Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Graham Cracker Dessert - Post 2

Here are pictures of the positively divine "Graham Cracker Dessert"!



Three*Sixty*Five

I have a new blog -  Three*Sixty*Five - which will chronicle my journey into "Project 365" - check it out and follow it if you'd like!!!

Thanks!!!

Graham Cracker Dessert

I made this yummy pie for Christmas and decided talking to Karl last night to make it again but change it up a bit....so I have decided to share the recipe here....it's divine...you'll be hooked, I promise!!!

Graham Cracker Dessert

4 Dessert Bowls

4.5 Graham Crackers (4 full crackers and then half of a full one)

Crumble 1/2 graham cracker into small pieces into each dessert bowl - set aside.

Crumble the remaining half graham cracker and set aside for later.

In a medium size bowl, gently whisk 3 egg yolks and set aside for later.

In sauce pan, combine 2/3 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3.5 tablespoons cornstarch and 3 cups milk.

Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly till mixture boils and thickens.

Add 1 tablespoon butter (not margarine) and 1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract - mix.

Slowly add some of the hot mixture to the whisked egg yolks to temper, so eggs don't scramble - then add that back to the sauce pan and mix all together well - return to heat and boil one minute more.

Pour evenly into each dessert bowl filled with graham cracker crumbs.

Top with remaining graham cracker crumbs and refrigerate for several hours till well chilled.

Serve topped with homemade whipped cream.

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Homemade Whipped Cream

1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon Confectioners Sugar

In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form.

Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form.

The key to making homemade whipped cream is to chill your beaters and bowl for at least half an hour or more in the freezer - you want your bowl and beaters really cold!!!

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Now if you want to make this as the pie, you would follow the same directions as above with the exception of the graham crackers. Once the filling was made, you'd pour it into a graham cracker crust and top it with meringue and put in a 400 degree oven for 7-8 minutes to brown the meringue.

Either way you can't go wrong! It's fabulous!!!

I'll post some pictures later!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Christmas of 2009

Another Christmas has come and gone in the Casey household - thank goodness! I would be lying if I said I wasn't happy that all the hoopla is done and over! As exciting as Christmas is, I am glad to have my house back to normal and to be resuming a much more normal pace of life.

Two days before Christmas I started my holiday baking - I made 3 different kinds of cookies, Oreo balls, buckeyes, some caramel candy, and peppermint bark...oh and a graham cracker pie. Once again, I made too much - the cookies have all but been ignored. Next year I think I'll skip the cookies and stick to the yummy confections and the pie.

Christmas Eve we ventured out to Karl's mom and spent the afternoon and early evening celebrating Christmas with her. The kids were able to open their gifts from Grammy Casey and enjoy some candy and act plain silly! Trevor got his new Spongebob bedding and Victoria got her Tinkerbell bedding. They were two very excited and happy children!

Here are some pictures from Christmas Eve at Grammy's house:











Christmas Day the kids woke up around 6:30am and we came downstairs and immediately began the task of opening all the gifts. The kids were wide eyed with grins plastered all over their little faces when they came down the stairs and saw all the gifts. We don't put any gifts under the tree until they go to bed Christmas Eve, so as you can imagine it was quite the shock to see so much had magically appeared, as well as learning that Santa had paid a visit just as promised.

This is the tree before they tore into it Christmas morning...

                                        



It took the kids about an hour and half to open everything. Vicky did well at first but quickly tired of opening the gifts and started requesting my help. Had I known that I'd be opening half her gifts or more myself, I would never have wrapped them! LOL!!

Unfortunately, Karl and I got into an argument at breakfast time Christmas morning, which put a damper on my day. It was nothing serious or major - just over what time to have Christmas supper - but my emotions have been on high lately with the kids fighting over everything and missing my dad, that I just took it to heart and totally flipped out. I spent most of the day sad to say in a pissy mood and it brought me right down.

And as I mentioned a moment ago, this was our first Christmas without my dad and that played a huge part in my emotions this past week - I'd have given anything to have had him here one more time - to have him see the kids faces light up as they opened their gifts - to have enjoyed a meal with him - to have him tell his funny stories about Christmas' past. Unfortunately all I have left now are their memories that I hold close to my heart. I just hope and pray he was looking down on us and smiling with delight as he watched the kids and their silly antics!

Christmas evening we went over to my sisters to visit her, her daughter and my mom for a bit. The kids got more gifts to open from Nana and some more candy and goodies. Vicky got her first bottle of perfume - Love's Baby Soft - I remember that being my very first perfume too! Never thought I'd have a little girl wearing it too someday! She also got her first lip gloss, which she quickly plastered all over her lips and anyone else's lips who was willing to let her do it! LOL!!

More pics from Christmas - sadly I barely took any this year! 

 


And that my friends was our Christmas!

Now we look ahead to the New Year and hope for good things to grace us in 2010!!!

Another tooth bites the dust!

We woke up the day after Christmas to find that Trevor had lost yet another tooth. He now has two and half teeth missing- yes one of the top middle teeth is half way through. This child is strange - he pulls them out when they are starting to get loose.

The kicker is we can't find the tooth - he showed it to us that morning but his room is, or was I should say, a mess again at the time. So, we couldn't find it in his room when we cleaned it up. We had to use this as a time to teach him a lesson about keeping his room clean - we explained that the tooth fairy doesn't come when rooms are dirty and now that the tooth is lost, she most definitely can't come. So he lost out on $$$ from the tooth fairy. Honestly he doesn't seem bothered by the fact she hasn't/isn't coming, but I am sticking to my guns.

I spent an hour or so in his room yesterday making him clean it up - this was after he got a spanking on his butt with the belt for not listening and back-talking me about it. I despise spanking him, especially when it doesn't seem to affect him - he actually will laugh at me, but truth of the matter is, I am at my wits end. I don't know what  to do in terms of discipline with him anymore. I've been told I am too soft and then I've been told I am too hard on him - what the hell?! Parenting Trevor is beyond difficult....I am at a loss.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Victoria's First ER Visit!

It was bound to happen sooner or later, right?

I was washing dishes yesterday morning while the kids played in the living room...though it sounded more like WWF then playing....sigh.....but alas, back to the story at hand. So there I am washing dishes and Vicky starts crying, so I drop everything to go find out what is wrong. I go into the living room and see her nose is dripping, and she's crying about her nose. I figure it was just a runny nose like I had woken up with yesterday morning. Truth be told, I thought she was just being overly dramatic about what was "just" a runny nose. She came running over to me, still crying about her nose that hurts. So I look into it, and sure enough I can see something up one nostril. Can we say panic? I must admit that I don't do emergencies very well...definitely not when it comes to the kids. I tried to get her to blow her nose....no go...she just kept sniffing it up further. I tried to see if I could grab it but with my hands that wasn't going to happen. I called my sister Gail who was just up the street thankfully, and she said she'd be right over. At this time I know we are now going to be going to the hospital....more panic!

Gail arrived as I was getting Victoria dressed, meanwhile she's still crying. Then Trevor goes into panic mode - asking if Victoria is going to die. ACK!!! I left Gail to finish getting Victoria ready while I run upstairs to dress....yes, the one day I decide to lounge around and haven't showered or anything....I was a real sight for sore eyes....no makeup....no hair done...I threw on sweats ...said to hell with the bra! LOL!!  I call Karl real quick at work to tell him that we are headed to the ER.

I run back downstairs and start getting the kids jackets on  when Karl arrives. I am extremely thankful that he works just a few minutes down the road. So Gail leaves and takes Trevor with her so that we can take Vicky alone.

We went to the walk-in clinic first - but they couldn't get it out. By that point, it had gone up even further and with all her squirming and what not, they didn't feel comfortable trying to get it out, etc. So they sent us off to the ER.

We had to wait a bit in the waiting room and again in the exam room but finally a doctor came in. She looks up Vicky's nose, checks her vitals, tells us a story about her son years ago stuffing tissue into his ears....and while it's nice to know it's not just your kid that puts foreign objects in the nose and ears, etc, at the same time I just want to get this thing out of Vicky's nose.

The doctor explains that the first thing they do is block the clear nostril and make a seal around the mouth and blow into the mouth to try to get it to basically fly out the nostril. So while Vicky is on my lap the doctor covers the clear nostril and I put my mouth over hers and blow into her mouth ...we do this a few times and it loosens it a bit but not enough. So off she goes to get another doctor...

