorry!

Alyssa got her hair washed, cut and styled followed by a manicure, nail art, tattoo and ring. It was fun to watch her, she couldn't stop watching herself in the mirror.

We ended the day by stopping in at the library for some good books to take home.

I was completely pooped out but what a great day we had on our mommy daughter day.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Communication begins!

March 17th, 2010- Nathan was introduced to Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) at school and has responded quite well to it.

PECS is a great tool for helping non-verbal children communicate without words. PECS allows Nathan to make choices and communicate his needs by using pictures of desired objects (such as toys).

Here's how it works:

When Nathan wants an item, he gives the picture to his School Teacher or School Aid. The Teacher then hands Nathan the toy; this reinforces communication.


I'm so excited that this form of communication was introduced to Nathan and that he is picking it up as quickly as he is.

Here are some statements from his school over the past few weeks:

March 17th- Introduction to PECS, Nathan did great!

March 18th- Nathan worked on PECS again this morning, he was able to do it independently after 2 times.

March 19th - Nathan had another good day! We worked on PECS again today and he was a superstar!

March 25th - Nathan had a pretty good morning. He was a little fussy about doing PECS but we worked through it and got it done.

March 26th - Nathan had a good morning we worked on PECS and he was able to travel around 3 feet across the room to give me the card!!!

March 31 - Nathan had another good morning. We did some PECS work and it went really well.

April 12 - Nathan was looking at friend's PECS book (who had stolen a toy he was playing with). He found the card for the stolen toy and brought it to his friend. WOW!!!

April 15 - I am now going to be sitting with Nathan at lunch and doing PECS. We are doing PECS with one of his peers as you need two people for the first phase.

April 19- Nathan had a rough start to the morning, he was quite grumpy and was really into throwing things. He did snap out of it for a bit and we got some really good PECS work done

April 21- Nathan seemed a lot happier today! We have been working on PECS all week and we now have 4 highly preferred items that we are using. Nathan is very close to mastering Phase 1! We will most likely start Phase 2 next week. Phase 2 is called " DISTANCE and PERSISTENCE" which means Nathan will travel across the room to exchange the picture for what he wants. Oh! and Nathan is also exchanging pictures with his peers which is very cool!

I can't tell you how excited I am about this. Coming to terms with the very real possibility of having a non-verbal child was difficult. For the past two years I persisted and hoped that Nathan would grasp signing but to no avail.

In one month Nathan has progressed so much with PECS, it's absolutely unbelievable- I have to pinch myself. Obviously, this is Nathan's preferred method of communication. It's what works for him. I'm so thankful that Nathan is at this school. It's been great for him and the tools they are giving him are helping him in so many more ways than I ever thought possible.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Nathan knows when he needs a nap...

Today's Guest Poster: Nathan's Dad

I was looking after Nathan this weekend when he decided he needed a nap. He found Bunny Bear and a soother and went and climbed into his little bed. He fell asleep in a few minutes. I snapped this photo before I closed his drapes and covered him up.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A basket full of ....

Hint 1- Of course none of you could figure out the sex of the baby. The ultrasound pictures are of the torso and head- you silly, silly mommies!!!

Hint 2- Was no hint at all because....

If the baby was a boy than Nathan would have a brother and a sister

if the baby was a girl than Alyssa would have a brother and a sister

A basket full of sunshine,

A house full of joy.

What could be sweeter,

Than a new baby boy.

The ultrasound technician had a difficult time telling us the sex of the baby as the cord was in the way. It took several attempts, but in the end, our technician felt fairly certain we are having a boy. I was shocked!! I actually thought we were having a boy but my track record has not been good so I wasn't expecting them to say boy. I thought I was having a boy with Alyssa and a girl with Nathan soooo I finally get it right third time around...

Now for names............. I have some in mind...... but I'm not tellin.......

Got to keep something a surprise..............

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cereal Killer

'Twas early this morning, when all through the house

A creature was stirring, and it wasn't a mouse...

Hint about the sex of the baby:

"Now one of my children will have a brother and a sister..."

Answer will be in tomorrow's post...