Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What's the Word?

The word is retarded.  I hate typing it.  I wanted say it quick and get it out of the way.  It hurts me. I take it personally and so does every mother, father, sister, brother, and person with any form of mental or physical impairment.   It's a word that cuts so deep but is used so casually.   If you use this ugly word when you are trying to be funny,  it's not funny.  If you use it when trying to prove a point.  Your point is instantaneously invalid.  You don't sound serious or smart.  If you really want to make an impact with your word choice try one of these suitable options:

ridiculous, silly, annoying, out of control, frustrating, foolish, goofy, harebrained, ludicrous, laughable, incredible, unbelievable, comical, unpleasant, troublesome, etc...................................................

Please take a moment and think about how hurtful this word is.  It is offensive and pains the heart of those who have ever been called retarded in a derogatory way.  Choose to respect those who have an impairment by pledging to stop using this word and encourage others to stop using it as well.

Friday, February 21, 2014


Winter depresses me.
Winter pushes me down.
Winter clings to me like a weighted blanket.
Winter turns me gray.
Winter hurts my skin.
Winter holds me by the neck.
Winter steals my motivation.

Winter wins for a little while,  but Spring will be here soon.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Update on Seth's Aspie Journey

Seth has been off of medication for a few years now.  We wanted to give his body a break and wanted to wait and see if he would grow out of some the inattentiveness.

Well........he didn't grow out of any of it.  So he is back on Intuniv!  He started on 2/10 and we are seeing an immediate improvement in his attention (within 24 hours), his teacher sees it as well.  It seemed like the effects started to wane by the end of the first week.  We increased his dosage on 2/17 and he seems to have perked up a bit. We are hopeful that we're on the right track.  His evenings are kind of rough.  His mood and attention seem to tank right around 7:30-8:00pm.  We give him the medication at night because the last time he was on it he was nauseous and had difficulty getting his day started.  So far his days are going very well.  We don't mind if he tanks at home in the evenings.  We'd rather he tank at home than at school and so far this timing is working well.

Seth still struggles with sensitivity to loud noises.

Thankfully, though, he seems to be embracing and adjusting his life around it.  He wanted a smoothie and when I walked in on him making it for himself he had his sound blocking headphones on!  I'm glad to see him growing up and taking steps toward independence.  I should say, at times, I feel like he may never be ready to leave...or feel confident enough to be fully independent.  He has some very irrational fears.  He is afraid to walk to a neighbor's house (right next door) alone for fear of being kidnapped.  When he is in his bed we have to shut our bedroom door (visible to him) for fear of a black eyed monster(?) walking out of my room and killing him.

He still is (and will likely always be) stubborn and very set in his ways.  It is still difficult to change plans or adjust to life when things can't go as planned.  We are able to reason with him a little better because he is older.  Even though he may not like to change plans he isn't completely melting down.  He used to hurt himself (punch himself in the head, etc).  We have worked really hard to show him that part of living in our world means being willing to work with the unexpected changes.  As a family of 6 we are constantly having to adjust to life's ebbs and flows.   We have really tried to teach him and the other children to be flexible.  This is so hard for him, but,  I often hear him saying to himself  "It's not the end of the world".  He is talking himself off of the ledge. YAY for him that he is dealing with life in a positive way and helping himself!

I am thankful that he is very social, awkward at times, but he really wants to be involved in what goes on around him.  I know this is not always the case with Asperger Kids.  We are constantly working on what is socially appropriate and how to keep him out of the personal space of others.  It's awesome that he has a desire to be social and we are not fighting him to make friends.  We love that he is confident to talk to others.  I know that some kids have a desire to make friends but lack the confidence.

Our focus right now is on helping him develop the skills to be independent.  As he endures the adolescent stage we are excited to see how we will all mature and change.  We pray for the strength to endure it with him and pray that we all come out of it smiling :)


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Permitting Myself To Push Past the Block

The kids are off to school.  The dog is snoring on her pillow next to the heat vent.  My husband sits across the table from me as he works from home  My coffee cup's steam is rising up next to me.  It's quiet and it will be for another 5 1/2 hours. This is the perfect atmosphere for sitting, writing, and releasing.

It's funny how as I sit down to spill out what is bottled up inside of me I suddenly fall speechless!  This has happened so many times in the past 3 years.  I haven't written anything in that long because I can't get past the block.  But ya know what?  I'm pushing past it.  As it turns out, God has given me a desire and love for writing.  Maybe I have felt pressured to write for others?  (I smile when I see that an entry or 2 has had several readers)  The truth is, as I'm sitting here being honest with myself, I have to give myself permission to write.  If I don't permit myself to write then I feel dumb and irrelevant.  If I write for myself then I am not under the pressure of what others will think.  If I write for myself then I can push past the block.  If I write for myself then all of a sudden I have freedom to release the madness or joy without hesitation.  

So, there.  I did it.  The block is destroyed.

Give yourself permission to push past the block too!  Your block can be anything holding you back.  You don't need permission from the world.  You don't need anyone affirm whatever it is that you love to do.  YOU DON'T NEED ANYONE'S PERMISSION TO DO GOD'S WILL WITH YOUR LIFE.  Perhaps you have never thought of it that way before or maybe you just needed to be reminded, again.  Either way...

Let the clicking of keys (or whatever it is for you) begin!  


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reflections of a 12 Year Marriage

Special occassions, like my anniversary, always bring me to a time of reflection.  Remembering how it all started and came together is fun and nostalgic and warms my heart.  We spend so much time worrying about our decisions in the moment, Is this the right path? What if it doesn't work out in the long term? I'm just not sure if this is God's will. I have so many opportunities, I don't know what to do!!, that we forget to breathe and trust God.  Hindsight is great for a morale boost!  I get a perspective like none other.  We get to see how it wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be.  I get to look back and say, 'This has been a lot of fun and I have been so blessed...all that worry was for nothing!'.  It can be great for a kick in the pants as well, but I want to dwell on the good things today.

So, today, on my 12th anniversary I get to look back with love and appreciate the good times(family vacations) and bad (when Liam was a newborn and Rob left for Iraq & I had to finish moving us from Rockford by myself) ,the times when we were richer and the times we were poorer (and lived off of hot dogs and mac&cheese), when we had sickness and when we had health, and most importantly, when we have loved each other...foresaking all others. <3  We have had all these moments at different stages of our marriage...and thankfully, 12 years later, we still have each other.  From the night of our first date at Applebee's to today as we celebrate our marriage, I know that I have been loved.

I encourage you to look back today. How did you meet your spouse?  Where did you live when your first child was born?  How did it feel to take your son to his first day of highschool?  Relive the pride in your heart when you children perform in their piano recitals.  Remember those harried moments and the moments of bliss.  Remember the details of your life and how you came to be in this place at this time.  Maybe this day is your anniversary as well...look back at your marriage.  It goes by so quickly.  Take a moment to love it and appreciate it.  Remember what made you fall in love to begin with.  We sometimes need to remember why we jumped in in the first place. 

Happy Anniversary Robert.  I love you!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sometimes I Forget

Sometimes I forget he has Asperger's. 

You know when you see something over and over and over again it becomes your norm and you forget it's odd or different.  I automatically take his hand down from his head when he starts to scratch or pull at his hair.  I no longer hear that he is repeating the last sentence he speaks in a conversation.  His facial tics become invisible.  My literal answers to his many 'common sense' questions don't bother me anymore.  I make him and myself vulnerable for a breakdown.

Simple things can and will set him off.  Loud noises.  Too much excitement or too many emotions.  Too many strangers.  People touching him, this includes most of his family.  The list goes on.  Any one of these things can trigger, be me this past weekend and allow all of these things to happen in the span of a half a day.

The scene: A lovely, exciting, long awaited birthday party for a friend he hasn't seen in almost a year.  To make it worse I had planned to leave him there for the night...apparently I had forgotten we have a more complicated life than this.  Apparently, I forgot that he has AS and we need to tread slowly into these events.  Seeing his longtime friend would be enough to trigger some AS behaviors...the sheer happiness overloading his senses.  Then came the overstimulated and dispondent look on his face. The hand flapping and pacing told me this was not good.  Then the tears began to flow.  The unknowns were overloading his comfort zone.  He didn't want to stay, he didn't want to leave. Would I call him to say goodnight or would I forget like I did last time?   He COULDN'T decide what would be a better choice.  Too many negative feelings on both sides of the decision complicated his reasoning.  He was stuck in his confusion and couldn't get out.  So, he agreed to let me decide for him.  I decided he would leave with me.  I couldn't make my friend who was hosting a party be responsible for whatever he would do after I left.  I had to take him away from the friends, the games, the cake and ice cream.  Take him away from the loud strangers, and the feeling of missing me while I'm away, and from any of the unknown events that would take place.

I threw too many triggers at him at once.  I expected him to be ok.  I asked for too much.  He response didn't surprise me.  It hurt me for him and me mad at myself.  He knew his brother and sister would stay at the party, that was definetely fuel for the fit to last longer than usual.  He blamed me for taking him away from the fun, but he also would have blamed me for leaving him if he lost it while I was gone.  It was a lose-lose situation for me. 