She returns along with another doctor who also now checks Vicky out and then they disappear again to get some tools....they come back and now they need a nurse who will swaddle Vicky....so there I am laying back on the gurney with Vicky on top of me swaddled, with the nurse holding her arms and legs just to be sure she can't break the swaddle, a doctor on each side of me, and me holding her head as steady as I physically could. Finally it was out! A little piece of plastic that was angled on one end which was getting hung up in there. We figured it was off some toy....Karl stuck it in his pocket so we could investigate when we got home. Her nose bleed a little bit, which strangely enough fascinated her! LOL!! After 10 minutes or so, she was back to her normal silly self!

I am so thankful that it didn't require anything more than that....that was traumatic enough for me! I was afraid they'd have to put her out to get it out and I don't know if I could have handled seeing that.

So that was our first ER visit with Victoria...hopefully that will be our only one for many years!!! A mommy can hope can't she?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thank you Kim for the wonderful reminder!

As I alluded to in last nights blog and in previous blogs, I still struggle with Trevor's diagnosis and all that comes with that....endless doctors appointments, medications, case managers, therapists, evaluations, etc. There are days that despite the smile, despite the joking, despite it all, I am crying inside...screaming more like it....struggling to keep a grasp on my life as I know it.

This week has been no exception ...seems to be nothing but a series of highs and lows....just when I am flying high emotionally, it all seems to come crashing down...another meltdown....another incident....and I find myself literally trying to scrap myself off the floor in between sobs and wishing that my life was very different.

And then tonight I received a message on Facebook from my friend Kim ....and as I read, the tears streamed down my face....

Kim had found something online today and thought of me - she reminded me that I am an amazing mom and person...something that admittedly, I forget quite often.

So I asked Kim if she would mind if I shared it and she said she didn't it....

HEAVEN'S VERY SPECIAL CHILD

A meeting was held quite far from Earth.

It was time again for another birth.

Said the Angels to the Lord above --

"This special child will need much love.

"His progress may be very slow,

"Accomplishment he may not show.

"And he'll require extra care

"From the folks he meets down there.

"He may not run or laugh or play,

"His thoughts may seem quite far away.

"So many times he will be labeled

"'different,' 'helpless' and disabled.

"So, let's be careful where he's sent.

"We want his life to be content.

"Please, Lord, find the parents who

"Will do a special job for you.

"They will not realize right away

"The leading role they are asked to play.

"But with this child sent from above

"Comes stronger faith, and richer love.

"And soon they'll know the privilege given

"In caring for their gift from heaven.

"Their precious charge, so meek and mild

"Is heaven's very special child."

(I changed the she's to he's, etc.)

Thank you Kim...thank you for being a shoulder to cry on...thank you for being someone who laughs with me too!!! And thank you for helping to remind me of the person I am! I love you!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Trevor and Aspergers

I find I am often asked about Trevor and the "signs" that we knew something was wrong. As I sat down today to talk with his case manager and two gentleman who came to do an evaluation for in home support services, I explained it all again, and I realized I really should have this down for those that ask.

Granted, I was a first time mom, but being the youngest of 8 children and having lots of nieces and nephews, I knew things seemed "off", for lack of a better word.

Trevor started walking at 10 months old...it was Christmas eve to be exact...talk about an awesome Christmas gift for two first time parents. I still remember to this day watching him toddle back and forth between us as we cheered and clapped him on. He was so proud of himself! From the beginning of his walking, he would do a *lot* of toe-walking - he'd curl his toes right under and walk on them. He'd even stand on his toes like that to play. At the time when we really started to take notice of how much he was doing it, I recalled reading something about children with Autism who walk on their toes, but I admit, I didn't know much and dismissed it.

By 14 months of age, he began to have tantrums that I had never seen the likes of. I remember watching him bang his head into the floor over and over when he was upset and again, this didn't seem normal to me.

I remember bringing both of these issues and more up to his pediatrician, but was always assured it was just normal toddler behavior. At one point the doctor even said that the toe-walking could be from a tendon that was too tight, and if it didn't get better, we could opt for surgery to cut that tendon.

Every time I brought up his behavior to the doctor, I was kind of just brushed off - it was always just explained as him being high strung and strong willed. It wasn't till his 3 year check up that the doctor finally said if nothing had changed by his 4 year check up, he'd send us for another opinion. Of course, nothing got better....matter of fact, things only got worse.

I seriously questioned if I could ever handle another child...I had always wanted a big family but Trevor's behavior left me feeling  like a failure as a parent and thinking that having another child would be a mistake. There were days that I spent my time crying, wondering where I had gone wrong....truth be told though, I still have those days. Despite my smile, I am very much struggling with this.

When he did have his 4 year check up, the pediatrician finally agreed that it was time to explore this further. We were moving at that time, so it was put on hold till after we moved and settled in and had insurance and a new pediatrician for him.

Let me tell you that the move was hell on him and in turn all of us. Knowing what I know now, I can look back and understand how the Aspergers affected him. He doesn't do well with change especially when it's not explained in detail ahead of time, and here we'd had another baby, and moved all in a matter of a few months. To top it all off, the house we were supposed to move into when we moved, fell through and we were stuck staying with my sister and her teenage daughter for about a month. The four of us in someone else's house, without the kids toys and what not, was stressful. Trevor was acting out so much - having what I come to realize were meltdowns.

Looking back there were other things we should have probably picked up on, but truth is, at least for me, deep down you don't want to admit to yourself that your child might have something wrong. One of those things was his complete and total obsession with vacuums. We just thought it was a odd, but cute fascination. Not once did it cross our minds that it might be a sign of something bigger. And really by itself, you wouldn't think anything of it...combine it with all the other things and suddenly you start to get this bigger picture. We got Trevor his first toy vacuum when he was 26 months old...he had been begging for one for a while. He loved that toy - it was the only thing he played with consistently...other toys came and went, but the vacuum was a constant. There were times I'd find him curled upon the couch watching cartoons and that vacuum would be right beside him on the couch. He would watch Oreck infomercials over and over...he'd beg to get on the computer and go to the Oreck website. It finally got to a point where we had just DVR'd the infomercials so he could watch them anytime he wanted, and we gave him a log-in on the computer and set it up so that he had an icon on his desktop to access Oreck without us. I had an Oreck for my job and he was forever getting that vacuum out and using it. Since that first toy vacuum he's had a total of 3 toy ones. If I asked him tomorrow morning if he'd like to vacuum, he'd be more excited then most kids are on Christmas morning.

His other love is the computer. We were just talking today about what type of learner Trevor is, and so I told them of how starting around 2 yrs old, Trevor would watch us on the computer and he'd only have to see something once, and he had it memorized and could do it himself. When he was around 3 yrs old, he downloaded and installed Norton Antivirus....something that a lot of adults I know, couldn't do. This year, at 5 yrs old, he purchased a conversion van for me on Ebay - $6000 - I had to contact the seller and explain the situation. Poor kid didn't understand why I wasn't excited that he had gotten me a van for Mother's Day. The crazy thing is, he had to log into Ebay, then make his way to the Autos, then search for a handicapped accessible van and find one that was "Buy It Now". He is forever downloading games and installing them. He changes his desktop around, changing his wallpaper, etc. He will talk to adults about things on the computer and they have no clue - he knows so much with computers!

Trevor is incredibly smart - has a photographic memory - is able to learn things so quickly - when we had him evaluated up here at a Developmental Preschool he scored in some areas off the charts - at levels for a child much older. He is so gifted in so many ways.

We still have our problems but we are getting help and we also have used medication. I know some people seem to have this crazy notion that all parents who choose to use the help of medication do so without a care and just jump on the medication bandwagon out of laziness. But that is not the case - we thought long and hard before we made the decision to try medication. It wasn't something we did because we are too lazy to parent - far from the truth. I wouldn't be so stressed out about all of this if I didn't care...I'd say the hell with it and go about my day, but the fact of the matter is I am doing all I can to get him all the help he needs. It's a process to try to find the right medication at the right level that works for him. We are making progress from where he was before medication but we have a ways to go.

Ok, must end for now....goodnight all....

My dirty little secret!!!

I come from a family of "brand snobs", and what I mean by that is, they don't care what car they drive or what jeans they wear, but they will "curse" you for using Hellman's over Miracle Whip or store brand flour over Robinhood, etc. They are essentially "food brand snobs".

I admit, there are a few items that I truly do prefer over their generic counterpart, but I've found for a lot of items, there is virtually no difference.

So if you recall I made Victoria's birthday cake last month...everyone ranted and raved over how delicious it was - it was very moist -shoot, I am drooling just thinking about it.

So what is the secret you ask?

It consisted of store brand cake mixes, store brand pudding mixes, store brand oil, store brand shortening in the frosting....

