Sunday, May 24, 2009

On our way home

We went out that night after all of the testing to dinner and a movie. Jacob was glad that it was all over but more excited to see Night at the Museum II.

We did find a great pie place right across the street from our hotel and we did have to stop by before bed.

Although we had to pry Jacob out of bed that last morning to catch our plane, he was excited to get home to see his brothers. Of course, Jacob collected a lot of gloves from the security people and wings from the pilots and crew on each plane. He is the only kid I know who asks nicely and everyone takes him everywhere. They let him go up into the cockpit, but I couldn't go, so I had to wait and watch him have all the fun.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Michigan, day two!

When we arrived at the MRI lab, they had a sign up for Jacob and they were all ready for us. The team was so great. They took great care of us and really let Jacob ask a lot of questions and play with some of the equipment

We were giving Jacob a break and he was playing his DS to distract him a bit.

This was Jacob with his PhD friend, Mrs. Jodine. She was goofy and fun and they hung out all day long.

We had to wait about 15 minutes for the MRI to become available, so she took us out to a pond area and let us walk around. We thought Jacob would fall in or something, but it actually calmed him. They say that being in nature can calm ADHD behavior and it was the first time we saw him relax.

This was Jacob taking in the sounds of the frogs

Prior to going into the MRI machine, Jacob and Jodine were queuing up the movie that he would be watching in the MRI. Of course, Jacob thinks he is a lap dog even though all 80 pounds of him sat on her lap. She loved it.

They had to fit him with special glasses because he couldn't take him own in because they were metal. It was hilarious because they looked so "nerdy".

Scarlet and Jessie were the ones who got Jacob all settled and then they let us watch from behind the glass. They were so good with him. He had hand controls so that when they spoke to him from behind the glass, he could answer yes or no by pushing buttons. He did great. Jessie ended up staying in the room with him and rubbed his feet and legs to let him know he was still there with him during the procedure.

I don't think Jacob realized that this contraption went around his whole head and they had to tape his head down so that they could get good pictures of his brain.

This was right after he was done. It took about an hour or so and he did great. They were really surprised that he stayed in there that long without asking to come out. If he had asked to come out, they would have let him and the study would have been over. But he did it. Rebecca and I got to watch all of the computer models of his brain as he watched television and it was interesting.

They allowed him to bring in his stuffed animal even though they had to scan it to make sure there wasn't any metal in it. It made him feel so much better.

So this was his team for the day. To the far left was Scarlet and she was the boss of the MRI, then Jessie, the grad student, then Jodine, the PhD. and then you know the rest. Right after the MRI at 4:30, we gave him medication so that we could make it through dinner and a movie that night. He wanted to go see Night at the Museum so that was part of his reward for being so good all day.

Well, thank goodness, Jacob slept until 8:00 when we had to wake him. He was his normal, un-medicated self when he first got up. By the time we got some food down him and left the hotel to meet Jessie, he was doing alright. He was chatty, but Lisa, the student who drove us from the airport the night before was there, so he was thrilled. The staff have been great with Jacob, especially him being un-medicated. Since they work with this all the time, they know how to engage with him and aren't shocked by much. We got to the research facility and Jessie and Lisa took him right away to start a lot of the testing which includes reading, listening, fine motor skills, watching a television interaction and talking about the feelings held by each child. They took a couple breaks because he was hungry, but he was also really tired. Even though we hadn't given him any medication, he looked half-baked. It was odd for us to see. We took him out for a walk and something to drink trying to wake him up a bit, but finally ended up giving him some Focalin medication that is short acting so they could get some more testing done. After that, they came out and said it was incredible. They said,"this child is a poster boy for giving kids medications for ADHD". They said he perked right up and you could see him brilliance shine through. What he couldn't answer before, he was able to jump right on and followed well. They then let him go into the moch scanner and showed him all of the buttons that he can push if he gets scared etc. They played with it and had a lot of fun so that it isn't a scary thing. We broke for lunch and then went to the MSU store where Jacob got a sweatshirt the says Michigan State University on it. He wanted a hooded sweatshirt, hot one with a zipper. We are back at the lab now and Jacob is doing about an hour more of testing. While Jacob has been testing, Rebecca and I have been answering a lot of questions and filling out behavioral questionnaires from when he was one year old to present. It is exhausting and hard to remember sometimes. They focused on the Aspergers and ADHD symptoms. When you hear some of the questions, without a doubt you know the answer. It can be a bit emotional to go re-live all of this information because there are a lot of emotional memories for us. We remember feeling like horrible parents who must be doing something wrong with him. It is hard to go back to those places.

