Renae Today: August

I am so thankful that though the month of August was extremely rough for our family, it ended on a high note.  Our first week in August proved to very difficult as Princess was having a very difficult time.  You can read more about that in my last Renae Today post.  

I had hoped that after that first week, Princess would be doing better, but such was not the case and behaviors continued to escalate.  I won't go into detail about behaviors and all that happened, but I can say it was NOT fun at all.  If it wasn't hard enough to manage Princess' behaviors and struggles, Sunshine continued to be difficult as well.  It's easy to say that part of the reason for their extreme behaviors was a change in or lack of routine related to preparation for a yard sale we had in the middle of the month.  Another struggle in August was hot temperatures with only one bedroom air conditioner.  But there were also other factors.

Almost four weeks into the month, with no let up in Princess' behaviors, I was completely exasperated.  She just wasn't herself.  Then I remembered the increase in medication she had started at the beginning of the month.  Immediately I told Jason, (who distributes the medications in the house), to cut her dose back down to the original amount.  Within three days an angry, raging, physically aggressive monster, started to turn back into my little Princess.  I am so thankful for modern medicine and how it helps my special needs children, but sometimes when changes and/or modifications don't work...  It can be a nightmare.  

Despite some crazy behaviors from both girls, we did try to have an enjoyable month.  Dinomite continued with horseback riding and swimming lessons.  Bulldozer continued with gymnastics/tennis.  Princess started Kung Fu.  Sunshine continued with gymnastics.  We attempted swimming at our friends' home each week, even though our time was cut short due to behaviors and/or weather on a couple of occasions.

One evening we had all intentions of meeting grandparents for dinner and going bowling, but Sunshine's behaviors were so extreme when we arrived at the restaurant that we had to leave.  Instead the boys and I went out for dinner at Chili's.  (Princess was already not functioning and unable to participate in the original plans.)

The third weekend of the month we had made plans to attend Pirate Day in a neighboring town, however sick kiddos put a damper on the plans.  Still we tried to make the most of the remainder of the month.  One might guess that I would have been able to accomplish a ton of work at home, however my computer continued to crash all month long and then finally died.  I wasn't able to create many printables or learning activities, let alone get very much blogging done the whole month of August.
Thankfully the very last week of the month, things started to turn around, despite not having a computer at all.  (I think it helped knowing a new one was on it's way.)

I was able to meet with Princess' old therapist for three hours on the Friday before the last week of the month started. She was able to give me some very helpful strategies for dealing with Princess' new behaviors, especially all of her anger, as a result of a new developmental period she's in right now.  I will always be thankful for our fabulous support system.
As Princess calmed down, Sunshine began to calm down.  We were back on a regular schedule and that makes all the difference for Sunshine.  (She's more rigid than any of my kiddos.)  The funny thing is when I look at how far everyone's come this summer, she's grown the most.

At the beginning of the summer she was petrified to get into the pool.  Sunshine was happy sitting on the steps with Daddy or Mommy, but did not like going any farther into the water.
The picture above is Sunshine the third week in August.  She is not only in the water, but touching and moving around on her own without clinging to a parent for dear life.  Sunshine is jumping in the water and okay with going under.  She's even gone down the slide a few times.  The key was making the necessary accommodations to help her feel comfortable in regards to her vestibular sense.
Sunshine also made progress with her food allergies this month.  We did a test trial with dairy products, to see if she's grown out of her allergy, and sure enough she has.  I'm not sure who's more excited, her or me!  Sunshine is thoroughly enjoying all the cheese her little body can hold.  Lol.

