December 31, 2010

Penner Family Christmas 2010

It was a short but very sweet trip to Minnesota. We left December 27th and came back on December 31st and tried to fit as much into the visit as we could. What a wonderful time with loved ones. Aaron and I were very grateful for the opportunity to spend part of the holiday season with our family "up north".

Weaving a family with two wiggly boys through an airport is never without some stress but, all in all, the boys traveled very well! Aaron and I were especially worried about Grant managing the plane ride but we packed his favorite "blankie", the weighted blanket, did the Therapeutic Listening Therapy while in flight, and had plenty of snacks and toys to occupy him. He even took a good nap each way. What a relief!
Wesley was a little more feisty on the plane than his older brother. Even though he was getting over a cold and teething, I think he handled the flight pretty well. At one point, a flight attendant scooped him up and carried him up and down the isle introducing him to the passengers (and, of course, Wesley will take advantage of any moment to flirt). He was the in-flight entertainment.
Brrrr! Grant all bundled up to go out into the Minnesota cold to enjoy the snow. He loved it - except for the wind. Riding with Daddy on the snowmobile and visiting the piggies were his favorites.
Meet the Penners! (some of them at least)
The Grandchildren: Wesley, Grant, Izzy, Aiden, and Ian. Never a dull - or still - moment.


December 26, 2010

Mayes Family Christmas 2010

What a wonderful time! Good food, games, and family fun! The girls got away one afternoon and watched The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (awesome movie!) while the guys watched the kiddos. Of course there was the annual game of Christmas bingo  - a sure way to bring out the competitive nature of the Mayes family.

You gotta love a good family picture. There nothing like positioning everyone, attempting to get the kids to look at the camera, and, my favorite, watching the person who has to press the button on the camera race to his/her spot in time.

The Grandchildren: Grant, Wesley and Nolan

December 13, 2010

9 Months Old

Wesley is all over the place. Pulling himself up and cruising along furniture, there is no stopping this little boy.


November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving was a little different this year. Because Aaron's football team (the Vance High School Cougars) made it far in the playoffs, we stayed home rather than traveling to the Outer Banks as previously planned. The holiday was celebrated on Wednesday afternoon at Aaron's parent's house. Even though there were 4 1/2 of us eating (four adults and Grant), Aaron's mom didn't hold back with the feast. It was fabulous as usual with all the traditional fixings and fun fellowship we are blessed with whenever we get together.

Fun in the leaves!

Grant chasing Henry - again.

Grandpa Mayes playing sweet hymns at the piano - accompanied by Grant & Wesley.

Wesley with Grandpa & Grandma. I don't know where Grant is... he's probably chasing Henry.

November 21, 2010

The Test

On Wednesday, November 17th, Grant was given a psychological evaluation to assess his cognitive level.

I caught myself holding my breath as the psychologist set up her testing supplies - a peg board, puzzles, a doll, various pictures, miscellaneous toys that didn't seem to go together, etc... I tried to keep my focus on Grant as I stole glances around the small, simple room and sized-up the evaluator.

The process began with questions I have answered over and over again on a regular basis since I first suspected something was wrong with my precious Grant. Then a quick explanation on what was about to take place.

Everything was exactly as I expected. For the next hour Grant worked hard. Aaron and I nervously watched from our designated chairs and I constantly fought back overwhelming urges to prod Grant harder at certain tasks or scoop him up in my arms and tell him how much I loved him.

Finally, it was time for the evaluator to give her feedback.I smiled and put on a calm face as waves of nausea almost overtook me.

"Grant is testing at an 18 month level."

That's all I heard. The sentence echoed in my head. She went on to say many positive things about Grant but my mind was still reeling and replaying the bad news. I can't say I was completely surprised. I'm a realist (and, yes, that IS different than a pessimist). Grant's delays are like a neon sign that blinks unrelentingly at me all day every day. But I was still hoping that this time my fears, my intuitions, were wrong.

Since the test, I am replaying the positive things the psychologist said. Grant has come a long way. He has advanced approximately 8 to 11 months in the last 13 months (Grant's disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder (hypo-sensitivity), is considered a learning disability and, therefore, impedes on his ability to progress at the same rate a "typical" child would).

Progress is taking place.

Grant works hard and doesn't easily give up. In fact, the evaluator praised the fact that Grant didn't pitch fits or throw tantrums when the going got tough but persisted and gave clear indicators on when he needed a break. Also, he was great when it came to books. When a book was brought out during the test, Grant grabbed it, sat down, and flipped though it - pausing and studying each page. After a minute or two he quickly stood up and handed the book back to the psychologist. She thought he was done looking at it. Nope. (Aaron and I both smirked and looked at each other - we knew what he was about to do.) Grant proceeded to crawl into her lap and bring her arms around him so she would read the book to him. She melted. The test continued with Grant sitting in her lap and he excelled with the questions asked concerning the pictures in the book. That is definitely my Grant. :)

Summary: What I learned from the evaluation...
1. Grant is quite behind in his development but is progressing at decent rate (around 60 - 80% of the rate a typical child develops at his age, by my calculations).
2. He responds well to affection and praise.
3. He is a visual learner - make sure verbal instructions are given with examples (do not get frustrated if he needs be shown repetitively).
4. Teach him from where he is currently at cognitively - not at where he should be at his age.
5. Listen to him when he is "saying" he needs a break.
6. Continue to use books as a tool to teach.
7. It is imperative that Grant's body get the sensory input it needs - it is and will be the key to his development. Constantly assess his sensory needs. They can differ from day to day.
8. Push harder for an appointment to get Grant neurologically tested.

