Saturday, March 19, 2011


I am being forced to be still. To sit in a chair and be still. My sick son is sleeping on the couch next to me, and I am afraid to move. If I move, I might wake him up. And that would be one of the worst things that could happen right now. Jack has had the flu (like, honest-to-goodness influenza) for two days and he hasn't slept much. Up at 2:30 am yesterday and up at 3:30 am today. And by some weird stay-awake-strength, he managed to not take a nap at all yesterday. Maybe that will be a skill that will come in handy through his college years.

Apparently, being still does not come easy for me. I keep thinking of all of the things I should be doing. Vacuuming, baking banana bread, disinfecting my entire house, starting on the mountain of laundry in my room...I could go on. I sit. Being still.

There is so much I want to write about. Autism. School. Behavior. More autism. But, as I am sitting here, being still, there is something inside of me that is refusing to be still. Literally. There is a baby inside of me that will not be still. She is pushing and kicking and punching and I am watching my belly jump with her movements.

It is so bizarre to me. Why did God choose to bless us with another baby? Why did He wait until now? I am SO thankful for this pregnancy and am amazed at what a miracle it is. But at the same time, we had finally come to a place where we were starting to accept the fact that we would only have one child. We started talking about what our life would look like with only one. We came to appreciate the fact that we wouldn't have to "start over" with a newborn. We started talking about plans for the future with an only child. There were times when I felt an actual peace about the whole thing. The desire to have a baby would slowly diminish - a day here, a day there. Especially given the fact that God gave us an exceptionally needy child (sorry, there's no other way to put it) in the first place. Life with Jack is challenging and now I find myself imagining those challenging days PLUS a newborn. I imagine Jack having a meltdown and a baby screaming in the background. I think of how exhausted I am at the end of a tough day and how it takes everything in me just to peel myself off the couch to go to bed. How in the world am I going to take care of a baby? I don't doubt that I have the skills to do it...but I wonder if I'll be able to do it and stay sane. If I'll be able to effectively parent a special needs child and a baby.

And that's where I am. On one hand, feeling SO very excited and blessed and thankful to have this miracle in our lives. On the other hand, feeling very nervous, scared, and uncertain about what is going to happen in 3 short months.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I'm Over Here

The New Year has brought a new resolution for our family - (almost) no eating out! So, we've started a new blog to help with accountability and a place to put our thoughts.

Join us over there! (I still hope to post at this blog from time to's just a matter of finding the time.) :)

Six Days of "Eating In"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Within the last few months, Jack has become very interested in fire, fire fighters, fire trucks, fire alarms, smoke alarms, fire departments...I think you get the idea. And by "very" interested, I mean - that's all he talks about. Anyone with a kid on the autism spectrum knows that when your kid becomes interested in something, it quickly moves from interest to obsession. His MOPS class was recently visited by the fire truck and fireman and he absolutely loved it. Then his preschool class was also visited by the same fire truck and fireman! And then they had an accidental fire alarm at school. (Yeah. Awesome. They were fixing the roof and accidentally set off the alarm.) And then our smoke detector went off at home (more on that later). But, the thing is, he also has a little bit of fear surrounding the loud noises that come with fire trucks/fire fighters/fire alarms, etc. So with that fear comes the constant talking to reduce his anxiety. We drive by our local fire station quite often and there is a big banner outside the building that reminds people to change the batteries in their smoke detectors. On the sign, it reads "beep, beep, beep!" Here is an example of what Jack might say every time we drive past this sign -

"Mommy, do you see that sign? It says "beep, beep, beep" because that's the sound that the smoke alarm makes when there's a fire. I want to practice when there's a fire at our house and I can crawl down low and feel the door with the back of my hand and you can press the button on the smoke detector and we can practice. Is there a fire truck outside? If there is a real fire at our house the fire truck will come to our house and they will put the fire out and they will park the fire truck by our house. Is that what our smoke alarm says? Beep, beep, beep? That's what the sign says because that's what the smoke alarm says. Why does the sign say "beep beep beep?" Why does it say that? Can we go to the fire station and look at the fire trucks and spray the hoses and talk to the firemen? Can we go now? Please mommy? I want to go to the fire station now. Why can't we go now? You have to tell me why. I want to go now. I want to go to the fire station now."

Again, I am so thankful for his verbal skills, but it is exhausting!

