My Family

"Life will knock you down. You can choose to stand up again."




Thursday, March 26, 2015

Love Is In The Air Up Here!

Jackson has a girlfriend. Like, he asked her to "go out" with him, so apparently it's official. She is a wrestling manager for the team. I really like her. She's a cute girl. She seems very down-to-earth and not involved in the drama that I witness every single day with these junior high kids.
This morning, I was a few minutes late to work because Kaydon had woken up EXTRA early so he was up when I was leaving. I just had to spend a few minutes loving on this gem! Every single day, this boy tells me that I'm beautiful and he loves to get squeezes from his mama. I had to just eat him up for a few minutes!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Responsibilities

Some people think that we are mean parents. He he. Our kids have responsibilities. They do not receive an allowance. He he. Our kids do their own laundry. They each have an assigned day of the week to do their laundry. They also each have a dishes day, where they are in charge of dishes. They are obviously responsible for their beds and rooms. They take out garbage, vacuum, clean bathrooms, mow lawns, and do whatever else is asked of them. Recently, they also began ironing their own Sunday shirts. It's awesome! Now, when I say they don't get an allowance, it's accurate. They do not receive an allowance, but they do get what they need. If they want to get paid, they have to ask if they can do extra work. For instance, Kaydon wanted some money. Josh had him clear out the entire garden. He he. Kaydon was stoked! He was stoked until he realized what a big job he was about it do. So, he took the lessons we have taught him regarding bartering and he hired Braxton to help him. He paid Braxton $5 of his $20. I love watching my kiddos be so big!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Autism In Our Home - Sensory Tools

There are moments when "control" seems to slide right through our fingertips, when the ability for Colton to get a handle on his emotions, thoughts, and actions is just not a possibility. I am so thankful that we live in a time where more research is being done and more tools are being developed for these kiddos who desperately search for help. On Saturday, Colton was struggling. I pulled out the kinetic sand that Brooklyn got for her birthday, set it on the deck, and let Colton spend as long as he wanted just playing. He loved it. He was calm and content. He played with it for quite a while, and was able to gather himself and be at peace for a good amount of time. Sensory tools are so important. They help introduce texture that might otherwise be a trigger for negative reactions, they help to comfort and calm emotions that otherwise get out of hand, and they also fill periods of time that would otherwise be so difficult for everyone.

Friday, March 20, 2015

We Are Queens

Just because I needed to be reminded of this today... and always.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Autism in Our Home - Resources

I can't tell you how thankful I am that we live at a time when A) There are proper diagnostics, B) There are resources for diagnosed issues, and C) There are advocates for people like our son! I was speaking with the coordinator of the school district's Autism program. She was a wealth of information! She suggested that we buy "Social Stories." And, she suggested that we do it immediately. It's a great resource! I am actually planning to make several binders out of the pages in the book. I plan to make a binder for each "event" or "environment" so that we can take them with us to different situations.
Some of Colton's autistic characteristics include a complete lapse in remembering, and properly completing personal hygiene events. We have to remind him to shower. We have to remind him what he needs to do once he is in the shower. We have to remind him to do his laundry. We have to remind him to flush toilets, brush teeth, wash hands, etc. This is a pretty "normal" characteristic. We keep his hair buzzed because he will never, ever remember to comb it. Rather than having it cause an issue, we just keep it buzzed.
Sitting still is rough! Church is ROUGHER! However, this is a book that is written in a way that Autistic people can understand, comprehend, and appreciate. There are also several resources in the back of the book that help a parent, or teacher, etc. to create their own social stories, depending on the Autistic person's characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses. We plan to make some of our own, including understanding people's feelings, wandering, stranger danger, etc.
I am so thankful for resources that are available to us to help our son navigate this world that is, at time, nearly impossible for him to live in.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Open Letter to The Girl

