Friday, March 2, 2018

Our ADHD Story

I've been wanting to write this blog for sometime. But a little part of me is hesitant. There are so many opinions on this topic. Some valid. Some ridiculous. I don't think its a black and white topic. I think it is overused, abused, misused however you want to define it. Recently, Matt Walsh did a live video on his thoughts of ADHD and it gave me the nudge I needed to write this. 

So I thought I would share our story.

Of course it starts on May 21, 2011 when we had our first baby boy! He was such a good easy baby. Crawled at 5 1/2 months, walked at 10 months. Climbed out of his bed and learned to open doors a little after a year. Whoa...Life with a boy was different. Obviously. He was hitting the normal milestones...waving, saying a few words, etc. Until he stopped. 


I have theories about why that happened but that isn't the point of this blog post. Ki was really different from Audrie and everyone told me it was the difference in a girl and boy. Which still could have some truth. He threw fits all the time. Over every little thing. If any thing was broken or out of order, it set off a tantrum. He tried so hard to communicate but we couldn't understand him 95% of the time. I kept telling the doctor but no one listened until he was 2.


He got tubes in his ears at 2 because of fluid build up and it did help with communication. He still wasn't the same as my friends kids. He struggled with boundaries. Every time we went to Chick-fil-A, he would fight or hit kids. He would climb everywhere. Huge fences, play areas, anything...it didn't matter. He had no fear. Everyone just kept telling me he was a typical boy. He would grow out of it.

I would drive home from play dates, MOPS, Mother's Day Out, church, etc... with tears streaming down my face because no matter what we did, our kid was the "bad" kid. We tried all the disciplines. We tried all the rewards. None of it mattered. I knew I was judged because of my parenting and it hurt. I just wanted him to be "normal" like Audrie. Or like his peers.


Fast forward to his 5 year well check up. I tell the doctor my concerns. Ki cannot control himself. The doctor tells me I am not stimulating his brain enough. I had 3 kids- one a baby. I felt defeated. And like I let him down in a sense. The doctor said lets see how kindergarten goes.


Kindergarten goes ok. He is learning and reading at an average level. His conduct grade was always up and down. There were a few really bad weeks at school and at home after dad died . I didn't want to medicate him because he was doing well in school. I always told myself that if he was excelling academically then I wouldn't consider medication.

This is what his behavior was like- his mind going a million times a minute, he could barely sit in a chair to eat dinner, if he had a thought in his mind he did it. Consequences didn't matter. We tried them all. One time he got in the dryer just as it had turned off. I was thankfully close behind and opened it. He couldn't open it. He spray painted my husbands truck. He peed in a bucket and poured it on his sister. He climbed on top of the roof and was playing with power lines. He broke almost everything he touched-drawers, the garage door, toys, expensive devices (2 ipads, a kindle) And a million other stories I could write a novel. I started to get scared for his safety.

I had heard such negative things about medication and again he was doing great academically.

The turning point for me came when he peed in the attic. I know its funny. But my goodness. I got him alone and said "Ki, what in the world would make you want to pee in the attic?" He says, "I dont know mom. My brain tells me to do these things and I can't tell it no." 
He was so serious and so sincere. 


Then we added Powell to our family. Things were so chaotic and stressful for everyone. Our house became tense. Ki seemed to always be in trouble. It was an awful way to live for everyone. I felt like we were drowning.

 We were going to counseling for my anxiety and we talked to her about it. She gave us a new discipline method to try out. It did help for about 2 weeks. I was so excited and had hope that things were turning around. Until it wasn't effective anymore.

I was seeing my psychiatrist and talked to him about Ki.
 I asked, "How do we teach him impulse control?" And his response, "You cant." I told him what I had feared about meds and his academics were good. He told me there was a medication that helped with impulse control that was a sedative not a stimulant. I had no idea this existed.


I immediately got in the car and called GT. Then made an appointment with Ki's pediatrician. After this appointment, we filled out an assessment and his teacher filled out one. The doctor called with the results. He said a child has to have 6 out 9 markers for ADHD and Ki had all 9. Not a surprise to me but a relief. I cried. All of these years, I felt shame for not being able to control my child or discipline him the right way. In that one phone call, it was all explained. 