Below are a couple links for those wish to know a little more about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD):
Thank you for your prayers. Grant will go back to the Watkins Center on Tuesday, November 23rd, for his vision test (they had problems with the camera when we were there on the 17th). During that appointment, Wesley will be given an intensive hearing test.

November 14, 2010

Grant walked downstairs by himself for the first time today! Hip hip hooray! Up until now he had to turn around and crawl down the stairs but today he walked down like a big boy.


November 13, 2010

8 Months Old

Wesley is on the move! He is crawling all over the place, pulling himself up, and climbing over large objects. It won't be long before he tries to climb the stairs (which I am attempting to delay for the time being). He has two teeth on the bottom and two more about to make their grand entrance any day now.


November 2, 2010

I love days like yesterday. It was perfect. An early morning family photo shoot, nice long naps by all so I was able to cross some things off of my to-do list, a wonderful fall afternoon at Reedy Creek Park, and a relaxing evening on the couch with Aaron. I actually got to read two chapters of a book! Thank you, Lord, for days like yesterday. Now on to today! :)


November 1, 2010

Grant ate an apple.

While it may be a small milestone for most children, it's not for Grant. The combination of holding an apple properly while opening his mouth wide and biting down hard enough and then chewing the apple (skin & all) enough to swallow - and not spit out - is huge. Someone once told me that it is important to celebrate all of Grant's small victories (like when he learned how to transition from walking on a sidewalk to grass). While I agreed with the advice and often pepper him with praise, that statement caused me to wince in anger and tear up. I had to pause and think why such a comment would bother me. It's because they are not small victories. Things that are small feats to other children are huge to Grant. It is a painful reality to watch your child struggle at something that is second nature to others. I am learning to focus on the positive. Grant is a sweet, happy boy with a heart of gold. He works hard every day. He has far to go but today I dwell in the wonderful experience of watching my son, Grant, eat an apple.


October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Patch 2010

We always look forward to our annual pumpkin patch experience at Hodges Farm. It's easy to take great pictures (of course it helps to have Grandma Penner along to help corral the boys and capture some of the picturesque moments) and the farm is a wonderful, wide-open space for Grant to run around.


Pumpkin Patch 2010 - take 2 {funny faces}


October 21, 2010

Remember the Cows!

Grant's yearly IFSP (Individual Family Support Plan) meeting was yesterday. It was great to sit around the dining room table and review Grant's progress with all of his therapists and service coordinator. It was exciting to set new goals for him. The biggest goal of the meeting was two-fold:

1. Get approval to begin a second day of occupational therapy.
2. Get approval for that second day of occupational therapy to take place at the Crossway Pediatric Therapy clinic. (Why the clinic? The clinic has equipment and resources that are very difficult to translate into home-base therapy.)

The first goal was in the bag. Very obvious. There's no question that Grant desperately needs more sensory integration - he could have OT five days a week and it might give him all the input he needs. The second goal gave me a pit in my stomach just thinking about it. Perhaps it's because I knew it was out of reach. Because of certain criteria set by the state combined with reduced funding, getting services covered outside of the home is nearly impossible. And if the request wasn't approved I would be forced to admit that we can't afford to provide a day at the clinic. The shameful and pride-shattering reality that we cannot give Grant everything he needs weighs heavily on me. Just thinking about everything Grant needs sends me into panic mode. In those times I say to myself, "Remember the cows!"  
For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. Psalm 50:10  
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31 
Our needs, which seem so overwhelming, are nothing to God's power. My heavenly Father owns everything. It has been an expensive year. A string of costly car repairs. God provided. Medical bills. God provided. Just a couple months ago we had to replace our roof and air conditioner - almost in the same week. God provided. I quit my job to stay home with my two boys and to focus on Grant's therapies. God continually provides each month. 
Why am I so quick to forget? 
I feel like the Israelites after they had been rescued from Egypt and were investigating a beautiful, bountiful land as their new home. The Promise Land. After all God had done for them, they still griped and doubted that He could take care of them (Numbers 13). That doubt was met with stiff consequences. I don't want to doubt. I don't want to gripe. I want to trust. I want to have faith no matter the circumstances. God does provide. God will provide. Sometimes in little and/or unusual ways (I don't think the Israelites would have ever guessed that they would have escaped the Egyptians by walking through the Red Sea, or have a diet of food falling from the sky, or capture a city simply by walking around it a few times). It's not looking good concerning getting Grant into the clinic... thank-goodness God is in control. Remember the cows! 

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9  
'If you can?' said Jesus. 'Everything is possible for him who believes.' Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, 'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!' Mark 9:23-24 

October 14, 2010

The Plateau

Since joining Weight Watchers on May 15, I have lost 25.8 pounds. Yes, I am very proud of what I have accomplished thus far BUT I have 13.2 more pounds to go and the terrain has flattened all around me. I have plateaued. The last two times this happened to me I found out I was pregnant (don't go there). I have lowered the number of daily points I can eat, increased my level of exercise, increased my water intake (though that has never been much of an issue for me) and have tried to get more sleep. I've even started eating prunes. What's the hold up?!? I am starting to get discouraged and desperate. Sigh... quitting is not an option. To be continued...

October 13, 2010

7 Months Old

My goofy, sweet boy is 7 months old today! Poor thing is teething and battling a fierce cold, but he is always ready to give a big smile.


October 9, 2010



September 22, 2010

What's yours is mine

Hmmm - that looks good.
I'm going for it...

Got it!
© Choosing Gratitude | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig