Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Angels on their First Day of School!

Besides Brody's 6 month jaunt to a Pre-K program at a private school, none of my children have ever been to school.  (Okay, Brody and Haze did go to preschool, but I am talking REAL school).   So this day was HUGE!

Before Brain Balance my husband and I literally wondered if the boys would EVER be able to go to school.  As you have read before, it is not because of a lack of intelligence :)   They are both very smart and even above average in a lot of academic areas.  Where they have fallen short are the areas of focus, attention, hyperactivity, distractiblity, impulsivity, as well as multiple sensory and processing problems.  **Otherwise known as a right hemispheric delay** 

After only ONE session at Brain Balance, we knew Brody was ready to go to school.  He still has a few things that we will be addressing in an additional session once our center opens.  However, he is SO DRASTICALLY FAR from where he was only a few short months ago.  His teacher says he will do great!  However, after he went to meet her she told me what he said and it gave me quite a laugh.  She showed him around the room and at one point showed him some crossword puzzles (which we have eliminated due to their strengthening of the left hemisphere...).  He promptly said "I can't do crossword puzzles - they are bad for my brain".  :)  He has also been known to tell other friends that the pretzels they are eating will hurt their brain, etc.  He is quite funny.  Needless to say, we have had many conversations about how each family is different.  I also ensured him that his wonderful Montessori school was doing enough things for his right brain that it would balance out a crossword puzzle here and there :) 

Brody absolutely LOVES school and said he is having so much fun.  I know he loves the social aspect for sure.  I also know he is so much more confident now because he is not worried that he won't do well, that he will get into trouble, etc.

Three fingers for 3rd grade :) 

Wyatt - darling, darling Wyatt.  You are so much fun and so much work at the same time! The first day of school Wyatt did amazingly well.  His aide has been taking very good care of him and making sure he does what he needs to do. 

Today when I went to get him from his room (at 5:30 am!) He jumped right out of bed and I asked him if he wanted to go to school and he smiled and said "school!"  He LOVES it there which is awesome.  After 3 years of being one-on-one in his room for ABA therapy, he is loving being around other kids, being out of the house and in a different learning environment. 

However, today was not as good as the first day.  For some reason he got off on the wrong foot at school and it seemed to stay that way.  He was more loud and disruptive and had to be taken out a few times.  

All children take awhile to adjust to going to school so I know that means the process is even longer for Wyatt.  It is only day 2 so I am not going to worry!  However, a few months ago I would not have even considered putting him in any type of school program.  Since Brain Balance, he follows directions so much better, he is more calm and more focused, he is more mature, etc. 

Prayers will be said tonight to help us have a better day tomorrow. 

So happy and excited to go to school. 

And then there is little Hazel...  She loves school as well.  She behaves very well and does exactly what her teacher asks her to do.  I will have to get some lessons from the teacher...  She seems to do great all day, but as soon as I pick her up she starts the whining.  She is SO exhausted and hungry.  Yesterday she fell asleep in the car on the way home and today she just cried and whined for what seemed like an hour...  We will have to make sure she gets enough rest so she is not so tired and also bring food to give her for after school! 

I am very happy that she is starting off her school career in a Montessori school.  I love their methods and know she will do very well there. 

 Some random shots of them together!


All three in the same photo??!!

Hazel is not in 4th grade folks - she is holding up 4 fingers for how old she is.  Brody was a little confused as to why Hazel was saying that she was older than him.. :)
I am so grateful and amazed that our boys are able attend school.  Brody LOVED his teacher Mrs. Tony (as did we!) and said he wanted her to teach him forever and he never wanted to go to school.   I was shocked that in such a short period his feelings totally changed and now he is so excited to go to school. 

Although Wyatt still has a long way to go, he is continually improving and is more connected to the people and the world around him.  I am excited to see how he excels in this new environment.

Thank you Brain Balance for allowing these sweet, smart boys to experience what it is like to go to school.  It may seem small to some, but it is not small to us. 


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Brain Balance Brings True Miracles

For those of you who haven't heard me say this yet: 



The science is there.  The real life examples, stories and testimonials are there.  It works.

Brain Balance brings PERMANENT CHANGE.  It is not just another "therapy" that "might" help your child.  It WILL help your child.  How do I know this?  Because I have watched miracles happen before my eyes.  True miracles.  Today I am just going to talk about one of them but there are many MANY more. 

Let's talk about Food.  For those of you who are new, you can read this earlier blog:
Picky Is an Understatement  This was written only 3 weeks into the Brain Balance Program.  Amazing.

It gives all the background on Wyatt, his HORRIBLE picky eating habits, his many different dietary interventions and restrictions, etc.  It then shows a video of the first time EVER eating off of a spoon (since his regression at 18 months that is..) and he is eating applesauce!  This was a HUGE miracle because he had not EATEN OR EVEN TRIED a new food for 4 years.   

This is an excerpt from a post in May:
  1. In the last week he has now tried/eaten the following new foods: ONE WEEK!
  2. Homemade applesauce
  3. Chili
  4. Split pea soup
  5. Apple
  6. Grapes
  7. Pineapple
  8. Kiwi
  9. Strawberry
  10. Raspberry
  11. Steak
  12. Shredded Beef
  13. Shrimp
  14. Green bean
  15. Broccoli
  16. He has been loving Freeze dried Pears and asks for them non-stop and now they are gone! (HUGE CAN!)
  17. I gave him the freeze dried apples (that we tried for 2 years to give him in ABA, etc. and he had even thrown up on more than one of his therapists trying them) and he ate those great!
  18. Today he tried a bite of a mushroom! 
  19. Today he tried a bite of an apple!
  20. In FOUR YEARS I could not get him to touch ANYTHING new.  I was able to switch him from round waffles to square, but that was about the extent of the change.  For FOUR years he has only eaten the following items:  Waffles, chicken nuggets, pumpkin muffins (that was actually a big change, even though it is essentially same taste/texture as waffles), turkey burgers, homemade crackers.  That really was pretty much all he ate.  (During the GFCF time he was allowed to have things like Fritos, Lays chips and french fries which of course he ate and were terrible for him) But otherwise NO other food was allowed near him even with hours of Behavioral therapy, heavy reinforcement, etc.  THIS IS A MIRACLE!  HUGE!   I had gotten to the point in my life (before Brain Balance) that I started thinking that this would never happen and that he would eat the same 4 foods for the rest of his life.  I truly did not think it was possible to get him to eat anything different.  THANK YOU BRAIN BALANCE!
Now let's talk about what is going on now.  I must say that we are still living in a bit of chaos since moving home.  There have been birthdays, family gatherings, 2 week jaunts to New York for training, etc!  We just still don't seem to be settled and into a good schedule.  I am only telling you this to make excuses as to why I have not been great at offering Wyatt new foods.  He has been kind of just stuck in eating the same old things again.  When I got home from New York, I knew this had to change - so I have started offering Wyatt new and different foods.  When I used to say that, it was that I would try to offer something a TINY bit different, but basically the same color and texture.  Even when doing that, it NEVER worked.  We would spend HOURS with every reinforcement possible to get him to even TOUCH a new food with his finger, and if we waited him out for an hour we might get him to touch it to his lips.  

So ..............  A couple of days ago I was eating some delicious spaghetti squash from my Dad's garden.  I decided to get Wyatt to try it.  It is squash and it is stringy....  didn't think he was going to go for it at all.  I had to use some reinforcement but he tried it very quickly and even let me finish feeding him the whole bowl.  When it was gone we asked him if he wanted more squash and he said "squash" so we gave him more and he ate it all!  WOW! 

Next, two nights ago for dinner I made gluten free pasta with homemade spaghetti sauce.  Noodles with a chewy texture, red sauce all over them..... didn't think he was going to go for it at all.  Again I used reinforcement, but very quickly he took a bite!  He gagged a little with the different texture, but still ate it.  He ended up eating a small bowl of spaghetti!  THIS IS AMAZING!

