Tag Archives: sister

Mothers and Sons

My sister and Nakia have been best friends since they were in 1st grade (they’ll be 30 this year!), making Nakia our sister from another mother. She lives far away these days and it’s been a long time since we’ve seen her last, but she’s home this week with her son Oliver (who’s only a couple month’s younger than Abel) and we thought we should capture the moment with a Mothers and Sons shoot. Shooting my nephews is hard enough these days and adding a third little boy didn’t make it any easier, but boys being boys is fun to shoot and I’m just happy we got to spend this sort of quality time with Nakia before her and Oliver leave. <3

 

(Click through the slideshow below! For color versions of this set, click HERE!)

 

Misdiagnosis

Remember last month, when Gideon tested positive for autism at the Kennedy Krieger institute and my sister's world crumbled around her? (No? Click HERE.)

Since Gideon's diagnosis, our family has been crazy proactive. We've read books on how to teach him, completely changed his daily routine, removed overstimulating toys from his collection and replaced them with educational ones, and devoted time daily to working with him. He's also been going to speech therapy twice a week for an hour at a time. In just this past month, these changes have had a huge impact. Gideon talks nearly all day, everyday now. Sure we still don't know what he's saying half the time, but he's engaging in conversation constantly. And those words he'd said before (hello, thank you, uh-oh, etc…) are now being used regularly at the appropriate times. He's using utensils to eat now and capable of matching colors, numbers, and shapes in puzzles or on command. And he's listening to directional cues (feed Elmo a cookie, go get the ball, turn off the train, take off your shoes, etc…). He hardly even misses the electronic toys that kept him occupied before.

Both of the speech therapists Gideon sees nearly laughed at the report Kennedy Krieger gave my sister, which stated that Gideon's abilities were no greater than a six month old baby (which means he was virtually doing nothing on the learning scale at all). After even just one session with him, they told my sister they weren't going to treat him as an autistic patient and rather a speech delayed boy. They advised my sister to take into consideration the fact that Kennedy Kreiger gets state funding based on the number of kids they diagnose per year and that a true autism test is a three hour session (which they didn't preform). So Rachel decided to get a second opinion through the early education program here in our county (they actually do the three hour test).

Yesterday Gideon had his second evaluation. Cognitive, receptive, social, and adaptive skills (motor skills) put him on par with a 24-30 month year old (he's 24 months old this week) and communication skills put him about 15-18 months (which means he is behind in speech, but that's it). While the early education program can't technically diagnose kids with autism, they said it's very unlikely he is autistic, just speech delayed. Because he's behind, he still qualifies to continue the speech therapy he's currently receiving and those therapists he's working with a sure it's just a matter of time before he catches up.

Basically, Gideon's a little flower that we failed to water. Now that we're dousing him with water, he's growing at a rapid rate. It's hard to admit, but we'd failed him until that terrifying news last month. And while it put a hard strain on our hearts worrying about his future, only now to find out it's unlikely it was ever really an issue at all, it was good we had that motivator to push us into doubling our efforts so he didn't fall further behind because of our own ignorance.

This news comes as such a relief to my sister and at just the right time. With another son on the way, she needs to reduce her stress level and enjoy motherhood. Yesterday was an answered prayer that was spoken by many. We're feeling rather blessed today in the wake of it.

I am more confident than ever that Gideon will continue to excel and that if/when Rachel has him tested again, they'll wonder why they ever diagnosed him autistic to begin with.

Thank you to any of you who have been sending positive thoughts and prayers about this for the last month. It means so, so much to us. 

Will it be a Boy or a Girl?

Earlier this week I did two pregnancy photoshoots with my sister, one if it was a boy and one if it was a girl, so that when she learned the sex of the baby today she could announce it to the world with pictures.

You guys know I don't exactly consider myself some fantastic photographer and especially not an editor, but this photoshoot is easily one of my favorites to date and I'm actually pretty proud of my editing efforts so I thought I'd share them both before telling you what she's having! (Note: Clicking the image will open to the full size version on Flickr)

If it's a Girl….

If it's a Girl If it's a Girl If it's a Girl If it's a Girl

If it's a Boy…

If it's a Boy If it's a Boy If it's a Boy If it's a Boy

And  so I am thrilled to announce that it's a boy! Gideon will have a little brother and I'll have another nephew. I am the happiest aunt right now.