So we left.  I stuck him in a car for 2 hours (again, not a bright choice)  and then sat him in a room full of people looking at him and touching him and talking to him...not a good combo since we still hadn't fully come down from the birthday party debacle.  He was so over it by the end of the day. I can barely believe that I allowed that day to happen. 

These are only some of the details.  Just getting these words out are enough bring the sting of tears back to my eyes.

I can't put the emotions of it all into words.  I can't tell you how it feels when you can't leave your son with a trusted family member or friend because there are too many unknowns for him, he can't handle it.  Nor can I tell how it feels when he tells me how uncomfortable he is when his family hugs or touches him.  I don't know how to explain all of this so you will be comfortable with it when you see him pulling his hair or repeating himself or screaming or behaving in a way you don't understand.  Words don't do justice describing any of these little/big things that we have to consider while we raise this beautiful child.  Sometimes I feel like I fail him. 

Thankfully, a little moral support is helpful.  A small word of encouragement can go a long way to a mom...any mom.  Those of us with kids on the spectrum have to make difficult decisions.  These decisions will break our hearts for them.  It's ok to ask difficult questions, we want you to understand what we are going through.  We want you to be comfortable with us, we want you to be comfortable with our kids. Help us help our kids by accepting them and all of the quirks-whether you understand them or not-and encouraging your kids to accept them too. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Celebrating My Weaknesses...Or at Least Trying to!!

2 Corinthians 12:9
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

I have been a mother for 15 years.  I have smelled the breath of my newborn babies and poured my love into them as I rocked them in my arms.  I have ended the diaper era after, what seems, a zillion diapers.  I have felt the pride swell up in my chest as each child has mastered two wheels (but not before bandaging the knees of, what seems, a zillion falls first).  I have grounded, given consequences, yelled, screamed and stamped my feet at their disobedience and disrepect.  I have melted in sloppy kisses, held on extra long to hugs around my neck, and cherished many conversations that have started with 'Momma, I love you more than....'. 

Ahhh...those were the days.  Those were the days of being CONFIDENT in my choices with them.  The days of 'knowing' what I was doing.  I don't remember ever really second guessing my decisions as their mother.  I could look at them and know exactly what they needed.  I certainly thought I was in the most difficult stage of motherhood.  What could be worse than having 2 babies in diapers, one child potty training and another struggling with the angst of early elementary drama.  That was a very naive thought.  Though I truly did struggle and I truly was tired, I didn't consider that the future would be rewarding, but far more challenging.

The truth is....I speak baby and toddler much more fluently than teenager and tween.  I have read many books and was 'prepared' for this stage....or as prepared as I could have been.  There is a stark difference between book knowledge and real life experience.  My feelings get hurt a lot.  I'm ignored.  I'm an embarrassment.    I 'just don't understand'.  I am at the receiving end of the hormonal lashings.  (Keep in mind that I NEVER treated my mother this way...ha ha ha!)   I often look at my older kids and question myself.  They are so beautiful.  So talented.  So strong.  So fragile.  I acknowledge the big responsibility of leading, guiding, and loving them through this time in their lives.  I feel the weight of doing, saying, and being what they need at just the right time more than ever. 

The reality is....I often don't have the right answers.  I don't know the right thing to do or be.  Is it too much?  Is it not enough?  Is it fair?  I am constantly second guessing myself in discipline.  What is happening behind my back.....or do I even want to know?  Wait! I DO want to know!  Decisions, decisions.

I'm so thankful for the redeeming moments.  I know that when affection or attention is given it's sincere.  I know that we can have mature conversations about real issues...there is value in discussing world issues as opposed to reading Dr. Seuss books.  I can walk away from my house for a while and not worry that they will burn it down before I get back.  Household chores have become easier...supervising a lot more these days (nice change of pace in that area).  Major milestones in the adolescent years seem bigger as I know they will be fewer and farther in between.  Conversations that start with 'Mom, what do you think about...' are just as precious as the aforementioned. 

I am aware that I trek through uncharted territory in my life.  I am also aware that as the younger children are in these later stages I probably won't be so neurotic.  That is comforting.  The lack of confidence is a hang up for me though.  I have to get used to it.  I have to let God's Word come alive in this area of my life.  I believe what 2 Corinthians 12:9 says.  I just have to stop relying on my own understanding as, in this area, I don't have a true understanding of what I'm doing!!  I have to be ok with that.  His power IS perfected in my weakness.  His grace IS sufficient for me!  Again, thank you God for having more confidence in me than I have in myself.