Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Never Take A Moment For Granted

This morning as I was packing the boys lunch, I couldn't help but think how I wanted to live in that moment forever! I just love every single thing about family and taking care of the boys is such a blessing that God gave me! I know in a blink of an eye they will be grown men and I will never get these days back. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. So yes, today as I was packing lunches, I embraced every second of it! Mommy hood is amazing even with the challenges of autism! Never take a moment for granted.
 We are getting into our new routine this week. We are busier than ever!!!!!!!!!!! But, I still get some fun giggles with this little guy every morning! Stay tuned for new routine updates later...

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Love

Love is patient!!! We all know where we have heard that from in 1 Corinthians. Perhaps you have heard, "Good things come to those who wait."

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things can also be found in 1 Corinthians.

Love has spoken more to me in the last six years than it has ever in my past. I have seen what love can do and what love can conquer when love is patient and I have seen what happens when it isn't real.

Since 2009, I wanted nothing more than to have a happy family of my own and I thought I was getting that in 2009. God teaches that we have to be patient and I have learned more about the word patience than the average person.

For instance, ever since I got married and had children, I wanted to do what typical families do. However, that wasn't possible due to the boys' diagnosis and still isn't possible now because my husband left and divorced me.  Times were tough....and still are but I haven't stopped. I am enduring what God gave me, having patience, and believing in what can happen. However, it is possible now for the boys and I as a family of three and it is starting to happen!

One year ago, I didn't know what it felt like to actually get some sleep at night. I longed for that! Now, I am finally getting it:) (I forgot what it felt like to feel human and now I remember!)

One year ago, I still wasn't able to do the simplest of task with the boys by myself. For example, taking the boys just to therapy was almost impossible and required the staff to come outside to the van to help me get inside so one of them didn't run away into the busy road. Now, we accomplish this daily by ourselves.

This summer we have went to a playground by ourselves on several occasions, stores, doctors, and today we went to our amazing neighbors house by ourselves and swam in their pool. WOW!!! Seriously, good things are coming to us. They are small and will never be typical but we are very blessed and grateful for what we are receiving these days. It would have never been possible without love. When love is real, it can conquer anything! God is blessing the three of us. Our love is real. Our love is patient and it is proving what it can do! The boys know too. They know that I believe in them...they know the love is real, genuine, and hopeful love. I teach them and display this every day in my actions. God is working through the three of us and we are achieving things that I have wanted for so long!!!

The boys and I are conquering so much in 2016!! To some people it is nothing but to us it is SOMETHING!!! Patience is the key.  I will continue to pray and hope that our life just keeps on going up and up from 2016 on!!!


A few snapshots from our day!
We were at the playground by 8 AM. When our day starts extremely early, 8 AM is like the afternoon for us!

 The bond that these two are getting is so sweet. Again, it is nothing like the bond of two typical brothers but the smiles they give each other, the way Andrew looks out for Trenton, the way Trenton admires Andrew is just simply amazing to watch daily. I have encouraged this a lot in our life but it has really taken off in 2016.! Children with autism watch and learn just like neurotypical children do.  I talk to them a lot about how to love one another, etc. They both understand what I am teaching them and it is really showing these days!!!





Friday, August 26, 2016

Andrew Pre-School Orientation

Andrew and I had his orientation last night for pre-school. I've been talking to Andrew a lot about school all summer long. He needs a lot of preparation for "new" things. He had a hard time understanding why he was going to have a new teacher and new students in his class. But, after three months, I have him ready to start pre-school at Memorial again this year in the 4 year old class!!

Anyway, orientation went okay. I do believe that we may have some struggles and challenges this year but again that is common with high functioning kids on the spectrum.

Tonight, during bath time, Andrew says, "Moochies, I was nervous last night."
I talked to him for a while and gave him my whole speech like I always do.
Then he said, "Moochies, I was the only one nervous. Nobody else was nervous except me."
I said, "How do you know they weren't nervous? I am sure they were nervous like you."
Andrew says, "No. I was the only one nervous. They did stuff and I couldn't do it and no one talked to me. Can you just go to school with me Moochies?"