Yep, that is right...my delicious cake was made from *gasp* store brand ingredients and not their more expensive counterparts.

So I've come to the conclusion that either my family was b.s.'ing me when they said it was great or they really don't know the difference and their brand snobbishness is all in their head!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Victoria's 2 yr Check Up

I took Victoria for her two year check-up today! Her current stats are:

24.6lbs
33 inches
18.5 head circum.

She's about in the 25% for her height/weight. Her head hasn't grown any since her last check up in July.

All in all, she is doing quite well. The doctor was impressed with all the talking she is doing now - it's as if overnight her whole vocabulary just exploded. I am sure some of that has to do with listening to her big brother. She can count up to 10 in English and Spanish with help and she can do the alphabet with help. She is undressing/dressing herself with minimal help.

We discussed the biting that she is doing, and the doctor recommended setting up the pack-n-play to use as her time out place. Guess I will put that up tomorrow and give it a try - if it works, it will be well worth having that take up space in my small living room.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

One in a million!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I as I sit here thinking about the holidays, I am a bit saddened that Karl is stuck working his normal hours tonight, which means getting home a little after 7pm, when the kids are already in bed.

I hate Karl's job to be perfectly blunt and I know in these hard economic times I should just be grateful that he has a job at all, but after having had a boss who was one-in-a-million, I guess I am spoiled.

For 5+ years I worked for a friend - it was a small business with less than 10 employees - and my friend was an awesome boss. He took care of his employees as if they were his family - and we really were a small family. He looked out for us and we, in turn, looked out for each other. He wasn't the type to sit back behind the desk while doling out orders and watching the rest of us bust our humps. No, not him...he was right there with us, busting his hump too. If one of us needed a day off, he picked up the extra work himself half the time. At Christmas we got very generous Christmas bonus's ...and my kids weren't forgotten either. Birthdays he'd take us out for lunch/dinner and there was always a bouquet of flowers at my door on my birthday. Even now after having moved away about 20 months ago, he still takes care of my kids on their birthdays and Christmas. They know him as "uncle". Trevor just adores him to pieces. Vicky was too little to ever know him but that doesn't stop him from spoiling her too.

When I went on maternity leave with the kids, he paid me a portion of my weekly pay each week even though it wasn't required by law since it was such a small company. He bent over backwards to make sure that the work I was doing when I was pregnant was safe and not too strenuous, etc. When I was in the hospital having Trevor, he went and got our prescriptions picked up for us and filled my fridge with groceries and meals. When I went in to have Victoria, he came over at 4:30am to stay with Trevor, who was still sleeping. When Trevor got up, he got him dressed and took him to his house for the day and his wife and daughter took Trevor out and did things with him. After I was in recovery, he brought Trevor up to see me in the hospital.

I guess, as I said I was spoiled with a boss who did everything he could to keep his employees happy. He knew he had an awesome group of employees and didn't take that for granted, and we knew we had an awesome boss, which made it so easy to put in 110% every day.

He's even said if we move back down there, which I am hoping we will be able to do in the next year or so, that he will hire me back on. How awesome is that?!

I wish there were more bosses like that out there...bosses who value their employees....bosses who aren't afraid of doing the hard work along with their employees...bosses who treat their employees like family.

As I sit here on Thanksgiving eve, I am so thankful that for those years I was able to work for my friend. It was truly a gift!!! I just wish others could experience what I have...I wish that on the holidays, that people were able to be at home with their families like I was afforded when I had my job...I wish that there were more bosses like my friend....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two years ago my world changed....

Two years ago, Thanksgiving was on November 22.....I was 9 months pregnant and miserable as could be. I wasn't sure if I would even be able to make our traditional dinner for Thanksgiving that year. Thankfully with Karls help, I plugged along and made a wonderful meal. I remember as that day progressed, I could barely walk up the stairs...at one point I remember just collapsing onto the stairs....crying my eyes out....it felt like my pubic bone had split right apart....my feet were so swollen....the pain in my back was unbearable....now don't get me wrong, I was miserable but I loved being pregnant...shoot, I'd be pregnant right now if I could. But alas, back to my story...little did I know that what I felt was just the beginning of things to come. Black Friday was much the same as Thanksgiving in terms of how I was feeling. I remember getting up in the middle of the night...pacing....bent over the dresser - rocking back and forth in pain.

On November 24th, things really started happening...here is a look back at what I posted a year ago ....

My morning started by waking around 4am and having to use the bathroom, only to discover I was spotting. I was just 5 days away from my due date, and the presence of some blood, be it a small amount, but blood no less, left me worried. I woke Karl to tell him what was going on...and went to the bathroom again, only to see a bit more spotting. I put a call into the doctor, and the doctor on call, said it was most likely nothing but to go into the ER just the same, better to be safe than sorry. So around 5am that morning, after our friend Jay came to stay with Trevor, off we went to the hospital. I was registered and immediately brought up to L&D, and hooked up to monitors. I was contracting every 2-3 minutes and they were becoming more painful as they went on.

Long story short, after much discussion about whether to keep me or send me home, my doctor arrived and decided that with the contractions coming so quickly, the fact I was dilated to 3cm, he gave the ok to admit me and prep me for my c/section. I had originally been scheduled to have a c/section on the following Monday - 11/26.

After that things, got rock-n-rollin' pretty quickly! Before I knew it I was walking down the hall to the OR - its like taking your final walk ...lol...you go in as one and come out as two...

And finally, at 11:28am, Victoria Shannon made her appearance - 8lbs 13oz and 19.75 inches - full head of black hair - and every bit as gorgeous as I had imagined.


During my c/section.


Welcome to the world baby girl!!!


So in love....perfect love....


2 Months Old


6 Months Old


9 Months Old


1 Year Old


15 Months








18 Months


2 Years Old

Here is to you Victoria - this is your day - this is your life!!! I love you to the moon and back! You are my world!

Before you were conceived
I wanted you
Before you were born
I loved you
Before you were here an hour
I would give my life for you
This is the miracle of life.
~ Maureen Hawkins"
 
 

Parent-Teacher Conference

Last night we got to attend our very first parent-teacher conference of our lives as parents. It's weird, as we were driving to the school, we were talking about how we couldn't believe what we were doing and that we had a child old enough to be doing this. Sometimes I act so silly right along with the kids, that I find it hard to believe that I have an almost 6 yr old.

Trevor's teacher is so sweet - I just love her to pieces! And she loves Trevor too!! Trev is doing awesome in school. He's her right hand man - helping her out whenever he can. She said he is so very smart - there are no areas that he needs to work on - he's right where he should be or ahead of the game. She said he is very well behaved and just a joy to have in class. 

It does my heart good to hear this...ever since we started having behavior issues with Trev, I used to wonder how he would be in school. I was worried that the issues at home would carry over to school and that I'd be getting calls home on a weekly basis. Granted it's only kindergarten, but to hear that he is so well behaved and so smart...talk about a relief! I hope that as his schooling continues over the years, that he'll continue to be such a good student and well behaved.

I've had numerous professionals tell us how children with Aspergers save their worst behaviors for at home, because that is their safety zone so to speak. And I am glad to know that despite our issues here at home - the meltdowns - the rage - that all that isn't part of who he is at school - that those things so far aren't affecting his schooling.

In the end, Karl and I walked out of that school last night with smiles on our faces and pride in our hearts for Trevor and the amazing student he is.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Autism Society of America: For Mothers of Children with Autism, Caregiving Life Proves Stressful

Autism Society of America: For Mothers of Children with Autism, Caregiving Life Proves Stressful

Wish I could just shut my mouth!!!

I am a yeller!

There I said it - in black and white - for the world to see.

That said, I am not proud of this fact at all.

I grew up in a home where yelling and physical abuse was the norm. Now let me say right off the bat, some of my siblings disagree with my view of how my childhood was. And you know what? That is fine!!! But in my mind, what was said and done was abusive and nothing will ever change my mind. Giving your child a busted lip, bloody nose, etc is not a normal discipline measure - these are things not done by sane, rational parents. So you call it what you want, but I will stand by calling it abusive.

I knew growing up that I didn't want to follow in my mothers footsteps - hitting my children was not something I ever wanted to do. I didn't want to inflict that kind of pain on them that I had growing up. I didn't want them growing up fearing when I'd fly off the handle next. I wanted our home to be full of love.

I took a lot of flack when I said we were against spanking - how many times did I hear from my mother alone, "he just needs a good beating"...to this day no one has ever been able to give me a good explanation of a "good beating" vs. a "bad beating". Beating your child is beating your child. Sugar coat it all you want...wrap it up in cotton candy for all I care, but it doesn't change anything.