My son has a chemical imbalance in his brain. That is out of his control and out of mine.

We started the medication and in a few days it was a world of difference. I could sit down with my child and have a conversation. He was getting better conduct grades. He started bringing me his medication to take it because he liked his new mind. He didn't want to make bad conduct grades. He didn't want to be the kid in trouble all the time. He didn't want to be the kid who couldn't make friends because no one liked him because he was so crazy.

Our home is so much more relaxed. Sure life happens all the time. We are all still sinners. Ki still gets in trouble for plenty but it is just being a normal kid. And I know this is just were we are right now.


You might want to know why I felt compelled to write this. Mostly, because there is a stigma around mental health and in this situation ADHD. I am not saying it doesn't get over diagnosed and abused. But what I am saying is you shouldn't judge. You should help.

We are all trying to do what is best for our children. Help the mom in target who's kid is throwing a fit. Muttering under your breath "my kid will never act that way" isn't helpful. Support your friends, don't make them feel bad because their child is different. Get to know the different child for who they are and not the label you think they have. 

Pray for them. Love them. Support them.

Moms who are struggling with a child right now. I see you and I feel you. You are NOT alone. Message me or email me (lydiaallen@gmail.com)


Will Ki be on medication forever? Who knows! Right now this is what is best for him and what is best for our family. We talk to him about it daily. He knows why he is on medication. He knows what it does to his brain. He knows he can tell us at anytime how he feels about it. We plan to take it month by month, year by year.

 (He does not know the label ADHD, he know his brain thinks really fast and he needs medication to help him slow it down to think through his decisions.)

The medication isn't a cure all. We do plan to start therapy soon for him. We want to be his best advocate and get him the most help now, so as an adult he will have the best tools for the rest of his life. He knows he is still responsible for his actions and we still expect from him what we expect of all of our children. 

We lean in on the gospel and we plead for his salvation just like our other children. 
We know that the cross is the only hope for all of us. No matter how our brain is wired.

I have always said Ki is going to make a great adult. He feels passionately. He is competitive. He is so smart. He is a quick thinker. He is hilarious. He cares deeply. He's a great kid.

Our job is to be his advocate. And that is your job for your children too. 
Research and question everything. Pray pray pray. 



Friday, January 19, 2018

Thoughts about death...A year later

A year ago today my daddy entered Heaven.



Death has taught me and continues to teach me through grieving. Death isn't natural for us. Ki recently asked me "why do people die?" The short answer- SIN. We went back to the garden of Eden for that one. Ki then said "I don't want to die!" Of course, buddy, we don't want to die. Our soul is meant to be eternal. We aren't meant to die. We were created to live for eternity. We have this yearning inside of us to live forever.  And we will all live forever. 


Death is unescapable. We will all die. And when we die all of our stuff stays. The world keeps revolving. People keep going to work and school. Activities still go on. Sports are still played and meals are still eaten. Of course for us, it will always be missing piece. So many times I've picked up my phone to call dad and tell him something. It physically hurts my heart that he is not here to hold Powell. To see Leslie's new tricks. To hear Ki's new joke. To see Audrie's new drawing. 


A verse that was shared at my dad's funeral and has stuck with me--"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart." Ecclesiastes 7:2   


The birth of a baby has always amazed me how one day you don't have a baby then the next day you do. Especially with your first. You have no idea what you are doing and they let you take this new life home! Just as quick as that seems death is even quicker. For 32 years, I had an amazing father physically on Earth. Then after 10 short and long days in hospitals, its over. And even though we KNOW dad is in Heaven, it was surreal to leave his physical body. 


If you were at dad's life celebration then you heard of the legacy my dad left. And once we leave this Earth, that is all that's left here (besides all the stuff that family has to go through :)) What a challenge it has been for me daily to consider what legacy I am leaving behind. I struggle often with feeling like I am not doing enough for God's kingdom. I am at home feeding babies and changing diapers. I pray that my children will be world changers. I hope that dad's prayers are still being heard for all of his grandchildren and children. That they will all follow, love and serve the Lord.


