My Family

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Autism In Our Home - Diagnosis Disagreement

Wednesday morning was our big IEP meeting at the school. There were a lot of people there, including Mr. P (the principal), the assistant principal, his teacher, the resource teacher, the school psychologist, the speech therapist, the district Autism specialist, Josh and I, Ryan, and notes from Colton's outside psychologist.

The first thing that they did was go over all of the results of ALL of the testing. There has been testing that has taken place over the entire school year. All of those results were read aloud on Wednesday. That's some tough stuff to hear. Here is the confusion: the outside psychologist believes that Colton's main disability is Autism, with ADHD and Anxiety. The school/district staff believe that his main disability is a mixture of Autism, ADHD, Anxiety and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. The reality is that the medication will not change, and really the resources that he is given in the school will also not change. The frustration is that these tests are done in such a structured environment that I feel that they are not always going to be accurate. Either way, Colton has a disability and it is defined in legal paperwork. His IEP will address those things that adversely effect his education. The medication that he is on helps him to function to the best of his ability.

May I just once again say that church is SO HARD?!?! Please tell me that someone understands! Sacrament Meeting is a battle of keeping his legs and arms out of the air, keeping his noises to a minimum, keeping him occupied, keeping him from screeching when a baby or a small child screams out, keeping him from shouting out random words, keeping him from throwing things, etc. It's exhausting. Yesterday, it took us until there was ten minutes left to get him comfortable. As hard as it is on Josh and I, and on his siblings, I cannot imagine what it is like for Colton and that is heartbreaking.

Monday, April 20, 2015

I Went To See The Temple

There is a song in our church that goes, "I want to see the temple; I'm going there someday; to feel the Holy Spirit, to listen and to pray." I have changed the words to fit me. They go like this, "I went to see the temple; I've been waiting for this day; to feel the Holy Spirit, to listen and to pray."

On Saturday, my parents went with me to the Ogden Temple. I haven't been to the Temple in like nine years. It was amazing. It was spiritual beyond words. I didn't take one minute for granted. The Temple, itself, is beautiful. The artwork is amazing. The Spirit was strong and I felt peace and comfort and gratitude for the Atonement of our Savior.

I can't wait to go back. I can't wait to go with my boys to do baptisms. I can't wait for the day when my husband decides he is ready to do the same!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Autism In Our Home - Church

Church has become THE hardest part of our week. For some reason, Colton struggles enormously at church. I was not feeling well yesterday morning and almost didn't go to church. When we got to church, Josh looked at Colton and told him to get up because they were heading to the bathroom. Colton had simply put his church clothes on OVER his pajamas (which were showing from under his church pants). Awesome. He had no idea why that was a problem. So, they went and got the pajamas off and put church clothes back on. Josh took the pajamas out to the car, came back to the chapel and asked where Colton was. Colton had never come back to the chapel. Off Josh went again to find the missing child. Awesome. Once back in the chapel, Colton began to struggle very loudly. I gave Josh "the look." Josh moved Colton to the other side of him and gave him some sensory tools. All was under control for the remainder of Sacrament meeting. I was, once again, so grateful for a husband who rescues me when I am sinking. Colton got up and bore his testimony. We never quite know how that is going to go. :) He did great. Just because church is hard doesn't mean we don't go. It doesn't mean we don't try with everything we have. It doesn't mean that we give up. It means that we keep on trying, we trade off, we pray, we practice patience, we cry, we laugh, we smile, we take a deep breath. Giving up is not an option. We just keep trying.
On another note, the above picture is what Jackson drew during Sacrament meeting. It's Uncle. The end.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Another Open Letter to Another Girl

This is becoming a theme that I would rather not continue. Mama Bear writes again. Dear Different Girl - Regarding Different Son: First, I need to take some responsibility here. I actually encouraged this son to just "ask you out." NEVER AGAIN. What was I thinking? Ninth graders and eighth graders DO NOT need to "go out." Please see an older post that was directed toward another girl, regarding another son. This is like an epidemic! Or, maybe I just have a lot of kids so it just seems like an epidemic. Anywho, you're kids. I know that in this world you might not feel like "kids." Maybe you feel grown-up. You're not. An eighth grader isn't much different than a seventh grader (see other post), and therefore I would like to suggest doing eighth grader things like watching "Lizzy McGuire," or making crafts like elastic bracelets, or painting your nails. Heck, get your mom to sign a waiver so you can go tanning! But, boys just shouldn't be like a big priority for you right now. Similarly, my son has been told that girls should not be a priority for him, or his younger brothers. I might have also added in that conversation that girls are a bit crazy. I don't mean you are crazy... just girls in general are a little crazy. I am a girl and I am fully aware that I am crazy.
I would also like to discuss the issue of how people act after a break-up. For instance, your friends are giving him dirty looks and are ignoring him. Not cool. Let's all try to get along. Your friends were his friends. His friends are your friends. Boys don't tend to do the dirty looks/ignoring game. Way to go male chromosomes! It's not okay for kids to be mean to other kids. Just because y'all aren't going to be "going out" doesn't mean y'all can't just be friends. It also doesn't mean that the friends of each of you can't still be friends with each of you. I hope that makes sense. Finally, life is hard enough. Throwing in extra hard stuff is simply not necessary. Be happy. Be happy with yourself. Spend your time doing what makes you happy and having friends that are also working on being happy with themselves. When we fully realize that we are God's children and that He loves us perfectly, we tend to radiate that. It's a pretty simple concept. Be kind. Be smart. And, I really love my kid. This picture is of me and him, because those are the kinds of pictures I post when I am writing these open letters. He's a great kid. You're a great kid. Just be kids for crying out loud.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Flying High

