Friday, October 13, 2017

You’ve Gotta Friend

In my adult life, I have held firmly onto the idea that it’s not what we have in life, it’s who we have in our life that matters. And I don’t just say that because I am a poor single mom that doesn’t really “have” much “stuff” of my own. I say that because besides the gospel of Jesus Christ and of course my two precious girls, my family and my friends that are like family are truly my prized processions. Our prophet, Thomas S Monson said “we were not placed on this earth to walk alone.” And like many things he says I couldn't agree more! It’s our friends and family, our village, our tribe that makes this journey through life sweet and worth doing. Lately I have been so thankful for all of our great friends that the Lord has blessed us with! And they are each blessings straight from Him! 

Those blessings were front and center tonight at Riley’s baseball game. How thankful I was that Riley had such an awesome cheering section of people that love her! Taryn, Reagan, Gama Linda and Coach all made this little girls night and frankly Keagan and I’s too! I wish I could have captured Riley jumping up and down and giggling with them all there!

That was the same reaction her teachers recorded today at school when her class celebrated her upcoming birthday with Paw Patrol cupcakes! Seriously she was SO happy that the video brought me to tears! What special blessing each of her teachers and friends are! 

Alessandro is one school friend in particular that Riley just absolutely loves. It is more then obvious he is one of Rileys prized processions and she recently  told me she is going to marry him! I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual. We all had a great time at his birthday party last weekend with our other friends Noah, Phoebe, Lane, Hollis and Franchesca and of course their parents whom are also great blessings! 

Keagan’s prized procession of a friend beside her family and especially cousins is a cute group of girls at school but especially Avery. These two are just so stinkin cute together and compliment eachother perfectly! They play hard and encourage eachother and I truly hope they stay friends for life and keep eachother happy and strong! What a blessing Keagan’s little bestie is! 

And I can’t even put into words what a blessing my bestie is! Between her and my sister I will never have to have a triumph, a heart ache or an embarrassing moment alone! It was fun celebrating Taryn last weekend and getting to spend precious time with other strong momma friends whom I love! 

And thankfully I have even more of those kind of friends at work! They are my work family and are such a blessing in my life! If I’m going to have to be at work I am so thankful to be able to love and be loved by so many people there! 

When a kindergartener cries to me at work that someone isn’t being their friend I respond with the classic “the best way to get a friend is to be a friend.” But if I’m being 100% authentic I would add on “to the people the Lord placed in your path to help you along the way.” We are truly so blessed that He gave us each some pretty incredible people on our path! They truly are our prized processions and will be cherished as such. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Little Different

Recently several people have commented to me on what a big height difference there is between Keagan and Riley. They are both growing in so many ways but yes more then ever they do not look like twins. Like they have for years, strangers argue with me that they are not really twins. And the comments from those we know have been how sad the difference is. But I don’t look at it that way. Keagan and Riley are very different little people and that’s a beautiful thing. They have different personalities, strengths, gifts, ways they love, ways the learn, and things to teach me as their mom. I wouldn’t want them to be the same, how boring. They both bring very different things to this world and the world definitely needs them both!

My Riley bug is one strong chicka who constantly teaches me with her silent example! Seriously that smile is unmatched! So why not celebrate it? You know your kid has FANTASTIC teachers when you get texts like these in the middle of the day celebrating that smile and more! 

That was a different day from when Riley dressed up as Christopher Columbus looking for land and when she was excited for her root beer float in her states of matter lesson. I mean could it get any better? But it would DEFINITELY be better if she would wear something besides her baseball shirt everyday!! Oh the tantrums when that shirt has to be washed!! She has more tantrums over what she wants to wear then any kid on earth! I could definitely do without those. But man her hugs and cuddles lately make me forget all about that! 

Fortunately, those weren’t pictures of the day that Riley was VERY naughty at school. She refused to do her work or get in her desk and then almost knocked a computer off the desk in protest! Then Miss independent wouldn’t apologize to all of her teachers when I asked her to at the end of the day! Momma was NOT happy and Riley had quite the lecture, a time out, lost her iPad time and had to write an apology note. That face! I wonder where she gets that stubbornness from. The thing is it has served her well in the past.

Keagan is just as stubborn (seriously I wonder where they get that) but there are definitely no bad day reports from her teachers. She is rocking those spelling test with perfect scores and trying to start tackling the dreaded times tables! We are working hard on reading every night and her dyslexia training is going great! She had one hard day when she forgot to get her reading log signed and didn’t get to go to the Friday dance party. But she sure learned her lesson after that! 