Unfortunately with Trevor's behavior we found ourselves resorting to spanking and it backfired on us - all it did was teach him to hit us - to be physical when upset/angry/sad. It didn't not curb the unwanted behaviors, it just created more.

Oh but the yelling....for whatever reason I got it in my head, that somehow yelling was better than laying a hand on a child, and while I still do believe that laying my hands on a person much smaller than me who I am supposed to be protecting is just wrong, why I felt it was ok to yell like a crazy woman is beyond me!

I guess I figured if I was yelling, then I wasn't hitting and I knew there was a fine line between spanking in discipline and being abusive and I didn't want to ever cross that line.

Tonight as I sat down here at the computer and yelled once again up to Trevor who was angry with me for taking his marker away, to be quiet before he wakes his sister, I realized this is out of control. I've got to stop!!! Yelling at the top of my lungs isn't helping diffuse any situations, it's not getting my point across any better, it does nothing other than make me look like a pathetic piece of crap who can't keep her cool.

I really must make a genuine effort to stop yelling at my children - to learn how to keep my cool when frazzled. How can I rightly get angry with my children for yelling at each other as well as us, when I am modeling the very behavior I don't want to see in them? The truth of the matter is, I can't! I've got to be the person I want them to be - yelling and flipping is no better than spanking my children when it comes right down to it.

So there you have it ....I am a yeller....but I hope that now that I see this problem within myself, I can do what it takes to change that, not just for my children, but for myself as well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where did the magic go?

Christmas season is full upon us - the stores barely got Halloween over before they were filling their shelves with all things Christmas. Poor Thanksgiving stuck between Halloween and Christmas - it's like the "red headed step child" - it gets no attention - nary a decoration in site. Why is this? Is it because it's a day to "give thanks"? Surely there must be a market for Thanksgiving decor, no? Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday - for one it falls in the most wonderful time of year - fall. While the traditional Christmas colors of red and green are pretty, they do not hold a candle to the warm burnt oranges, the spicy yellows, the apple reds, the decadent browns - fall just screams warmth to me. There is something so comforting about fall and Thanksgiving.

But this isn't about Thanksgiving...this is about Christmas. Somewhere along the way, the older I get, I have found that Christmas is loosing it's magic for me. Where did it go? Is it because we are bombarded with Christmas several months before it's on our doorstep? Is it because there is so much pressure in general to make Christmas fantastic?

I tried today to listen to Christmas music and I'll be honest, it doesn't have the same hold over me that it once had. There was a time when I'd listen to Christmas music from sun up till sun down, but it seems that time has come and gone. There was a time when I couldn't wait to dig out the decorations and turn the house into a winter wonderland, but that has also disappeared.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I want to do away with Christmas by any means, but it just has lost that splendor....lost that magic that it used to bring me.

I thought with having children that Christmas would be even more magical for me then it ever was, but that isn't the case.

With Trevor's issues, he really doesn't get all that excited about Christmas....he'll open gifts with almost a blank expression - showing next to no emotion. It's hard to get excited for a child when they don't have an excitement themselves. I am left wondering if he really likes the things he received, because unlike most children, you can't read his face for those telltale signs.

And of course, Victoria is still young and pretty much clueless about Christmas. She doesn't understand about Christmas and Santa yet.

I was asked today when I was putting up my tree (yes, we are an artificial family) and I replied, "December 24th"....is it horrible of me that I have no desire these days to decorate? I felt this way last year and the year before and the year before and well, you get the idea. I am sure we'll decorate sooner, but I dread it - Vicky is in that stage where she is testing the boundaries and to be quite honest, I have no desire to spend my day constantly redirecting her away from the tree. I have no desire to sit on guard near the tree for several weeks making sure that nothing is touched by little exploring fingers.

I used to do a lot of baking at the holidays and since we've moved, I do not have anyone to bake for anymore and I miss that. We definitely don't need to have a house full of goodies, no matter how good, with two diabetics under the roof.

I remember Christmas growing up....being so excited....doing all sorts of crafts in school - wreaths made from trash bags and hangers - paintings - ornaments - it was so much fun. I so looked forward to it each and every year. And of course the accompanying weeks vacation...what child didn't love that? I remember my mother baking up a storm - trying to sneak a taste of a cookie here and there - the smells of holiday goodies wafting through the air - Christmas 8 tracks or lp's playing in the background - hot chocolate with lots of marshmallow fluff topping the mug - curling up to watch Christmas special after Christmas special - oh how I love "Miracle on 34th Street"....putting up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving....Christmas day everyone gathering - my siblings who were already out of the house coming home to visit ...sitting around while dad passed out gifts to each and everyone of us ...he was our very own "Santa"....and then the big huge meal ....it was truly magical....

Where did that magic go? Is it unrealistic to expect that as a grown up?

Of course this holiday season will be the first without dad and that hurts like hell....I'd like to just go to sleep and skip over it to be honest...I want my daddy here....I want the magic that once was....

Will that magic ever reappear?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy (early) Birthday Victoria!

Happy Birthday Victoria!

Ok, so technically her birthday isn't till the 24th of this month, but we celebrated yesterday with a party! Some of the family are going away next week, so we decided to have it early, so we could include everyone!

It was a nice little party....though like any family gathering, or at least any gathering of my family, there were a few comments made that could have been left unsaid.....sigh....

Victoria looked absolutely beautiful in a little light blue wool sweater dress. I had put her hair in rollers yesterday morning, so she had some cute curls to go along with her dress! I know she is my daughter and that makes me a bit biased, but she is such a beautiful little girl and I am just amazed by it. I see her and I can't help but wonder how did I get so lucky to have such a beautiful child? Well actually, two beautiful children, because Trevor is so handsome too!

Anyways, she got some fabulous gifts - a new Tinkerbell CD player and a Tinkerbell clock for her bedroom. We are working on decorating her room in Tinkerbell - hoping to get some more of the Tink stuff for Christmas.

She also got some adorable clothes....some cute toys including the awesome "Spongebob Barbie", "Fisher Price Little People Bus", "My Little Pony Styling Pony - Pinkie Pie" and "VTech Tote and Go Laptop" and several other awesome toys! I don't know who is having more fun playing with them, me or her! LOL!!

It's had to believe that she is just about 2 years old. I struggle to remember our family before she came along. What I do remember is worrying about how Trevor would be....you know he had been an only child for almost 4 years and now we were turning his world upside down. But you know it's been such an amazing thing. Vicky has brought such joy to each and everyone us...she's made our family even more incredible than it was before....I can't imagine our family without her.

Happy birthday baby girl - we love you to the moon and back!!! xoxo

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wish they would understand....

It's 2:40am and I am still awake....Karl has just fallen asleep and Victoria is between us snoring up a storm...I can't sleep....there is a fire very close to us and I can hear the trucks and saws and explosions and it's keeping me awake right now...so here I am blogging once again...

I was out with my mother today....and I tried to talk to her about my feelings regarding Trevor - basically about what I had blogged about the other day. And she just doesn't get it....none of them really seem to get it. It's so frustrating! I know we are struggling to come to grips with it, so I can understand from that perspective, but to just think he'll grow out of this is ridiculous. You just don't one day get up and voila - no more autism. That isn't how it works! Yes, as he gets older, it could get better in terms of how he handles/manages it, but it will never just magically go away.

When I tried to explain to mom about how I miss the "old" Trevor...the smiles...the giggles....the eye contact....the hugs and kisses...well she played it off that all school age kids stop doing that. I beg to differ! This isn't like Trevor just doesn't want to kiss his mommy anymore. He actually says it hurts when we hug him now...he says he can't breathe. And we aren't talking bear hugs here either...but just a normal "I love you" type of hug. This is a child who as I said avoids eye contact - he'll carry on a whole conversation with someone looking in the opposite direction. This is a child who often complains that his brain hurts and that he had too many thoughts.

I am just so tired of hearing that so and so said he's normal, so he must be. Does so and so have a degree in developmental pediatrics? Does so and so specialize in Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders? Does so and so have a child on the spectrum? What's that you say? No? Yeah, I didn't think so!!! Just because some 60 yr old woman who sees him for 2 hours at church a couple times a month feels he is normal, doesn't make it so!