On Monday, Colton asked me if he could fly his new kite that he got for Easter. I got it ready for him and we went out to the front yard. I LOVE these pictures. Can you see the joy in that kid's face?!?! I love how he is looking at the underneath of the kite. Why don't we ALL do that?! The picture is always on the underneath! He flew that thing around for a good 2 1/2 minutes, and then he became frustrated with the way the wind was blowing it around and how he didn't have control over it. When Kaydon heard his shrieks of frustration (the whole neighborhood can hear when he shrieks!) he came out front and flew it around for Colton so that Colton could just enjoy it! Colton was in pure bliss. He watched that thing soar through the sky and expressed his happiness in his most awesome way! Moments like this seem rare. Autism is challenging for the one who has it, but also for the siblings who try so hard to understand and support. I was so thankful that Kaydon came out and flew BumbleBee around for Colton for a good 20 minutes so that he could just enjoy it!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter 2015

Easter Sunday was great. The kids opened their Easter bags, then they had balloon wars for quite.some.time. Then, they gathered up their Conference packets and we headed downstairs to watch General Conference. I love General Conference. I love being able to see and listen to President Monson. I love the talks that are given, the songs that are sung, and the Spirit that I feel. I love the reminders that we are all given. I love that we go to church in our jammies, too. :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Autism In Our Home - Holidays

We decided to try out our little town's Easter Egg Hunt. This is no small feat, People! We knew there would be a lot of people there and so we were prepared for that. Colton was not. When we arrived at the part, there were several different areas, reserved by ages. Josh took Brooklyn to her age group. I took Kaydon and Colton to theirs. Immediately, it was clear that this was going to be rough. Colton was noticing that there were several eggs that were already cracked open. A sweet mom next to us went and closed them all so that he would calm down. She was SO non-judgemental. She was VERY sweet and patient! She then pointed out to me that there was a special needs area. BLESSING! I want to give an ENORMOUS shout-out to West Point City for having a special needs pad for those kids who want to participate and can't in a "mainstream" environment. Colton was much more calm once we got to the special needs pad. He was able to enjoy his hunt. Once he felt like he had enough eggs, he began to help all of his little friends fill their buckets. One little friend didn't want to have eggs in her bucket! She sat on the ground and kept dumping out her bucket. I loved her! Colton couldn't understand why she didn't want the eggs he was giving her. Her very patient dad explained to Colton that she was silly that way. The Easter Egg Hunt was a success! Thank you to those who were so patient and helpful for those kiddos who want so badly to enjoy their holiday!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Anything Is Possible

In August of 2010, almost five years ago, I was hospitalized for many issues. I was not hospitalized because I wanted to be! I was blue-sheeted. That means the hospital took guardianship of me. It was not awesome. I had texted my dear, sweet sister from another mister, Sarah, and told her that I was done. Over the next couple of hours, I would define her behavior and language with me as being "tough love." Or something. She was not happy with me. But she loved me. And I knew that. I don't remember 95% of the details from that time. I was heavily medicated and extremely sedated. I was not in the right frame of mind, clearly. I had allowed years and years and years of sadness and hurt and abuse to build up. I had decided that making bad choices was completely acceptable because making good choices didn't get me anywhere. I was absolutely, completely broken. Picture a windshield that is completely shattered. That was me. I missed my boys' first day of school that year. I was inpatient, with a daily schedule that included waking up, making my bed that was bolted to the ground, eating the breakfast that the doctors had ordered for me (along with a Boost drink), being given my medication through a window, attending five one-hour counseling sessions, being checked over by a physician, being checked by a psychiatrist, painting during recreational therapy, eating lunch, dinner, and a nighttime snack (all ordered by my physician), being weighed at 4 am, having a flashlight in my face every 15 minutes from 9 pm to 7 am, seeing visitors who would come see me between 7 pm and 8 pm, watching sports with my next door neighbor, Timmy, and coloring. When I was admitted, I weighed 103 pounds. I was told that I had to weigh 120 pounds within a week and that I had to keep it on or I would be re-admitted. I was put on medication that worked for my depression and anxiety. I painted crafts for my kids. I talked to them everyday. My brother came to take me home when I was discharged. I remember being terrified when I walked outside. I was no longer in my "safe" place. I would make a few more big mistakes over the next year, but I figured it out. I did it. I survived. I am here and I am good! I have remained at 120 pounds for almost five years! I have never had another thought of suicide. I have learned what my triggers are, what my resources are, and how to live life in the best, most safe way possible. None of this would have been possible without Sarah. That night, on August 18, she saved my life. Literally. Yes, she sent the police. Yes, she sent a patient advocate. Yes, she called my parents. But, she made sure I lived. And, I did. The night after I arrived, she came to see me. She brought me two shirts. I wore them the rest of the time. She saw in me what I could not see in myself. Today, I received a package. It included a notebook and a card. The card explained that she had kept a log of our text messages back and forth the night of the 18th. It said that it was now my time to do with it what I wanted. I read every one of them. I was so close to dying that night that it's scary. But I didn't. She never, ever left me. Ever. This notebook is a reminder that life can be so very hard, in fact at times it can seem like death is the only option. But - it is not. It isn't. I have never doubted that Heavenly Father put people in our path to help us through times that were going to seem bigger than we could handle. He knew I would need Sarah. I love her eternally. She is my angel. The front of the card reads, "At any given moment, you have the power to say, 'This is NOT how the story is going to end.'" My story didn't end.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015