At the very end of month, Bulldozer celebrated his 7th birthday.  He had been counting down the days until his birthday for about a month and had the entire day planned out.  For breakfast in the morning when he woke up he wanted Chocolate Cinnamon Toast Crunch with cinnamon toast.
After breakfast he wanted to have his media time and NO morning work or learning time.
Instead of eating lunch at home, he wanted to go to Chili's for lunch with his brother and Mommy.  Just like the week before, we had a fabulous time.
The boys have learned how to play the games on the back of the kids' menu while they wait for their meals.
Bulldozer ordered chicken fingers and french fries, his absolute favorite.
Then, he was completely surprised and THRILLED that the wait staff came and sang him a Happy Birthday song as they brought his dessert.
Bulldozer LOVES dessert and always makes sure to have room to finish it off.
Once home from Chili's, Bulldozer was ready to open up his new LEGO sets and get to work putting them together with Daddy.
Once he and Daddy had finished, Bulldozer had requested pizza and his favorite chips for dinner.  I added the watermelon to make sure there was at least one nutritious item on his plate.
Dinner and the news was followed by his favorite chocolate cake and ice cream.  It was after a few bites that Bulldozer finally realized he was starting to get full from the day's special treats and requested that we save the cake for tomorrow.  Lol.
The day after Bulldozer's birthday we packed everyone up and headed North to my parents' place.  My grandparents were in town and there was a big family reunion scheduled for the next day.  Now, my kiddos and family reunions don't mix very well.  I was extremely worried about the event, especially with a month long history of crazy behaviors.  However, I still wanted to try.  Jason and I knew that if we had to leave, then we'd leave, but at least we attempted.

My grandparents were going to be at my parents' place the day before the reunion, which provided a great opportunity for the kiddos to get to know them in a more comfortable setting.  While at my parents', I would also have help prepping the kiddos for the reunion in other ways that needed to occur.  Overall our time there went well.  There was delicious food, lots of fun, and camping in the backyard.
All four kiddos did fabulous camping this time around.  I was so excited and impressed.
Camping will definitely be a big part of our summer next year, now that the kiddos are older and find it enjoyable!

We made it to the family reunion on time, believe it or not.  The kiddos knew to play on the playground, then eat, and swim at the beach last.  Little did we know just how long it would be before lunch was served.  I was completely unprepared for that.  We were literally 2 minutes away from having to head out, just because the kiddos were so hungry and bored playing on the playground.  Two were already starting to meltdown, and the other two were well on their way. Thankfully, the meal was ready just in time, and we made it to phase two of the big event.
While the kiddos were playing I was able to take some really cute pictures.
Bulldozer and Dinomite love their little cousin and had so much fun playing with him.
They also enjoyed playing with their other cousin.  Then they decided to move on to playing in the sand.  All four kiddos were covered in sand by lunch time.

Bulldozer, believe it or not seemed to be the kiddo struggling the most the day of the reunion.  I'm not sure if it was allergy related, sensory related, or heat related, but he was definitely in his own little word for a while, visually stimming on one aspect of the playground for quite some time..
 
I was thrilled to note that he was doing better after lunch.  When I went over to tell him it was time to swim, he had made friends with a little girl named Emily at the playground.  As he told her he had to go, she ran to him and gave him a great big hug.  I admit, that was the highlight of my whole day.

The kiddos had fun at the beach for a little while, but Jason and I noticed that they were starting to struggle a bit once again.  It had been a long day.  I wanted to avoid meltdowns while we were at the reunion if I could, so I gave them their five minute countdown and we headed out.
The kiddos did an amazing job for four straight hours at the reunion with people they didn't know, kids they weren't used to playing with, and adults who wanted to get to know them.  I was so proud of them.
Sunshine did start melting down as I changed her before heading to the car, but it was mostly sensory related.  Once in the car, when she realized she was safe and it was just us, she was most definitely sure to let us know how NOT happy she was about the events of the day.  Her poor car seat took most of the beating, as she decided to pull out and shred all of the padding underneath the cushion.  Then she made sure to let everyone else know how she was feeling as well.  Thankfully she eventually calmed down and her three older siblings took a much needed nap on the way home.

But for all those that met her at the reunion, she'll always be known as the adorable Sunshine who would approach anybody, give them a hug and talk their ears off.  Lol.
Jason and I were so excited that all four kiddos made it through the weekend's big event.  We're making progress, and that's what counts!  AND... I have a new computer, so I'm all set and ready for the remainder of the year!  

That's Renae today!

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