It's been a while since I've written a real post about everything! I wrote about Carson's autism diagnosis a few months ago & just didn't get around to doing a follow up. That post might have seemed a little pessimistic... it was just a lot of raw emotion and I honestly felt really sad when we found out.
We found out in July & here we are 6 whole months later! Things have gotten WAY better with our cute boy. He's been receiving special education services from his preschool and they are so awesome with him. We are also beginning ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy for him this month! We waited until the new year because it made more sense financially. By the time we were able to get in contact with a center that had an opening, get a prescription from his doctor for therapy, and get finances in order, it was close to the end of the year anyway. We are paying our full health insurance out-of-pocket max for his therapy and the out-of-pocket amount renews every year. We want to get as much free (to us) services as we can for our little guy so we are excited for that to get going this month! We decided to wait to get started with speech therapy until we know how much time ABA will take up & if we feel like he can handle the workload. Right now he is at preschool for 16 hours a week, and ABA will probably end up being another 6 hours a week. ABA is a huge priority for us because it has the highest correlation with improvement in kids with autism!
I feel like I'm past the worst of my PPD which has helped a TON with getting going with Carson. Anyone who's dealt with depression or anxiety can understand how hard it is to just get out of bed in the morning... let alone make lots of calls to doctors' offices, insurance companies, care centers, etc. It sounds simple enough but it took some serious hard work to get myself motivated to be his advocate. Here I am, with some regrets that I wasn't able to get my sh** together more quickly for him.
At this point, Nathan is almost 2 and is BY FAR our hardest kid right now! I think with Carson, we've had to keep his routine pretty unchanged, and we have learned to keep our emotions more in check. The kid is VERY good at reading emotions & can tell when you are the slightest bit irritated with him. That's when he loses it & has a complete meltdown! We have to reassure him by saying "It's ok, Carson" and his tears will stop, as long as our voices are kind & sincere. I'm telling you, this little one is making me a better mom by the minute. He still has his challenges but he is leaps & bounds beyond where he was 6 months ago.
Nathan is in the middle of a screaming phase & it's killing me. And we're talking "at the top of his lungs, high-pitched, blood curdling" screams any time he doesn't get his way. Everyone who's ever shopped at the Target we go to has definitely heard this scream & has silently judged me. It's fine. But he's also very sweet and has gained SO MUCH ground with regards to development. We were concerned that he may be autistic as well (as a brother of someone who's diagnosed, his odds are about 1 in 4) but I feel we're inching farther & farther from that inclination. His communication is about the same level as Carson's, which makes for really cute interaction between them! It's like we have twins, but one is way bigger & can run a lot faster haha.
We had the most fun Christmas EVER this year, in spite of the fact that we were away from our families & there was some sickness going on. It was the first year either of our kids really understood unwrapping presents & sensed the excitement of Christmas! We were able to get some "bigger" gifts this year since we were at home! We are usually out of state for Christmas, so we can't get them anything that won't fit in our suitcases or car to take home with us. They have LOVED riding around in their wagon & on their tricycle and have been doing lots of pretend play in their cute little kitchen.
The not-so-great part of Christmas day was finding out that someone had hacked my PayPal account & spent $500 on gift cards from a shady website! I was pretty hysterical when I found out... it was Christmas day! I didn't want to deal with it, but also I COULDN'T deal with it because it was Christmas and no customer service centers could take my call. I emailed & called PayPal, my bank, and the shady website to get someone to cancel the transaction and like 5 days later PayPal ended up just refunding my account. They were honestly pretty great to work with. Wells Fargo was useless as usual, and Raise.com (the shady gift card website) was the worst. They refused to cancel the transaction while it was still pending & claimed they had no way to look up the order. Useless. Thankfully the $$ is back in our account now, but I have been changing passwords like crazy & adding 2-factor identification to every account I'm able to (I really recommend doing this so you don't have to deal with this kind of headache).
In the last few months I've also had to quit selling LipSense AND quit my job at the lash studio I was working at. I honestly credit those things with helping to pull me out of the depression I was dealing with... I needed to be busy with things outside of my home. But at this point my family needs me more & I need to be there for them. LipSense was so fun to sell (and wear) but I was putting so much effort into it, and at the point I quit selling I was just starting to really turn a profit. Steven (rightly) pointed out to me that if it was taking away from important time with family to make an income, it may not be worth it... at least at this point in my life.
With the lash studio, I was having a lot of fun working there in the beginning! I loved my coworkers & enjoyed the feeling of working again. And the free lash extensions were not a terrible perk! I found myself not really enjoying it anymore though, and I hated leaving my boys to go to work. Customers were surprising mean (they're just lashes, guys), and I honestly was not being paid enough. When I took the job I was fine with the low pay because it felt like a learning experience to me, since I was going to be able to take on their social media accounts! However, I turned out to be the most knowledgable person there when it came to social media, and I wasn't learning anything. I felt like my skills weren't really being valued, so I decided to leave.
In Steven news, he has taken on a lot of extra responsibility with me being gone at work most nights during the week. The boys are starting to prefer him (boooooo) and he's basically rocking it at life right now. He's getting geared up to build a computer soon, and I"m not totally sure what he plans to do with it, but probably something really cool. He already built a gaming system for himself & downloaded some really old school 80's & 90's video games onto it! He also got into the first car accident of our marriage (sort of... I had someone back into me in a parking lot once & then drive away, but there wasn't really any damage so I'm not counting it). It was crazy snowy & icy the other morning so we decided he would take our 4-wheel-drive car to work to be on the safe side. Unfortunately he still hit some ice & slid backward across the freeway & hit the barrier, causing a little damage to our car. So many blessings to count though! He was pretty sure the car was going to roll, but it didn't. There weren't any other cars in his pathway to hit when he lost control. He was in the car with much better traction & it would have been way worse in his commuter car. The car he took was the one we have full insurance coverage on so we have way less $$ to shell out. It's still going to cost money though... luckily we have some Christmas money/his work bonus that we haven't allocated yet! I'm honestly counting this one as a win. Especially since he wasn't hurt at all!
All-in-all, we are all VERY excited about the new year & the chance to make some goals, and subsequently crush them.
All photos are done by Lori Romney Photography, who I cannot recommend enough! She's so awesome.