Saturday, June 25, 2011

Isaac's Birthday and Camping

I have been bad at keeping up lately!  Isaac finished T-ball a week ago, which has been fun for him and us to go to!  This last game he got to play catcher, so here he is all decked out in his catchers outfit!

Ammon enjoyed going to the games as well, and at this last game he figured out how to climb in and out of our camping chair!  He was pretty proud of himself! :)

Isaac turned 5 on the 20th of the month, and of course, he wanted a water party!  We had one kiddie pool (the boring plain blue one), but he also got a pool from his Grandma (the green) and an awesome one from his Aunt Bonnie that came with a blow up slide that you slid down into the pool with!  The kids LOVE it, and we have used it a few times this last week as well!  The neighbor friends came over, and they had a fun, splashy pool party in the back yard!
 Rob's still setting up the fun slide pool in this picture, but you can get a feel for the whole set up in it!
Going down the slide!  It came with little blow up sliders that they used to slide down on.  It was a big hit!  If any wants to come over this summer for a fun BBQ and pool party for the kids, let me know!  We'd be happy to have you!
 We took a break from the pool fun for a little present opening and cake.  Isaac got a new bike from his Grandma, which he loves! 
 We had Isaac's pool party on a Saturday, but his real birthday was on the following Monday.  So, we saved our presents for him to give to him on his real birthday.  Among his gifts, he got this car from the new Cars 2 movie that just came out.  We haven't seen it yet, but it is on our list of movies to see!
I guess I should have posted this picture first, but for his birthday breakfast, Isaac requested blue waffles, which came out more of a green, but he seemed to enjoy them anyway, especially with his "whoop" (aka cream) on them!

We have been wanting to go camping as a family for a while now, and Isaac wanted to go for his birthday, so we decided to go the day after his birthday.  We went up to Currant Creek Reservoir, which is just barely northeast from Strawberry Reservoir.  We have been camping there one time before, with Caydin when I was pregnant with Eden.  So, it was kind of a special place for us to go!  We really enjoyed being up in the mountains, and the kids LOVED it!  They spent a lot of their time collecting sticks for the fire, or trying to chop down dead trees!  EmmaLee kept walking in the little woods by our camp, and when we'd call her, she would say, "I'm just walking in the forest."  I thought it was so cute!  I liked our spot because it was in the middle part of the camp ground loop, so they couldn't wonder far without hitting a road in any direction.  The campground also has a little playground that was just 20 yards down a little path from our site!  We didn't let the kids go as often as they wanted because some of the stuff was meant for a bit older kids!  We had planned on staying for 3 nights, but we ended up only staying one.  Everything was going well, and we even got the kids to go to sleep fairly easily, but then the cold set in.  We had unfortunately underestimated how cold the nights were really going to get!  We went from an 80 degree day to a 36 degree night!!!  Funny enough, Eden, EmmaLee, and Isaac still had decent nights, but poor Ammon was miserable!  Initially he went to sleep, but then he woke up crying, and we couldn't calm him down.  Rob finally took him to the van and started it to get him warm.  He also burped a couple of times, so we think he had a small stomachache as well.  They came back to the tent, and I held Ammon with me in my bag to try to keep him warm.  The problem was that whatever wasn't touching you got cold, so I would try to pull a blanket up to our faces, but when it touched him, he would get fussy and upset, so he would push it away, which would leave us uncovered and more cold!  Needless to say, it was a long night and I was so glad to see the sun come up!

