Sunday, November 30, 2014

Andrew Praying

I make sure I pray with Andrew before he eats. I keep my prayer to a very simple 3-4 sentences for him so he would understand. He picked up on it right away and he always repeated after me. Well the past two days, Andrew doesn't need me to say anything. He knows what to say now so he does it all by himself. Click on the link below to see Andrew praying before lunch.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbSemX_Zji0&feature=youtu.be

If you can't understand him, he says..."Dear Heavenly Father. Thank you for my breakfast. Thank you for my family. Amen"

I have never said ,"Thank you for my breakfast." I taught him to say, "Thank you for my food."...so it is totally cute that he said breakfast:)

I will post a full update from our weekend tomorrow when I am not so tired.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Harsha

I had a meeting last week with some of Trenton and Andrew's coaches and  the board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) at Harsha last week.
The boys are making phenomenal progress!! They love Harsha and they both just crave it! Andrew asks to go every single day.
The area that Trenton has made the best improvement is in his "mands". A mand is essentially a request, but it's all about what comes before and after the request. Prior to the mand comes some kind of deprivation or aversive. For example, a therapist, knowing that a child particularly likes Oreo cookies, might hold an Oreo in her hand and show it to the client. This is the deprivation or aversive. When the client correctly uses a mand by requesting the cookie using words, picture cards, signs, etc., the therapist responds by handing over the cookie. If the client simply grabs, the therapist withholds the cookie and instructs the client to use the appropriate mand.
Trenton went from zero mands on his first day to averaging a really good amount daily!!He is doing at least 250 mands a session! I am very proud of him!!

Andrew is improving as well! I can't express how much his speech is coming along!!!
Keep up the good work boys! Mommy is so proud of you!

Here are a few pics from Harsha earlier in the week.



Where will he fall asleep tonight?

Where will he fall asleep tonight is a question I ask myself daily. I have witnessed Trenton falling asleep in almost every room in our house. I have seen him fall asleep in his swing, on the carpet, on the hard floor, half hanging off the couch, in his red ball, in a chair, in front of a door, in the middle of all of his stuffed animals, under the table......but last night struck me funny. He fell asleep right in front of our fireplace with his nose a fraction of an inch away from the baseboard. He was pacing and running for well over two-three hours and then he just dropped to the floor and went to sleep.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Canned Fruit & Pie Filling

When he is not running around the house going crazy and climbing on things, he is normally placing items around him. It's his way of putting boundaries around himself. Today he placed canned fruit around him. And yes he has a dress on over his pajamas. Trenton insisted on wearing a dress today over his clothes and his pajamas.



Andrew helped Mommy make some sweets today! He was such a good little helper until.....

 he discovered he liked to eat the pie filling:)

Love you boys bunches!

It's that time of year again!

It's that time of year again where many families are gathering together and enjoying the holidays care free. That was me at one time. At one time I looked forward to the holidays like one should. I was excited to spend the day with family playing cards, eating all day....literally eating all day long. I looked forward to seeing cousins and many of the other family members that I saw such few times of the year. I looked forward to preparing that one dish that everyone might ooh and aah over. I looked forward to cooking with my family members, watching the Thanksgiving Day parade, watching football, and relaxing.

But now, its an entirely different story. I dread the holidays. I do. I would be lying if I said I enjoyed them.  I'm not being a "Debbie Downer", its just the way it is. For Pete's sake, I have a house with no furniture because my child with severe autism does nothing but climb on everything in sight, throw items, jumps from this to that, swings from the curtains and blinds, walk on my cabinets, lay on top of my stove, sit in my kitchen sink, and anything else that he can think of. On top of severe autism, we have mild autism which is a far cry from severe but we still have to watch Andrew like crazy as well. He does have autism and has all of the tendencies Trenton has. Needless to say, going anywhere for the holidays are stressful and can't be done. It's one thing to do it to my house but another house is different.

