Friday, November 19, 2010

Because of you

Because of you, I feel love deeper than I ever dreamed of...
Because of you, I have the three most amazing and beautiful children a man could ever want...
Because of you, I have the strength to overcome any obstacle life throws at us...
Because of you, I have learned to always find good in people...
Because of you, I can share my deepest feelings and biggest fears...
Because of you, I believe in soulmates...
Because of you, I laugh louder and smile bigger...
Because of you, I try harder to be a better person...

Without you, I wouldn't be whole and with you I feel like I hit the jackpot everyday. You truly complete me and inspire me in so many ways.

I know I take you for granted sometimes and I know that I can be very hard to live with but I never, ever want you to forget how much you are loved and appreciated.

You have made all of my dreams come true.

On your birthday and everyday, I love you more than you'll ever know.

Thank you for loving me.

Happy Birthday to wife and my best friend!



Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Soccer Story

Today Carson had soccer at OU. He does pretty well. Imagine a loud gymnasium full of kids on the spectrum and most of their parents and about four coaches trying to play soccer. It's quite chaotic. Griffin came today and he and Miss Liz played basketball on the other end of the gym for a bit. Toward the end, there is always a game. Many of the kids do not get the concept that the other team is supposed to try to take the ball away...needless to say, there are a lot of frustrated children trying to keep the ball.

Today Carson and one of his teammates collided and Carson got hit in the nose by the other kid's head. He was very upset and needed a break. Griffin was quick to offer to jump into his spot. Of course I didn't let him but he was very sure he could go out and "teach" them how to play. It was almost over so since Carson was a hot mess, we decided to just leave. As we were leaving, Griffin said "One day I'm going to punch that kid in the nose so he can cry and not bug Carson anymore." It made me laugh so hard. The whole way to the car, Griffin was consoling Carson saying things like "But Carson, he didn't know he was on your team. It was an accident." It was so cute and funny. I love listening to them converse.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Mia!

Happy Birthday to my little princess!

Mia is pure joy....yes, let's not all forget that she had a rough start (about 8 months worth) but she is pure joy as of now. She is getting her own little unique personality. She loves her mommy and gets very sad if she cannot get her mommy's complete attention...even big tears sometimes. She gives the BEST kisses I've ever received. Sometimes, she looks around at her brothers like....wth? Is this really my family?

She loves people (just like her mommy.) She is her mommy's twin and I think she is going to grow up to be just as beautiful as her mommy.

Some people have asked if it's different being a daddy to a little girl. I didn't really notice a difference at first but I'm starting to see there is a little difference now. I'm sure it will continue to be more different. It's not different better...because I love my boys and I love being a dad to two amazing little boys but it is different and special to have a beautiful little daughter.

I am so happy to have the opportunity to have boys and a girl.

Mia is the perfect addition to our family. I can't wait to see how her little personality grows.

We are very blessed. God bless you baby girl. I hope you always know how much you are loved and cherished.

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Carson ROCKS!

Just a quick Carson update....

Carson was the "special person" of the day in his first grade class yesterday. His resource room teacher e-mailed us and let us know that he did AWESOME! She said he went up to the front of the class and told them all his name and some things about him. He said "My name is Carson. I like computers. I like I'm hungry (they corrected him to say I like to eat.) I like gym class. I do tricks. I like superheroes." His teacher said it was so great that she welled up. I am so proud of him! I wish I could have seen it. I can't believe how much progress he is making....of course, I want time...I know:)

I also cannot say enough how AMAZING his team at school is. We get constant communication from his resource room teacher. She and his speech therapist just made him a big board of superheroes. Each superhero has bubbles coming out of his mouth with one of the class rules. On the other side of the board are villians with a picture of Carson saying "Oh no...don't let the villians get me." I know this sounds funny but I think he will respond well to it. He's very visual and very imaginative.

All in all, he is doing better in first grade than we ever expected. He truly amazes Emily and me all the time. What a blessing he is!

I'm so thankful that he is responding to his treatment plan. I hope it continues and one day this will all be behind us and we will look back and say "Remember when we were recovering Carson from Autism...."

That is my dream and my biggest wish:)

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Off and Running....

Wow! I can't believe how fast summer flew by. I guess that's what happens when you have HBOT four times a week, Speech and OT twice, Art and Music Therapy and Equian Therapy all going on. It wasn't a very fun summer. It was so HOT. I love heat but I could not stand all of the humidity. I feel like we barely swam all summer and if we weren't swimming, I couldn't even stand to be outside. We made it a few times over to Aunt Carol's and Uncle Roger's for a swim but it was minimal. Kristie and Brian also got a pool this summer but I think we only made it there three times the whole summer too.

Oh well, there's always next year. I have to say that I am completely loving this September weather so far (so is our electric bill.) I don't think we shut the air off once in July or August...YIKES!