Despite our lack of sleep, we still managed to make the most of our day there.  Rob took Isaac and EmmaLee fishing on the lake in his fishing boat, and Eden, Ammon and I hiked up the trail connected to the campground.  Rob and the kids caught 3 fish, and Eden, Ammon and I survived our "easy" 1 mile hike!  Now, I have to admit that I haven't been hiking in years, and I have had 5 kids, which has taken a toll on my body, but I still consider myself to be in okay condition, but this hike was kicking my butt!  I think part of it was the fact that it was a constant uphill hike to the top of an overlook!  Also, every time we stopped to rest, we got swarmed by bugs, which did help to motivate us to keep going!  But, even though it was hard, I really enjoyed it, and I was so grateful for the time with Eden.  She was such a trooper, and when we got to the top with an absolutely beautiful overlook, she told me, "Mom, hiking is hard, but it is so worth it for this view!"  She sounded so grown up, and I'm grateful she learned a lesson on the benefits of hard work!  I just wish I had taken my camera so I could have gotten a picture of the beautiful view!  So, after meeting back up, we packed up our camp and headed home, since we were NOT going to try to brave another freezing night with a baby!  But, even though we had to leave early, I still consider it a very successful camping trip and we are already planning our next trip, but this time it will be somewhere where the nights don't get so cold!!
A shot of our campsite.
 Toasting marshmallows for s'mores!
This is a shot of the playground that I took from our campsite!  The flushing toilet bathrooms was just to the right of the playground!
Ammon enjoyed camping as well (except for the night anyway), even though he wanted to be down walking a lot more than we let him!  Overall, it was so much fun being out in nature, and watching our kids enjoy the experience.  Because Caydin's accident happened when we were camping, it has taken Rob and I several years, almost six to be exact, to feel strong enough to take our other kids again.  We've gone to cabins, condos, and hotels, but to actually go out in a tent or trailer was a really big mental step for us to take.  Rob and I fought paranoia leading up to the trip and almost didn't go, but pushed ourselves because we both want the outdoors and camping to be a part of our children's lives.  We don't want them to miss out on it because we were too scared.  Nature has actually helped us to often feel closer to Caydin, but thinking of actually camping has brought back our fears and emotions of Caydin's accident.  So, this camping trip was more than just a young family of four small children making an attempt to successfully go camping, but to help us to overcome some really deep seeded fears and emotions, and I'm happy to say mission accomplished, or at least a big step has been taken!  I think we'll always fight being paranoid about things, but as long as we don't let those feelings stop us from living, I think that's success for us!  I think it was kind of special that we went to the same campground that we went when we only had Caydin, and now we visited it again with the rest of his siblings, the youngest of which is within a couple of months of the same age that Caydin was when we took him!

Finally, as a side note that is still significant, I received a call Thursday from Isaac's school saying that Eden's name had come up in the lottery for 2nd grade.  It's a story that deserves it's own blog, so I won't go into a ton of detail here, but she has been struggling with Separation Anxiety Disorder.  That was the reason we pulled her out of school, and why she was signed up for an online school for next year.  Unfortunately, even though her teacher is a good teacher, I don't think she had much experience with problems like Eden's, so she did a few things that actually made the problem worse and really set it off.  I got very little cooperation from her school, which is why after a LOT of thought, prayer, and research, we made the decision to pull Eden out of school.  Without her teacher's willingness to work with us, I knew we weren't going to be able to conquer this problem.  The breaking point affected everything.  Eden quit going to her primary class, which she had LOVED before!  Rob and I really can't go places together because she gets upset when she is left with ANYONE else.  We've managed to go a couple of times when we've left her with Rob's mom, who we live with, but even then it has been difficult.  I've talked to counselors from the school, some child development experts, and we've even talked to her pediatrician.  Medication has been talked about, but I wanted to avoid it if I could for a while because her problems are not all the time in the sense that it is only when she has to leave us that anything is different.  Until then, she is completely normal, and once the threat is gone, she is completely normal.  And, from what I've read and have been told about this specific disorder, it has a high success rate of being overcome without medication, but it just takes time.  So, that's why we chose to take her out of school and work on things at home for a while, and my hope has been that she would gradually "grow" out of this disorder, just like toddlers when they experience this same type of thing.  Most people know that toddlers experience separation anxiety/stranger danger, etc, but when it is experienced by older children who are out of the normal developmental age for this, that is when it becomes a disorder.  And, I'm talking more extreme reactions.  Eden goes into full anxiety attacks with hyperventilating, physically shaking, feeling that she is going to mess herself and getting sick to her stomach.  What's hard about it too is that she WANTS to go, but then this anxiety hits her and it can take us 10 minutes to even start calming her down.  So, we've been taking it slow, but I've been getting discouraged because there really didn't seem to be any change, and I wondered if I had made the right decision in pulling her out of school.  I knew it would be better for her to work through it and stay in school, but with her teacher not willing to work with us and being a big reason Eden finally snapped, I really felt like it would actually harm Eden even more by forcing her to stay.  But, I've been questioning that decision when she has shown very little progress these last few months, and I have been praying for help and guidance in what to do.  Finally, the last two Sundays, I have gotten Eden to go to Primary.  I have had to sit with her the whole time, but she wasn't even willing to do that before!  I think a huge part of that is that our wonderful Primary President, who I haven't talked to at all about what is going on, has made the effort to seek Eden out and talk to her and just get to know her.  This last Sunday, Eden was waiting and hoping Sister Gravely would come talk to her, which she did for a few minutes.  Afterwards, Eden wanted to walk down to the Primary room, and we eventually made it into the back of the room.  I had to sit with her the whole time, both there and in her class, but she told Sister Gravely that maybe someday she would be able to come by herself, which is a huge step!  Up till this point, even considering going in the future at anytime got her emotional and she couldn't even entertain the thought that someday she might feel differently!  Anyway, this is a lot longer than I had planned on making it, but to get back to the point, when they called on Thursday, I didn't know what to think at first.  Two weeks ago if I had even mentioned to Eden the idea of going back to school, I know she would have had an anxiety attack about the whole thing!  But, when I finally talked to her about it that night, while she did get a little emotional and panicky, I was able to reassure her enough that she calmed down before going into a full attack, and after talking about all the good things, such as how they focus on art, which she LOVES,  she decided she wants to go!  I don't believe it was coincidence that she wasn't accepted when Isaac was, and the opportunity is happening now, just after she's finally made some progress!  I know she wouldn't have even considered it before now.  It's the perfect time!  I still think there will be some obstacles to overcome; I had to tell her that I would be willing to come and stay with her if she needed me at first until she felt comfortable, and I am planning on talking with the school's counselor right from the beginning because I know it's going to take the efforts of myself, her teacher, and the counselor to make this work, but I feel really good about it, and I'm so grateful to see Eden finally making some progress! 