Diagnosis

Gideon turns two next month and still speaks very little. Of the few words he’s said (hello, thank you, dad and deon (for his name), duck, etc…), he’s rarely said them again or on command. It’s not to say the boy doesn’t make noise, he walks around mumbling something to himself almost all the time, but he doesn’t talk. He’s not communicating his needs or desires or engaging in playful dialogue with his peers. And for all these reasons my sister has been increasingly worried that he may be autistic.

But I’d worked with autistic kids before and none of them, even the mildest of cases acted anything like Gideon. Gideon’s a ball full of happy giggles, totally okay with broken routines, amicable around strangers, and it’s not like he’s a mute. Is his attention span a little difficult to hold? Yes, but what toddler’s isn’t. Is he behind in speech development? Sure, but this is also something that boys in particular are often behind in. None of his behavior indicated autism to me.

Yesterday Gideon was tested for autism at Kennedy Krieger (one of the best institutes in the country for this test) and met all the criteria to be diagnosed with it. While they did say it’s too early to diagnose the severity of it (they can’t know this until ages 4-5), he is still classified as autistic.

My sister’s whole world crashed down around her over the news. In her 28 years here on earth, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her cry so much – it’s just not in her nature. My sister is strong to the point of coming off cold. She has a skin so thick she seems unbreakable in situations that would destroy a regular person. She kept saying things like: “What if I never hear my son say I love you?” “What if he’s aware of everything around him, but trapped in his own mind his whole life?” “I don’t want him to have to struggle; I want him to have a normal life.” and “This just isn’t fair.”

To see her fall apart so horribly unhinges my heart. I hate that I don’t know how to comfort her right now because I know all the positive, proactive things to say and do – I worked with kids with autism, I know what needs to happen next to correct any learning disabilities early on – but right now the pain is too fresh and these aren’t the things my sister wants to hear. Her fear for not just Gideon’s future, but the baby in her belly’s too now has completely consumed her.

As sad as it makes me that Gideon’s been labeled autistic, I am optimistic. I know that my family will do everything we need to do to educate him every day. I’m confident that after some actual one-on-one time, targeted to his weaknesses, that we will see improvements in his communication abilities. I feel like with work, he may completely test out when he’s tested again at 4 or 5 years old. And I know my sister will get to this positive place one day, but right now her worst fears for her child have come true. She can’t see past that at the moment.

When I was in college, working with special needs kids, I used to tell my mom that I thought I had such patience with them because God was preparing me for having my own special needs kid one day. Since there doesn’t seem to be a child in my future, I’m starting to think God prepared me for helping my nephew and I’ll gladly step up to the plate to teach my sister and nephew everything I know. I want her to have hope, to believe this won’t ruin his quality of life. And I, too, want Gideon to believe he’s just like every other kid one day. I just know that worrying about the ‘what if’s’ years down the road doesn’t help him today.

If you’re the praying type some supportive prayers for my sister’s family would be appreciated. Happy, positive thoughts are also welcome for those that don’t pray. My sister needs all the strength she can get to move onto the next stage in this diagnosis.
 

ANNOUNCEMENT!

I've had this secret for a few weeks now, but I can finally reveal it!

MY SISTER IS PREGNANT AGAIN!!!

I'm so crazy excited, you have no idea. I love being an aunt and can't wait to have another niece or nephew to love on and photograph the way I have Gideon. Here's the best of the photos I shot today for their announcement.

IMG_1825 [50%]

IMG_1890 [50%]

Rachel's Announcement

I'm not sure Gideon's all that thrilled about being a big brother. 😉

————–

Wedding Bliss

This past weekend my baby sister got married and despite the rain that fell for an entire week leading up to it and all the hoops we jumped through to still have a wedding in the rain, the skies were clear and the wedding was a beautiful success!* I have to admit, like the birth of my nephew, my little sister being married feels a bit surreal. It was an emotional moment for me hearing her choke up on her vows and seeing how in-love she truly is bleed from her expression on her first dance with her husband. I couldn’t be happier for her. I couldn’t feel prouder. But enough of that mushy nonsense, onto the fun stuff…. PICTURES! And a video, too! :)


In an effort to not lag the load time of this page I’ve only included a couple of pictures, but you can click HERE to see them all!

And I mentioned a video too, right? Yes! This video is a little dark and that’s a shame because you can’t see cool things like the funky sunglasses they’re wearing or the custom converses they had made for the wedding, but I assure you they were awesome! This is how my sister and brother-in-law entered the reception. Epic, right? Yes!


“Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO

Peace – Sarah

———————

*Everything was perfect with the exception of my toast. While it had sweet intentions, I’m apparently even worse at public speaking than I could have ever imagined and shook so bad its doubtful people even heard me. I was embarrassed, but it is what it is. I’m a writer, not a speaker. Eh.

———————

I’m an AUNT!

Yesterday my sister, Rachel, and her fiancé, Steve, gave birth to Gideon Jaxon Huff. He weighed 8lbs. 8oz. and measured 19in. long and has to be the most adorable baby on the planet*. I never thought I’d feel this excited, but the high from yesterday still hasn’t worn off! My baby sister is a Mommy now; it’s a super surreal feeling for me.



Gideon Jaxon Huff


Happy Family
Rachel, Steve, and Gideon


Me and Gideon


Maw Maw kissing Gideon’s foot – As precious as precious can get

To see the entire album click HERE!

Feeling Blessed, Sarah

*Look, I realize I may be biased because I’m his aunt, but I’m allowed to be because I’m his aunt! :)

——————-

P.S. I know I’m so behind on LJ, I will try really hard to catch up this weekend when things slow down!

——————-

Babies, Obsessions, & Other Goodness

Last weekend I celebrated my birthday, but it was also my sisters surprise baby shower. Or at least it was supposed to be a surprise. Surprising Rachel is never easy. She will do everything in her power to get to the bottom of a secret. Despite the party losing its surprise factor, it was a great event. She made out like a bandit in the gift department. It took her almost three hours alone to just open gifts!


SO. MANY. GIFTS!

She was really happy with everything she received and I think it’s safe to say now based on the amount of things each individual person gave her that baby Gideon will be spoiled rotten. My sister might kill me for sharing this picture, but it was my favorite of the whole day and while she might think she looks fat, I find her absolutely adorable. Good thing she doesn’t read my blog I guess. 😉

I don’t even like kids much, but I have to admit I’m ridiculously eager to be an aunt. The further along Rachel comes, the more and more excited I get. It’s still so hard to believe my little sister will be a Mommy, but it’s still exciting nonetheless.

In other news this week:

I’ve got some new obsessions. Not obsessions in the way that I normally obsess over stuff, but the “need” to be submerged in these things daily is there. They are The Mortal Instruments Series (Books) and Sons of Anarchy (TV Show).

AND

I’m already half way through CITY OF GLASS (The Mortal Instruments, Book 3) and will likely be into Book 4 or CLOCKWORK ANGEL next week. It’s almost funny to me how long I’ve had this series in my possession and have avoided it for some reason. I could kick myself now because this series is freaking GREAT! And I’ve watched all of Season 1 of Sons of Anarchy already this week and am a few episodes into Season 2 already. I honestly can’t even explain what exactly it is about this show I love, I just know I love it.

Lastly, I received two happy pieces of news this week that may seem insignificant to some of you, but have really made me feel good.

1. Despite all of the food I consumed during my week long birthday celebration last week, I still lost 2 lbs this week during weight in at “AA for Fatties”. 2lbs. isn’t a lot, I know, but it’s something and if I can lose 2lbs. every week, I’m that much closer to my end goal. I have to plug Xbox Kinect as the deeper reason behind this weight loss this week though. While WW’s new diet plan is far easier than the old system and I’ve mostly stuck to it, working out just 3 times this week with Dance Central on that Kinect seriously burned some calories. I was sweating like nobodies business and my body was aching afterwards, but it was SO FUN! If I can add this into my regiment on a daily basis I just know alongside the diet, this fat suit I’m wearing will finally start to fade away!

2. I got a raise. It was only a dollar and while I really could use more and deserve more, it’s something. Something I haven’t received in 4 years thanks to the crash of the economy and the crippling effect it had on my job field in particular. I feel extremely grateful and glad to finally be recognized for my hard effort (because most days work kicks my butt).

Those last two pieces of happy this week remind me of something I too often forget: Patience. It’s a lesson I feel like God is constantly trying to teach me and for some reason I fight him on it all of the time.

We live in a society that wants things NOW and most of the time we can actually have those things NOW. Some things don’t happen NOW though, some things take time. And if you expect, especially without effort, you will undoubtedly be let down. But patience, it’s a strong quality in oneself, if you have it. And being patient has its benefits.

