Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: A Year in Review

This past year has held many challenges, many changes and some breakthroughs as well. We have met some new people who have helped Faith make forward progress but have been discouraged as certain prayers continue to go unanswered. Through it all though, there is one truth that remains - God has been with us and He has been faithful.

He has placed many people in our lives who have kept us encouraged and who continue to inspire us each and every day to to "walk by faith not by sight." As I think about our past year, I can't help but feel hopeful that the New Year will be better than the last!

JANUARY - Me and Faith spent the tail-end of last year and the beginning of 2013 recovering from the flu. In fact, she was at the walk-in clinic on New Year's Eve. We recovered just in time to celebrate the NDSU Bison winning their second straight national championship. This year they are once again headed to Frisco, Texas to defend their title as they take on Towson University on January 4th.

In other news, we were without an elevator for almost a week in our building which made our lives very interesting getting Faith and her chair up and down the stairs.

FEBRUARY - Both me and Rob celebrated our birthdays this month - we had fun celebrating with our friends from church at Bruno's Pizza. At work, we had an old-school Valentines Day party and my Valentine pizza box even won a prize!

Speaking of hearts, I had one of the longest pacemaker appointments ever that included being hooked up to a 24-hour holter monitor just to make sure it was functioning as it should. I also received the exciting news that my heart is not pacemaker dependent.

MARCH -  We celebrated the resurrection of our Savior with some friends at their home for Easter dinner. Unfortunately, the snow, cold and wind kept us from our tradition of flying kites.

Faith had her first lessons with Pati Holman who is an Anat Baniel Practitioner. Pati comes to Bismarck about every 2 months from Wisconsin to work with children in our area. Faith had lessons in the summer and fall as well and we are currently in prayer about continuing with the lessons as we have also found some other kinds of treatment that are beneficial.

APRIL - Bismarck broke their record for the most snowfall in one day as over 17 inches fell on the city. School was canceled and even I got a snow day from work. It is a rare occasion for any town in North Dakota to shut down on account of the weather! Besides North Dakota making news because of unprecedented snow fall, we also continued to make news throughout April due to a pro-life piece of legislation signed by our governor in which North Dakota became the first state to ban abortions based on gender and/or genetics defects.

MAY - Spring finally sprung and with the warmer weather, Faith ended her school year as a third-grader. We all loved having Mrs. Ternes as her teacher and were a bit sad to find out she would be retiring. We are glad though that Faith had her during her final year of teaching.

While Faith was finishing up school, Cari finished up another season of Java JOY for which she volunteers as coordinator. Sadly during a season we celebrate new life, we lost a precious person to our family - Rob's Aunt Audrey. How wonderful though is the assurance that she is resting peacefully in her eternal home!

JUNE - Our long awaited summer vacation was finally here! We were so thrilled to be able to go to Winnipeg, Manitoba to meet Rob's parents - David and Jean who flew there from Toronto. We had so much fun at the Holiday Inn, visiting, watching hockey, drinking Tim Horton's coffee, eating, laughing and just enjoying being together.

We also went to the zoo where the highlight was Hudson the Polar Bear. The time went by way too fast but we promised we would not let another two years go by without seeing one another and are looking forward getting together again in 2014.

JULY - My dad had officially retired from the oilfield in March and he and my mom made the move to Bismarck. They found the perfect retirement home north of Bismarck, close to my brother Todd's. We had a fun family get-together in July to celebrate dad's retirement and their  new home.

Faith and I also enjoyed a lot of time outside on the patio downstairs of our apartment which also ended up being a great place for others to come visit her.

August - The last month of summer vacation was full of fun visits with friends including a trip to Hazen to see our friends, the Sagos. Kimberly, Matt and their baby, Gunnar came up from Kansas and I reunited with two of my college roomies when they were in Bismarck for a conference. The month went by too fast and before we knew it, Faith was starting 4th grade at Centennial Elementary!

September - This month we were especially aware of the benefits of the chiropractic care Faith had been getting over the summer with Dr. Steve. She sleeps much better and her startle is not as severe. She has more energy and instead of needing to take two afternoons off a week from school, she goes five days a week, six hours a day. In September, she went on a few field trips for school and all three of us went to the International PowWow.