Mandy said...

Wow lots of milestones your little family is making. I am sure it must be really dificult to go camping, I can only imagine. And about Eden, that must be so hard, I know at least with Holden he has always struggled academically and was getting farther and farther behind and I talked to his doc and she suggested getting some tests done through the school--which was like pulling teeth, and this was done last year. And I left the psychologists office feeling really defeated. I thought I would give this year a chance and the same thing happened, so I took charge and decided to have him tested for resourse--I just hated the thought of him having to deal with that stigma, but we were out of options and he was only falling farther behind, so it took five months to go through everything but the last week of school we met with the resource people. And he will be getting the services for the EXACT things I was worried about, his tests reflected that. So he will start up with math and written comprehension help next school year. I guess we just do what we have to do as moms even though it is difficult. Some days are just hard though :)

jessi said...

Sounds like your camping trip, birthday and everything was really fun!
It must be really hard to have your little girl have such anxiety about going. But Heavenly Father will help her over come her trials and fears, it just takes time. I think it's wonderful you are willing to be with her to take small steps to get her where she needs to be.
Some doctors have suggested that we give Hunter medications (because with his aspergers he has really bad anxiety if things don't go the way he thought it would go) but I too don't feel comfortable about giving them to him. I was put on meds a long time ago, and now I am addicted to them and can't function without them because doctors gave me way to high of dosages. I do feel meds are great- but it should be a VERY LAST RESORT after all things have been tried. I feel like with a lot of fasting and prayer miracles can happen and Heavenly Father can guide us to the best paths. I think it is wonderful that you rely upon Heavenly father for all your answers because too often people depend on "experts" and doctors to tell them what to do when all we have to do is go to the Supreme "counselor" who knows the situation inside and out. Good luck and I hope things all work out well!!!

Marsha said...

When you catch up, you really catch up!

It can't be easy to be a parent, always wanting to do the right thing but knowing you won't always do the right thing. Still, I think as long as you are doing the best you can, with the knowledge you have, you are doing the right thing. Hope that makes sense.

I admire your willingness to try alternatives with your children, your recognition that they aren't all the same, and your patience with them as they learn how to navigate the world.

Thanks for sharing your struggles, as well as the fun times in your life.

Annalisa said...

Good for you for getting out and making positive memories with your kids. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for you. And yes, the nights are very cold at high elevations, even last weekend the nights were cold!