I decided now was a good time for a blog has been a crappy week....I am OVER so many things this week....first and foremost Autism. I soooo want it to go away. I am over Griffin's new attitude...he has been so challenging this week. I am over working...I'm feeling like I really need a change and I definitely need to make more money....I'm sick of struggling financially and feel like I worked way too hard to get all of my degrees and now am going backwards. I'm sick of never having any quality time with my kids...I feel like we have constant plans and constantly have people at our house or have my wife wanting to go somewhere or visit with someone. I thought things might get a little better since Em is back in the workforce and is getting some adult interaction but not so much just yet. We just differ in the fact that I deal with people all day in my job...and sometimes by the end of the day I just need a break because I need a little "down" time. I feel like I am "on" all day. Most of all, I am over Wells Fargo. After working for 22 months on a mortgage modification, I got one.....let's just say it was a TOTAL waste of time and 22 months of stress for nothing. Our mortgage went down less than $80 and is actually up about $350 from when we started the process due to an escrow shortage. I love how the banks get bailed out and we can't get jack for help.....never missed a payment, etc. and you call that a modification. WOW!

Well enough crabbing....I want to end on a positive note (that was the point of my blog today.) To get me in a better mood that is........

I have to focus on the positive. I'm married to my best friend. I have three beautiful, healthy (somewhat) children. We have amazing families and friends. We have health insurance, even though it barely covers anything for helps for the rest of us:)

Mia started full blown walking this week. She is pure joy...happy, beautiful...if you would have asked me a few months ago, I would have never said she was our easiest child but right now, she definitely is. I love her giggle, her dimples, her little Pebble Flintstone ponytail...everything about her.

Although Griffin is having "terrible threes" right now, he has moments where he is sweet as can be. I love his lips, his language, his lisp. He's so beautiful. When he comes by me, which is rare, I love his snuggling. He's loving his skating class for hockey and his soccer team (just not today.) I really think he is going to be an athlete. He's obsessed with the Wii right now. We have to limit his time on it because he will play until he actually starts crying because his arms hurt. He started preschool this far, so good. We'll see....

My Carson is doing really well. At times, I get so depressed still but I have to stop and look at his progress. He is blowing us away in first grade so far. A couple rough days but this is a HUGE adjustment for him. Full days! He's a little overscheduled. He was supposed to start drama this week but we decided to hold off until winter. He started soccer on Saturdays and just started ice skating lessons last Friday. He also will continue to have Speech and OT two nights a week. That is enough for now. Horseback riding will be coming back in October as well. He is so affectionate. He loves to snuggle and his language is really taking off. We are working on his digestive system right now. I feel that is where most of his problems lie (besides the mercury and other metal poisoning from the nasty vaccines) so we're trying to clear those up. It takes a while but we're making progress.

Emily is doing well. She's loving her job. We're all loving the little extra money. She's on her way to building some new accounts and in no time, I'm sure she be doing even better. She has great relationship building skills and that is a huge part in sales. I know she will rock. She always does. She is my rock and I can't imagine not having her. Does she get on my nerves sometimes? Absolutely...but who doesn't? haha Believe me, I get on hers too....Overall, I married my soul mate and to have that is a true gift from God.

Overall...just trying to adjust to this new school schedule and get in a new routine. I am looking forward to September and October. I love the orchards, trees changing and my little princess turning one in a few weeks. I can't wait for her pending, it's going to be a blast.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 2, 2010

August - Really?

Wow. I can't believe it is August already. In just four weeks Carson will start 1st grade and Fin will start preschool. June and July seem like a blur.

We have been having fun. Our fun is planned around all the summer activities and therapies but that is okay. I am used to it. We are all used to it.

Mia is almost 10 months and I can't believe it. I keep remembering what it was like last summer. I was pretty miserable with non-stop morning sickness and a crazy schedule. It is much easier this year, not being heavily pregnant.

That said, I am so sad that these first 10 months are already over. She is such a happy and easy baby. The first six months totally kicked my butt (with the colic) but now, she has become her own happy person and she fills my days with joy! It is always amazing to me that God chooses the perfect fit with each child. I feel like all three of my kids are perfectly chosen for our family.

Mia waves hello and good-bye. She says MaMa and more. She is funny and expressive too. She will be walking soon as she is into everything and pulls herself up whenever possible. Several times, she has stood on her own. Our life is about to get even busier!

Something happened to Griffin when he turned three. The easiest baby/toddler on the planet has turned into a bit of a monster. I have heard from many moms that three can be much harder than two and for us, that is very true.

I find that I am still very much a parent in training. Yes, Carson is six but again, I have never parented a neurotypical child so much of what Fin is doing, Carson never did and if he did it was combined with a thousand other things.