It seems like every time I finally remember this concept and stop dwelling on what I want NOW and just accept that it may take time, God rewards me with my desires. I’m feeling humbled and grateful this week for the lesson.

Peace – Sarah

——————–

Miss Me?

Probably not, but that’s okay. I’ve been facing possibly the worst days of my career over the past week, in addition to drama in all of the important parts of my life, and by the time I get home I’m so spent I just can’t seem to find enough oomph to make it online. Today was no exception, in fact in comparison to all of the other terrible days, today was the worst. I even cried today, the stress was just too much. I have a deadline to make by tomorrow and I’m not sure I’ll be capable of it, regardless of how hard I’m trying and that just makes me feel worthless.

But enough of that boo hoo crap. In my absence some noteworthy things did happen, like:

My new books arrived! You know those ones I got to buy myself as a Christmas gift from diamante_negra without breaking my own forbidden-to-buy-books rule? I’m so excited I could squeal (Okay, I actually did)! I feel like a proud parent, they’re just so beautiful.



Also, these are the other books I’ve received since October and haven’t posted pictures of, which are still totally pet worthy:



You would think these newbie’s would satisfy my desire to buy books a little more than it is, but I’m already hoping the majority of my Christmas gifts this year are books. I hope to be overloaded with them. Oh, Christmas get here soon!

Question for the Comments: What books are you anticipating the most for Christmas?

Speaking of books, I read FALLEN last week courtesy of poseiwriting and have since started TORMENT. So far it’s an excellent series and only making me more eager to start my own angel story in 2011 (hopefully).

I got a little bit of writing accomplished this weekend, which is good since I haven’t been giving my book much thought lately. Well actually that’s not true. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, but not in a get-writing sort of way. But I finally felt compelled this weekend.

My sister had her first sonogram last week and her 7 ½ week old “nugget” (as she’s calling it right now) is perfectly healthy. She’s also settling on her first home in the first week of December so things are really looking up for her, which of course makes me happy because I love her!

And lastly, this news isn’t exactly great, but could potentially have some positive side effects. My most recent blood work came back with even worse hypothyroidism and high cholesterol than the last time. My doctor put me on Levothyroxin for the thyroid issue in hopes that it will help the cholesterol as well. So far, the medicine is making me a bit hyper, but I’m told that’s to be expected since I’m going from virtually having no metabolism to suddenly having one with the help of pills. I’m also told that will even out, but that being on medicine may help my weight loss issues and my constant exhaustion. So, I suppose if those things come out of having this issue then it’s not so bad.

I know I’m super behind on LJ and I promise I’m trying to catch up. Please forgive me if it takes a little bit.

Peace – Sarah

——————-

Secret Sister Stuff

*NOTE: This post contains information and pictures that can not be seen by my family (some of which check my LJ frequently), therefore the need to be F-Locked is necessary.

Wedding dress shopping today was a success for Rachel, myself, and even Mom! The dress I ended up with wasn’t there in my size so there’s no picture to provide, but hopefully with all of the weight I intend to lose it will look even better than what we could tell when the big day finally comes. And Mom’s got a “sexy” mothers dress. She didn’t want to have an “old lady” dress. (LOL) The one she ended up with was very flattering and didn’t make her look old at all :)

And these are the two dresses it came down to for Rachel. Which one she actually chose, I will not reveal. But both were great on her and the one she finally went with will look beautiful for her wedding.



So the wedding dresses above is just part of the secrets sister stuff mentioned in the title above. The second bit of news is crazy unexpected…

I’m going to be an Aunt!

That’s right. My baby sister is having a baby. She’s not really a baby of course, she’ll be 26 this year, but she still feels like a baby to me. I can’t believe she’s going to be a Mommy!

The kicker… the baby is due 3 months before her wedding. She’s got a rough year in store for her between being pregnant and planning a wedding. Oh, and finding a house because they currently rent with roommates in the city which is not exactly ideal for raising a baby.

I’m surprisingly excited for her though. I’m not much of a kid’s kind of person. I always thought I’d have my own one day, but as I’ve aged the idea seems less and less for me. Maybe being an Aunt will prove me wrong though?

I’m so happy for my sister right now. Between all the awesomeness of my new crit group this week and the good things going on for my sister, happiness is literally radiating off of me. My cheeks hurt from the constant smile I’ve been wearing all week!



Rachel & Me (Today)

Peace – Sarah

—————