If we go to a holiday gathering I can't relax and talk. I'm the one that is chasing him and pulling him down from top of the counter. I'm the one picking up broken items that he just broke or picking up the pieces to items that he is taking off the wall. I'm the one who says, "sorry" upteenth thousand times for his behavior. Before I know it, he is fussing and having sensory overload that totally messes his system up for the rest of the day. Therefore, we would have to leave within minutes of just arriving and all we did was make a huge disaster in a house, talked to no one, and just added that much more stress to my stress load.
Doesn't sound like fun, right? It's not. Take my word for it.....and I am a person who can manage a lot in life but autism and holidays are NOT fun.

I do hope and pray that one day the holidays will be better. Although, they will never be the "ideal" holiday that you can find on a Hallmark movie.They will never be what they used to be. The "use to be" holidays were holidays before autism....before a life changing disorder entered my world. And as much as I crave to have a relaxing holiday, I can't help but be haunted by the one question. Did I really appreciate the life I had before autism? Ok...maybe two questions. Was I truly thankful for my healthy, good life before autism? Don't get me wrong, I know I was. I have no doubt I was but when your life is forever changed there is a much deeper thankfulness that you learn to have. A much deeper appreciation for things. It is so deep and powerful it is hard to explain other than the fact that you just have to live it to understand and appreciate it.

I hope each and everyone of you have a Happy Thanksgiving!! I truly mean that. Please be thankful for what you have and count your blessings because it can change before you know it!

Ephesians 5:20 “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Monday, November 24, 2014

Videos

If you click on the first link you will see a short video of Trenton on a very calm night doing some night time pacing. He does this for hours...and I mean hours before he can fall asleep

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJWveiS6vRs&feature=youtu.be

If you click on the next video, you will see a very short clip of Trenton getting mad because he can't fall asleep. This is on a calm night as well. On the very bad nights, I can't grab the camera because I am trying to help Trenton.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4JAJdeJdLM&feature=youtu.be




Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sleeping with objects

Andrew gets very attached to objects each day. I never know what his object will be from day to day. Whatever the object is that day, he has to sleep with it. The past few days it has been Minnie Mouse. Tonight, its his Cars doorknob holder and his Cars glove...







 http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/14/ba/25/14ba25501a643633834221e251cc4a08.jpg

Friday, November 21, 2014

This Morning

I started my morning today like I wish I could every morning. I always have my alarm set from anywhere between 4:30-5:00 AM in hopes that both boys are sleeping and I can have some quiet time to myself before the storm arrives. Its a guarantee that no matter what happened through the night, one of them is up no later than 5:30 AM. During that hour that I hope to have, it is normally spent putting on my makeup, doing my hair, and getting breakfast prepared for the boys.

Today, I had the kind of morning that I am talking about! It felt amazing. Too often than none, I don't get the opportunity to have mornings like this because someone is already up.  I felt so at ease making our normal breakfast which consist of scrambled eggs with melted cheese on top, toast, yogurt, and decaf coffee for Mommy. The house was quiet, the coffee smelled good, and my two precious boys were sleeping peacefully in their beds.  I love when they are asleep early in the mornings. I love looking at their precious bodies sleeping so soundly. I often wonder what they are dreaming of. Does Trenton ever dream that he can talk? Does he ever dream that he has a body like ours?

During this time I feel like a normal mom!!! Two boys in bed while I make breakfast in peace. I'm not trying to pull Trenton off the stove or the countertops. I'm not running to stop a fight or to stop Trenton from smearing feces everywhere. I am just a normal mom during this time....making breakfast without autism.

Andrew woke up this morning before Trenton. I soon heard the oh so cute voice that he has saying, "Mommy. Mommy". I open his door and he immediately wanted in my arms. We went to the living room and rocked and cuddled. Mommy gave him lots and lots of kisses. We soon sat down at the table and enjoyed our breakfast together. While we were eating my emotions got the best of me and Mommy was in tears. I would say there were good and bad tears. Tears of joy because I love being a mother and having mornings like I did today. However, I know they were also tears of sadness because I hurt for my boys and our family that could have been.