At three, Carson had little to no language at all so, I never had to deal with the sassy talk or constant negotiating. Believe me, I am grateful for it all. It is such a miracle (neurotypical development). By far, the years of three and four were the MOST challenging with Carson.

Fin has become very assertive, sassy and obstinate. All of these things can be difficult to deal with but when the temper tantrums are over, we can at least discuss what the problem is. It might sounds strange but to me that is a tremendous blessing.

Fin is beyond his age in language development and has the social skills of a much older child. I think this is what frustrates him. In his mind he is 7 or 8 and doesn't understand that he is only three years and three months.

Top it off with the fact that he is so stinking cute and well........ we have got some trouble on our hands;)

I know he is going to love preschool and needs the classroom stimulation and social interaction with other kids. He absolutely loves going to hockey class and if he does as well in preschool as he has these past five weeks, he will be very successful.

Fin is also really looking forward to continuing with his hockey lessons and is already signed up for Soccer as well. We will probably add some gymnastics in the winter since he has been asking all summer when he can go back.

In the mean time, I eat him up and enjoy what little bit is left of his babyhood. He still is very much my baby and I enjoy every second of it.

On another note, Carson went to Vacation Bible school for the first time last week. It could not have gone better. He LOVED it. Jay and I are so protective and it can be really hard for us to try new things and let him grow up but we bucked up on this one and let him go. It was an affirmation for me to let him go. Let him grow up. It was an awakening in me that he can do it.

There was nothing sweeter than hearing Carson announce to everyone that he had Bible school that day and aside from the very loud cheering and singing in the ending group session, he could not have done better.

While at VBS, Carson lead his group in the halls. He answered questions about what God created and got to put a special sticker on the wall. He participated in the games and activities and loved the songs in the small group sessions.

This success has helped Jay and I plan for his fall activities. Of course he will have his therapies twice a week but he will also continue to have his horseback riding. In addition he will be taking drama classes and starting a sport through OU Cares. We are not sure if he will be in soccer or T-Ball yet but it will be one of the other.

One neat thing. The drama classes he will be going to are the same ones I started with when I was a kid. As Lou Fazzini (program director) said, he is the second generation of the original group. To me that is very cool. I love Lou and have known him since I was a little girl. To know that Carson is going to get to experience all that I did, makes me very happy.

Again, I have to let go and let him try. I can't hover over him all of his life. I just keep thinking, baby steps, baby steps. They are for me, not him. He is ready and willing to go. And my heart breaks a bit while at the same time it swells with great pride of the awesome, amazing kid he is. Four years ago, I never would have dreamed all of this would be possible.

So, our schedule gets busier but it is all good things. I realize this post has been all over the place. That is what happens when I try to write something in about ten minutes that should be done in three or four different posts. Oh well.

Love you all ! Em

Saturday, July 24, 2010

More Breakthroughs

Well...the day has FINALLY come....Carson is potty-trained!!!

For those of you who may not know much about Autism, you may be thinking well he is six years old and should be potty-trained. With Autism comes Sensory Integration Dysfunction. This means that Carson's sensory system does not work the same as yours or mine. This is why it is hard for him to be in small areas with large amounts of people....everything is much louder to him. This is also why he is much rougher than the average child because he needs that strong input to feel the way we feel a normal touch...he loves big strong hugs. These are just a couple of examples. The reason it took so long for Carson to learn how to use the toilet is because he couldn't feel the sensation of having to go the same way you or I do. By the time, he feels it, it's too late. But not ANYMORE! Our biggest hope this summer was to get him potty-trained and it happened! Now...for another goal! We are so proud of him. I have to attribute it to the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy along with the million supplements he is on for his digestive system. I'm so thankful that God has led us to this biomedical path and specifically to Dr. McKenzie.

So many changes are happening...I just sit back and listen to the conversations between he and Griffin and am amazed at how far his language has come. They play so well together (of course, they fight like crazy too but I think that is normal.) I think having Griffin around everyday all day really helps him with the socialization piece. It's not as easy with other children because they are not our own so we really have to watch certain actions/reactions because we know what might set him off.

He is such a trooper. His summer schedule is a little crazy but he just rolls with it.

Monday - HBOT, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Horseback Riding Therapy
Tuesday - HBOT
Wednesday - HBOT, Art Therapy, Music Therapy
Thursday - HBOT, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy
Friday - A DAY OFF!!!

Along with having to take a vitamin or some time of supplement about every 20 minutes, he attends all of the therapies above. Thankfully, he's just become accustomed to this schedule for now and doesn't give too many complaints.

It's a bummer because it seems as though the summer has come and is almost gone and there hasn't been much time for fun...but there will be a lot of years of fun to come. The bottom line is that our little man is getting better and better and there is no feeling in the world that compares to the joy that we feel when we see these improvements.