The last weekend of the month was a little chaotic as we moved to a different apartment and my job transferred locations. I also took a trip to Brookings, South Dakota with my dad where we met my sister, Tesa for the NDSU Bison game - which of course they won! 

October - Faith turned 10 years old this month and celebrated by having not one but two parties! Unplanned by me, one of them ended up being an all girls party which we had downstairs in our lobby. Faith got to share her day with her grandma, her aunts, cousin, friends and neighbors. The next day we had another get together with some of our church family.

November - Faith had a few fun visits at her grandparents in November but unfortunately towards the end of the month she came down with a fever and not feeling well. She ended up missing Thanksgiving dinner at her aunts but we had our own little Thanksgiving celebration writing letters and little thank you notes to people. Faith certainly has much to be thankful for and is especially thankful for all the wonderful people in her life.

December - Faith is enjoying her break from school and she and her Daddy have been having fun just hanging out at home. Bismarck is experiencing one of the coldest Decembers ever so we have all been content spending time indoors. This month she had her first music therapy session which she absolutely loved and can't wait to do more of.

We had a nice relaxing Christmas and are gearing up for an uneventful New Year's Eve!

We look forward to what the New Year holds 
and pray you have a blessed New Year too!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Enjoying our Stress-Free Christmas

It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas and it can easily become a stressful time of the year instead of a joyful one. In our family, we know that Faith does best when her normal routines are kept and the fewer surprises the better. We really tried our best this year to keep everything as low-key as possible and do less for Christmas than we have in the past. This included less shopping, less baking, and less activities in general.
Instead of baking Happy Birthday Jesus cupcakes this year for Faith's teachers and caretakers, I found these cute cupcake Christmas tree ornaments and I wrote on the bottom of each one "Happy Birthday Jesus 2013"
In the end, all I really wanted for Christmas was for the three of us to go our Christmas Eve service at church and while Faith wasn't willing at first, eventually she relented. The next day since opening Christmas gifts is outside of her normal routine, we had to actually coax her to open the gifts. Hard to believe for a 10-year-old, I know. Going to church and opening gifts was enough Christmas for her.

Me and Faith and our matching "Bison Nation" T-shirts

Daddy and Faith opening gifts on Christmas morning
Although I tried to coax her into going to our family gathering at Grandma and Grandpa's, she had simply had enough of doing things outside of her routine and did not want to go. Instead of the battle escalating to an all-out screaming fit, I just let it go. Of course I was disappointed but I ended up having a great time with my family!

My sisters bought everyone these funky holiday shirts and we all put them on for our family photos. It was a lot of fun to see what kind of shirt everyone got. Both my parents got Duck Dynasty shirts that say, "Duck the Halls" and they got my brother a sweater that we all thought was ugly but decided it actually looked pretty good on him! We also ate lots of yummy food and played a hilarious board game called "Loaded Questions." There was certainly no shortage of fun and laughter!
Having fun with the family in our awesome holiday shirts!
This year, I learned that by doing less and having less stress makes for a much Merrier Christmas. Not only that but it also allows us to focus on the real reason for the season - the birth of our Savior.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

When the Weather Outside is Frightful

The weather outside is truly frightful, as I write this post, it is a frigid -22 degrees F. out there. That's 22 degrees below zero and that's darn cold! My husband is lamenting this fact, for a few reasons - one because he actually had to go outdoors today and two because it is a balmy 23 degrees back home in Toronto - that's a 45 degree difference! He does always say, "We need to move to Canada where it's warm!"
Doing puzzles is a great indoor activity
Thankfully, inside it was much more delightful and Faith could not have picked a more perfect day to get out all of her puzzles, board games and Christmas books. We had so much fun playing Candyland (she won, of course), reading some of her favorite Christmas stories and listening to Christmas music. Our mailman also dropped off a Christmas package from Faith's grandparents. I told Faith we were going to hide it from Daddy to see how how long it would take him to find it. But as soon as Rob walked through the door, Faith spilled the beans. "Daddy," she said, "We got a package today and it's behind the loveseat!"

Although North Dakotans are used to the very cold winters, it is unusual to be this cold in December - this is more like our January/February weather. Tomorrow, although there is a wind chill advisory until noon, it is eventually supposed to get up to two degrees.