I take great pride in my role as a mother. I love it!! It's the best gift that God gave women!! I wish I could do it many more times but I know that is not possible.

As I sat and enjoyed my time with Andrew this morning, I couldn't help but notice how he is just so big. I'm not sure what happened to my baby. Trenton grew up a lot from 3-4 so I know this is the last year of any bit of baby look that Andrew has left. It will be gone soon and it makes me sad.

Each and every day God gives us together is a true blessing!! Motherhood is a blessing even with autism!!! God is good!

My breakfast date this morning with Minnie Mouse, and Pluto sitting next to him:)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Harsha

We had another successful two day trip to Terre Haute on Monday and Tuesday! The boys worked hard and met a lot of their targets. On a night where I am not so tired, I will share a few things from their progress reports. (the nights have been rough lately.)

For now, here are a few pictures from Harsha on Monday and Tuesday.


Trenton did a great job working with his coach in the kitchen area!

He makes one cute little cook if you ask me!

 

Andrew enjoying the trampoline!


Andrew was asleep within seconds of leaving Harsha on Tuesday. He fell asleep while eating his snack.

He was one tired boy...but we all were...Trenton had us up for the day at 3 AM in the hotel!

Trenton!!!

Trenton did a phenomenal job writing his name today with Mrs. Edwards!!! If you look closely, you can make out his name. Plus, she only helped him with the T!!!!! Great job Trenton!!! As I said before, I love days where his mind and body lets him do things like this!!


We have been very blessed with a fantastic group of teachers in our ECE classroom!


Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Occupational therapy

I wanted to share some of Trenton's work from OT last week.


In the first picture he traced his name. His therapist wrote his name in a yellow highlighter. Trenton traced his name after she wrote it. I am super impressed!!! On some days he can't even hold a pencil and on some days he can do this!!! Autism is such a strange disorder. On the days where he has lower sensory problems, he can do this!!

In this picture he followed the curved the lines and he did hand over hand writing his name with his therapist.

Good Job Trenton!!! I am so proud of you! We love days with lower sensory and body problems because it truly shows what you can do!

We have had some AWESOME occupational therapists the past two years!! We love them and all of  their hard work and effort they have put in the past two years!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Andrew's Words!!!

I am really thankful that Andrew is blessed with the ability to communicate! His communication and speech is really blossoming lately. I love the fact that I have a child that can talk. It's amazing and so much fun to listen to him talk. God is good!

Andrew is saying things lately that is cracking me up! On Friday he was trying to get in Nana's hall closet which is filled with stuff that he doesn't need to get into. Nana told him on Friday that the closet was full of items that he didn't need . Andrew stopped trying to open the door and said. "Thats private!"
I had no idea that he knew what the word private meant!

On Saturday morning Andrew and I  was playing with his train set. As we were playing he looked up at me, gave me a very confused look and said, "Mommy needs make-up." I fell over laughing! Mommy must look awful without makeup for a three year old to notice:)

I love his words!!! It is so much fun!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Jerry Seinfield You Are WRONG!!

All I have to say is kuddos to Kim Stagliano!!!!

I guess, Jerry Seinfield, came out self diagnosing himself with being on the spectrum and Kim Stagliano slammed him on twitter! I am so glad that she did! Mothers like her and I who are raising children with severe autism DESPISE people like Jerry Seinfield who go public saying that they are on the spectrum....especially when he self diagnosed himself. If you can be an actor and comedian then you are not on the spectrum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Autism is my life Jerry Seinfield! Its living like my son, Trenton. Its not being an actor and comedian. Please....seriously....a comedian with autism?!?!?!? People with autism don't understand jokes because their mind is so literal!
 I say all the time that mild autism and severe autism should not even be in the same category! I know.....I'm raising both!
Autism is what I just went through tonight, Jerry Seinfield, watching my son cry, scream those blood curdling screams while hitting his legs, kicking his legs, swinging his legs while screaming "hot"! (he had a bad episode of the ant/fire feeling and its HELL watching your child suffer during those episodes)