She is SO happy that tennis started back up! This year it is a team of 8 of them and she is very excited for Saturday matches coming up. She is such a rockstar and I absolutely love getting to see her do her thing! Recently there was some recess drama and Keagan was not at all interested in being in a cool kids club and just wanted to play and have fun. This made me SO happy to see her strength and man I pray daily that she knows her divine worth! She is so ready to grow up, unfortunately as I want her to stay little as long as possible! She even wants to pump gas for our new car, which she loves almost as much as I do. I do love when the children earn their keep! But later I found out it was illegal. Oops. 

The Keags cracks me up so often with her witty nature! We had a little issue this past weekend when I actually had Nana babysit (first babysitter since July) and went out with friends for Taryn’s birthday. She really missed me and texted me 37 times to let me know! As a consequence to that and some other things she had to clean out the fridge on Sunday. It really wasn’t that bad but she was terribly afraid of the smell. Once she duct taped her shirt over her nose she did it willingly! Hilarious! 

I got another break Friday night when the girls were thrilled to go to rEcess at Faithbridge which is kind of a 2 hour VBS for special needs kids and their siblings. They had an absolute blast with Mrs Missy! 

Although so different, the three Kikuchi girls are united in so many ways. We are united in our faith, our strength, our laughter and the crazy of life. And man is it crazy! 
So far though I feel like I have done much better to not over schedule as much as I did last year! But of course the girls insist on doing Friday morning running club. And we also had a really great experience at the See You at the Pole event to pray for our school and community. PS it was also hat day which will explain the picture. 

Listen, all that crazy can sure wear us out! Riley even fell asleep during a relaxing occupational  therapy visit with Mrs Wiltse last week! And despite arguments that she is not tired, Keagan sometimes falls asleep while I am trying to get Riley in bed. I’m crazy enough to have given in to quite a routine to get both girls to sleep. After scriptures and prayer I lay down with Riley in Nanas bed when she asks me to watch one video on my phone but she means more like five. Then I have to give her kisses and play with her ears before she will doze off. Keagan is much more simple needing her back scratched but still. Sometimes I wonder if we will still be doing this crazy when they are 17!
With all that being said, it was REALLY great to have a break from that crazy at General Conference last weekend to hear the word of God! Besides their regular General Conference packets this time I set up a store the girls could earn money for by listening and repeating something they learned to buy things. It worked great! Miss Keagan even took great notes! 

As I’ve stated 734 million times on this blog, what an incredible blessing it is to be these amazing little people’s Mom!! And thank heavens they are just a little different. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

And Then There Were Angels

Today was another craptastic day if I’m being honest. My days off lately (tues/thurs) have been much worse then work days! Ai yi yi! A to do list a mile long, the cold that I finally got from Riley, surprising news from Riley’s new endocrine doctor, a doctors appointment myself, a social media friend who posted something horrible about special needs children that I just can’t shake, and bad news at Rileys 6 month speech therapy evaluation. All day I didn’t know if I wanted to scream, cry, sleep or eat my feelings. I may have had Chinese for lunch so guess which one of those healthy coping mechanisms I went with? 

Well all the whining I did today was for nothing because tonight was so utterly fantastic that I don’t even recall why I would have complained in the first place! But before we continue and I share about our phenomenal night I must document two things mentioned above. First Rileys endocrine doctor called to give me the results of her bone scans. Good news is her bones are not aging too quickly. Bad news is her predicted height is only 4’2” to 4’4”. The news totally caught me off gaurd and so did the fact that the doctor wants to discuss growth hormones at her next visit. But after I processed it all I realized that tiny Riley always being tiny may not be a terrible thing. And her speech evaluation did not go so well this afternoon either. The hour long look the evaluater gets of Riley based on standardized testing scales (lame) shows Riley may have regressed a little. Since their tests show she has made little progress in a years time, the therapist thinks her insurance may deny services for a while. Why insurance wouldn’t see the very obvious need for a nonverbal child to have speech therapy is beyond me! But I guess I will fight that fight when we get there. Now onto the night. 

So amidst the rain I was feeling sorry for myself because of the craptastic day. AND THEN CAME THE ANGELS! 

In this case the Angels are the members of Rileys new baseball team which is very appropriately named the Angels. Today was the beginning of fall baseball and within 10 minutes I was SO glad that I finally listened to my friends and signed Riley up for the Spring/Klein Superstars! For the next 7 Thursday nights the Angels will play the Giants at Klein Park fields. They will be the cutest bunch of baseball players with the greatest bunch of devoted parents, grandparents, friends and helping buddies ever! 