I have to give credit where credit is due. The team of people involved in his recovery never cease to amaze me...Ms. Liz, his therapists at TLC, Dr. McKenzie, Ms. O and Ms. A during the school year, Stacy at LifeHorse, Ms. Tessa, Ms. Rebecca and Ms. Yuri at FAR, his grandparents, his siblings, his aunts, uncles, cousins, great aunts and uncles, his friends and neighbors, and most of all his mother, who works her a$$ off to make all these appointments, therapies, etc. happen. I am so grateful for for each and every one of you and I am so grateful that Carson is getting better.

There's even more to come...thanks for reading....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Photo Shoot

Hi Everyone!

Here are the new pics that my cousin Beth took of the kids. Check out her work at

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Birthday to you Griffin!

It's a crazy life...but it's our life....

Friday, April 9, 2010

Our Little Easter Bunnies.....

The kids had a blast on Easter. They are going to love these pics when they get older.....

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Carson! If I could turn back time....

Wow! I cannot believe that you are 6 years old! The last 6 years have been a whirlwind. Through it all, the one thing that always stays true is how much your mother and I love you! We have some good days, some bad days, some good weeks, some bad weeks...but you never cease to amaze us.

We are so proud of how far you have come. You are a constant source of joy in our lives. You are such a perfect little boy! You have taught us so much in your short 6 years of life thus have taught us patience, understanding, open-mindedness and you've taught us to just go with the flow. You have taught us to appreciate every little thing that you do.

You have also taught us how to love deeper than I ever thought possible. You have changed my life so much for the better Carson. I barely recognize the person I once was. I go to bed and wake up thinking about you every day. You make me feel every emotion stronger than I once did. I thank God every night for giving you to your mother and I. You are a true blessing.

If I could do things over, of course I would do some things differently. I'm so sorry that you have to work so hard at some things that come naturally for others. I promise you that I am doing and will continue to do everything I can to give you the best life possible. You inspire me more than you'll ever know. Your courage and strength amazes me. Thank you for working so hard for us. You are going to be okay Carson...I promise you that. The most important thing to your mother and I is that you are happy and you ARE! When I hear your deep chuckle and see that sparkle in your eyes, I know how happy you are. I hope that you have the happiest birthday ever. You are such a special little boy!

Thank you for making us such proud parents! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

Speaking of turning back time.........

You've been beautiful and perfect since the first minute we laid eyes on you.
God Bless You Carson!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Come out, Come out, where ever you are!

So, it seems we have some actual real live people that read our blog. I was thinking it was just my mom, sister and a few other close family/friends. Now, don't get all crazy. I don't think we are of Dooce status but, to know we have more than three followers... that is nice.

It is not uncommon for Jay and I to be talking to someone to have them tell us, yeah, I read your blog. We don't mind at all. Really. A blog is a public forum. This is open to anyone to read.

But, it sure would be nice to know who you were!!!! So, if you have a second, leave us a comment. It would be nice to meet you and hear a bit about you. Also, if you blog, please include your blog address so we can check you out too.

Whoever you are out there, thanks for reading and I hope that at some point, on some post.... you were glad you came.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The job cycle

I think about my old job often. Much more often than I ever thought I would. I still keep in touch with several colleagues and am very blessed that some of my dearest friends came from that job. I would have never understood before now how, over a year later I still don't feel closure on how it ended. It is like a really bad break up where they tell you it is them and not you but yet you still don't get it.

It is strange. When I use to day dream about leaving and being a full time mom it always seemed unreal and even though I have been home now for 15 months, it still does not seem real. I guess the reality lies in the fact that I may (sooner than later) be going back into the work force. My being home has never been a permanent arrangement. I knew that 15 months ago and I still do today. As much as I would love it to be, it just does not seem like we can make this work forever.

This thought brings up all sorts of anxieties in me. None of which have to do with my ability. I have confidence that I could still work, do a good job. It would be nice to surprise myself at my strengths and be creative again. It would be nice to talk to adults and yes, sometimes it would be nice to escape from autism for a while. But I feel so much anxiety. My anxieties now come from the very rational thought that... nobody can take care of my kids like I do. Even on a bad day, I know that they would rather be with me than anyone on the earth. Even on the bad days there are moments of wonderful perfection where my heart is filled beyond what I could express.

Before, when I worked I did not know what I was missing. I had both Carson and Fin and knew I would be returning to work. We had wonderful child care and I never worried about their care. Now, as I start to deal with our reality I feel my chest tighten at the thought of trusting their care to someone else.

I already feel jealous over the memories they (a care provider) might get that I would miss. I worry my relationships with each of them would change. Of course, I worry how Carson would get all that he needs with 40+ hours of my week filled. I worry about exposing Fin and Mia to the potential germs of a day care setting (remember, they are not vaccinated).

I can't even wrap my head around how I would get everything done. How I could work, be a mom and wife and still get house work done, laundry, etc. To tell the truth, I am so busy now that some weeks I have to let things go.