So...back to the smoke detector going off at home. Yesterday the fire alarm went off accidentally at school. His special ed teacher let us know that it happened and said that Jack handled it really well. He covered his ears and they went outside and then they went back in and talked about it. Jack talked about it all evening. :) This morning, while I was getting ready in the bathroom, Jack was talking to me about the smoke detector that's in our hallway, right outside the bathroom door. He was asking me if I could "test" it and make it beep. He's been making this request a lot lately - Lonnie had just "tested" it for him last night, so I told him that I wouldn't be testing it this morning - we already knew that it worked fine. So, Jack talked about the smoke detector a little longer and then just kind of stood there as I was still getting ready in the bathroom. No more than 2 minutes after our conversation, the smoke detector went off! WEIRD. Normal, smoke alarm beeping. Not the "dead battery" beep, but a regular, going off beeping. Poor Jack jumped out of his skin, started crying and yelling and RAN to the garage door. I turned the alarm off and reassured him that there wasn't a fire and that we were OK. He kept saying "I thought there was a real fire in our house." Poor kid! We took the battery out of the smoke detector just to reassure him that it wouldn't go off again. But, honestly, why in the world did it go off just minutes after him talking about "testing" it? So so so so so strange.

My dad is a retired firefighter (currently he's teaching), so I think he'll be pretty happy to know about Jack's new obsession. Maybe he'll have some connections so we can get Jack a ride in a fire truck one of these days. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Choices, choices (Holiday Cards!)

I recently found out that I have the opportunity to discuss some of Shutterfly's holiday cards and get the chance to get 50 of my own free cards. Woohoo! So, the minute I got to Shutterfly's holiday card page, I kept thinking, "oh, I like that one! oh, I like this one!" I really don't know how I'm going to choose when it comes down to it. They have so many adorable designs.

For starters, I am loving this one -

I really like the collage photo holiday cards. I have such a hard time picking one photo for our Christmas cards, it's nice to have an option for more.

Oooooh, I really like this one.

We have yet to get photo cards that are "real" open and fold out cards. Which I kind of miss. So this would satisfy both things! Photos for everyone to see and an actual card where I can write things.

In addition to cards, Shutterfly has some great calendars that would make awesome gifts. I think it would be great to order one of these and give it to the grandparents for a nice, personalized gift.

If you're a blogger and interested in the 50 free card offer, check this out!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

We went out trick-or-treating this year with a group of friends and Jack had a lot of fun. This is the first year that he seems to "get" it, so he was really good about saying "trick-or-treat," saying "thank you," and leaving the candy in his pumpkin until we got home. :) He went as Superman this year and I have to say, he was the cutest Superman EVER.

The gang that went out trick-or-treating.


In my previous post, I mentioned how Jack doesn't have a filter for his words. He just talks and talks and talks. And he has no concept of strangers (I know...we're working on it). So when he would walk up to someone's door and say "trick-or-treat!" he would then start asking them, "Do you have a dog? Do you have a cat? Can I pet your dog? Can I pet your cat?" He would begin a conversation with the person at the door and want to keep talking to them. :) So we had to keep reminding him to move along and go to the next house!

"What do I do next?"

Checking out his goodies and picking 3 to have before bed. :)


Jack is in preschool this year. Another year of preschool. At the beginning of the year, I had mixed emotions about this. On one hand, I knew that we were doing the best thing for him by keeping him in preschool for one more year. Technically he could be in kindergarten this year, since he turned 5 over the summer. But we knew that he just wasn't ready. So we signed him up for a preschool class that is an "inclusion" classroom. There are 12-14 "typical" children and then there are 3 special ed kids. (I can't tell you how much it hurt to write that -- my kid is one of the special ed kids. I never thought that would be me. Moving on....) So, I was relieved that he would still be in preschool and have another year to gain some of the skills that he'll need for kindergarten. But, all of the other 5 year olds were going to kindergarten. Whenever we would tell someone how old Jack was, they would ask "are you ready for kindergarten this year?" And we would have to explain how we were doing another year of preschool. It was bittersweet.

The previous two years, Jack was in a special education preschool. He was in an environment that was completely catered to his needs. Every other kid in the classroom had special needs also. Last year, his class was all boys on the autism spectrum. The special attention was great. But this year, we had to move a little out of our comfort zone. Now we're dealing with a classroom that doesn't revolve around Jack and his needs. Like everything else, there are pros and cons with this. We are glad that he has the opportunity to be around typical kids and, in a sense, mimic their behavior. He can see how his peers react to certain situations and how his peers behave. I have yet to see very many positive effects of this - but I am hoping that they will show up eventually. Being in this classroom also means that there is less individualized attention for Jack. There are more kids that need the teachers' attention. The special education teacher isn't in the classroom for the entire class. But, we realize that this is a good "stepping stone" to mainstream kindergarten. Where there will (most likely) be even less individual attention. Less special treatment. We are relieved, though, that it looks like Jack will be attending a mainstream public elementary school. In the long run, I think that is a very positive thing.

