On Thanksgiving Day, Riley casually mentioned that he thought he had developed a twitch. It was kind of said in passing and I didn't put much thought into it. A few days later I sat behind him in an informal service and noticed him fidgeting like crazy in his seat. I was good and ready to get up and go tell him to be still when I felt like the Lord put his hand on my knee and said "watch him" So I did. My heart sank. I remembered Riley's comment from Thanksgiving Day and I knew. I quietly pulled out my cell phone and made a short video of him from behind without his knowledge. I sent it over to our family doctor who is also a friend of our family. He responded quickly and said to come to see him the next morning. And so we did.
So we went to the retina specialist and it was decided that he should be referred to a pediatric neurologist. Of course, that guy is also in Atlanta. We made our way there yesterday and had the shortest wait in this history of appointments. The doctor was kind and thorough. Riley twitched a good bit during the visit, which was helpful, because that confirmed the movements without needing to order an MRI. For now, the diagnosis of Tourette's Syndrome has been put on the shelf, maybe for later. Riley has been twitching for six months and if he still is in another six months it will be "official." His twitching could possibly be caused by the rapid amount of growth his body is doing. You will never believe this, but my once scrawny tiny Riley measured 6 foot tall at yesterday's appointment!
The appointment was important for several reasons and definitely not a waste of our time. (That may have crossed my mind.) Riley's movements have now been medically documented in the same health care system in which he receives treatment for his eyes. If he does begin to have sudden problems with his eyes, they will now also consider a neurological perspective as the cause, and not just blame everything on the disease. They also now have a basis on which to reference for the future in regards to the frequency and intensity of his ticks.
Riley's ticks at this point have been upper body. He can feel them in his shoulders, neck, arms, face, head. He has some vocal ticking (think about making a clicking sound with your mouth) that he does not make often. He makes some odd mouth movements that he is unaware of when he does them.
None of these things have caused Riley much distress. We have noticed that when he is more physically stressed (like during wrestling season and track season) he ticks almost constantly. He isn't being bullied. Nor is he mentally stressed about it. He does have some mild O.C.D. tendencies that is associated with Tourette's Syndrome.
Our trip there and back was good. I thanked the good Lord once again for not allowing me to live amongst the Atlanta traffic. My nerves were shot by the time we made it back into "regular" traffic. Riley will celebrate his 16th birthday in just a few weeks. He has his heart set on a kayak and has been working odd jobs to earn money to help pay for one. He should have earned about half of the cost of a kayak by his birthday and we will cover the remainder as his birthday gift. Riley's time spent with the Boy Scouts has really pulled him out of his little hole he was in for so long and taken him on some really fun adventures. He feels like this kayak is just going to take that to the next level. :)
Thank you to those of you who still stop and check on Riley from time to time. He is doing so much better now than we thought he would be at this point. I credit that fully to the prayers that have been said for him over these past seven years. He is a good boy.
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: this kid was just born about five minutes ago. Don't blink, mamas. So, as it was we loaded up the car last week and filed into our seats an hour early so that mama could have the best seat in the house. The seat where I could see my tall boy walking straight toward me at eye level with that diploma in his hand. And he did. And I don't even have a picture of it because I had a lap full of a girl with a headache. It's etched in my brain though and there's a fancy photographer out there with it etched in his professional camera, so we can all sleep at night knowing it will land in the mailbox soon.
We're proud of this guy and all he's done in his life to serve God and serve others. He'll be serving all summer and taking off for college in the fall to figure out where God wants him serving in his life. The waiting to see where he'll go is exciting for us all. Plus, he'll be about two hours from home at college which is just a hop, skip and a jump from home. That makes this mama happy.
We celebrated our boy last weekend with our friends and family and our tall boy left the next morning for camp. We'll see him again in a few weeks at family day. School has let out for the summer here. We have some sweet things planned to fill our days with plenty of sunshine included. It's strange to plan outings for a family of four instead of five, but we'll settle in and figure out this new way to adventure.
Oh dear me, I've done it again. I really do have good intentions on blogging, but the actual act of blogging seems to be escaping my grasp.
A few months ago we committed to a few months of adventure for our family of five. Graduation is knocking at our door, and our time with our oldest son living at home is limited. So, we filled our calendar up with happy plans and set out on our merry way.
Our first adventure was to our state's largest zoo. We packed a picnic and made a day of it. The animals were especially active that day and the roaring lions had all of the monkeys howling. It was a rare treat.
Our second adventure took us to the most magical place on Earth. This is the first trip where is has been just our family of five. We enjoyed some extra special attention on the trip which was most welcomed and enjoyed. We are very lucky to be real-life friends with Queen Elsa. She was extra sweet to us. Little Sister had the flu the week before our trip and literally got the all-clear to go just a few hours before we flew out. We spent lots of time resting while we were there to accommodate her needs and it made for the most enjoyable trip.
On our third adventure, our Daddy-man was sick, so we set off on our adventure without him. We scooped up some friends and a picnic basket and headed to our local covered bridge. It's only an hour's drive from home so we were there lickety split. We had a fun time exploring some new paths and planning future visits.
Our most recent adventure took us into the Smoky mountains. We spent a few days of Spring Break hanging out together. My parents joined us as well and we set out to do as many things as we could in just a few days' time. It was a fun adventure!