Riley was sure in heaven tonight! She got a new shirt and one that was matching with her friends including Lane who is one of her besties but goes to a different school now so they haven’t seen eachother, Noah from school and Trip and Haley that aged out of Mahaffey this year, two new friends and Coach Tiffany. Riley LOVED being on the field running with her friends and getting lots of help and attention from her sister! Keagan was an absolute angel herself as she helped Riley do it all and didn’t miss a thing! She was SO sweet with Riley and all the other kids on both teams! I was really so proud of both my girls tonight and was so inspired by everyone there that I thought my heart would absolutely burst! 

The sweet baseball players “practiced” including kind of warming up and playing a little from 6:30-7. It’s very informal, non-competitive and awesome and at 7pm the game started. Each team takes a turn being in the outfield or letting all of their players have a turn at bat. They then run one base at a time and the last player up hits a homerun! On her second time at bat Riley hit the homerun and absolutely beamed. Amongst the cheers she stopped mid way between 3rd and home to smile at the adoring fans and make sure everyone was watching. All while Keagan is running along side her and encouraging her of course! Seriously my cheeks hurt from smiling so big! Man we are SO, so blessed and SO, so grateful!! 

Who knew baseball could turn such a bad day around like that! At least for a while, I think Thursday’s are going to be my new favorite day! Because that’s where the Angels are of course!  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Keagan and Riley, You are Loved!

I needed this message and this entire amazing talk last Saturday so maybe one day my girls may need it too. Keagan and Riley I pray with all I have in me that you come to know this to be true! 

"Dear sisters, why should you surrender your happiness to someone, or a group of someones, who cares very little about you or your happiness?

If you find yourself worrying about what other people say about you, may I suggest this antidote: remember who you are. Remember that you are of the royal house of the kingdom of God, daughters of Heavenly Parents, who reign throughout the universe.

You have the spiritual DNA of God. You have unique gifts that originated in your spiritual creation and that were developed during the vast span of your premortal life. You are the child of our merciful and everlasting Father in Heaven, the Lord of Hosts, the One who created the universe, spread the spinning stars across the vast expanse of space, and placed the planets in their appointed orbits.

You are in His hands.

Very good hands.

Loving hands.

Caring hands.

And nothing anyone ever says about you can change that. 

Their words are meaningless compared to what God has said about you.

You are His precious child.

He loves you."

Dieter F Uchtdorf, “Three Sister’s” General Women’s Broadcast, September 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Lets Be Honest

The people that love us the most are supposed to be brutally honest with us at times. Those that truly know our real selves and see our strengths and weaknesses, love us enough to call us out on our crap, at least they should. Well I’m lucky enough to have my sister and my bestie Taryn to do just that. And they sometimes call me out on something that comes second nature to me. I like to think that I just have a natural tendency to put a positive spin on things. I’m uber optimistic, a glass is more then half full kind of gal. But those two will often read a blog post and maybe roll their eyes, out of pure love and concern for me of course. I get a whole lot of “you make it look and/or sound too easy” and “you don’t really let people know how hard it really is.” And then I swear to them all day that I don’t do that on purpose at all! Lets be honest, it is just the way the Lord made me. 

But then there are days like today, where I am tired, vulnerable and feel like whining. So let’s give my sister and bestie a blog post they can smile at, shall we? 

This! Is! So! Hard!

Like REALLY, really hard! 

I’m talkin about this single mommin thing of a special needs child AND her sister. That is the thing that is particularly hard today. And it’s SO hard! Do you like that Sa and Taryn? 

Riley has a little cold and her asthma started to act up last night. I did my regular routine and completely freaked her out with her steroid and rescue inhalers before bed. She was exhausted after the crying over that and quick to fall asleep by 7:30. And that’s when I cross my fingers, toes and eyelashes that she sleeps all night long. But I must have given her too many steroid puffs, gosh darn it, and it backfired big time. By 10:30 she was up and ready to party. After some discussion, Nana was SO sweet and a HUGE blessing to keep her until 2am so I could get some sleep. Then from 2 to 5am Riley and I were back and forth in the recliner, in front of the tv, in the recliner, on the floor, in the high chair, and in the recliner. I tried everything I could including begging and a few tears to get her to sleep with no success. At 4 am the girl devoured almost 18 silver dollar pancakes like a grown man! She just kept puttin them away and asking for more as I could barely keep my eyes open. I finally rocked her to sleep like a baby at 5am. That gave me almost 2 hours of sleep before I woke Keagan up who was snoring quietly on the couch. 