Jack L-O-V-E-S school. Adores it. Thinks it is the best thing in the world. And this makes me very happy. I hope that he continues to feel this way (I know, I know...keep dreaming). He is growing in his social skills. He talks about his friends at school. He recalls things that he did during the day and can talk about them. He is in an afternoon class this year (was in morning classes the previous 2 years) and he just can't wait until lunch time, because he knows that the bus comes shortly after lunch. I don't know how we're going to survive winter break. :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Life With Jack

So...I last blogged when it was Jack's birthday. That was 3 months ago. Sometimes life just gets too crazy and blogging takes a backseat to the rest of the activities. So right now I am sitting at Starbucks, my pumpkin spice latte next to me, and I am setting aside time to write. I think I need to make this a more regular occasion! Although, Starbucks is kind of busy right now and the only table available (with an outlet) was right next to the window. The window that the sun is shining through. The sun that is shining right in my face. I closed their little flimsy "blind," but it's not doing much good. So I am typing while squinting. And unfortunately, there isn't anything that the sun will be going behind any time soon. So I sit. And I squint. At least it's warm. OK, I just tried to switch sides of the table and that didn't work either. Now the sun is just on the other side of my face. And now my drink is on my left side. Sigh.

Let me talk about my kid for a little bit. Jack is 5 years and 3 months and 1 day old. He is awesome. And he is challenging. There are so many adjectives I could use to describe my son, it would take up a whole post. In complete honesty, we have more bad days right now than we do good days. What triggers Jack into meltdown is a mystery. But, we have a lot of meltdowns. We have a lot of behavior "issues." We have a lot of questions. We have a lot of concerns.

But, we also know that this is one of the most difficult times in our life with Jack. He is at the age where he doesn't know why his brain works differently. He doesn't understand why everyone else thinks differently than he does. He doesn't know why the world doesn't make sense to him. I am sure that he's confused, but he can't communicate why. His confusion comes out as anger or as misbehaving. Not that I'm excusing away his actions - but I truly believe that there is a greater underlying cause for his behavior problems. I don't think that he's acting out just because he can. The behavior issues make trips into the community fun and exciting. The tantrums, the yelling, the screaming, the constant running into things or people - the looks from people get old. I am getting used to the dirty looks...or I am just doing a better job at ignoring them.

We do what we can. We try our best. But at the end of the day, our best doesn't look like much. I think that most parents - even parents of "typical" children - struggle with guilt over their parenting. When you have a child with special needs, you can multiple that guilt times 10. We are constantly worrying if we're doing enough. If the therapy we're doing is enough. If the school is good enough. If the discipline is enough. If the picture schedule is enough. If the play dates are enough. And on, and on, and on. I find comfort in the fact that I KNOW that we're doing the best we know to do...right now. Even if we're messing the whole thing up, we're doing what we think is best. We are loving, intelligent parents and we have our son's best interests at heart. All we can do beyond that is pray that he turns out OK from there.

One thing I am so thankful for is that Jack has started loving to hug us. He wants to hug all of the time. And while I must admit that there are times when I get somewhat annoyed with the constant touching - overall I am so thankful that he wants to hug us. There are so many kids on the autism spectrum that have a hard time with touch. So many kids that don't want to be hugged. Jack was sensitive to hugging up until a few months ago. Now he wants to sit in my lap and let me hold him for awhile.

Jack talks. A lot. Constantly. All of the time. Continuously. Talks. Which, again, I am thankful for in the grand scheme of things. I would much rather have a child that talks too much than a child that doesn't talk at all. (I think.) A lot of his talking revolves around anxiety. He talks when he's anxious. He'll talk about anything that's on his mind. Never a flowing string of thoughts - it's always a broken mix-up of thoughts that are floating around in his head. Lines from a movie in one minute, and talking about the car wash the next minute. Actually, I should say that his thoughts don't make sense to US. I am sure that they make perfect sense to him. He sees connections in topics that we just don't see. He associates one thing with another thing...and then that thing to another thing...and it all comes out of his mouth. The boy doesn't have a filter. Sometimes it's hilarious and sometimes it's exhausting.

So...there's a quick snapshot of our lives right now. There is so much more going on, but I find it hard to organize it all right now. Hopefully there will be more blog posts coming soon.