Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!!

Happy Easter everyone! 

 I am grateful on this day to celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know that because the Savior died on the cross and then took up his body again after three days, Death has no permanent claim upon us.  Each and everyone of us can live again.  And because the Savior chose to atone for our sins in Gethsemane, we can each repent and be cleansed of our sins so that after we are resurrected we can live with Him and our Father again. 

I am grateful for the chance to celebrate this holy day.  May the peace and love of the Savior touch your lives. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Counting our Blessings

I was talking with my friend, Michele, on the phone earlier today.  We were talking about Pinterest and how I had found a mega-board with over 2,000 Autsm pins.  Granted, some of the pins are duplicates, but it was full of wonderful ideas I hadn't necessarily encountered before like this "Transition Box". 
It has play-doh, a sensory toy, pictures, and a treat for the boy that needs it. It might be just what I need for Whirlwind to transition to scout night and for Acroboy to transition to school in the mornings.

There are brushing techniques, weighted pillows, even shoes with GPS tracking for kids who wander off.  Sensory rooms, sensory bins and recommendation upon recommendation for books to read. 

It's a little overwhelming, but mostly I feel gratitude.  I am grateful that there is an increased awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder.  I am grateful for the technology that exists to create virtual communities of support and a place to share ideas, techniques and products (homemade or store bought) that can make parenting a child on the spectrum easier.  I am grateful to know I am not alone in this journey.  There are other moms--just like me who are trying to do right in challenging circumstances.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Doctors, Errands, and More Doctors, (Wait is this déjà vu?)

This last week I took Acroboy into our favorite medical center to have an evaluation with a developmental pediatrician. She talked to me, went over his history, diagnosis (PDD-NOS and ADHD), then tested his skills in a few areas. Acroboy read a story to her and answered her questions. He showed his memory recall abilities. She looked at the homework book Acroboy has been doing and saw his poor handwriting. She had him write some things for her and then do exercises like skipping, running, and catching a ball. She told me that Acroboy has hypotonia in his hands. This explains why he has a difficult time with buttons, snaps, zippers, and handwriting. Finally, she gave me an ADHD evaluation form for Acroboy's teacher and my husband and I to fill out since he was not in school when he received that diagnosis.

I have been running lots of errands too.   I went to the post office, returned some things to the store, and I have been running my kids everywhere. Firstborn has Bible study class in the morning.  His usual ride was out-of-town and so I had to take him to another friend's home to catch a ride with them.  I also had to run the other children to school because we had to transport Whirlwind's musical instrument which is too big to carry on the bus.  They three oldest had extra rehearsal's for the Large Ensemble Festival in the county.   This was in addition to scouts and music lessons. 

We also had to go to our regular doctors because I came down with pinkeye, and Baby Girl came down with a cold. She was running a fever of 101.2° and was pulling on her ears. She was not sleeping well, was not eating well, and wanted to be held all of the time. It turns out she had a pretty bad ear infection.

When we weighed Baby Girl, we found she weighs about a pound less than the last well check-up one month ago. I talked to the doctor about my suspicions for food allergies and we decided to run a blood test.  She is just about old enough to need the lead test, and the doctor thought we should run that and some allergy screening tests as well.

I am concerned about the rash she gets when she eats any grain except for rice. I spoke with a friend who has celiac disease and her children have celiac as well. The symptoms sound similar, and so when we rule out any food allergies, our next step will be to look possible celiac disease. I hope that is not what it is, but I am concerned with Baby Girl's weight loss.  She is my sixth and I've never had one lose weight like she has.  (Plateau as they get active, sure, but not lose weight). 

Now we wait. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sprinting vs. Marathons: Living in a World of Quick Fixes with Long-term Challenges

It seems to me we are a society of quick fixes.  Everywhere you turn in media there are ads for countless medical pills.  There are pills and drugs and creams, for dry mouth, dry eyes, insomnia, depression, acne, irritable bowel syndrome, restless leg syndrome, ed, yeast infections, weight loss, etc.  You can make your eyelashes appear longer and fuller with hundreds of mascaras, or you can products that will permanently affect them. (And oh, by the way, it may actually change your eye color.  You have to read the fine print).  

We buy magazines with covers that scream, "Ten steps to a better you!",  "50 ways to declutter your home", "101 organizing ideas", "30 things you should do with your kids", "Seven great weight-loss recipes".  We devour lists and tips and quick fixes.  I'm pretty sure I'm not the only that wishes I could snap my fingers and my house would magically clean itself up--much like the nursery in Mary Poppins.  

I admit I am guilty of buying into some of these things.  I can't tell you how many organization books I've read.  I think subconsciously I keep hoping reading one more article will make me a more organized person.  I have spent more hours than I'd like to admit trolling Pinterest for recipes, meal planning, Autism ideas, and the like.  I've even written my own post on this blog about tips and ideas for navigating amusement parks with more than one ASD child, or how to capture the magic of a surprise Disney vacation when your kids don't exactly like surprises. 

Now don't get me wrong. I am grateful for the information and products out there that are truly helpful.  Three of my children have ADHD, and two of them are on medications that help them focus.  Before we tried the medicines, we went a more holistic approach cutting out sugars, gluten and casein.  We also cut out artificial dyes.  It worked when I could monitor my children's diet, but one little slip-up meant I had to deal with 45 minute long screaming tantrums.  I was exhausted and Whilrlwind would actively seek the things I was trying to keep out of his diet.  He would trade food at school, friends houses, etc.  It was a losing battle.  When we had his medication correct he was sweet loving, and easy to get along with because he could control his impulses and anger.

I've also found many useful tips and ideas that have made my life a bit easier in various ways.  Ideas for transitioning my kids to activities, freezer meals to try that included a pre-made grocery list, organizing and scheduling ideas that have made life run a little smoother and the like.

As good as all these things can be though, I have to remind myself that for better or worse, I am running a marathon here--not a 50 meter dash.

There are no ten easy steps to helping my children master motor skills like buttons or legible handwriting.  There isn't a sure-fire way to get my kids to respect personal space for others.  We have to practice reciprocal conversation skills, picking up body language and other things I had always taken for granted.  And, as much as I want to lose thirty pounds, it is not going to happen if I don't pay attention to what I eat and get exercise.  The quick fixes I've seen for weight loss have had their ramifications.  A former co-worker was very excited about Phenphen when it came out.  He would later discover he had damaged his heart with its use.


A couple of years ago I ran a 5k.  It was a goal I had, and I was so excited to keep going with my running.  However, that winter I sprained both my knee and my ankle when I was rushing across my kitchen floor and slipped on a mat.  My knee and ankle hurt for a long time, and I did not get back into running.  This year I have a goal to run another 5k in the fall.  As I train with the walk/run method, I find I "hit the wall".  I get to the point when I don't feel like I can physically run one more step before I have to walk.  I remember from before when I hit that wall and push through it--even one or two steps more, the wall would get pushed further and further back.  I also remember there even comes a point in running when you get a second wind and you are able to go further than you did before. 

I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it.


I would say I'm running a marathon in my life right now with my family, except it feels more like being in training. There are times we are running, but we hit our wall and don't think we can go one more step.  Sometimes we are metaphorically walking.  Moving forward at a snail's pace, but we are still moving forward.  It's the only thing I can do.  To not move forward would be to give up, and I just can't do that.

When I hit my wall or need to remember that this really is a long-distance run, there are a few things that really help me.  One is looking back and seeing/remembering just how far we have come.  Firstborn doesn't freak out at "crisis" situations anymore like he used to.  The kids have come from reading below grade level to reading above grade level.  Conversation skills are improving, Acroboy doesn't break down and cry anymore when a new food is presented to him, he is actually more willing to try new foods thanks to the food occupational therapy.  We've made huge strides, and in my moments of frustration I have to remember just how far we've come.

I also have to remember I am not running this race alone.  I have a running buddies/cheerleaders in my friends and family who support me.  My biggest supporters are my Heavenly Father and Savior.  Whenever I feel tired or discouraged I can turn to them through prayer, scripture study, service, contemplation, etc, and feel uplifted.  There have been many times in my life where I feel like they've carried me. 

This above all helps me move forward.  When I reach the end of this life and have to meet my Father in Heaven and Savior I want more than anything to be able to truthfully say:

I have fought a good afight, I have bfinished my course, I have kept the faith 2 Timothy 4:7

Remember when you are running today, it's not a sprint--it's a marathon and we're in it for the long haul.  If you need a little more inspiration, check out the video above or in this link.  We're all a little bit like Dayton and the Savior is our legs.  

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Proud and Humble Mama

Today was a good day. It started off rocky, I had to run to a big box store to get black polo shirts for an upcoming concert for my boys. The three oldest had their solo and ensemble competitions today. Two of the boys needed to be there at 9:20 and though I kept watching my time on my watch, I hadn't counted on how long it would take to get through checkout. I kept calling home to keep them apprised of my progress, and to coach them on how ready they should be at that point.

Lawboy kept answering the phone and I don't know if he ever passed on my messages. My instructions before I left and on my phone calls were to shower, eat, take medications, have instruments packed and ready to go as well as have music. I called when I was about five minutes from home and instructed them to put their instruments in the van (I was in my husband's commuter car).

I got home about two minutes after we were supposed to be at the school (which takes about seven minutes to get to). They were still getting things together--despite the three "signpost" phone calls I had made. Whirlwind was still in his pajamas. I had planned on taking all three of them to the competition at the same time.

We finally got the two older ones out the door. I am not very proud to admit I was berating them for not following directions and running so late. A little voice inside my head told me I was not helping them be calm or prepare to perform at their best.  It was humbling.

I apologized to the boys for yelling.  I explained my reason for wanting to get them there early was to give them time to warm up and prepare and be calm.  I realized my yelling hadn't helped matters. I asked Firstborn to say a prayer because we had lost the influence of the Holy Spirit because of my yelling. He gave a beautiful prayer asking for the spirit to come back and to help them in their performances inasmuch as they had prepared to play their pieces. I think we all felt better after that, and that was proud mama moment number one.  He was showing maturity where I had not. 

I dropped the kids off and parked the car.  Just as I was coming in the school I saw Firstborn talking to his teacher.  His copy of his music had gone missing.  He was worried.  The teacher suggested he check his things again and retrace his steps back to the car.  Firstborn and I both said hurried prayers to find the music.  I ran to the car to check for his music, and then called home and had them check too.  The family and home and I came up with nothing. 

When I got back into the building, I could not find Firstborn. I found Lawboy who said Firstborn had been called back to play already. We checked with his teacher, but none of us had any idea whether or not he had found his missing music. Very quickly, Lawboy was called back to perform his piece.  I saw him off and headed home to get Whirlwind.

My sweet boys showed me generosity of spirit by being willing to forgive my crazy mama moments and berating I had done.  They were definitely more mature than I had been.  It is humbling when your child(ren) can show you how you should have behaved.  

When I arrived home, Whirlwind still had not showered. He was dressed, but not showered. I learned my lesson, and stayed calm.  I did make him shower and change his clothes into a white shirt and tie. His performance time was later, but I wanted to get him there with plenty of time to tune his instrument. It turns it out that was a good thing. And though Whirlwind kept whining and asking for his DS (which I did not give), I still kept my cool this time. He threatened to quit cello for the umpteenth time to which I calmly gave him options if he chose to quit.  I replied if he was choosing to quit we could either sell his cello, or he could pay me back for it if he wanted to keep it and not play it.  He loves his cello enough (though he hates to practice) that he calmed down.

In the end we got him there, he tuned his cello with the help of a teacher, and he performed. It was the first year of "competition" for Whirlwind and Lawboy, but the third for Firstborn. Whirlwind and Lawboy both got a rating of II.  This is really good for a first competition. We were expecting harder judging now that Firstborn is competing on a high school level, so we were absolutely thrilled when he came back with a I, which qualifies him to compete at state. He qualified last year too, but the state competition was held around the time Baby Girl was due.

At the end of the day, I am both proud of my boys and humbled by their actions.  They were quick to forgive and move on.  How often can I take a page from their book and not hold on to a grudge?  I try to not hold grudges, but I find that I will sometimes spend an hour or two in "righteous indignation" before I calm down.  They did it within less than an hour.

Something to think about.

I am so proud of my boys and all of their hard work!  Congratulations boys and thanks for being a good example to your mother. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Have you ever had one of those moments when you just knew that something was wrong? Or that someone was in danger and you just had to act quickly? Or maybe you felt impressed that you should call a friend or stop by only to find out how much you were needed? That perhaps you were an answer to prayers?

I believe those still small moments are when the Holy Ghost is speaking to us-telling us something we should know. I had one of those moments today and I am very grateful.

I was in the bathroom getting ready for the day. I had already read my scriptures for the morning.  A few minutes before, Baby Girl had followed me into the closet. I turned out the light and walked to the bathroom-expecting her to follow me as she usually does. I was in the bathroom getting ready for a few minutes when I knew with absolute certainty I needed to drop everything and run because Baby Girl was at the top of the stairs in a precarious position.

I ran.

When I turned the corner I saw she was in the position I knew she would be in--sitting at the edge of the top stair dangerously close to toppling over.

I also knew instantly and with certainty I should grab her outstretched hand and pull her closer to me before picking her up--instead of picking her up the way I usually do. Thinking back on it now, I think had I picked her up like normal she would have arched backwards like she always does, and she would have tumbled down those stairs from losing her balance.

I know that Heavenly Father was looking out for my family today. I had been slow to put up the baby gate.  I am so grateful for the prompting I received, and that I was listening and quick to respond. That has not always been the case, and I have paid the price when I did not listen.

I hope we all make time in our lives to listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Trying to Create Some Order In My Life

I'm a pack rat. Income from a long line of pack rats. I have a difficult time letting go of things. Some times it is because of sentimental value, and sometimes it is because I think I might need it someday.

I read recently that scientist may have found a gene that is responsible for my hoarding behavior.

Even if there is a gene, I have the power to choose whether or not I keep things at all. 

At any rate, it means in my 40 some odd years of life I have accumulated a lot of stuff. Some of it is worthless, some of it is waiting to be passed down to the next child. Some of it should get passed on, some should get scrapbooked,and some should be thrown out or given away. 

The problem lies in the time it takes to go through and determine which is which. I'm not the type that can look at a whole box and just say "It's trash."  I have that compulsion to look at each item and assess value.  I've been watching lots of episodes of hoarders and it has made me realize these things about myself and given me motivation to purge and make decisions quickly about items I'm touching.

Additionally, I'm trying to be better at not even bringing things into my home unless I need them. I have put a moratorium on buying any new scrapbook supplies until I use up the ones I have. I'm trying to find a few minutes here and there where I can get through old projects and either get rid of them or finish them.