We just got a new case manager for Trevor and she seems wonderful. She's working on getting us things we/he needs, be it locks for the doors, information about a horse therapy program, local activities, etc. We are having a group meeting next week and I've requested that my mom and both of my sisters who live here attend - I want them to see and be part of this....hoping that this will help them understand what we go through...that maybe they'll see how we need their support and understanding instead of just brushing it off or trying to explain it away.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Big bed...little bed....decisions...decisions!!

Victoria has only been in her crib roughly a year. My parents got her the crib mattress as her birthday gift last year, because prior to that, she was in a pack-n-play or our bed. (Being in a 2 bedroom house, space was a premium!)

So when we started throwing around the idea of her moving into a "big" girl bed, we tossed around the idea of a toddler bed or a twin size bed.

Now with Trevor, we did a toddler bed and it didn't last long. Don't get me wrong, the bed itself held up just fine, it was his growing so quickly and getting so big, that outgrew the bed. So I had said if I ever had another child, I wouldn't waste my money on another toddler bed and I'd just go straight to the twin bed.

Well then we have little Victoria, who if she continues on her own little growth curve, could very well use a toddler bed till she's 5. And there is the like new crib mattress that also makes the idea of a toddler bed more appealing. We had decided to do the toddler bed for her! Problem solved, right? Wrong! Then it was trying to decide between a wooden bed or a heavy plastic "Tinkerbell" canopy bed. (Her bedroom will be all Tinkerbell). Karl was leaning more towards the wooden one for aesthetics and the fact it would match her furniture quite well, but I thought maybe the Tinkerbell canopy bed would actually keep her in it and be fun for her....you know, trying to appeal to her childish side...LOL!

But then last night, as she woke up and came to our bed, maybe we should just get the twin bed...and this way when she wakes up and wants mommy, I could go in and lay with her till she goes back to sleep and then slip out and back to my room?!

Yes, I know she is almost two, and while there are times I just want to go to bed and roll about without a care, there is a bigger part of me that enjoys her snuggling up to me and going to sleep in my arms. She's only going to be little for so long...and she's only going to want to snuggle for so long....and besides it's not like she spends the whole night in our bed....

So anyways, now we are trying to decide toddler bed or twin bed...what to do...what to do?!

Reality Hits Home....

Trevor has been wearing pull-ups at night since he potty trained. I had thought maybe we could stop using them, but the medication he is on tends to make him constipated which puts pressure on his bladder, and then add in the fact the one medication is to help him sleep, sometimes he doesn't even realize he's gone in his sleep. So right now we have no diapers in the house for him, and the night before last he had wet the bed twice. I stripped his bed, but last night he didn't want me to put a sheet on the bed - so all that was on the bed was the vinyl mattress cover. I felt bad letting him sleep like that, but there are just some things I refuse to fight over, and that was one of them.

So last night, he woke up again having wet the bed, and Karl went in and helped him out. Karl got back into bed after and said he felt awful and when I questioned what he meant, he said in regards to Trevor sleeping like that - no sheet on his bed and his room a mess (another battle I fight with him on almost daily). And I said I know but this what he likes in terms of the no sheet. I got up to go to the bathroom and came back to bed and heard what I thought was crying....sure enough, my tough guy husband, was crying. I asked what was wrong and it all came spilling out. The reality of what Trevor has and who Trevor is has finally really hit home. Before I knew it we were both crying our eyes out...Vicky who was in bed with us, still awake, gave me a big hug and attempted to dry my eyes.

We talked for quite some time....we have all these unanswered questions....why did this have to happen to him? when did it actually happen? granted we saw changes in him along the way but what/when was the defining moment?

I finally came out and admitted to Karl that I miss the Trevor I once knew. I know people have said over and over he's the same Trevor ....but for us he's not the same Trevor. He is most definitely not the child I gave birth to. He's not the happy-go-lucky, always smiling, always giggling, loving little guy I gave birth to. Somewhere along the way, that lil guy was taken from us and replaced with a little boy who avoids eye contact as much as possible, who hates being hugged and kisses, who is angry/sad more than happy, who rages over seemingly nothing, who flaps his arms/hands when stressed, who can't handle crowds or loud noises, whose interests are so narrow, etc. The truth of the matter is, I am mourning the loss of "our" Trevor. When I tell you I miss that boy till my heart hurts and feels like it will explode, I mean it - I can't put it into words any clearer than that. I long to have that little boy back. I want the little boy back who would look into my eyes and tell me he loved me ...who would kiss me a million times and then once more....instead of the little boy who now tells me he hates me on a daily basis...who spits at me....who wishes I were dead....who wants a new mom.

I love my children to the moon and back...I'd step in front of a train for them...take a bullet for them...I'd go to the ends of the earth to protect them....but the honest truth is, I sometimes don't like the child Trevor has become. Some days I feel like I am living with a stranger.

I am left wondering what will become of Victoria....will there be a day when something just changes, just like it did with Trevor, and we will have lost her as well?! I don't know as though I can handle loosing another one of my children to Autism (Asperger's). I am just so scared that Victoria will end up having it as well.

I wish I could go back in time and push the doctors who blew me off in a way when I voiced my concerns about Trevor and his behavior. I was a new mom who didn't know anything about anything when it came down to it, but his behaviors just didn't seem right to me. Why, oh why didn't I pursue it? Why didn't I insist something be done? Why didn't I go with my gut? No one wants to know there is anything wrong with their child, but at the same time, who wants to turn a blind eye to it either and pretend the issues aren't there? Looking back there were so many signs that just were brushed off or explained away....the walking on his tippy toes ALL THE TIME....the repetitive movements...the fixation on vacuums....the arm flapping...the sensory issues with clothing and noise....the banging his head on the floor when upset....just some of the things that struck me as odd but no one including Karl wanted to entertain the idea that I could be on to something.

Of course, Karl now regrets brushing my concerns off, but like myself, he was a first time dad, with much less experience than I had with children and he just didn't want to think anything could be wrong with our Trevor.

I sat yesterday afternoon looking at pictures from Trevor's second year of life and I cried...I miss that boy so much...pictures that show his incredible blue eyes so full of life and silliness....a smile that could light up a room....he was just such a different child before all of it started....

We are trying to do the best we can navigating the world of Aspergers, and I'll be the first to admit we have a lot to learn, and I'd like to think in time things will be easier or at least easier to come to terms with, but right now we mourn for our first born while we come to accept our "new" son.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Regrets....

So here I am 33 years old and quickly approaching 34 ...seriously it's on the horizon and I am not sure how I feel about that!

I always wanted to be a mom, as I've said before, it was never a question of "if" but "when". I always knew that this is what I wanted. Though I must admit, my childhood dream included a white house with white picket fence, a husband who went to work every day in a 3 piece suit and briefcase in hand, 4 kids, and of course a dog. And of course, that is definitely not my reality! LOL!!

Prior to our move, I used to work overnights and I loved my job! Don't get me wrong, I had those days where I just didn't want to get up and go out, but who doesn't have one of those days now and again? When we moved up here in March of 2008, I instantly became a stay-at-home-mom (sahm). It was a dream come true! Of course, once we got the diagnosis that Trevor had Asperger's Syndrome and we began running to appointments at least once a week, sometimes more, I realized how valuable being home really was. I don't know of any job where I could take as much time off as I would have needed the past 18+ months.

Lately though I feel useless...pondering what have I really accomplished in this life?! I find myself asking Karl about every single purchase I make, right down to a cup of coffee. And don't get me wrong, Karl doesn't require that of me, but I do it out of guilt because I feel guilty not bringing a single dime into the house. Honestly, I can't get past viewing it as his money since it's his job.

I feel like I should be doing more with my life...I feel like I should have made something of my life. Here I am still wondering, "what do I want to be when I grow up"? I was hoping to start the Doula classes, but had to put that on the back burner while finances are tight right now.

But I can't help think back to my college days...and wish I had applied myself more...wish I had done better...wish I had continued on past that first year....I regret dropping out...

I just feel like I've got nothing to show for my 33 years...what have I done? what impact have I had?

I have two fabulous children, who even when they have me on the verge of pulling out every single hair, I still love to the moon and back and I wouldn't change that for anything. But I honestly do worry that I'll be a disappointment to them. Will they be embarrassed that their mom made nothing of her life? Will they be jealous that a friends mom is a doctor or lawyer or accountant and their mom has sat home for years knitting and scrapbooking and cleaning?

Yes, I do have regrets...no I wouldn't change anything because I know it might change the fact that I have these two wonderful kids, but if I could be guaranteed that wouldn't change, I'd do a do-over in a heartbeat.

Sometimes I feel like it's too late now for me to become something...to do anything worthwhile....to make a difference....

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This bites!