I can't even imagine finding a job in this horrible market that would provide us money less day care costs. When I factor all the expenses to working, I start to think if it is really worth it at all.

Then I remember how fulfilling it was to feel needed (believe me I know I am needed at home, just in a different way) and most of the time, appreciated. I remember how working provided me growth as a person and enjoyed the challenges. Yes, there was stress from time to time but I guess I might have been lucky that my job was an enjoyable one.

So, I go back and fourth. I try to convince myself that if I have to go back that it wont be so bad. We would find a new normal. The money sure would be great and we could do some things that we have not been able to.

But then, I look at my three greatest gifts in the world and realize there is nothing of material value that can replace what I have been able to experience these past 15 months. I don't shop much anymore. There are no vacations planned. Big nights out are not common. But that is okay. I really does not bother me.

And the cycle starts all over again.

I guess in time, I will know what my options are. I pray that I will have peace with whatever they may be.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Art and Music Therapy

I mentioned in my last post that Carson has started art and music therapy at the FAR conservatory in Birmingham. What a wonderful place! He had his first session this past Wed and did really well.

Carson was having a bit of an "off" week and I was concerned about how he would do but he was so excited to go that I did not cancel. The first thing he had was art. He did enjoy it but was very distracted by all the items in the room. He was a bit off task and at one point got mad at his therapist and told her she was on the naughty list. He even called her a butter head. I left the room at this point as I thought I was more of a distraction than a help and he did finish up his work and seemed to have fun.

Music was a joy. He loved it. The smile on his face and his dancing and singing were so sweet. This place is amazing. They have tons of instruments for him to try and make up songs all the while working on focus and fine motor skills.

When we were all done and walking out, Carson took my hand and said - I love you mom.

To any mom this is music to their ears. To a mom of a child that is considered speech and language impaired - this is magic! I remember the time when he would/could not speak at all. Not even answer a yes or no question. No eye contact. Just stared off into space. All this work is worth it and to know he is happy and can express himself..... amazing.

Yep, I think he had fun and as a parent that is all you could want.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Flying time

Hello all. I promise no drama in this post. Time is flying by and I can't believe it will be March in just a few days.

March is such a special month for us. Carson will be turning 6 on the 15th. We have a fun party planned at Pump it Up. He is super excited and I can't wait to see his happy face! He even has a few gifts that he has already said he wants.

February was such a wonderful but busy month for us. Each weekend we had two to three commitment's and I am happy to report that we got through them well and had fun. This weekend is my cousins bridal shower and a family party for Jay. I will be taking Miss Mia with me so that Jay and the boys can go do something fun together.

Just a few funny things to report -

  • Griffin and Carson have really gotten back into wanting popsicles. Who does not want a Popsicle when it is a snowy blizzard outside? By the time Fin would get to the middle of the Popsicle he would complain that his hands were too cold. All on his own, he went and got out his gloves. Now, every time he has a Popsicle he has to eat it with gloves.

  • Carson starts music and art therapy today. He has his evaluations last month and LOVED it. I actually cried when I saw how much fun he had playing the piano and making up songs. The people that will be working with him are wonderful and he is already very excited to go today. It makes me very happy that he can receive 'therapy' by doing things that are fun.

  • We are all longjng for some sun. Carson is asking to go to the beach everyday. He even got his hands on our thermostat and set it to 82 degrees. Just yesterday he asked me if I could turn winter into summer. I love that he thinks I have super powers but I disappointed him greatly when I could not seem to make it warm up outside.

  • The boys, Jay and I went sledding last week. I have taken Carson a few times but this time, Fin got to go. Fin is not nearly as adventurous as Carson and I waited on taking him until Jay was there so we each had a child. Fin did enjoy it but then he got some snow in his face and that was it. He was done. Carson on the other hand, loves it and wont quit until he physically can't walk up the hill anymore. I wish I had some pics but am too scared to take my camera as it might get ruined.

  • Our little Diva is sick right now. She has an ear infection but I am super happy to report the RSV test came back negative. She is miserable and whimpers all day. Breaks my heart but I know she will feel better soon. When she does feel well, she is a little charmer. She has stolen my heart and I have to stop myself from eating her face;)

Love you all - Em

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Safe, Loved, Accepted

Long ago in this journey I attended an autism in-service with my sister. She is a teacher and was going anyway, so she invited me to tag along. At that time, I was very confident that it would be for informational purposes only since, there was no way MY BABY could have autism.

I don't remember the presenters name but he was some sort of PhD or MD or expert. He was very good. He did a great job of explaining everything and at that time it was all new to me. I felt very smug sitting there thinking, what wonderful information to store in my brain but nope, we won't need this at all.

I was so very wrong. Even at the time of that seminar, we knew something was wrong. We had just started hearing the "A" word and my heart was so scared and so broken that my denial allowed to at attend this seminar without thinking I would ever personally need the information.