Dear Girl Who Broke My Son's Heart: He is in 7th grade. SEVENTH grade!! I explained to him last night that this is one of the many reasons why having a "girlfriend" is not necessary in the seventh grade. This is not something that seventh graders should have to deal with. However, he is dealing with it. The best part is that you are also a seventh grader. I was once a seventh grade girl and I'm pretty sure I was just like you. My apologies go out to everyone I knew between the 6th and 12th grades. Really, I am so sorry! Back to you - my son was pretty smitten by you. He even bought you a birthday gift for your birthday which happens to be today. However, in awesome seventh-grader fashion, you sent your friends to "break up" with him yesterday after the wrestling meet at your junior high school. Yeah, seventh graders rock! Oh, but wait - it gets better. Last night while we were eating dinner as a family, you sent one of those said friends to our house to knock on the door and tell him that you wanted him to call you. FYI, we have a landline. It's like an old-fashioned in-home, attached to walls phone. You can call there, well you could call there before this happened. Calling now probably wouldn't be a good idea. Why? Because if I answer, you and I are going to have a chat about seventh grade boundaries and etiquette. In fact, I will put Braxton on ANOTHER in-home, attached to the wall phone (yes, we have more than one. We are ancient!), and he will participate in this conversation with you and I because all seventh graders need to hear that this is just unnecessary. I'm relatively certain you should be worrying about braces, how to apply eye shadow in the most minimal amounts possible, and figuring out which Disney movie is your favorite. It is completely unnecessary for seventh graders to be in relationships. Period. I am throwing in a picture of Braxton because he's pretty dang cute, and because his mama bear is in the picture with him, which is appropriate, considering what we are dealing with here.
Anywho, having friends of both sexes is important, no matter how old you are. Having a "boyfriend" or a "girlfriend" is not important, especially not in junior high school. I know that you think that are mature and responsible. Maybe you are. I know that my son is not. I mean, don't get me wrong, he is a GREAT kid who is caring, funny, kind, compassionate, sensitive, quirky, silly, and just plain awesome. But maturity is not one of his strengths right now. In fact, it might not be for quite.some.time. This is one of the many reasons why "dating" in the seventh grade is ridiculous. How do seventh graders date anyways? You can't go anywhere unless you hop on your scooters. You don't have like a job to pay to go anywhere. Heaven knows my kids don't get an allowance. They do chores and in turn, they are provided with three meals a day! I'm getting off track again. I'm sorry. What you did was mean. But I can't really blame you because you should have never had to "break up" with him in the first place! You are children. Children do not need the responsibility of relationships. It's not necessary!! But, because you were in a "relationship" you were eventually going to break up and you did. But, the way you did it was mean. Again, this is a life lesson that would have been better learned, say 6-7 years from now. However, it happened. Two children broke up in a not nice way and this mama is not happy. My advice to you and my son (who already heard all of this from me last night): A) be a child for crying out loud, B) No relationships until you actually understand fully what that means and what it entails, C) don't send your little friends to break up with your "boyfriend. It's cold. It's immature. It's mean. It's cowardly. Do it your dang self, D) don't call my house. Ever. Most cordially, Mama Bear

Monday, March 9, 2015

Home Cookin'

On Saturday, I pulled out my baking goods and made two homemade loaves of white bread. It took all flipping day, which I was not expecting. The raising, then the kneading, then the mixing, then the cutting, then the raising. I was getting a wee bit impatient, but I made it through and so did the bread and it was SO good!!! Josh and the kids were quite proud of me. I was too! Then, Sunday I made a loaf of banana bread. It was gone in minutes. I am becoming domestic, People!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Autism In Our Home - Teamwork

It takes a village to raise an autistic child! We are fortunate to have a pretty good team around us. Each week, I get at least one phone call from the principal a the elementary school, Mr. P. Bless his heart! Mr. P has such a tender spot for our Colton. Almost every phone call ends with him in tears. He tells me about whatever shenanigans took place that day, what he tried to teach Colton, and whatever conversation they might have had. He then always ends the phone call by telling me that he loves our Colton and that Colton holds a part of his heart. I believe him. He is a good man. * I have a dear friend, Heidi. She is in our ward. I adore her. She always looks out for Colton and Kaydon, makes sure they get home from school safely and that they know that she cares about them. Heidi is one of the people who Colton is allowed to hug whenever he wants to. Because of Colton's boundary issues, which are infinite, we are constantly reminding him that he has to ask people before he touches them or hugs them. Heidi has given him a free pass to hug her whenever he wants to. * Grandparents are so important for Colton. Grandma LeAnne is always sure to love on him and remind him that she loves him. She is so patient with him. Papa and Grandma are so kind and warm and soft with him. They are always wanting to learn and know how to reinforce rules and boundaries with him in the best way. Grandma laid and watched a movie with him the night of Jackson's dance... just her and Colton. * Colton will always have a soft spot for Nana. He loves her very, very much. They have a very special bond and they always will. * For Colton's siblings, it is a hard-trodden road. The patience wears thin, as it does for Josh and I. They become very frustrated with Colton. It is a tough thing to try to be patient, compassionate, and kind all of the time. But, there are moments of greatness with these kids. Yesterday in church (which is HARD), Colton sat in between Josh and Jackson. Josh was doing his best to keep something in Colton's hands to keep him busy and quiet. There were a few times, though, when nothing was working. I noticed that Jackson would put his arm around him and talk quietly to him to try to calm him. Grateful. Emotional. Blessed. * Heidi told me of something that happened last week. Zoe, her oldest who is in first grade, loves Colton. Every morning when Heidi drops her off, she goes and finds Colton and gives him a hug. Well, last week a few of the fifth grade boys asked Zoe if she was Colton's brother. "No, he's my friend." The boys asked why she hugs him. "Because he's my friend!" They pushed a little more about why she would hug him. (It's getting harder for Colton to not be bullied or picked on. The kids his age are noticing that he is different) "I told him that he is my friend!" Little Sassy Zoe has no idea what that means to me! Colton is completely "normal" to her. She loves him so she hugs him. End of story. She has no shame in doing it. She is proud to call Colton her friend and she isn't going to stop because a bunch of boys ask her 20 questions. Zoe for president! * Our sweet Primary president saw me in the hall after Sacrament meeting yesterday. Colton was trying to open every classroom door. He was not "with it." I was trying to re-focus him and get him to a good place so that I could take him to class. I also had Brooklyn hanging on my arms and was on my way to teach my own class. Josh was stuck talking with the Sunday School president. Natalie quickly, and calmly, came up and asked Colton if she could go to class with him. He lit up. She took him by the hand and off they went. Blessed. * It takes a village to raise an autistic child and we are blessed to be developing our village of loving, patient, non-judgmental people to love our child and help him to navigate a world that can be so very difficult for him.