Anyway, we will give an update with some pictures on the MRI status. We are really feeling well cared for by all of the staff here and are very blessed to have so many educated people around us. Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers, they don't go unnoticed. We got a lot of good feedback from the team and will continue to get more as the weeks go by. They sent us home with pictures of his brain and they will email us more. They did say that he does have ADHD pretty severely, which we had guessed. They also said he has a more rare case where his ADHD is severe also linked to Aspergers. You don't usually see that. It was good to hear what we had thought for all these years. When he was un-medicated, you only saw the ADHD symptoms, but as soon as he was medicated for ADHD, his Aspergers symptoms shined through. It was a good, fast, trip and we are so thankful for all of the thought and prayers from everyone.

Robb and Rebecca

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Michigan State University, here we come!

Rebecca, Jacob and I left for Michigan today to be a part of a research study for Jacob's ADHD and Aspergers disorder. They flew us and are putting us up in a hotel and then tomorrow, they will do a lot of tests with Jacob and an MRI and do a lot of interviewing with us. It started out this morning with Jacob waking up at 4 am when we didn't need to be up until 5:15. Being the flexible parents that we are, we rolled with it and started getting ready. That is the moment that I remembered I forgot to bring Jacob's patches that release his medications into his system all day long. We panicked and even thought about driving from our hotel at the airport all the way home and back. We figured out we had enough medication that we could give every 2-3 hours, but we had to have patches for Saturday. We figured out the Rebecca's dad could over night them to our hotel so first crisis averted. Jacob was excitedly anxious to get to the airport and get on the plane. When we got to the airport, we found our flight was delayed an hour, which meant more waiting for Jacob. We finally got on our plane and all went well to Chicago. On the way off the plane, Jacob strikes up conversation with the crew and gets wings to take home for his brothers. Leave it us to Jacob to meet everyone where he goes. He also made friends with the captain and crew on the flight from Chicago to Lansing, MI, and he got to go up into the cockpit. Once in Lansing, we found that Rebecca's bag never made it to Lansing and was still in Chicago. Of course, my bag would have been fine to get lost, because I could do without. We are hoping that it arrives tonight between 10 and midnight. Jacob loved the grad student who picked us up at the airport and she was so great with him. Sounds like a good group of people we get to be with tomorrow. Jacob's first question at the hotel was, "is the pool open?" It opens tomorrow, so after the day tomorrow, you know where he will be. All else is well and we look forward to tomorrow. Keep up the prayers and we will try to update with some pictures.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Last Birthday Celebration

As if Jonah didn't get enough pomp and circumstance, the day of his birthday was spent with his his cousin, aunt and uncle and marna and papa. We roasted marshmallows and Thomas got his first taste of the goodness from heaven. He couldn't get enough.

Thomas was so content sitting on the grass and watching the boys run around and hang on the trampoline. He is a happy baby.

We were trying to start the fire. Not sure why Jonah was sitting in a box, but these are the things you look back on and never know the answer. It has also become a tradition for the boys to take off their shirts when they are on the trampoline, even if the weather tells them otherwise.

As most of you know, giving kids the s'more sticks can be a scary thing as they become an extension of their own limbs. They turn around and now the radius is an extra three feet. It can become a little unsettling, but it's all part of the experience.

Lego wanted in on the action and hoped to get a rogue marshmallow from one of the children, but it never happened.

Thomas loves the dogs. He can't get enough of them.

Thomas did get a little bit of trampoline time and he loved it. I'm sure he slept well that night after a long day of firsts.

Josh launched Jonah on the trampoline and he loved it.

Jonah did get a three lane slip and slide for his birthday and the kids had a blast. Like I have said many times..if we could rent our children out to the toy companies for one summer, they would realize which toys would break within the first hour of use. Within 30 minutes of us setting it up, they blew out one of the lanes that throws the water up. It didn't stop them from playing for the next three hours, but they just trash things. We are missing their calling to become test subjects

After a rough day at the LeRoy's, he needed some hang out time with the bottle and his aunt Reba

I'm not sure who had more fun, Thomas or his daddy

Perfect way to end the day, shoving your mouth full of s'mores. What a weekend Jonah. Back to the grind for 5 more weeks of school. Happy Birthday buddy.

Jonah's Crazy Party!