The presenter kept emphasising three things. He said that children on the spectrum need to know they are 1. Safe, 2. Loved and 3. Accepted. To me these are things all children need to know but for some reason, these three things have stuck with me almost four years later.

These three things have saved me from feeling like I was failing as a mom. On the really bad days, weeks, months.... I at least know that Carson knows he was safe, loved and accepted.

It might be hard to understand but there are still times that it hits me out of the blue and I am still in total denial. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that I have a child with autism. A child with a disability. A special needs child.

That is me. I am that mom. I am the mom that I have stared at in stores. The mom I have read about with admiration and sympathy. This was not suppose to be me. I never wanted it to be me and I still don't.

When these moments hit me it is overwhelming. My chest gets tight, I feel like I can't breathe. Strange.... I don't cry as much anymore. At times, I feel like I am all cried out. My mind goes to all the dark places it should not go. All the statistics. All the worry about his future. Even with Carson doing so well and being so high functioning the statistics are hard to hear.

Yet at the same time... I feel overwhelming love. I know in the big picture we are lucky. It could be so much worse. That does not change our life though.

I feel like we have been on a treadmill for four years. We have made great gains but I am tired. I admit it. I am really tired. And I feel guilty for being tired. I am no where close to giving up but there are days where I want to hibernate and think of anything other than autism.

There is not a day that goes by without some sort of apt, therapy, phone call, meeting, etc. To top it off anything new we add (to help him) is in addition to what we are currently doing.

The professionals say - he has to mature, let his body catch up to his brain, he is doing really well. I just want more and I want it now.

You may not realize that Jay and I protect him a great deal. We plan our whole life around him, what is good for him, what works for him, what makes him happy. There are only a few people that see the really hard days. The days where he is a mess. The days when he is very, very challenging. He is only five and there are days where he does not want to go to therapy, take his supplements or follow his diet. There are days when his autism is so obvious it smacks me in the face.

The good days fill me up and get me though the tougher ones. But the really bad days can make me feel really dark and sad.

I am not sure what it is about this time of year. Maybe the weather, being dark so early, being stuck in the house. I am just in a bit of a rut right now and feeling very overwhelmed with life. I want to know what it is like to just play. Go bumming with all my kids. Not need assistance and help. Not have this call to make or that appointment to attend. I want to know what it is like to not study everything my child eats or ingests. What it is like to not be constantly researching the newest and best. What it is like to not be worrying about how we will afford what is new and best.

So, once again, at the end of the day.... I can at least have faith in the fact that Carson knows he is safe, loved and accepted. If I do nothing else as a mother, I want all my children to know those three things. Some days it is only these three things that I feel I am able to accomplish.

Funny how something so obvious can get me though these days.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Funnies from the weekend!

Just a few funnies out of the mouths of children...

Griffin asked to hold Mia. Mia started screaming. Griffin pushed her back to me and said "Daddy, you take her. That makes me crazy!"

Griffin and Carson were fighting. Carson was on Emily's lap. Griffin (fake crying to Emily) said "Carson hurt my feelings." (He's sooo Emily's child.) Carson replied "Shut up Griffin!" Griffin started shaking and screamed "I'm going to smash you out the window!" Carson replied "No, I'm going to smash you out the window!"

Em and I laid down with both boys tonight in our bed. When I came in, Carson said "You can sit over there by Griffin." I said "Can't I sit by you?" He said "No, Mommy is sitting by me." Griffin yelled "But Mommy is my favorite!" Carson then yelled "Mommy is my favorite!" Once Em laid down by Carson, Griffin said "You're not a match (her and Carson.)" We asked him why and he said "Because Mommy loves Griffin and Daddy loves Carson!"

While reading a story about Betsy the Beaver's Bedtime Basics, Griffin pointed out that we have a lot of teeth unlike Betsy who has one (really two but he thought it was one.) I said "That's because we're humans." He said (with his little lisp) "We're guys. We're people. We're not humans!"

And our white trash moment of the weekend is......

We went to see Eden on Saturday at Amiee and Ron's we were walking up onto the porch Hero (their dog) was barking like crazy.....Carson with a disgusted tone said "That fu#ki%g dog!" This really isn't funny but it was just the way he said it....OMG! I was laughing so hard. We totally ignored it b/c he has said this a few times over the past months.....seriously one time last year when he got up in the middle of the night for about the fourth night in a row...I said "Are you f'ing kidding me?" to Em...he picked it up and still drops it occassionally...I don't know what to do except ignore it...but sometimes, he uses it so appropriately it kills me.....

NEVER a dull moment...thanks for reading!