When the weather outside is frightful, I am ever more thankful  for our warm, cozy apartment and not having to go outside. While staying indoors too much can cause me to go a bit stir crazy, when it's this cold out, I don't mind at all.

Friday, November 29, 2013

What Faith is Thankful For

As a child who has a feeding tube, Faith doesn't really have reason to look forward to a big Thanksgiving dinner. Throw in the fact that she has not been feeling well this past week and woke up yesterday morning crying and gagging on mucous, she didn't have much of a Thanksgiving.

So for her Thanksgiving celebration,  I told her that we could make a list of things she is thankful for and she was happy doing just that. She also had me help her write little letters to her friends and family saying things like, "Thank you for coming to church" or "Thank you for letting me come visit you."

It was really sweet and she came up with about 20 people she wanted to write letters for. I think this says a lot - that she is simply thankful for the people in her life.

Thankfully, she feels much better today.

Here is her list for things she is thankful for: 

Faith doesn't miss Wheel even
when we'ere on vacation!
  • Mommy and Daddy
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • Big hugs and kisses
  • Having a sleepover with her grandma (we haven't actually done this yet but she is obviously looking forward to it!) 
  • Baby Allie - her doll she's had since she was a baby
  • Yogurt and chocolate
  • Bedtime with Elmo DVD
  • Going to church
  • Watching her PBS shows
  • Her bed with her pink cupcake sheets

I think making her list is going to be the start of a great Thanksgiving tradition! To see my list of things I have been especially thankful for this year, click HERE.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Some Thoughts on World Prematurity Day

November 17 marks World Prematurity Day. One might wonder why awareness needs to be raised about premature births. Well, I can tell you you firsthand that it is a really good thing when more people are aware of the risks and complications, not to mention the emotional toll, of having a baby born too early.

Faith and Daddy
Having a baby born prematurely is not something most expectant parents think about until it happens to them. Most moms-to-be who first learn they are pregnant automatically think they have seven or eight months to prepare for one of the biggest days of their life.

Expectant parents usually have one response when asked if they are hoping for a boy or a girl - "As long as the baby's healthy." But sadly, sometimes that's not always the case - especially if the baby is born too early.

I will never forget the book I was reading shortly after finding out I was pregnant with Faith - "What to Expect When You're Expecting." It was a great resource that outlined what was happening inside an expectant mother's womb week by week for the entire 40 weeks of pregnancy. Some moms, like me, however never made it to the end of that book.

When having a baby born too early, I think it's natural that mom's first emotion is guilt and asks herself over and over again, "What did I do wrong?"

While there are things that mom may or may not have done during the pregnancy, the answer is usually nothing. A mom can do everything right during pregnancy and still somehow end up having her baby too early.  There are also moms-to-be, like me, who know going into pregnancy it is going to be high risk. They are still hopeful and do whatever is necessary for the baby to be born full term.
me and Faith after her her very first "real" bath
We know that full term babies have the best chance at starting life because they have had time to develop completely inside their mother's womb. Babies born prematurely (before 37 weeks gestation) often suffer several consequences including:
  • Underdeveloped lungs which can induce respiratory distress
  • Heart problems like a slow heart rate or even heart failure
  • An eye condition called retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)
  • Bleeding in the brain 
  • Apnea - short or long pauses between breaths 
  • Intestinal disorders such as necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Loss of oxygen shortly before, during or after birth 
  • Longer hospital stays 
  • Severely underweight and failure to thrive
  • Premature birth is the most common cause of death in newborns
It is easy to see why a mom and dad who have just had a preemie feel completely overwhelmed and anxious. But it is also wonderful to look back on your premature baby's first days of life and know how much has been overcome. During Faith's 74-day stay in the NICU, we battled many of the above complications but she came out an overcomer in many areas!
Faith with her doll, Baby Allie, who wears her preemie clothes
There is also another thought I would like to share today on World Prematurity Day. One of the most common arguments for abortion is that if a human being is not viable outside of the womb, all the more reason it should be legal to deny the baby a chance at life. In fact, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor 7 to 2 to overturn a Texas court's ruling on a case called Roe v. Wade, it was stated that "a woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy for any reason before the fetus becomes viable" At this time in 1973, that age of viability outside of the womb was 28 weeks.