People like, Jerry Seinfield, really hit my wrong nerve!!!!! He and his life is not autism......autism is Trenton and our life Jerry!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/11/12/for-some-parents-of-autistic-children-jerry-seinfelds-self-diagnosis-was-a-slap-in-the-face/

Friday, November 14, 2014

Red Ball

Trenton fell asleep in his big red ball the other night. I was very nervous to move him because once he is awake, he is awake. It doesn't matter if he slept 8 minutes or 8 hours.
We were very successful on our move to the bed that night!


Bumper Sticker

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that hit my wrong nerve. Now don't get me wrong, in my life before autism I would have just read the sticker and never thought anything of it. Hence, having children with special needs puts a lot of things into perspective. I find myself examining both view points of almost everything and making it very clear how some things are just down right wrong in this world.

When I tell you what the bumper sticker said, most of my readers will probably think I am nuts and that I need to take a big "chill pill".  However, if you have struggled for the past four years to help your child who has a disorder where he can't and I mean CAN'T control his behavior because his brain does not allow him to....and while giving your heart and soul to your child you still get hit at, kicked at, hair pulled, scratched at. All the while you find yourself up many nights and going on very little sleep while keeping up with the Energizer Bunny who stops at nothing to climb on every piece of furniture in your house because his body has to keep on moving due to the horrible movement disorder he has. ( We barely escaped a severe injury yesterday due to pulling a whole dresser over on himself) On top of all of this, you have said, "No" countless times but your child's body doesn't allow him to follow that command....DOES NOT ALLOW!!! It's not that he just isn't following your command.......HE SIMPLY CAN'T! He can't follow your command because he hears sounds that the neuro-typical person can't, his body doesn't filter out the environment like a neuro-typical person does, every time he looks at something its another picture in his head and he can't filter it out like a neuro-typical person does so he has 1000 things going on every second in his head!

I don't need to mention that I have to stand over him when he is pooping or its all over my walls and furniture. Therefore, if I am simply putting in a load of laundry while he is pooping in his diaper I can miss my chance to save me from poop all over my house. No, its not a child just being onry...its autism. He has no proper behavior because he is UNALBE to.

So, what did the bumper sticker say you ask? It said, "My dog behaves better than your child."

My opinion is...If a person puts that on their car then I am sure they are one of those people that look at a child who is misbehaving in public and thinks, " That child needs a good spanking and better parenting skills from his/her parents." I am sure this person never thinks that the child might have autism or some other kind of mental health disorder that takes over how their brain works. Its very downgrading to moms like me!

I see no difference in a bumper sticker like that than a bumper sticker who is making fun of the way a person looks due to their disability or making fun of the way someone walks due to their disability, etc. Its just frustrating!!! This world needs a lot more education on mental health disorders! PERIOD!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Handicapped Children's Auction

If you are a local reader of my blog make sure you check out the Handicapped Children's Auction in Effingham tomorrow night! I will be there and am being interviewed on the Effingham radio station.

http://effinghamccoc.chambermaster.com/events/details/handicapped-children-s-auction-1242

Andrew's Birthday!

Andrew also celebrated his birthday at Harsha on Tuesday and when we got home on Tuesday night! He sure had a fantastic birthday!!

He had more cake at Hasha!
 He wore the birthday party hat!

 They had signs up everywhere for his birthday!
 Plus, he shares the same birthday as Natalie, one of the coaches!
 When we got home, we had french toast and sang "Happy Birthday" again!

 He even had a present or two:)
We pray the good Lord blesses us with another great year for this little angel!!


Andrew had his 3 year check up today! He weighs 37.5 lbs and is 3 feet and 1 3/4 inches tall! He is a growing boy!!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dear Andrew

Dear Andrew

Happy 3rd Birthday!!! I can not believe you are three already! Seriously, where does the time go?? It seems like you should still be my little baby. I look at you each and every day and you amaze me at how big you are getting. You are still my baby and always will be but you are not looking like a baby anymore and it makes Mommy sad.