I am so thankful for all the memories. Family was so important to my dad. We tried to get together as much as possible. He was there for every life event. GT and I were just talking the other day about when he got laid off, my parents came over right away and brought us out to dinner at Outback. Then a few years later when GT got a new job they came to Longview and we celebrated! Every birthday, parties, graduations, hospital stay, showers, you name it- dad was there. He always answered his phone with wisdom to share. We had many talks in his living room about life. He shared theology with me when I had questions. His answer for anything was always to pray. We prayed about the insignificant and the huge decisions. 

What a gift it was and is to have a dad who loved the Lord with all of his heart, soul and mind. Even though he is terribly missed, we will spend eternity together worshipping Jesus. 




Monday, January 8, 2018

The Beginning of LESS

Two BIG things have really shaped me this year.

The death of my dad.
The birth of Powell.

I will write a long post about the first one on a different day. Death has showed me more how much stuff doesn't matter. It all stays here. Things are just things. Life is so so so short. And what matters is nothing that can be bought.

Second, having a 4th child has forced me to let more go. I can't be a Pinterest mom. I used to be. And I loved it. I love crafting and giving. I don't have the mental or physical space anymore. I don't have the time or money. Many things fall to the side and when they do it makes you wonder why you were doing it all this time. I haven't made a goody bag for any of my kids classes in 3 years. And it is FREEING! (no hate for those that do- keep going sister!)

I have been living my life in a constant state of being overwhelmed. And for awhile, I just accepted it as my new normal. I have 4 kids- 1 who is challenging daily, 2 who are babies-19 months apart. Who wouldn't be overwhelmed??? But there has to be a better way. Women have raised multiple children since the beginning. Lots more children then just 4. Surely they weren't always overwhelmed. What is the difference?

My answer: LESS.

They had a simpler life. Less stuff. Less media. Less commitments. Less choices. More family time. More of things that matter. Space to read and space to think. Space to make delicious food from scratch.

But heres the thing about me. I dont make resolutions. Because I am a quitter. I am the baby of the family. The opposite of type A perfectionist. If something gets hard, I quit. (obviously not the important stuff like my marriage or children) More like a diet. Or working out. I am not going to make a resolution to blog/write more. However, I hope to do those things more.

Sooooo... I am taking baby steps into LESS.

First I am reading this book...


Finished chapter 1 and I plan to declutter my house before moving to chapter 2. So who knows how long this process will be. I will blog about each step for accountability and maybe you can join me!
My plan is to get rid of anything that isn't necessary, needed or something special to our family.

I plan to work in my bedroom first. I feel like our bedroom becomes a catch all. So much stuff just put in here because I dont want it out there. I think our bedroom should be our sanctuary and I have given that up for far too long. Also, I have had 2 babies in 2 years which means my wardrobe is ridiculous. Too many clothes that don't fit.

First project in my room is reorganizing my desk. I am not giving up crafting forever. I tend to craft from time to time for gifts. I asked Gt the other day why we have a desk full of stuff we don't use. It just sits there. Cords, books, cell phone boxes, etc... I could utilize this space with my craft supplies instead of having to go to the garage every time I need them.

I am putting it out there for the world to see...and for accountability. (No promised time line here but hopefully sooner than later)

AHHHHHH!!! Its a mess! Why are we keeping all this stuff??? We hardly use any of it! Change is coming my friend and I am excited!

Second small way I am saying yes to more and no to less is saying yes to my kids more when I can. I have started letting Audrie (age 8) cook with me. This has made me slow down and enjoy cooking, and I am teaching her how to cook!


It's hamburger helper Velvetta style. Lol...Which sometimes is a means for survival. 

Last thing I am going to mention is someone suggested Allie Casazza! I have been looking through her blogs/website and I think it will help me on my journey!