The Diva

Mia is a short and sweet name (in our opinion). Just three letters. Feminine and yet not too cheesy. Never did I dream that when we named our daughter Mia that we would have tons of nicknames for her. They range from Mo, Mosie, Meme, Me and Miamo. Yes, cheesy in love parents with all our goofey names. However, the one that comes to mind most of the time is Diva.

Our sweet girl has had a bit of a rough go. She has had reflux, eczema (to the point of it pussing. Sorry- TMI) and a milk allergy. On top of this, she has had an ear infection and several colds. We also can't forget that she would only tilt her head to one side causing a potential problem with her head shape and neck muscles (I am happy to report that this has since worked itself out). So, as you can imagine, we have taken too many trips to the Ped for me to even count.

All these things have contributed to her now being called the Diva. She is on partially digested formula at the cost of 70+ per week (for now, as she consumes more we will need to buy more). She cannot use typical baby products on her skin as her skin will get really angry and itchy. So, we have nothing but the best there too. Her scalp is dry so, we need to also us special shampoo for that too. You name it... laundry detergent, yep that too.... only the good stuff.

I feel horrible that she feels so horrible. Being a third time mom it is easy to be a bit over confident and think - I can do this. I have done it twice before. Mia is teaching me that I have never yet had a Mia and that she will call the shots.

Mia fights sleep. Literally, the only way to get her to sleep is to swaddle her, hold her close and pat her bottom until she finally relaxes a bit. After that, you move very carefully as the smallest change will wake her up. I find that I actually hold my breath when she is sleeping for fear of waking her. This leads to only two to three 20min naps a day. So, to top it off she is also over tired.

One amazing (very, very, amazing) thing has happened though. At just 12 weeks she sleeps though the night. Oh, I am terrified to even write this as I feel as though she will somehow find out and that she will decided that sleeping all night is for babies and she does not need any of that! So, my sanity is being helped by my ability to get 6 hours straight though the night. It would be more but I like to cause myself pain and go to the gym once she is asleep. This sleep might be due more to her pure exhaustion from fussing and crying all day, but for now, I will humor myself and pretend that I have somehow made this happen.

The boys have adjusted really well to our new little Diva. Carson will cover his ears during her crying and Fin will just ask me to put her away or give her to ... anyone else around. Overall, they love her very much and have fun giving her the paci and playing with her toys.
She might be a Diva but she is my little Diva. When she smiles it is from the tips of her toes and she has a giggle that will steal your heart. She loves me very much and it feels good to know that I am her place of comfort and security.

Lets face it. She joined a crazy family. We have a crazy life, we are loud, and we have a crazy schedule. She has had to make our life work rather than us making it work for her. For that I feel guilty. She is still so small and I know this time will go quickly.

Things are bit more under control now that we have all the health issues worked out. She is starting to enjoy things a bit more and that makes me really happy.

So, my lack of blogging, failure to return phone calls, emails, etc. You can blame the Diva. She runs my show and for now.... that is perfect by me. She is after all one of the three greatest loves of my life. Even if I am just slightly scared of her;)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 In Reflection

Wow. I know. A post. One of my goals for 2010 is to get back on track with this blog. Facebook has really taken time away from my writing and even though, I love the time on FB, writing is therapeutic for me so, back to my journal. I hope you will stick it out with us and continue to read.

At the end of last year (2008) I unexpectedly (somewhat unexpectedly) was suddenly unemployed. (Yeah, that sentence does not really make sense but neither did the circumstances so, I am leaving it in.)

I have officially been a SAHM for a little over one year. I have to fill you in on a few things about me so that what I write makes more sense.

I was never the girl that dreamed of having children all my life. I always loved kids and thought I might want them one day but never had that deep, down need to have them from childhood. You know what I mean. I was never one of those girls that was a 'born mother'. I was not until I met Jay that I realized that I had just not found the right person to have children with.

So, once we were married I very much wanted a baby. Unlike a lot of moms I had no problem going back to work after Carson's birth. I adored and loved my baby but after 16 weeks of maternity leave... I was ready to get back into a routine, make some money and get my brain back. Truth be told (I did not know this at the time) I was totally overwhelmed with being a new mom. I genuinely feel that working made me a better mom.

Fast forward a few years and after Carson's diagnosis - work became a very good escape. Home life was extremely stressful. I was depressed and totally heartbroken and work was a good place for me to go and not have to face all my fears every minute of every day. Even though my love for Carson was more than I ever dreamed I could love someone, the pain of watching him not develop, not speak, not interact, and live in his own world.. was too much for me.

So, I continued to work. We also realized early on that if we were to get Carson all the help we need for him, I would have to work. At that time the economy was doing really well. Jay and I were very comfortable and I laugh now at the things we did and purchased. We could afford these things on top of any needed expense for Carson.

Then, I got pregnant with Fin. I had a very challenging pregnancy and work again, was a good place to be "off" of mom duty and actually relax a bit. I had a great boss, knew my work well and enjoyed it.