Then, this morning, I made some gluten free oatmeal with a little bit of honey on it.  Again a strange food with a strange texture and my sweet little Wyatt ate it!!!!  By the end he actually seemed like he liked it because when some dropped off of the spoon he picked it up off of his pants and put it in his mouth! 

Again, I know that eating food may seem like nothing to get excited about, but I assure you, it is.  When your child has eaten the same handful of foods for 4 years, isn't gaining weight, is deficient in vitamins and minerals, etc, eating new foods is a huge breakthrough.  Especially considering how hard we have tried in EVERY POSSIBLE WAY to get him to try new foods. 

So, When someone like me starts the Brain Balance program and within 3 weeks their son who is the pickiest eater on the planet all of the sudden starts eating applesauce from a spoon - that is a miracle.  A miracle that without a doubt happened because of the Brain Balance Program.  

To those of you who are struggling with their children on any level:   Behaviorally, developmentally, academically, emotionally, physically, socially, etc.  (regardless if they have any type of label or not)    I URGE YOU to take your child to the nearest Brain Balance Center and have them assessed.  They do a 1200 point assessment to make sure your child's brain is functioning and developing properly.  If it is not, then Brain Balance can change that.  It is such a small price to pay to ensure that your child's brain is developing properly and that your child will be able to reach their full potential.  So many of us don't even realize that the problems we are facing with our children are beyond their control.  They literally can't help some of the things they do, the way they act, the way they feel, etc.  They are not bad kids and we are not bad parents.  There is help. 

The people who have researched and developed this program over the last 15 years are inspired.  They are so amazing and truly have created this program to help all of the struggling children and families.  They are not in this for the money and neither are the people opening centers all over the nation.

So to wrap up, I would just like to say that I am so grateful to the amazing people at Brain Balance that have changed my life and my family's life forever.  Through their hard work, effort, love, sacrifice and determination they have given our family a future and for that I can never repay them.  What I can do is pay it forward :)  When our center opens and I can hear even ONE mom tell me that their child called them "mama" for the first time or that they ate spaghetti for the first time, it will be worth all of the effort, time and money that we have invested. 


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ready, Set, Go!

I am back from training and it was absolutely amazing!  I missed my family SO much and I think they missed me too :)  I really wish I would have posted everyday while I was gone because I am afraid I might forget so many feelings and thoughts that I had.  That being said, I have a thousand pages of notes so I know I got all of the important details!!!  

I LOVED meeting all of the other trainees and Brain Balance corporate staff.   I can't believe how many amazing people were there and I feel so privileged to be a part of this amazing team. 

Now that I am home, you wouldn't even believe how much longer my list has gotten!  Here is a VERY short summary of what is on my mind right now! (In no particular order...)

  • Finish reviewing my lease so we can sign it!
  • Meet with my contractor to finalize the bid
  • Finalize my floor plan
  • Get architect to finalize plans and get them to the city!
  • Make 1000 decisions of what I want for my center!
  • Start building!
  • Start my marketing plan - HUGE! So many things involved in this.
  • Start purchasing the supplies on my inventory lists
  • Purchase furnishings, etc. for center
  • Hire and train the perfect employees :)
  • Get my kids ready to start school next week!
  • Hopefully see my husband at nights for 5 minutes before we both crash :)
  • Continue doing Brain Balance with my boys at home - they are still doing so well!
  • Keep my house organized and running including keeping up on dishes, laundry, etc.
  • Sleep at least 2 hours a night? (optional)
  • Get ready and find clothes for all of us for my sister's wedding in less than a month!
Okay, that is not even the tip of the iceberg, so I am going to stop.  I am sure you get the idea.

I am going to keep posting (hopefully still daily) because this has been my journal.  It has been a lifelong goal of mine to keep a journal and I have finally done it!  I know I have been behind the last couple weeks, but I am back! 

As for now, we are off to the new school to meet the teachers today and then run 100 errands!



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Brain Balance Training is Awesome!

After today we will have completed one week of training and there will be one more to go!  I would love to update you on every detail but we are off to observe some children in the program today! 