Tell me you favorite ways to make life more simple! I look book/blog/podcast recommendations! 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Farewell to Our Zoe Girl

I can remember it like yesterday. I had found an ad in the Longview News Journal- 6 week old Boston Terriers for sale. We met lady in Harleton at a gas station. She brought out a box of puppies. They were all male. We told her we only wanted a female. Her daughter got out of the truck with two females. I was instantly drawn to one. She licked my face and I was sold. And that's the day in June we got our Zoe.



She was covered in fleas. And later on, we came to believe she was actually in a puppy mill. We cleaned her up. Promised her a good life and just like that she joined our family of me, GT and Allie Bear. 





Then we added some kiddos. Zoe was so sensitive to them from day 1 and was always close by. 








She loved licking GT's toes. 


She loved the few times that it snowed



I would say most of all she loved her pal Allie. Allie was born deaf and when we got Zoe she became Allie's ears. The two were always together. Even sleeping on top of each other most of the time. 






If you ever came to our house, it's inevitable that you met Zoe. She would lick your face off. Making petting her irresistible. She loved people. She loved chewing up things especially in her early years. 

Another thing about Zoe is she could get out of any fence! No matter wood or metal. We often called her Houdini because of that. And ultimately what led us to have to say goodbye. 

She was 9 years old, and we had her all but 2 months of that. Audrie and Ki have only known life with her. Our hearts are broken and we miss her more then we ever imagined we would. As Ki prayed last night, "I hope Zoe rests in peace."  
I know some people think it's silly, but we trust God has a beginning and end for all creation, it was Zoe's time to go. We celebrate her fun personality and her overbearing need for kisses. Thankful for the 9 years we had with her! 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Powell's Birth Story! and a little more...

I always regretted not waiting for my body to go into labor on its own with Leslie. I was determined this time to wait for my body to go into labor and I wanted to do another birth without pain meds like I did with Ki. Mostly to save money because our insurance is ridiculous.

My pregnancy was completely healthy and similar to the other 3. Nauseous the first trimester. Awesome second trimester. Then the uncomfortable big as a house third trimester. But really the pregnancy was great. Heartburn and a back ache here and there was about the biggest things to complain about. And having to pee every 3 seconds.

I go to my 36 week appointment...The first cervical check. I am not dilated or effaced. And baby is still high. WHAT?!?!? This has never happened in the history of Lydia pregnancies. With Ki I was atleast 3cm by 36 weeks. I step up my cleaning game and clean all day, everyday! Thank you nesting!

37 week appointment. Same. No progress! My doctor was going to the beach and he wanted to me schedule an induction for the week he got back (39 weeks). I said no thanks, we will just see how far I am then and go from there. I get on my yoga ball alot more and keep cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.

38 weeks- Some progress!!! Whoop whoop! I was 2-3cm and I think 50%. I was told not to do anything to induce labor so my doctor would be back from vacation. Ha!

39 weeks- I was waiting to take my Silhouette picture the same weeks I was when I took one with Leslie. That was Sunday. The only difference I had been feeling was that I was soooooo tired in the afternoons for the past few days and more grumpy then usual. Now to Monday...Had a normal Monday. Helped mom with some insurance paperwork. Cleaned house for the millionth time. Cooked Kung Pao Chicken for dinner. After dinner GT went to put up chickens and found a snake in the chicken coop...


 This is the kind of excitement that happens at the Nehls home. Ha! We all gathered around the snake answering the kids million questions. Googling to find out what it was and if it was poisonous. I cant even remember now what it was but it wasn't poisonous.


Over the summer, Audrie and Leslie have really bonded. This was the last picture I took that Monday night. I remember thinking how grateful I was that Leslie loves Audrie so much and lets her carry her around and get her things. What a help it is to me!

And now for the fun part...I just dont want to forget the other things. Its so strange how one day you only have 3 kids and the next day you have 4! This has always been amazing to me with each kid.