I will never forget being on bed rest and getting a call from my boss. He said he was resigning and was sorry to tell me while I was out on bed rest but that he would not be there when I returned from maternity leave. I was devastated. My old boss was the BEST. He was supportive and knew of Carson's needs and was always willing to help me work it out so that I could be a good mom and a good employee. His leaving work was a big turning point.

I returned to work 12 weeks after Fin's birth. I was not as overwhelmed with my new mommy role as I had done this once before but now I had two children. Two children was harder. Two children was more work at home and lets face it.... I had one child, a newborn and another child, a toddler with special needs.

I can honestly say that I was still very much in the grief phase of Carson's diagnosis when I had Fin. I had terrible baby blues and cried for months. I truly thank God that Fin was such an easy baby. To top it off, we moved into a new home, lost thousands on the home we sold and the economy was tanking. I knew we were in for a very bumpy ride.

So, I stayed at work. I could not afford to leave. At this point I was exhausted and ready to start entertaining the idea of being a SAHM but, if Jay lost his job we would be.......... sc#$#ed. So, I held on tight and tried to do a great job at work and at home. Any WOTHM can tell you, this is no small feat and if anyone out there judges working moms all I can say is... you try it. It is not easy at all.

As Carson's needs grew so did my need to be more available. Jay made more money that I did so, it only made sense that if one of us had to take time off, it was me. My work was very supportive and again, I will always have that as a positive memory. Eventually though, we (my place of employment and I) could no longer make it work. Lots occurred and that really does not matter anymore now but in the end, December 2008, I was unemployed.

I remember having so many different feelings about this. I was so happy that a decision was finally made but yet also angry at the same time. Let's face it. Carson's diagnosis trumps anything and everything. Autism has ruled our life from the minute it appeared that he was on the spectrum. I was resentful. I was resentful that I could not choose to leave my job to be a SAHM but that I HAD to leave my job to take my child to therapies, doc appointments, etc. My idea of a SAHM was not what I was going to live. I was not happy about that but, of course, knew there was nothing I could do to change it. Please don't judge me on these feelings. I wanted to be home with my kids but I wanted to be doing fun things with them, playing with them, enjoying them. Not living in an Autism bubble.

To add to it, the fear of Jay loosing his job was very real. Insurance does not cover much for Autism but at least it covered a bit and the reality of our very insecure state was very stressful. We had many discussions on the "what if's".

I remember Jan and Feb feeling like years of isolation. I am ultra social. Work was a great outlet for me and I had a very social job. I knew very few people at home during the day. I did not know our neighbors. I would call Jay at work and eventually went over my minutes on my phone plan just trying to find someone to chat with.

I also went though a ton of emotions dealing with Autism. Being home full time allowed me to see all day everyday just how much my child was affected. I guess those hours of being at work really did allow me to escape the reality of our situation. Carson was challenging. VERY challenging. I cried almost daily and needed help.

Over the next few months I created a great team for support. We got a social worker, behaviorists, I met and loved my fellow neighborhood moms. It got better and I felt like I was getting better at it too.

Finding out I was pregnant with Mia was a joy. It was perfect timing. I was home. I did not have to worry about going back to work for a while and could enjoy the pregnancy and her birth.

The summer flew by. Our schedule was packed, HBOT, sensory camps, OT, PT, and speech. Carson had two to three appointments each day. It was a ton of work but again, I am so grateful that we were able to do it. Had I been working, we would not have been able to do it all.

I also got to enjoy one-on-one time with Fin before Mia's birth. While Carson was at his appointments, Fin and I would go bumming or just hang out together waiting for Carson to finish. I am so lucky that Fin is so young that he does not resent or even realize that he lives by his brothers schedule.

Mia's birth came in the fall. Carson was going to mainstream Kindergarten (with a full time aide). Things all seemed to fall into place. Even though I was (still am) sleep deprived and a bit crazy, we managed to fall into a good rhythm.

Gone were the days of feeling resentful, overwhelmed and depressed. Gone were the days of feeling insecure. Yeah, I can't control if Jay looses his job so, I figured I would not continue to worry about it.

I guess what I wanted to say was - it was a really hard year. We worked really hard. We watched every penny. We changed our lifestyle. We grew as a family. I grew as a mom.

I will forever be grateful that I have been able to be a SAHM. I don't know if it will be forever. For now, I am content, happy and tremendously blessed. This experience has changed my life and it is one I never thought I would like or have.

Just goes to show us that even in the most stressful of times (or years) there is so much to be gained. So many beautiful memories and moments to treasure. I can tell you this, if the day comes when I want or have to go back to work, it will be really hard. I am madly in love with my family and like hanging out with my kids all day.

In a nut shell, I never realized what a gift it was to end my employment.

Happy New Year to you. No matter what the year brings, you will find blessings when it is all over. I promise.