Thursday, July 31, 2008

American Idol Concert 2008

So for my birthday on May 5th, my bestest friend Sarah and her husband Mike handed me a make-shift card that said they would take me out to dinner on them . . . ummmmmmm I then reminded them that I was about to go on my liquid fast to prepare for my gastric bypass surgery on June 11th. At that point they turned to each other and gave each other a high 5 and shouted "Alright, cheap date!!!!". A few days later Sarah told me she ordered American Idol tickets for me instead . . . she knew she would never live the cheap date present down!

Here is Sarah and I at our seats before the show. It was held in Newark at the Prudential Center on July 30, 2008.

Here is our self portrait. Mike was especially excited to be 1 of 3 men in the audience!!!!!

Sarah could not handle the 15,000 screaming 12-year-old girls!

Here's another self portrait Trouwbottom style!

These are the 3 eight year old girls sitting next to me, they made tiny signs for all their favorites . . . Mike-"Now come on do they think they can see those signs????!!!!???"

When the girls went to the bathroom I took the opportunity to steal their signs, Sarah got it on camera!!!!

Alright here he is, the man you've (well I've) been waiting for, Jason Castro!!!

Here he is singing to me! What a dream!!!!!!

This is when the girls were blocking my view from Jason. At this point I karate chopped their little knee caps!

Here's David Archuleta, he was great!

Here is where the picture of David Cook will go, I accidentally erased it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Admit it . . . you're jealous!



Autumn, plain and simple Part 2

OK so I ended my last blog with the beginning of Kindergarten 04-05. Autumn did not do well this year. She often would throw her papers across the room, end up under the desk, and totally shut down. I received calls constantly, often she was sent home. At one point the principal asked me if I could keep her home 1/2 days to which I said I would lose my job if I did that. During this year the school was in transition and all the classrooms were double-wide trailers which means that EVERY transition (lunch, gym, library, computers, etc) meant the kids would have to walk outside. This was much too much for Autumn, for example one day the kids were coming in from lunch. It was raining and Autumn decided she was done for the day. She sat in the rain in the middle of the walkway for 30 minutes refusing to move. Another day she hit and kicked her teacher. Every time I picked her up from school she would be under a desk with her shoes off. One gloomy day I showed up and she had 4 adults holding her down, she was hysterical. My aunt who is also a teacher at the school came down to try to calm her but when Autumn would get in that mood it was like she was in a trance . . . no one could get through to her.

She started individual therapy this year, I really wanted her in the Therapeutic Nursery (group therapy) but my insurance would not pay for it. One day at school Autumn told her teacher's aide that she wanted to die and she had a plan. She said she would sit in the road and have a car hit her . . . my heart sank after that phone call. This was our first trip to Crisis. By the time we got to Crisis Autumn was herself again and was smiling and calm. They didn't do much but at least it was documented.

Autumn then started her first year of summer camp at Summer Hill. I knew the first day would be tough. It was raining so the kids could not go outside. She cried when I left and I was a nervous wreck. I had an important meeting at work and I forgot to bring my cell phone in the meeting room. When I got out of the meeting I had several messages from camp and one from my brother-in-law John. Autumn had flipped out at camp during the first hour. They removed her from the other children and put her in the office. While in the office Autumn wrapped an electrical cord around her neck. They could not contact me so they called John. John picked her up and brought her to the emergency room to be seen by the crisis unit. I met them there. By then Autumn was calm and smiling. I was a mess. I cried the entire time. The social worker was great but of course there was nothing they could do. Summer Hill told me she could not come back.

When we got home that day I could not stop crying. I called my insurance company and fought with them for benefits that covered group therapy and I won. My life as an advocate had begun. I called both my pastor and youth pastor. They both prayed with me. I started the prayer chain at church and told everyone I knew to start praying. The group of intercessors also started praying for Autumn. That day I felt the Holy Spirit enter my house and sit with me and Autumn. Autumn would pray ever night for God to help her control her body. The rest of the summer Autumn went to the daycare at my work 3 days a week and my mom watched her the other 2 days, it was an answer to prayer and I was able to continue to work full time.

She started the Therapeutic Nursery in June 05 and graduated in June 06. Her therapist Vanessa was awesome. I went to the parent group therapy sessions as well, my therapist Aura was so great. I learned how to parent Autumn and most importantly how to discipline her so that she can grow and feel secure. Autumn learned how to deal with her emotions and how to act in a group situation. This therapy took Autumn through her Kindergarten year of 05-06. Because she was a September baby I chose to have her repeat Kindergarten, it was the best decision I made.