We have one more adventure that is possibly in the works. Hopefully, we can squeeze it in during the month of April. Our calendar is filling up fast with everyday obligations and we're just seven weeks away from graduation itself. Jordan has received the honor of being selected to serve on staff at our Baptist boys' camp, so he will leave before graduation to serve there. He'll come back for the weekend of graduation and then be off again until August. We are so excited for this opportunity for him.
I can foresee that this "adventures to graduation" countdown will be a recurring theme with all of our kids. We have really enjoyed setting aside this time together, sometimes away from home. Planning and taking off on these adventures has been really fun.
Maybe, just maybe, I can make it back to this little ole' blog again before graduation!
It's hard to believe that this kid is about to graduate from high school. I mean, he was just born five minutes ago. Over a year ago we visited a college by the sea with this boy. It happened to be the worst day in the history of weather to visit a college. There was snow and freezing rain and campus tours. We ran into old friends that we went to college with ourselves. Goodness me, that was surreal. In the end, despite the weather conditions, my boy was sold. He loved the college and the town.
As luck would have it, the major he was interested in was no longer available in an under-graduate degree. In the months to come God began to sort some things out in this boy's heart and placed some people around him to speak some truth into his life. When the new school year rolled around he began to look at colleges with a new major in mind.
We signed up to visit a small Christian college nestled among the mountains. They had me at hello. My boy, though, he soaked it all in. The day was a complete opposite scenario than the college before. The sun shone bright, the birds sang, the mountains declared their beauty. The admissions counselor took his information he had brought along and they accepted him on the spot. Right there on. the. spot. You can file that under things a Mama is not prepared for.
A few weeks later we were signing commitment forms and mailing in checks. I think this college will be the perfect fit for him. It's a place where the mountains, and the college, point to God. Jordan will be heading off to college in the Fall, to his Dad's Alma mater. They even have a football team! We are excited to see him grow into the man God has for him to be. I am thankful he'll be close enough to home for an occasional day visit from us. He has been such a joyous part of our lives.
They say the days are long and the years are short. I'm here to tell you that's the truth. We're on year nine of small town living and these long years have added up so fast. It seems as though every minute of our day has an agenda and boy, it is hard to keep up at times!
My little family has grown up right before my eyes (and yours!). I've gotten word that an update is long overdue here. I'm happy to take a few minutes to update you today. I have big (maybe unrealistic) hopes of doing a better job of updating this little space. I truly do miss seeing the words in my head pour out here.
So, what have we been up to?
God has been so kind and gracious to allow my main squeeze to change jobs this year. He's still teaching and coaching, but he's in a new setting. Overall, he loves it. It's offering him some new challenges that he has been happy to take on, and also brought back some opportunities that he had been missing. The move has been good for him and a benefit to our family as well.
My tall boy is completing his senior year of high school. He'll be off to college in the mountains in the Fall. We're so excited for him we can hardly stand ourselves. My husband also attended college here, so we have strong ties there already. We can't wait to see what God has planned for this boy.
Riley (also now known as my tall boy) joined Boy Scouts last year. He's in his sophomore year this year. He enjoyed wrestling in the Fall and is now running alongside his brother on their school's track team. Riley's eyes are currently "stable." He has recently been given a new neurological diagnosis. We're awaiting his appointment with the specialists for that now. Until we have more concrete information, I won't share the diagnosis here. He will be going out of state for treatment and are expecting a few months wait before he is seen. We are hopeful that the outcome for this will be positive. Riley has kept a wonderful attitude in all of this. He truly is a trooper.
Our little sister continues to grow and amaze us with every word. Back in the Summer we were able to locate little sister's older biological sister. We have enjoyed meeting and spending time with her on several occasions and appreciate the bond these girls have despite their 12 year age difference and the 10 hour drive between them. God has been so sweet to us. Little Sister starts soccer in just a few weeks. She is beside herself excited.
I have been busy with life in general. My work has increased to almost full time now. The kids and their activities keep me so busy. I am so thankful to be in this season. It feels good to be busy with a normal life. I've set aside the next two months to be away from Facebook and Instagram. Since Jordan graduates in a few months we have decided to make the next two months memorable by filling our calendar with family time. We're so excited to say "no" to some regular things so that we can say "yes" to some time set aside just for us. Included in that time is our Sunday dinners with our big kids. Our girls continue to come home for dinner each month. It has been one of the biggest blessings of my life.
Last month, when I wasn't looking, this kid turned 15.
I don't want to talk about it.
He left this morning on a grand adventure to camp in the mountains with the staff from our Baptist boys camp. He was so excited.
I don"t want to talk about it.
His eye remains in a stable position (so far as we can tell.) He saw his retina specialist at Emory in May and he had rave reviews in the stable department. On a whim last month I tagged him onto a vision check-up I had for myself just to make sure the prescription for his glasses was still on target. Much to our surprise, his vision in his right eye had taken another pretty big loss in that month's time between appointments. It's difficult for Riley to detect these changes because his left eye does such a good job of compensating when his right eye takes a hit. His new lenses were special ordered and we picked them up to find the right lens is much thicker than it was before. When he put the new glasses on he could not believe the difference in how well he could see. You could tell by the look on his face that his vision was much improved. He won't go back to Emory until September unless there are some significant issues. I am suspecting that the vision loss is just typical disease progression.
In the meantime, he is all set to try for his driver's permit when he returns from his camping trip. While he is legally blind without his glasses, he can actually see as well as I can with his glasses on.