I am a girl who needs a good amount of sleep to not be a total beast, so I knew today was going to be rough, especially with what we had on the calendar. On this crazy sleep deprived day we did 4 doctors appointments, 3 x-rays, 2 trips to the pharmacy and 2 flu shots. That leaves for one tired momma even if I was working on a full nights sleep. 

Riley had her first visit with the Endocrinology clinic at TCH west campus today. I just felt like we didn’t already see enough specialists at 11 so why not add one more? But really it was because of my huge concern over Riley’s arm pit hair growth and occasional body odor. That is unusual considering she is extremely small and only 8. Her new doctor and I talked about the possibility that Riley is beginning premature adrenal puberty but it will require more testing of course. It has possibly been spurred on by all the medication Riley has taken her entire life. If that is the case, which it is likely to be, then it will need to be addressed as it could have implications on growth and other things. I’m really not sure how many more diagnoses or challenges Riley and I can face. 23 sounds like more then enough to me already! 

After that draining appointment, we were sent to radiology to wait to get X-rays of her hands. Apparently the bones in the left hand can reveal a lot of information about the status and “age” of your bones. Who knew? I am really hoping Rileys bones don’t reveal that they are aging too quickly. At that appointment I was absolutely amazed and saddened at the same time when the X-ray tech called us back. Riley walked right up to him and held out her ID bracelet that she had been given by the front desk so he could confirm her name and birth date like they do at every single TCH appointment or procedure. He immediately looked at me with surprise and said “she must be a pro at this!” I replied with “she has done this a couple hundred times.” Part of me smiles because my baby is so stinkin smart and part of my heart breaks because my baby has been thru SO much for that to be second nature to her. An 8 year old shouldn’t know she needs to do that! She just shouldn’t. 

We worked it out but that left hand with its clench and twist of cerebral palsy was tough to X-ray. And then after thankfully a relaxing lunch Riley and I headed to Dr Reed’s to check out her cold, asthma and get a flu shot. Man we love that Dr Reed! So why not pick up Keagan and bring her back to get her flu shot, which she was very unhappy about but didn’t really fight me on thankfully as I didn’t have the energy to argue. I am so happy to report that both girls are SO brave and didn’t even cry for their shots! What rockstars! Then after a second trip to the pharmacy for the day, I was the one who wanted to cry. But there was still homework to do, laundry to fold, dishes to do, dinner to feed Riley (so thankful Todd cooked it) and little people to get ready for bed. Now I am physically and emotionally spent and want to sleep for days! 

Riley with the hand sewn pony a volunteer gave her in radiology today.

The goods from the pharmacy today. It takes a lot to keep all the meds straight twice a day!

A sample of what my sweet girl takes twice a day wether she wants to or not, wether she is feeling cooperative or not. This does not include any meds to address if she is sick.

Lets be honest, although the coordinating, scheduling, driving, explaining, directing, questioning, advocating, complying, and understanding part of being a special needs Mom is ABSOLUTELY exhausting. It’s not even close to the hardest part. The hardest part is the worry, the wonder, the what if’s, the what nots. It’s the ok now what’s, the consoling of tears, the decision making and the I have to put my baby, the most precious thing on earth thru SO much! I can’t do it for her, I can’t fix it, I can’t take it away. No matter how hard I try, and I do try! And it is doing it all alone. Yes I have a wonderful village who loves me and loves my babies. But I still do this completely alone. And again I say, it is SO hard! So, so hard. 

But then at the end of the night, as I’m almost in tears because Riley is in full tantrum tears because I don’t want her to wear her Belle costume to bed as it will wake her up, this happens. 

Keagan scoops up Riley and makes her oh so happy as they watch the movie together. And I am reminded just how incredibly blessed the three of us are. And we read our scriptures and feel the peace the Spirit brings. And I say my prayers and am totally reminded that we are NEVER alone and can face anything with the help of our Heavenly Father! So I can do this! We can do this together! I just know it! But we need a little sleep first.

And now I am back to being positive.  Who else saw that coming? I bet Sa and Taryn did! I really just want to wrap this up and finish this awful day so I can go to bed! But I can’t do that without looking on the bright side I guess. Lets be honest, when you see this picture can you blame me?!