But look at what is happening - because of research and awareness even the tiniest of tiny premature babies are able to survive and even thrive! The youngest of pre-term babies are born at 22 weeks and don't even weigh a pound when they are born. Thanks to medical research, we have found a way to keep these micro-preemies alive outside of the womb! This to me is just one more reason to stand for life during all stages of life - from conception to birth!

One of my friends has a cousin in Fargo whose baby was born at 25 weeks and weighed just 10.9 ounces. He was even smaller than most micro-preemies and is known as the world's smallest baby boy. At four years old, he is doing great! I thought today would be a great day to share their story: CLICK HERE

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Birthday Bliss!

Faith's birthday didn't start out so well as the day before she came down with a cold and did not sleep very good two nights in row. She missed Thursday and Friday at school. Friday was her birthday and she had been looking so forward to going. Not only was she going to be doing a special birthday activity at school but it was also her school's fall festival party.

I had serious hesitations about going forward with her birthday party on Saturday but thankfully, she had a good night sleep and felt much better.
Faith celebrates with her mommy, grandma, cousin and aunties
Faith with our dear friend, Joann
We had her party at our apartment building lobby which worked perfectly for the number of guests that showed up. It was so funny because she said when she came downstairs to the lobby, she wanted everyone to say, "Surprise!" Rob left shortly after bringing her down when he discovered it had turned into an all-girl party. (I really didn't plan it that way but none of the guys ended up being able to make it!)

Faith had a fun time visiting, listening to her new praise music cds, laughing at her mom doing the "Father Abraham" dance, eating cupcakes and opening lots of gifts. We were thankful many family members were able to come, friends old and young, a few neighbors and even friends who made the drive from Hazen.

Some friends were only able to stop in for a short time as they were in between weekend activities but we were glad for the presence nonetheless. We also enjoyed getting phone calls from her grandmother and grandfather and aunty Joh in Canada.

Faith getting a live birthday greeting from her uncle Todd who was at work on the rig
Greta and Aubryn left the boys behind in Hazen
Since we had lots of leftover cupcakes, (which were delicious by the way - chocolate with cookies and cream frosting) we called our pastor and told him he wouldn't have to worry about bringing doughnuts to the redefinition cafe service the next morning! Our little church family loved celebrating her birthday weekend with her and even sang Happy Birthday.

After church, the celebration continued as some of our long-time friends came over to visit. Faith isn't so excited to go out and visit others but she sure loves having people over to her place! The last birthday wish of the weekend came from our friend Kimberly in Kansas via SKYPE. Although the connection dropped, we still had a nice visit over the phone.

It was definitely birthday bliss turning 10 years old! 
Peggy always makes Faith laugh!
Faith with Bob and Lola
Faith with Lyle, Peggy and Jeremiah
Us with our 10-year old!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Transitioning at Home and at Work

We have been in our new apartment for about two weeks now and I have also made the transition from working at Coventry to Aetna. In the midst of moving upstairs in our building, I also moved up north to the Aetna building. In both moves, I am happy to find that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
Faith watches her pink tv in our new apartment
On the homefront, the main reason we wanted to move to the top floor was because we were hoping it would be quieter. And it is! No more constant noise above our heads at all hours of the day! Although Faith still asks, "How long are we going to be living in this apartment," she is making the adjustment rather well.

If there has been one thing to get used to - it has definitely been that it is a lot warmer on the top floor facing south! I mean, like really warm! The temps have gotten down to about 40 degrees at night and we still haven't turned on our heat. In fact, we had to hook up Faith's portable air conditioner in her room because it was getting to be 85 degrees in there! I don't know how we're going to survive the summer up here but we'll focus on getting through winter first.

There are advantages to facing south though. We have a much prettier view and can see the capitol building from our balcony and we can also see Faith's school. Rob likes it because he can keep an eye on the vehicles in the parking lot. Plus, it is much quieter than facing Century Avenue.
our view from the balcony
I am finding it has also been a nice transition with my workplace moving up north. It takes me five minutes to get to work! I get home a little earlier in the evening so that helps with our supper and Wheel of Fortune-watching routine.