In 2005 she began to see her psychiatrist Dr. Edwards. She is an awesome doctor who I owe so much to. Autumn was finally diagnosed with ADHD and started the medicine Adderall. This diagnosis did not come easy. This is the trail of specialist we saw before she was properly diagnosed:

Child Psychiatrist #1- said she did not have ADHD
Neurologist- said she was angry and violent but not ADHD
Audiologist- tested her hearing just in case
Allergist- tested for all food/environmental allergies that often cause behaviors
Child Psychiatrist #2- child study team, said she was ADHD
Child Psychiatrist #3- Dr. Edwards gave her the diagnosis of Attention Deficite
Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder

She continues to see her psychiatrist every 2 months for medication monitoring. This year she received an additional diagnosis of PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified), which is a type of Autism. This has helped her get the services she needs. Her insurance now pays for weekly sessions of Occupational Therapy where she works on all her sensory issues. She also takes weekly Therapeutic Horseback Riding lessons.

Autumn is a work in progress (aren't we all?). She is my diamond in the rough. I can't believe how far she has come. I use to cringe when my cell phone rang because I though it would be a teacher or principal on the other end telling me I had to pick Autumn up because they couldn't handle her behavior. I no longer cringe because those phone calls never come. Time outs use to be as long as 30 minutes with Autumn screaming, crying, and kicking until she was too exhausted to fight anymore. Today I have not had to put her in time out for months. Autumn now knows how to control her emotions. I'm not saying it is perfect around here. If you don't know Autumn and don't realize that sometimes she doesn't want to talk you might get offended or worse it might push her to lose it, but on most days you will get an answer to any question you ask Autumn.

There is so much more I could write about Autumn but for now here it is . . . plain and simple.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Autumn, plain and simple Part 1

My daughter Autumn was born on September 17, 1999. It was an emotional pregnancy. I was in therapy for 6 out of the 9 months. I cried a lot. I was anxious about the birth and the moments immediately following the birth. During my pregnancy I was afraid. I had feelings of hate, rage, sorrow, and uncertainty.

My labor started exactly how I wanted it to, on a Friday, after my older daughter went to school. I called my sisters to make the commute down, I was going to have this baby. We got to the hospital at around 2pm. Autumn Grace was born at 8:30pm with no complications. Jill was there holding my hand, 3 pushes and she was out. Hilary unfortunately missed it (that's another blog!). My midwife put her on my chest, I still remember her bright brown eyes looking at me. Hilary arrived minutes after the birth. My two sisters were there to support me yet they had no idea how I was feeling (probably still don't until they read this blog). It was a busy night at the hospital so I was left alone with my newborn for 2 hours before they took her to the nursery, it was wonderful. When I finally got into my room Autumn met me there. I was alone at last with her and we had a very serious conversation. I told her I loved her, in fact I fell in love with her the moment I saw her. I apologized for the feelings of anxiety, hate, and uncertainty I had before she arrived. I told her we were going to do this together. She agreed.

Autumn's first 2 years were pretty typical. She was such a joy. Then around 2 (prime vaccine time . . . hmmmmm???) I noticed her stubborn streak. I was not the typical "terrible 2's" I experienced with Rayne it was different. When Autumn would get frustrated or if she was disciplined she would put her whole hand in her mouth. If she was eating something or food was around the minute she felt threatened or uncomfortable she would shove her hand in her mouth and make a mess. At 22 months she only said 3 words. She liked her space and if any playmate tried to get near her she would freak out. Between 2 and 3 is when I noticed her hypersensitivity to sound. If she was with me at work and the fax machine went off she would cover her ears. It seemed she her senses were on hyper drive. If anything came near her face her eyes would flutter really fast. She was very cautious when playing outside. When driving in the car I noticed she would not look outside the window. If we tried to point things out like, "Look at that dog in that truck", she had no clue how to even find what we would talk about.