So Monday night...I fix myself some Milton Crackers with homemade pimento cheese from Fairfield Market. I eat them while sitting on my yoga ball. I do 10 minutes of pelvic rolls ( I dont know what to call them) each way while watching the EIGHTIES documentary. I go to the bathroom about 10:45 and feel a ton of pressure. I go lay down in the bed to go to sleep and feel something kind of pop and water starts leaking. I jump out of bed quickly and tell GT "my water just broke!". He stays in bed while I go to the bathroom. I again tell him "My water just broke" and he asks me "How do you know?" Ummm..because I am leaking! lol! He didnt believe me! I call my mom. She asks me the same thing! ha! Then I call my friend Robin who was my person if I went into labor to come watch kiddos.

We had to switch all of our hospital bags/car seat from my van to GT's truck in case someone needed the van and all the car seats. Robin gets there around 11:30. My head was spinning. I didn't feel prepared to leave everyone even though they had bags packed. Robin said "we will be fine, just go have a baby!" So off we went to WK South... I called on the way to let them know I was coming. I tried to text everyone to arrange childcare for the next day but everyone was asleep!

I wasn't really gushing water or anything. My contractions were pretty sporadic and not really painful yet. Normally, I would have wanted to labor at home awhile but...1) We live 30 minutes away from the hospital-and being my fourth we had no idea how long it would be. 2) I tested positive for Group B Strep...and I knew I needed 2 bags of antibiotics so we wouldn't have to stay 2 nights.

Got admitted to the hospital pretty quickly. Was up in a labor room by 12:30 am. The nurse had to make sure my water had really broken before she could consider me in active labor. This was an hour long process with the lab. She also couldn't start my antibiotic until it was official I was in labor. She was a really sweet nurse but had to follow protocol. She checked me and I was 4cm and 80%.

I had forgotten my yoga ball at home so I asked GT to go buy one at Walmart. While he was gone, my nurse and the head nurse informed me that I couldn't use it because my water had broken. Basically, I was stuck in the bed to labor. They could get permission from my doctor to be mobile but it was the middle of the night and I still wasn't considered "in labor" until the lab confirmed it.

I would say at about 2am contractions were really picking up. They were closer together and getting pretty painful.  During each contraction I would picture my dad in Heaven with Jesus. The song "You're Beautiful" played over and over in my head. I am not sure why I didn't think to turn on worship music.

At 2:45 I called the nurse to come check me. I told GT if I was only 6cm, I was going to ask for an epidural. Sure enough I was 6cm and 100%. I failed to mention-when I was first getting situated the anesthesiologist came in about 12:30 and asked if I wanted an epidural because he was leaving for the night but he was on call. I declined at that time. So they had to wake him up to come get me an epidural. I do think if I had been able to walk around, get on my ball or even on all fours I could have pushed through. Nonetheless, He got there around 3:45 and had to read over my chart and blood work.

The epidural was very painful because I was contracting so hard and trying to be still. And he wasnt too happy we woke him up. Once its all said and done its about 4:15. The epidural wasnt working. It took a little bit of the edge off on the top of my uterus. But thats about it. I felt everything else. Felt my legs and my lower stomach and everything in between.

About 4:20, I asked the nurse to check me. I was 9cm with a cevical lip. This has been the case with 3 of my pregnancies so I told her I need to push and it will make me 10cm and take care of the lip. She asked me not to. Ha. I HAD to push. She calls my doctor to come in. For 30 minutes, I was having very painful contractions and wanted to push. The nurse told me to act like I was blowing out birthday candles and try not to push. This is next to impossible when your body is trying to get a baby out!

My doctor rolls in at like 5:05, trying to make conversation. GT says, "Lets save the pleasantries for after"...He barely gets on a gown, only gets 1 glove on all the way...He pulls out the stirrups, I throw my legs in them (because I can still feel everything) and push Powell out. It wasn't that easy and didn't feel that quick but I will spare the details. Mom will appreciate that. I did have some words come out of my mouth that I would never speak in front of my mother. I so wish we had it on video.