All in all, both the transitions at home and at work have been good for all three of us. It was a little crazy there for a little while with everything happening at the same time but I'm happy to report things are getting better day by day.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bison Weekend!

Am I ever glad it was last last weekend that we traveled for the NDSU football game and not this one as we are having our first winter storm and parts of South Dakota are actually under a blizzard watch!

This weekend the Bison are getting ready to take on Northern Iowa at the Fargodome. It should be a good game considering our opposing team is ranked number four in the NCAA FCS division. But honestly, I am still thinking about last weekend's 20-0 victory over SDSU and how much fun I had with my dad and sister as we NDSU grads cheered the Bison on in person!
The Thundering Herd prepares to take the field!
My sister Tesa was the master planner behind the whole event. She had wanted to take my dad to a Bison football game and asked if I would want to come along. She was hoping for homecoming tickets but the only tickets she was able to acquire were to the Bison vs Jackrabbits game.

Brookings, South Dakota was a great meeting place as she drove there from Lincoln, Nebraska and me and Dad drove from Bismarck. I must say that because she lives in Lincoln, she is a die-hard Huskers fan but she cheers for the Bison too!

It rained and rained nearly the whole way there and we were all getting very concerned that we would end up sitting in the rain during the whole game. But when we arrived, the rain went away - it was a little chilly and there were some cold gusts of wind but alas during the 4th quarter, when the Bison started playing a lot better, the sun came out in full power and we even ended up getting a sun burn. 
Bison Nation!
Bison fans are on their feet (during the whole game!)
Bison Quarterback leads the team in prayer after each game and even invites the other time to pray with them
I was a little anxious about leaving Faith and Rob overnight but thankfully Michelle was able to help out quite a bit as she was here most of the day Saturday looking after Faith and also part of Sunday. I missed her so much after being away from her for nearly 36 hours!

I had a great time with my dad and sister though - we had lots of fun cheering the Bison on to their fourth victory of the season. I'll be cheering them on from my living room as they continue to win all the way to their 3rd straight national championship! Oh and by the way, "That's another Bison first down!"
Celebrating our win - sunburned faces and all!
Getting ready to leave South Dakota.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How Chiropractic Care has Benefited Faith

One of the main reasons we sought chiropractic care for Faith was to help her with her startle reflex. Most people startle when they hear a loud, sudden noise but for Faith her startle can be debilitating. When she was younger if she startled often in a short amount of time, she would break down in tears.

Her startle made it difficult to do things like being in a school program and something like going to the movies was totally out for her. It was hard to watch her startling constantly during a church service when someone spoke into a microphone. Her whole body would tense up making it impossible for her muscles to relax.

Besides her startle, we were also having a tough time dealing with her emotions and behavior. She would have screaming fits that left me and Rob feeling helpless, not knowing what to do to help her. We thought as she got older, things would get better. But last year during school, her tantrums escalated and we chalked it up to pure exhaustion.

Her pediatrician even agreed she was just too fatigued and so he told us to try to do a couple of half-days of school instead of five full days. This seemed to work for a while. But then, there were mornings she was back to her old self, screaming and crying that she didn't want to go to school. It took all of our energy just to get her there. We tried everything we could to help her - from disciplining her to trying to talk to her and praying for her. Last January, those prayers were on their way to being answered.

We had connected with a mom whose little boy also had cerebral palsy at the Healing Rooms. Through her, we found out that ABM, an alternative type of therapy was coming to Bismarck. Also through her, we got the name of a chiropractor who she thought might be able to help Faith.
Faith and Dr. Steve
In researching what could be going on with Faith, I realized some of what I was reading about neuro-developmental challenges which includes sensory processing. She simply wasn't able to process all of the information and stimulation going through her nervous system. This left her feeling like a complete wreck and was also partially responsible for her severe startle.

Something intriguing I saw on Dr. Steve's website was two goals they had in dealing with children with neuro-developmental issues: "First, we seek to calm and balance the central nervous system.  Secondly, our program uses multiple approaches to 're-program' and 're-integrate' their disorganized nervous system."