I have had the most amazing experience here and I LOVE learning as much as I can about this program and how to help the children and families that are suffering so much from these disorders. 

The other owners and employees that are attending the training as well as the trainers and corporate staff are amazing.  Wow - I have never been in a room with so many amazing people at the same time.  These people all truly care about these children as if they were their own children (as do I).  This is not about the money for any of us - really.  It is about the children.  In fact - the Brain Balance motto describes exactly why we are all here.  I know I have posted it before, but it is so powerful and brings me to tears almost every time and I believe it to be so true:

We believe that within every child resides......

The Body of an Olympic Athlete,
The Brain of a Scientist,
The Mind of a Poet,
The Hands of an Artist,
The Ear of a Composer,
The Heart of a Saint...

Never stop believing that your child has Unlimited Potential!

I hope to update more this weekend!  (That is if I get over the horrible sickness that I have come down with the last 2 days...)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Hazel!

Hazel in her Belle dress ready for her Belle Birthday Party
I can't believe my beautiful girl is 4 years old.  She talks more like she is 10....  She is a sweet, special little girl and we love her very  much!

She had a wonderful birthday party yesterday along with all of our other festivities.  I have about 500 pictures (not kidding) from this weekend to sort through and then I will post photos and updates. 

I wish I had time to catch up right now but I have to leave in exactly 12 hours for New York!  I have to pack what I will need for 2 weeks, do laundry, go to church, say goodbye to all my family that came to town for the weekend, clean the house, tie up loose ends, pay bills, etc.! 

It has been a crazy few days but we survived and had a great time being together as a family. 

Talk to you soon!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Am I Insane?

I think we all know the answer to that question by now, however I seem to get even crazier by the day.  That being said, I like it this way.  The times in my life when I had nothing to do, nothing going on and no challenges were the most boring, depressing and unfulfilling times in my life.  I am not AT ALL saying that is like that for anyone else!  Because of my personality I like to stay very busy and I tend to take on WAY more than anyone should.  However, I seem to just function better that way.  I do more, I accomplish more and I am happier.  Backwards huh?

So - that being said, let's look at the schedule for the next 4 days shall we?

Tomorrow:  Leaving by 10 to drive 5 hours to arrive just in time for my baby sister's bridal shower!  My whole family will be there and I am so excited! Go to sleep and then....

Friday:  Leave by 7 a.m. to drive 5 hours back home to prepare for my baby sister's second bridal shower at my home!  My whole family arrives hours later as well as a few family member's from Bo's side!  We will have 22 people staying in our house!

Saturday:  Hazel's Birthday party is at 10!
                 Brody's Birthday Party is at 12! (He missed having one with while we were gone)
                 Brody's baptism is at 5!
                 Dinner following baptism is at 7!

Sunday:  Hang out with family and then take the red eye to NYC where I will stay for TWO WHOLE WEEKS!  I will be attending the Brain Balance training and I am so excited.  I will be learning so much more than I already have.  I can't wait to be able to learn what I need to know to effectively treat children and help them and their families!

So - What do I have to do in between these above listed items over the next 4 days? 

  • Pack for Bridal Shower
  • Finish reading training manuals and books! 
  • Clean my house and get ready for another shower!
  • Shopping to get food for shower, parties and baptism dinner
  • Preparing food for shower and doing a few decorations
  • Figure out what we are even doing at the birthday parties!
  • Get balloons/decor for birthday parties and figure out what to do since they can't have cake!
  • Pack to live in New York for 2 weeks!
  • Work on getting our Lease signed for our center space
  • Work on the floor plan layout to get it finalized
  • Spend time with my family!
  • Sleep! (ha!)
  • Go even more insane!
  • There are hundreds more but I won't bore you with my "to do"list.. :)
I am going to post as much as I can over the next 2 weeks and I am excited to share things I learn at training.  

Center update:  We are hoping to sign our lease this week and start construction very soon!  After that will be hiring, training, marketing and then opening!  Sounds easy right? :)