In just 3 short weeks, Victoria will be 2 years old. I ask myself quite often, where has the time gone?

Around 6 months of age, Vic took to biting me when nursing. I tried to stop it best as I could, but that didn't work too well. I thought when we stopped nursing at 16 months, that it would come to an end. Boys, was I ever wrong!!

She has continued to bite - mostly me! Oh she'll go after Trevor if he pisses her off enough, but 99% of the time, I am on the receiving end of her sharp baby teeth. I can't believe how sharp those lil guys are - going to have to give her a bone to wear those things down! LOL!!

She bites me for fun....for anger....for not getting her way....for play....basically there is no rhyme or reason to her chomping away at my tender skin!

Yesterday she bite me on the breast...broke skin...left a nasty mark .....that time was purely fun. Last night she bite me out of anger and I could barely get her to release, and now I have a nasty mark on my arm. Today she bite me on the hand resulting in another nasty mark. I bruise easily, so these marks look horrible after a day or so.

I am at a total loss...I've tried pretty much everything including things I swore I'd never do....black pepper, hot sauce, red pepper, vinegar, lemon, time outs, a quick pop on the mouth, biting back and lastly soap....and nothing deters her. I need this to stop and now....I am afraid that she might take her biting to the next level and bite another child or adult and then won't I feel like an ass?!

Short of getting a muzzle...just kidding...or maybe...no, no, really I am just kidding....I am just out of ideas.

Seems to be by 2 yrs old, this should be coming to a stop. She will not apologize for her behavior, but she does know she's done wrong. Sometimes she'll put her head down and look away...other times, she laughs hysterically ....oh vey....

Maybe I should try to get her a role in the next Twilight movie?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Awesome News!

I got a chance to speak today with Patty Gross from the North Star Foundation - they are a foundation that helps place dogs with children with special needs, for example Autism. We have gotten the green-light to start fundraising for a service dog for Trevor.

I can't begin to tell you what an incredible feeling this is. Karl and I think that Trevor could benefit greatly from a service dog. To be given this opportunity is amazing. I feel like we've been given a gift...new direction if you will.

We need to raise $5000.00 - which covers the cost of the puppy as well as all vet care/transportation/incidentals for the first year of the pups life. I wish we had the money to just write a check ourselves and get it going sooner, but that isn't possible, so we are going to be fundraising.

However, once we raise our money, we will be put on the very short waiting list and in about 6 months, on average, we should have our new family member. I am so excited for Trevor, and us as a whole family.

If you'd like to donate, email me and I'll get you the information you need so that your donation specifically goes to help Trevor!  Just put "Fundraiser" in the subject line so that I don't overlook it.

I will be posting updates as we go along in our process! Let the journey begin!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Having second thoughts...

I picked up Victoria's prescription today that the ENT Dr. prescribed - she is to take it 4 times a day for 3 weeks. The script is for Keflex - an antibiotic to treat bacterial infections. In addition to that, he wants us to also give her Sudafed every day.

The more I think about this, the more it doesn't sit right with me. I've only given her the one dose of Keflex as of now, but I just have this nagging in the back of my mind. For starters, when I read all the possible side effects, that right there left me uneasy. I mean, she is just about to be 2 yrs old - can we really expect her to tell us if she is dizzy, has an upset stomach, dry mouth, or any of the other numerous possible complications from taking this medicine? UGH!

But the thing that gets me is, he never tested her for anything - so why treat her with an antibiotic simply because her tonsils and adenoids are swollen? I mean, three weeks of medication and what if it doesn't make a damn bit of difference? I don't like the idea of pumping my kids full of unnecessary medications. I mean, Trevor takes his medications daily, but they are completely necessary for him. This to me just seems like a shot in the dark.

What happens when she really needs an antibiotic but her body has built up this resistance to them because she was on this one for so long with no real reason?

At this point, I think I'd rather just get the referral to the pediatric specialist and see what he has to say.

Why can't parenting be easy? Am I wrong to go with my gut? Sigh....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Victoria & The ENT

Victoria has been having sleep issues for quite a while now - she snores very loudly - and often during her sleep, she acts like she's stopped breathing - and then gasps for a breath. I took her to the doctor a few weeks ago and we found out that her tonsils are quite enlarged - nearly touching and her adenoids are huge and can be seen quite easily - normally they shouldn't be visible.

So the pediatrician referred us to an ENT to see about removing her tonsils and adenoids. Today we had the appointment!

Firstly, I should say we waited almost an hour to even be seen - how annoying to sit there waiting and waiting! Why do doctors do this? If you are late, they want to charge you and reschedule you, but if they are late, no one tells you and just expects you to sit there waiting for as long as it takes! GRRR!!!

Anyways, he took a look at her throat and nose and ears - said that while they are quite enlarged, there is still a tiny bit of room left. He will not do surgery on a child this age. If we want to pursue this, he will refer us down to Portland to see a Pediatric Specialist who will do the surgery on a child that age. And he can also send us down to Portland for a sleep study as well. So for three weeks, he's put her on Keflex (sp?) and Sudafed and saline wash, and we go back in 6 weeks. Then we can decide from there what we want to do. UGH!!

I haven't had a chance to talk to Karl yet, but I am leaning to taking her down to see the specialist and have the surgery. I want her to be able to sleep again - not just for my own sake, but most definitely for her own sake! She's not getting good sleep at all. I just can't believe once again we are faced with having to travel 5 hours each way to get the care we need!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thankful....part one

In 2001, during our struggle to get pregnant, I stumbled upon a parenting website. At the time I used it mostly for it's conception tools - like a calendar, etc. In 2003, when I finally found myself pregnant, I joined the message boards. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine what would take place over the next 6 years.

I've been to this website almost daily for the past 6 years - shared two pregnancies - many struggles - lots of heartache like when my dad passed away and when I learned Trevor had Aspergers Syndrome - shared joys like my children's first tooth or first steps, etc. I've debated the hottest of topics from religion to abortion. I've expanded my mind - become more accepting of those with differing opinions, etc.

The absolute greatest thing to have come from my time there is the friendships I have formed. See, I went there in the beginning merely for information, never expecting to make these friendships - it was the bonus on the cake so to speak!

I look at my Facebook page and see the 183 friends I have and I dare say 95% have been made through the parenting website. It's amazing the bond that can be formed with a group of women you haven't actually met in person!!

Over the years, I've watched as this website has gone through numerous changes, and lately they seem to have been for the worst....things just aren't the same there....and that bums me out....but at the same time I am so thankful for the gifts of friendship I have received thanks to it. How could I ever hate a place that brought me some of my most dear and precious friends? I can't! It's impossible!

I've been lucky enough to have met a few of them in person - hey Heather, remember visiting right after Victoria was born? :-) And come hell or high water, I will get to meet more of them - it's just a matter of time!

I admire so many of these women - the wealth of knowledge they bring to the table - the years of experience - the humor - the genuine kindness - trust me, nothing goes unnoticed and I can't begin to tell how appreciative I am!

Each and everyone of you mean something to me. I am so thankful to call you my friends!!! I love you all!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Scare for the day....

and to think Halloween is a few weeks away....sigh....

We were in the mall today and went to look at vacuums, per Trevor's request. Trevor turns the corner and admittedly we assume he's gone to the next aisle to look at the other ones. So we go around the corner and no Trevor...panic sets in...we look down and here comes Trevor, his hands over his mouth, his face red from fear, his eyes wet with tears....you could see the distraught and panic in his eyes...he was so scared he wasn't even seeing us though we were right ahead of him clear as day...and finally he heard us say his name...and he came running, collapsing against me crying.

In that one brief moment our whole world could have drastically changed forever....I shudder to even think about it...thoughts of little Adam Walsh race through my head...28 years ago he was taken from a Sears and murdered. I get goosebumps when I stop and think about the disaster that we could have been facing today....it has to be one of a parents worst nightmares.

As Trevor was walking towards us, I saw a Sears employee staring at all of us...watching....it wasn't a look of concern...it was the look of judgement...trust me, I've become quite good at reading people....did she once stop to help him....nope she just glared at us....instead of judging us for doing what so many parents do on any given day...which is let their 5.5 yr old walk ahead of them in a store....and dare I even say, turn into the next aisle before them, stop and help the child you see wandering the store, hands over face, bawling his eyes out.

I remember when I was about that age, hiding in a rack of clothing when out shopping with my mom....when I came out and thought I had lost her, I remember the sheer panic in my little mind and body....it's a paralyzing fear...I am so sorry lil buddy...sorry you had to even think for one second we were gone.....mommy loves you!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Caught blindsided!