I am so proud of you Andrew! You, just like your brother, are a very strong little boy. Life has sure been rough for you in your short life but you work so hard. You have made tremendous progress the past year. I am beyond proud of you!

The past year has been rough for you. However, when I look at where you were a year ago...it is amazing to see the progress you have made. A year ago we knew something was wrong. We knew something was just not right. This past spring we got the answer that you had mild autism. We started you in therapy with some of the best therapist I know! Mommy went from a warrior mom of one boy with autism to a warrior mom of two boys with autism. It has not been easy by no means to manage you and your brother but I wouldn't trade it for the world!! Mommy has prayed over and over for you and your brother. God is answering my prayers in many different ways.

There are so many people in our community that is praying for you and your success every day! We would not be where we are today if it wasn't for our family, friends, community, church, churches in our community, therapist, teachers, coaches, and many other people. We are so lucky to have them cheering us on our journey Andrew!

I love everything about you Andrew! I love the way you say my name. I love the way you love your brother! I love the way you want me to kiss your "owees". I love the way you talk. I love the way you sing songs.  I love the way you can name all the trains on Thomas and Friends, all the cars on CARs, all the planes on Planes, and all the characters on VeggieTales. You are so smart!!
I love the way you run up to me saying "Mommy carry." I love the way you like to rock with me. I love the way you kiss and hug me!  I love the way you ask to go to Nana's house everyday. I love the way you love to play with Lincoln.  I love the way you play with your toys. I could just sit and look at you play all day long. I love the way you invite me to play with you. A year ago you wouldn't of done that and now you want us to play with you. Wow...you are making progress!! Keep it up Andrew Joseph!

If I could make your life easier for you, I would! You know Mommy would do anything for you. I have shed many of tears over you. There is nothing that I want more than to you to have an easier life.  I pray that you keep up the good fight. Always hold God's hand in life and he will take care of you and make your life much much easier!

God blessed us as mother and son. As I have told you a thousand times....God sure knew what he was doing when he put us together:)
I love you Little A more than you know!
Hugs and Kisses!!
Mommy



Pictures of Andrew growing up the past three years

















Monday, November 10, 2014

I need a doctor!

Last Thursday Andrew was not happy when Trenton went to the doctor. I talked to Andrew about doctors for a while and I informed him that he was going to the doctor next week for his 3 year check up. He has had doctor on his mind non-stop.

With that said, last Friday night Andrew and Trenton got in a fight. As always Andrew came running up to me for me to kiss his "owee." Mommy kissed the owee several times and he was still crying hard. All of a sudden behind his tears he screams, " I need a doctor!"

On Saturday night Andrew was running and fell down. When he fell down he bit down on his lip. Once again he was crying hard. Mommy was holding him and kissing his "owee" to make it feel better. Once again behind the tears he screams, " I need a doctor."

On Sunday, Andrew was playing in the front room. He was running too hard and tripped and fell. Once again he was crying and Mommy was kissing his "owee". Just like the previous two experience's, Andrew cries out, " I need a doctor."

If Mommy took him to the doctor every time he thinks he needs a doctor...I'd really be broke!!

Too cute Andrew!! I love your language. I am so proud of you!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Birthday celebration # 2!

We had celebration number two today! We celebrated with Mommy's side of the family and we had another fantastic day!


 The boys did not cooperate for pictures very good....what else is new?



The boys with their cousin, Lincoln.




 More presents today!!



 Mommy helped him blow out the candles.

These two missed sharing the same birthday by less than 4 hours.

 I love this picture. Trenton made a beeline for the cake....I'm trying to grab him in time....and Nana's face says it all!

 Playing with some new toys!
 A few people decided to fall asleep....

 Andrew didn't let Pop sleep though...



Thanks everyone for the presents Andrew received on Saturday and Sunday! He loves all of them!!!!