Faith managed to make it through the rest of school last year and during the summer, we had a consult with Dr. Steve. She then began getting adjustments about three times a week. Rob and I also started going to his informational seminars and learned about sublaxation and how it affected our daughter.
Faith getting adjusted during one of her appointments
After receiving adjustments all summer long, Faith entered the fourth grade a new girl. There are no more morning tantrums, she looks forward to doing things out of the norm like going on field trips and she is able to go to school six hours a day, five days a week. The transformation has been nothing short of amazing. There is sign in Dr. Steve's office that says, "Expect Miracles" - we are true believers that miracles do happen!

We are so convinced that chiropractic care has benefited our daughter that we highly recommend any parent whose child has been labeled with ADHD, anxiety, sensory processing disorder, mood and behavior disorders, developmental delays and whose child even has special needs such as cerebral palsy.

I mentioned sublaxation earlier which can be a result of physical trauma like being born via c-section. Many kids with cerebral palsy are born prematurely and their birth often involves an emergency c-section. Click here to see a video of a baby being born via section. WARNING: if you are squeamish like my husband, you probably won't want to watch this! But it is interesting to see how they have to pull the baby out by the head and the negative effects that can have on the spine which in turn can affect the whole nervous system. 
chiropractic care has benefited Faith immensely
Just recently, we had a reexamination with Dr. Steve and I was able to check off the following:
  • Less temper tantrums
  • Less/no anxiety
  • Improved sleeping
  • Better able to handle stress
  • Better emotional control
  • Stronger immunity
  • More energy/vitality
  • Increased concentration
We still have a ways to go. Her startle has not disappeared but we notice she startles less often and when she does startle, it's only for a moment and she is able to relax soon after. We are hoping that one day she will have a normal startle reflex and that we will eventually be able to check off:
  • Improved digestion
  • Improved posture
  • Improved learning ability
  • Improved bowel function
We are very excited about all the gains Faith has made these past four months. Our only regret is that we didn't know about the benefits of chiropractic care sooner!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A New Experience - The United Tribes International Powwow

We did something new as a family this weekend - we went to the United Tribes International Powwow. This year marks 44 years that the United Tribes Technical College here in Bismarck has hosted the huge event. Seventy tribes are represented at the event with over 1,500 dancers and drummers coming from all over the world to participate. The event draws over 20,000 spectators from Thursday through Sunday and the Bousfields were part of the crowd this year.
Over 1,500 dancers participate in the Powwow
It all started when Faith's class went to the event on a field trip. Unfortunately, it is hard to get a wheelchair to the arena where all the action takes place because there are no sidewalks and one has to push a chair through the grass which can be hard, especially when it is hot and humid outside with bees swarming everywhere. Her aid ending up not being able to get Faith to join her classmates at the arena. Faith was pretty upset about this and about her dad taking her home early. All she talked about was how she wanted to go back to the powwow. 

I had no idea what to expect because I had never attended the event before. It cost $12 per person to get into the event but a very gracious man allowed Faith to get in for free. Then there was the matter of finding a parking spot - it's worse than the 4th of July parade in Mandan!

On our third time circling through, I began to pray that a spot would open up for us. Wouldn't you know it, as we crossed an intersection, a car was just pulling out close to the arena. God even answers parking prayers!
Rob managed to get Faith in her chair to the main arena - a place she couldn't get to the day before
I can see why Faith's aid had a hard time getting her chair over the terrain but Rob was able to push her chair towards the grandstands and we found a pretty good spot that enabled to see everything. We got there just in time for the drumming/singing contest which was very cool. You can click on my video below to check it out. They then divided the dancers up into different age groups and categories for the dancing contest. The costumes the dancers wore were so beautiful and intricately made.

It was an awe-inspiring experience being in the midst of so many Native Americans who are so proud of their heritage and who have a desire to keep their traditions. And we got to experience it all because Faith's field trip didn't  pan out as she hoped. She was bound and determined that her chair was not going to keep her from missing out on the powwow and because of that, it was a great new experience for the three of us!
The Grand Entry
The singing contest was my favorite part
Absolutely amazing traditional costumes
Dancers ranged in ages under five to over 50
Click the play button to view video

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Getting Used to Our New School Schedule

Today marks Faith's 8th day of school and we are all adjusting to a new schedule. Faith has made huge strides this past summer in sleeping better and having more energy so we decided to have her go to school from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 5 days a week. This is a change as last year she did not go Tuesday and Thursday afternoons due to how tired and worn out she would get.
Faith's first day of 4th grade
School starts at 8:30 a.m. but we asked if it would be okay for us to get her there at 9:00 instead. This allows us to more time to get her first feeding into her before she even gets to school. Her aides noticed last year that when we brought her to school without any food in her tummy, she was pretty sluggish and tired upon arrival. Sometimes, after getting her to school she wouldn't start getting her feeding until after 9:00 a.m. which meant, that because she gets a feeding every 3 hours, her last feeding of the day didn't end until 10:00 p.m.