Yesterday morning I was washing breakfast dishes and Trevor came up to me and said, "mom, why do some kids have two mommies?"

For a moment, if felt like the wind had been knocked out of my sails. Now don't get me wrong, I honestly don't mind the question itself, I just didn't imagine he'd ask me it at 5.5 yrs old!

Immediately my mind went to one place....SCHOOL. See, here in Maine there is a question in the upcoming elections about gay marriage and there are all these commercials from both sides ...but the ones that get me are the commercials from the opposition about how if we allow this they will teach our children homosexuality in school. I despise the idea that any teacher would allow themselves to participate in these commercials, no matter what side they take. I think teachers need to keep their political beliefs to themselves.

Now, I know it's been years since I was in school, but I was never taught about straight marriage, so why would we suddenly start teaching about gay marriage simply because the law allows gays and lesbians to marry?

I will say once again, I support gay marriage. Allowing two people of the same sex to marry doesn't change my marriage - for those who say that it affects their marriage, well then I say you have much bigger problems and don't have a great marriage to begin with. When my neighbors, heterosexuals, got married, it didn't change anything, and neither will allowing gays to marry.

Anyways, so I asked Trevor where he heard this and he pointed across the street where two women were waiting for the school bus with two small children. Whether they are gay or not, I haven't a clue...we just moved here. So I explained to Trevor that they might just be friends, they might be sisters, roommates, neighbors. And then I explained to him that sometimes women fall in love with other women the way I love daddy. And that sometimes men fall in love with other men, just like how daddy loves me. And I left it at that!

And for now, he was ok with that answer. He didn't pursue it anymore. I think I handled it ok, especially since I didn't have any time to really think about a good answer. I know it goes against everything I was ever taught growing up....and goes against pretty much everything my family continues to believe, but my heart will not allow me to discriminate against two people simply based on their sexual preferences. I can't predict my childrens future...I have no crystal ball that will allow me to see what my children grow up to be....but I can't in good conscience be intolerant of gays and lesbians when I have no idea of what my children may be. I don't want my kids to grow up having heard me make fun of gays and lesbians and discriminating against them in the event that one of them is gay. I want my children to grow up knowing a mom who is full of love and acceptance.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yes, I am that mom...thank you very much!

Hi, my name is Erin, and I am *that mom*!

See, for quite some time now Vicky has been able to get herself out of the seat belt in shopping carts - she's so skinny that despite how tight I make it, she's able to slip out of it, which then results with her trying to stand in that little seat part, giving me a near heart attack. I went and bought this other harness thing that Velcros, so that I could put her in that as well as the shopping cart belt, but guess what? She's so tiny, that I've got it tightened as much as possible, and she still is able to slip her arms out of that one and wiggle out.

So shopping with Vic has become something of a fiasco. I'll be honest, I pretty much dread it!

As luck would have it, I found myself at Wal-Mart today with Vic and my sister. We aren't even in the store 2 minutes, when Vic has worked her magic and is proceeding to stand in the seat, so I take her down, because when she does this, it literally takes two people to be able to bend her legs to get them back through the holes, all while she's stiff as a board and screaming like I am murdering her. But the kicker is, lil Miss Independent does not want to hold hands...well, I don't feel Wal-Mart is the place for a 22 mth old to walk freely...and when I attempted to take her hand, she got ....what's the word I want to use....hmmm...fiesty....yeah, that's probably an understatement at best....so I walked with her pushing the cart with one hand, holding her hand with the other despite her protests....and we walked right over to the little children's "jewelry" and I picked out a three pack of plastic bracelets and gave them to her to hold and keep her quiet, and bribe her into holding my hand. And for the most part it worked, till she saw a very cute princess-sy play cell phone and wanted to swap out her bracelets for that, and I did...and she walked through the store "chatting" away on her phone....and finally she asked to go back into the cart - the large part, not the actual seat, but it was something, right? And for the last few minutes of our trip, she sat there with her new cell phone, happy, content, and most importantly sitting on her butt, not trying to run wild and free.

So there you have it....I am that mom....the mom who will occasionally give her toddler a treat at the store to keep them quiet and bribe them into good behavior. I know, I know...it's wrong on so many levels....I am going to raise a spoiled brat....she'll need therapy for years to come.....oh well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but for now, this mama needs some peace now and again, and I am not above buying it!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Weekend Update

Ooops...I just noticed I haven't blogged all week long....shame on me....

It's been a crazy week to say the least! We had an interview for an apartment back in August and they told us that it would be this fall - the latest by the end of the year, that they'd have an opening for us. So imagine my surprise when we get a call Monday letting us know that they had some openings and they'd be calling us in a few days again to get things going. Silly me, I assumed that they meant for the first of October, but that wasn't the case. She called back a couple days later and asked if we could come in and sign the lease. Well, that just wasn't enough time to get the funds together, not to mention I wanted to give a months notice here, because that is the decent thing to do, though we don't have a lease anymore. So we had to decline for now, and are slated to take the next open apartment, which would be the first week of October. So I've given the landlord our months notice and have begun packing.

Victoria has spent 3 days this week at my mom's house, so that I could pack all day long. It's been a huge help to have that time to myself without little "helping" hands! LOL!!

And then on Friday, Trevor had another appointment with his psychiatrist up in Fort Kent. My sister came over and watched Victoria while mom and I took Trevor up to the doctor. It takes just about an hour and half to get there - our appointment was for 1pm - doctor didn't come to get us from the waiting room till 1:15pm - he was carrying two briefcases and a jacket, so I am assuming he was running late. So we talked and went over how things have been the past three weeks, he upped the new medication for Trevor, and before I knew it, he said the appointment was over at 1:45pm....so we drove 3 hours total for a 30 minute appointment. I like the doctor ok, but this traveling once a month for this is a bit much for me. I am hoping that come winter we can spread appointments out because traveling those "woodsy" roads in snow/ice/etc are not for me. I will not do it! So, as I said, he upped his medication by 1/2 milligram and we go back in a month to see how that has helped.

On the way home, Trevor was complaining about his pants falling down, so mom suggested he get a belt, to which he replied, "but my pants don't have belt sleeves"....omgosh I thought we'd die laughing....of course, we didn't laugh out loud as to not embarrass him or make him wonder why we thought it was funny, but the whole "belt sleeves" was hysterical. LOL!

Today we had another yard sale (tomorrow too) - we are hoping to get rid of as much junk as possible before we move. I do not, repeat, do not want to have to move any unnecessary junk to the new place. My other sister came and took Victoria at 7:45am, to make it easier on us having the sale. We did fairly well all things considered - hoping tomorrow is another good day. Vicky didn't get home till 4pm!

I have to say that I feel like I haven't seen Victoria all week.....I miss her!!! It's a week like this that I am glad that she wakes up and we bring her into our bed - I get to snuggle and love on her - she curls into a little ball and wraps herself up in my arms and we go back to sleep together. Someday she's going to be 15 and curling up and hanging out with mom isn't going to be cool, though I promise to fight like hell to keep our relationship one where she does feel like she can come to me and hang out with me.

So that has been our week - crazy I tell ya!!! And I am afraid that with a move in the near future, things are going to continue to be crazy for a while. I am just thankful we will move before winter is here - nothing worse than moving when it's 95 degrees out or -40 degrees...and I am glad that we are moving before Victoria's birthday - now we'll be able to have a little party at our new place, and if anyone wants to get her stuff to help decorate her new room, that will be cool!!! I can't believe I finally will get to decorate a little girls room!!! LOL!! It's been a long time coming!!!

Oh and before I end for tonight, I must say that Trevor has been in school almost a month now and he's had a green apple every.single.day! I am so incredibly proud of how well he is doing!!!

G'night!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Politicians could learn a thing or two from an Aspie kid....

Trevor never ceases to amaze me with the things he says. Having Aspergers, he notices everything around him, he listens to everything, he takes it all in, he is in essence a sponge. You may think he's not listening, but then a week later he'll speak of a conversation that he overheard you have, and you realize he was indeed listening. Never underestimate the brain of a child with Aspergers - they are incredibly smart. I wish I could take credit for it and say it was the hours upon hours of endless teaching I have done in the past 5.5 yrs, but I can't! LOL!! He's smart as he is thanks to having Aspergers and being able to retain so much information. I once read how kids with Aspergers are like a walking encyclopedia, and it's really apropos.

This morning Trevor asked me who the man was that was yelling at the President during his speech the other night. And I said, "Joe Wilson". And he said, "yes, why was he yelling at the President and not listening? That isn't very nice".