The day after the family birthday, Rebecca and I were smart enough to have a birthday party with Jonah's friends. A lot of boys who had a lot of energy. Thanks again to the weather, we were able to be completely outside. I don't know what we would have done if it was raining. They had a blast but wow were they active. This is coming from a father of three boys, so I know chaos.

These are just some of the kids that we could get to sit still on the trampoline.

We kept them running for two hours straight. It was hilarious to watch.

We also did an obstacle course, which they liked the best because they had to run, jump, and roll under everything in the yard.

I thought this picture was perfect with Rebecca's finger up in the air trying to get some sense of order during the cutting of the cake. The kids all had a blast, but we were exhausted after the two hours. All of the kids were bummed out, along with their parents, when it was time to go. Jonah said it was the best day of his life. Happy 8th Birthday Jonah

Happy Birthday Stacy, Jonah, and Nolan!!

On Friday, May 15th, the whole family got together and we celebrated three birthdays. My sister, Stacy, Jonah's, and my nephew, Nolan's. We have done this the past couple years and it is pretty fun. All of the birthdays are within 5 days of each other, so it makes sense to do it all together. It had poured all week, but ended up being nice enough for us to be outside on Friday.

Grandma made and brought three different dessert items: Ice cream cake for Jonah, cupcakes for Stacy, and doughnuts for Nolan. They were all really excited. Nolan loves doughnuts so he was beside himself. My favorite is the chocolate chip mint ice cream cake with Oreo crust. Not bad at all.

Jonah got a Nerf game that is kind of like paint ball. We all had fun with this. Noah, of course, took to it like stripes to a zebra (creative, huh?)

The look on Jonah's face is priceless. Everything is always so serious. He plays the part well. He is the drama King in our family. He may as well been on an episode of Chuck. They would run around the house and try to hit each others chest plates.

We got this for Stacy from Pike Place Market when we were there the week prior for Mother's Day. It is peppers and garlic which you can either use for decoration or you can actually use the peppers.

Somehow, Grandma got the raw end of the deal sitting at the kids table. I don't think she saw it as the raw end. It is always so crazy before the cake comes out.

The rest of the time, the kids played on the trampoline and had a great time. We sure have gotten our monies worth on that trampoline so far this year.

Love the glasses, Stacy....Happy 35th...Half way to 70!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day Reba!!

We went to church this morning and then ran for the Seattle ferry so we could spend the day walking around Pike Place Market. We brought lunch on the ferry and at on the way there. The kids were dying to go out on top. Before that though, Noah was able to give Reba a head massage and she got a quick nap in.

Rebecca caught Jonah and I (who had a bite of sandwich shoved in my mouth) on the other side of the table.

Here is Noah giving his famous head massage or what we like to call, "messing your hair up." She didn't seem to mind as she fell asleep.

Someone was nice enough to take a picture, since we were tourists from out of town. Even though it was partly cloudy, that is compared to an 80 degree day in Hawaii. As long as we didn't get rained on, we were happy.

Jacob is always worried that one of his brothers is going to push him off the ferry. I'm not sure I can say that he has nothing to worry about. He stuck close to mom and away from his brothers when he went closer to the edge.

We stopped at a guy who could spin a book in one hand and complete a Rubik cube in his other hand. The kids were mesmerized by this, and of course, asked lots of questions. He gave them the cube and let them mix it up, just in case no one trusted him.

The kids were so enthralled, they probably wouldn't have even noticed if we had walked away.

Of course, we had to stop by the mini-doughnut maker--and no, the actual man is not mini, but the doughnuts are. They were hot,warm, and gooey. The kids made sure they each got an equal amount.

No idea what this was, but the kids were gathering around it like it was the doughnut god. J0nah actually had to be reprimanded for pointing out this monster's appendage in front of everyone. Leave it up to Jonah to point out the large "dedon" on this character. That sure was a happy parent moment.

The one thing Reba wanted to do was to pick out some flowers to bring home. Pretty incredible. She got lost in the sea of flowers.

We all sat back and let mom go in and pick out her own flowers, uninterrupted. She was lost in the flowers and didn't seem to mind.

While we waited, Noah was tired and couldn't take his eyes off the piano player.

Never lose an opportunity to stop and take a picture of the kids next to a fire engine. Jacob was worried that it would suddenly start up and run over them. We let him know that with stoppers in front of the wheels, he was safe.

The end of a very good day. If we could only erase the do not enter sign in the background.
Happy Mother's Day Reba, your an incredible mom.