At age 3 she went into pre-school at the Early Childhood Center in Neptune. I repeatedly asked her teacher about having Autumn seen by the speech therapist but she always told me, "I didn't talk until I was 3, Autumn will be fine". I was not as strong of an advocate as I am now so I let it go. By the end of the year her teacher reported to me that Autumn would "shut down" at times and not talk to them at all. If she was confronted or tried to engage in an activity she would refuse. At age 4 she went to the same pre-school, she had a different teacher who thankfully worked with me. She noticed her stubborn side and documented her "shutting down". By the end of the year I requested Autumn be seen by the Child Study Team. We had a meeting to which the social worker stated there was nothing wrong with Autumn. She said, "Aren't you glad we are telling you there is nothing wrong?" I replied, crying,"NO, because I know my child and there is something wrong!" If only I could track her down today! Her principal who I respect to this day mentioned to me that Attention Deficit Disorder sometimes comes out as anger . . . I brushed it off because I didn't think Autumn displayed enough characteristics to have ADD, little did I know 2 years later she would be diagnosed with ADHD. This principal also gave me the book to read, The Out of Sync Child which is about children with hypersensitivity to their senses. It's an excellent book.

Kindergarten 2004-2005 rolled around, this is when it got ugly and scary. This was the year I put ALL my faith in GOD and renewed my belief in the power of prayer. Stay tuned for Part 2

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What's with the name?

A couple of people have asked me . . . What's with the name??? If you know me, really know me you know Trouwbottom is not my name but Trouwborst is. It all started when my daughter Rayne's friend called her Trouwbottom. It's been so long now that I forget if it was on her MySpace page, or in person but I heard it and it stuck. I mean don't you think Trouwbottom is a lot cooler than Trouwborst??? No one can pronounce Trouwborst, they butcher it and those who know how to pronounce it mess it up to infuriate me anyway! So now I go by Trouwbottom, which is super cool and according to my daughter and all her teenage friends I am a super cool mom! So although I have not legally changed my name to Trouwbottom I will answer to it and who knows someday when I have an extra $1000.00 laying around I just might change it, Rayne needs a 4th birth certificate anyway! (long story for another blog!)

Soccer and Rayne . . . Perfect together!

This summer Rayne played for the U-14 JAGS Select Team. It's compromised of some of the best girl players in New Jersey. It was a hike to Bordentown every week for practices and they played in 3 tournaments. These pictures are from the Tourney in the Poconos. Rayne loved playing with these girls and loved her coaches.

Here Rayne is making her move to get the ball away . . . you see how she uses her dancing ability to her advantage!

Here are the girls . . . don't they look sweet?

Rayne . . . going in for the kill.

Here is Autumn, doing what Autumn does best at Rayne's games, relax, relax, relax!

The girls getting a little silly!

Puttin the move on this poor girl!

Soccer bringing these girls together, making lifelong friendships!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Autumn's Ride

Autumn had an awesome time at horseback riding on Wednesday. This is her second 8 week session with SPUR (Special People United to Ride). She has therapeutic riding 1x per week for 1/2 hour. The nice part about this session is that it's at 7pm on Wednesdays and there is only 1 other girl riding at that time. Basically Autumn has this huge indoor arena, a 20 stall barn and acres and acres of land to herself! This session she got a new horse Berry (see him on the left)! He is so handsome and a great horse.
This week Autumn cried and put up a fit when I told her we had to go to her lesson. It's a long day at camp and at night she just wants to chill out. We got to the barn 20 minutes early so she could adjust (last week we were rushed and it did not end happily). She got her helmet and belt on and then was able to read while waiting for her instructor and volunteers to come. One thing she is working on is saying hello to her volunteers, before she mounts the horse she needs to either say hello to John and Nancy or tell Tara (her instructor) 3 pieces of equipment on the horse. Well as you can imagine Autumn chose the equipment instead of the hello!
To my surprise 10 minutes into her lesson John took the lead off of Berry, Autumn was going to ride him all by herself! It made me grin from ear to ear, I can't imagine what it did for Autumn! Autumn then left the barn and took a ride with Berry all over the compound, even into the trail in the woods! Tara, Nancy, and John were all with her but she had total control over Berry! What an amazing night! After her lesson she groomed her horse which is also an accomplishment since last year she refused. I can't say enough about SPUR, it has given Autumn so much it's incredible!!!
P.S. I will post pictures of Autumn with Berry next week!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The start to a new blog . . .

Hi all, this is my new blog. Come here to get updates on the Trouwborst girls and the lives of all of us Trouwborst-Martin-Devlin's. Topics to come are:
Rayne's soccer
Autumn's autism
Amy's gastric bypass surgery
etc . . .