And there you have it!

A 5.5 yr old Aspie kid and he can recognize the importance of listening to the President speak and not being disrespectful.

Hey Joe Wilson - even my child knows when to be respectful to the President...perhaps you should take a lesson.

Imagine if we all just stopped and listened...really listened...instead of trying to impart our own agendas, instead of hearing only what we want to hear, instead of trying to spread fear and lies, what if we just listened respectfully? What a novel idea, huh?

Why is it that a mere 5 yr old knows how to behave better than a grown man? Maybe, politicians...heck, maybe everyone, could take a lesson from the kindergarten crowd and learn how to share again, learn to respect thy neighbor, learn how to play fair, learn how to be honest. Imagine how life would be if the rules we apply to our kindergartners were applied to all of us? Imagine if instead of taking out a gun and shooting our enemy, we had to talk it out, shake hands and be friends? Imagine if the worst thing we did required we be put in a time-out?

Why is it the older we get the less we follow the "rules" of being a good citizen?

The beauty of having an Aspie child is watching them take in the world around them, in a way that you or I can't do, and watch them figure things out that the rest of us can't. Maybe, just maybe they aren't the "different" ones...maybe we are ...maybe we have it all backwards...just some food for thought...

Friday, September 11, 2009

The big questions....

I thought I had time before Trevor started asking the big questions....but this morning he caught me off guard. Let me just say, when it comes to things like this, I need to be prepared, I am not good at answering off the cuff! LOL!!

So there we are...Trevor, Victoria and myself outside waiting for the school bus this morning. Trevor says he wants a new baby, one that he can dress and feed. He then went on to explain we'd have to get a nice, fancy crib from K-Mart (lol) and it would have to go next to my bed, because he doesn't want Victoria to bite his new baby, whom he'd like us to name Olivia.

And then he asked the big question...how do mommies get pregnant?

Woah!!! Time to pick myself up off the ground, dust myself off and try to quickly think of something age appropriate.

So I explained that it takes a lot of work between mommies and daddies....and sometimes it take a long time. So he asked why I wasn't pregnant?! (LOL) I explained that it just wasn't the right time right now. And then he asked me if somtimes it takes a lot of wishing...and I told him yes, yes it does.

Crisis adverted right now....but I am fairly sure that this won't be the last time he asks the big questions. But at least for now, I've hopefully given him enough to put it to rest for the moment.

Now it's time for this mama to find a book to help me be able to better answer him next time! Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

How sweet it is?

It took us years to be able to have children...we had been together 10 years by the time Trevor was born. I had always wanted children - imagined them when I was younger. I never imagined my life without children to be honest. I wasn't one who contemplated children, it was never a matter of if, it was a matter of when. It then took us another almost 4 yrs before Victoria was born. No, the gap wasn't planned, it just seems my body had other plans. I suffer from Endometriosis - one of the leading causes of infertility for women. The doctor who originally diagnosed it, said the chances of ever having children was slim....very slim. It was hard to hear that. You go through all these different stages - denial, anger, jealousy, and finally acceptance. It was when I finally accepted things that we found ourselves pregnant. Life really has a way of being funny with us, doesn't it?

With Victoria, when we realized nothing was happening again on our own, we sought out the help of my OB/GYN and he sent us for blood work(me) and Karl for a SA (semen analysis)...and before we even had the results back, guess who ends up with a positive pregnancy test? Yep! Me!! Again, life just likes to throw those curves at us! LOL!

I've never been happier in my life to be sick all the time...I've never been happier to be gaining weight ...I've never been happier to go to the doctor every time I turned around...pregnancy was an amazing time in my life. Knowing that finally my body was doing this...that I was growing a baby inside me...well, I just can't find the appropriate words for it. It's really mind blowing!

Seems like it was just yesterday...and yet here in just two short months, Victoria will be turning 2 years old. My baby is growing up and way faster than I'd like her to be. She has blossomed into this little person, full of sass, attitude, curls, giggles, kisses and grins...oh yes, and a few bites thrown in for good measure. And then there is Trevor, the boy who dazzled us from the moment he left the comfort of the womb...and now he'll be 6 years old in February. I can't believe I am the mother of an almost 6 year old. Didn't I *just* have that positive pregnancy test?

I sat here today with Victoria, Trevor was in his room playing, and she brought paper and a crayon to me, and asked me to write, "my baby"....she is always asking us to write "my baby"....I am not sure the significance of "my baby", but who am I to question it? And while I wrote "my baby" for her, she turned around and kissed me...those little adorable lips planted a big, ole' wet kiss on mine and my heart melted for the millionth time. There is just something about those little kisses that just turn me into a mushy mess. And at that moment, I thought about how lucky I am that I have two wonderful, amazing children to love me? I mean, out of all the people in the world, they were given to me, and I get to be the recipient of all those hugs and kisses and overflowing love? Little ole' me! Who would have thought it all those years ago when that doctor said slim chance, that one day I'd be so lucky to have the love of not one, but two children in my life?

I am not a scientist, I am not a brain surgeon, I am not a politician, I am not a policewoman, I am not a lawyer, I am not a sports star, I am not an actress or a singer....I am just me...Erin...and yet, I was blessed with two incredible children....and that makes me so incredibly grateful and happy!

James Taylor had it right when he sang, "how sweet it is to be loved by you".....having these two children love me is beyond sweet!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Letting go....

Letting go is very much easier said then done for me. Last year I experienced the very first time I had to let one of my children go, and by that I mean, sending Trevor off to preschool. It was hard to walk away and know I was entrusting a complete stranger to take care of him the way I would want. It's such a remarkable leap of faith if you ask me ...you've had this child with you every day for 4 years and then suddenly, you hand him off to a stranger and walk away. And yet I knew in the back of my mind, that it was just preschool - it wasn't mandatory and I could take him out if I really felt I needed to. But I didn't ....I overcame my own fear and let him go, day after day. And amazingly, I watched him grow and learn last year.

This year though was a different story for me. Yes, he had already been in school last year, but this year is just different. This is the real deal - the big shebang! And once again, I found myself struggling to let go, to relinquish my control and hand him over to another stranger. But I've done it and all is well so far. He's enjoying it and his teacher says he's a joy to have in class, which makes this mama proud!

I can't help but wonder if every year will be filled with this anxiety of letting go or will I become comfortable with my children heading off to school.

Monday, September 7, 2009

So much for that....

Trevor's new psychiatrist wanted us to try taking him off his Strattera to see if it helped him sleep better at night. Strattera being a stimulant, he said, it might be going against the nighttime medication and that might be what is still keeping him up at night. So last Wednesday was the last day for the Strattera, and he started sleeping all night without waking once. Oh happy joy joy!!! Wait, a moment....not so fast.....see, without that medication for him during the day, his days got worse despite his nights being good! He's been off the wall - hyper beyond words - loud - obnoxious - fighting with Vicky more - sneaking into things, etc. Today Karl and I just looked at each other and said this isn't going to work. Great that he sleeps all night, but we shouldn't have to pay for it during the day then. He was already struggling during the day with the meltdowns and outbursts, we sure didn't need to add anything to that.

So, we'll have to let the doctor know how it went and see what other avenue we can try. It's such a fine line trying to find the balance of medications to help each issue. Seems like you just get one all set and it creates issues elsewhere. I'd love to be able to say Trevor could come off all medications, but that just isn't possible. I am not saying all kids with issues should be medicated, but we've seen what Trevor was like without any medications and that is not a place I am willing to revisit any time soon.

And I think there is this idea that somehow kids like Trevor with Asperger's can be medicated, and that is wrong. Trevor isn't medicated for the Asperger's - he's on medication for issues that go along with it - such as his ADHD/OCD tendencies and sleep issues.

I have no idea what the future holds for Trevor and us as a family, but I hope and pray that with the help of this new doctor, we can get Trevor in better control of his emotions and actions. This is a long journey and we are in it for the long haul!

The other day he had a meltdown and to be honest, I can't for the life of me remember exactly what the reason for it, but after he had finally come down from it, he came over and flopped into my arms and started bawling - he said his brain hurts - he has too many thoughts - and that he wants his brain out. It is really the first time he's given any indication as to what it's like to be him - to have Asperger's Syndrome. It hurts my heart to know that I can't fix it all and make it go away. As a mother, we tend to think that is part of our job - fixing everything - making things better - healing the owies - kissing booboo's - etc, but then something like Asperger's comes along, and you find yourself with your hands tied - it's something that a kiss or hug can't fix unfortunately, and for this mama, that is a hard pill to swallow.