Another advantage to the new school schedule is she has more time to wake up and not have to rush to get out the door. Our mornings are much more relaxed and stress-free than they used to be. It also gives us a chance to change her diaper right before she gets to school. Last year, they had to wait until after her feeding to get her changed and there were times her diaper would be so wet it would soak through onto her chair. This of course was pretty embarrassing for her and she didn't even want to go back to school the next day after having one of these unfortunate episodes.
Me and Faith right before taking her inside for her first day of school
There are a few things we are attributing to Faith sleeping better and having more energy to get through the day. One is the ABM we have been doing with her and another is her chiropractic care and the adjustments she has been receiving all summer long.  Because of both of these new types of treatment, we are noticing her behavior has improved as well.

In the past, when getting ready for school and not wanting to go, she would scream and cry (at the top of her lungs) for at least half an hour sometimes. It took both me and Rob and all of our energy just to get her dressed, put in her chair and out the door.

She still has some mornings where she's not too thrilled about having to get her feeding done before going to school (it's probably because she doesn't get to spend as much time with one of her favorite people - the school nurse who sets up her feedings). Her crying episodes are now usually less than 10 minutes long (sometimes even only a few minutes) before she is able to settle down. And even better is the fact that she no longer screams at the top of her longs - which I'm sure the neighbors are glad about!
Daddy rolls Faith into her new classroom
Besides a new morning schedule, we're also getting used to a new evening schedule. After Faith comes home from school, she is due for a feeding. When I come home from work, I get supper going, we watch Wheel of Fortune and then it is off to her bath. She starts her last feeding between 7:30-8:00 which is a huge improvement from starting at 9:00 p.m.

She's usually in her bed at 9:00 and after reading a bedtime story, she tries to fall asleep. Sometimes this takes a while for her. We often hear her in her room laughing or talking to herself or kicking her legs around. This can last up to 30 minutes before she finally falls asleep. She usually wakes up only once at night and Rob will go in and turn her on her side but again, a huge improvement from waking up several times during the night.
Faith at her desk
We put a lot of prayer into her school schedule for the year and it seems it is working very well for us. It's definitely been a nice and somewhat surprising stress-free transition from summer to school!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Not Quite Ready to Say Goodbye to Summer

All of us North Dakotans know that summer always goes by way too fast. While winter can last six long months, summer comes and goes before we know it. Normally, I don't mind when summer is over because I look forward to the fall and all the busyness that the new season brings. Not to mention the cooler weather, the changing leaves, and celebrating Faith's  birthday. But this year is different - I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to summer.

Maybe I'm not quite ready because it has been unseasonably cool with temps in the 70s and low 80s - to me those are perfect temperatures! Or maybe I'm just not quite mentally prepared for Faith to go back to school where she'll be a 4th grader. Or it just might simply be this summer has a great one for our family and I'm sad to see it end. 
Faith and I enjoyed hanging out on the patio at our apartment complex this summer
Faith, on the other hand is all gung-ho to start school again. In fact, ever since it ended last year she has been asking when she gets to go back. On Thursday, we went to her open house where she met her teacher and we found out her instructional aids will be the same wonderful ladies she had last year.

Faith has been so excited ever since we went to the school that at night she has had a hard time falling asleep. She'll just be lying on her bed laughing and squealing with excitement and waking up early in the morning because she's still so excited. 
I loved the weather this summer - lots of rain, beautiful greenery and cooler temperatures
I hope all this positive energy continues when she actually starts school and has to wake up early five days a week! Last year we had some battles getting her to school in the mornings but this year we might try to do a few things differently. I'll be sure to post again next week to let you all know how her first days of school went!