They put him on my chest...and just like with the others I was almost too exhausted to enjoy the moment. They let his cord pulsate a few minutes...something I was thankful for. I didnt tear so no need for stitches. I remember him crying so much when he came out. Leslie didnt do that...my first thought was we are going to have a fussy baby. I remember the nurse saying, "Wow, he's a big boy!" After a few minutes, I gave the ok for them to weigh him and do whatever else they do...




9lbs 1 oz...21 inches long
Powell Allen Nehls

In a lot of ways his birth was different then the others and some ways the same. We are over 3 weeks in and I still cant believe we have another baby most of the time. You know I like to be real- these 3 weeks have been really really hard.  And not just we have a newborn baby hard.  That will be a long blog for a different day and honestly still too real for me to go there. But each day is better and God is so faithful. Our community and family has blessed us by keep kids and bringing meals. And most importantly praying for us through this time. 

I cant finish this blog without mentioning my dad. I knew it was going to be hard having Powell without dad there or here. And it was sad. The hardest part is living everyday without being able to call or go visit. I can just picture him holding Powell and singing Jesus loves me. Tickling Leslie and laughing at her newest phrase she's learned. Hearing all about Audrie's birthday. Listening to Ki's wild stories. It hurts so much Pappy isn't here. I know all of the right things- He is in Heaven, we will see him again...but it really sucks. 

Here is Grammy and Audrie standing in the gap for Pappy










Sunday, June 25, 2017

37 weeks!


37 weeks!!!!

Pregnancy Highlights: 

Size of baby: I have no idea...Im scared to know

Total Weight Gain/Loss:  Somewhere between 30-35lbs

Maternity Clothes: Yes

Gender: BOY! Powell Allen Nehls

Movement: If I am ranking all my kids in movement he is #3. It goes Ki, Leslie, Powell then Audrie. 

Sleep: Ive been having some vivid/crazy dreams but its been pretty good.

What I miss: Not being pregnant

Cravings: Smelling cleaning supplies and eating ice.

Symptoms:

Heartburn. Swelling. Nesting. Lack of patience. Out of breath. Eating all the things. 

Best Moments this week

    • Well we are 6 weeks into summer and my kids are going to their 4th VBS. lol
    • We went on vacation for 5 days!
    • Leslie is learning new words and phrases every day!
    • One week closer to meeting Powell!

NOT So Best Moment this week:

I am not sure if this is not so best....but went to the doc Friday and had my first "check". I was thinking I would be 2-3cm atleast... And nope. NOTHING! This is my first time in all three pregnancies to not be anything when checked! No dilation, no effacement. Cervix high. It really just shocked me. BUT I do want Powell to stay in a few more weeks so it really is a good thing too! 

Monday, June 5, 2017

34 weeks!



34 weeks!!!!

Pregnancy Highlights: 

Size of baby: I am guessing 5-6 pounds. My app says size of a cantaloupe...I dont buy that! 

Total Weight Gain/Loss:  Ummmmm

Maternity Clothes: Yes

Gender: BOY! Powell Allen Nehls

Movement: He really has kind of decreased moving some. Not sure if its because of his growth, I used to feel real strong kicks and jabs at night. I still feel him often but its more just moving around.

Sleep: Pretty good minus peeing about 3-4 times during the night 

What I miss: Not being preganant

Cravings: Smelling cleaning supplies and eating ice.

Symptoms:

So I am not sure if this pregnancy related. A few weeks ago I got a little sinus infection. And it moved to my right ear. Ive had a zpack and a steriod shot and my ear IS STILL CLOGGED! Its driving me crazy. I have tried essential oils, sudafed, allergy meds, ACV/alcohol, garlic drops, peroxide, heating pad, etc... STILL CLOGGED.

Best Moments this week

    • We had a baby shower for Powell and it was so sweet. I really didnt think I would have one because it is our 4th...It was so fun to celebrate this little guy!
    • Not being on a schedule. Sleeping in some. Hanging out with friends....

NOT So Best Moment this week:

With the non-schedule, it is summer. With three kids and big and pregnant. Its not tooooooo bad but there have been some challenging days/moments. I am trying to enjoy them as much as I can!