We continued to talk for awhile. He broke my heart. He is one nervous little guy about any kind of social setting and his challenges in this area really show when he is around other neurotypical children.
Often, Andrew gets so nervous and is unable to talk. He will get this look in his eyes and he just goes mute. He is afraid to talk and comes upset. Sometimes, depends on his mood, he will just become an extreme follower and copy every move that everyone  makes.
He conveys to me about how  his body does not allow him to talk. It is very interesting to hear him talk about what he feels like. I am learning from Andrew daily and I apply what he says to Trenton as well.



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Way to go Andrew!

Two years ago I walked Andrew into Harsha Autism Center for the first time. Two years later I walk him out on his last day in their intensive program. On August 4, 2014, Andrew was seen by the BCBA at Harsha Autism Center and it was recommended after her evaluation that Andrew attend 35 hours a week to receive direct ABA therapy. Andrew had primarily echolalia speech at this time and had splinter skills in almost every area. Andrew had many challenges due to his autism and it was very noticeable which is why he was accepted into an intensive ABA therapy program.

I took  two pictures of his first evaluation...

Now, two years later, I am happy to report that he caught up to his age appropriate levels!!! Through his hard work, he has overcame echolalia and can have a full conversation with anyone. He tests where he is supposed to be at!!!! He has caught up with his typically developing peers!!! I am so proud of him!

I think back at everything that we have done the past two years and it brings tears to my eyes. It hasn't been easy getting two boys out of the car and in the car ,especially a year or two ago when they were younger and had higher needs. We started our journey attending Harsha Autism Center when we lived almost two hours away. Lil A' has came a long way and I am ONE PROUD MOMMY to escort him out of HAC on his last day of their intensive ABA program.

Andrew no longer needs the intensive ABA program, but it doesn't mean that he doesn't have autism anymore. His needs are high functioning and he still has challenges. Andrew isn't fully done with HAC. He will attend their social classes when those get up and going one day. Any type of social building classes is the kind of help that Andrew needs next.

The joy I felt today is amazing! I am just so proud of him. I think back to even one year ago and how much he has overcome since then is amazing!! So proud of you Andrew!!! I know you are going to keep on doing many great things!!


Andrew was the Harsha Autism Center's first kid to advance out of the intenstive program. It's very neat to be the "first". I love how they are going to have all of their kids put their handprint on this gown on their very last day. Hopefully, many years down the road, I can bring Andrew back to HAC as a grown man and he will see his handprint and all the other handprints of kids who have beat challenges to advance to the next level in life.

Here is Andrew with his lead coach, Lisa. I can't talk highly enough of HAC and Lisa. Andrew and Lisa have a very special, unique relationship. She has helped him blossom in many areas and I hope she knows just how special she is to him and me! Our therapists are part of our family. They are people that we will never forget.
 When I walked into Harsha today and was greeted with Andrew wearing the gown and cap that will be worn by others on their last day just made the tears come instantly. Of course, I had to get my picture took with this cute little boy..
Thank you so much Harsha Autism Center for everything that you have done to make this last day possible for Andrew. He wouldn't be where he is today if it wasn't for your amazing support and dedication to him.

He isn't going too far as he is back there tomorrow for an evaluation!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Preparing for the dentist

Here are some tips on what to do before you take your child with autism to the dentist. It's my second article for this website!!

http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2016/08/22/preparing-autistic-child-visit-dentist/

Bath Time is Serious Time

We take our baths very serious! Can you tell?

Where did that come from?

Nothing has ever stopped me dead in my tracks like Andrew did yesterday morning.  I don't even know where to start to be honest.
I have often said and even did a post once or twice before on how I believe that people with special needs are truly God's angels in disguise here on Earth. My boys have not only brought me closer to scripture but they have made me understand a lot of things in the Bible much better.

I also think that some people with autism have a 6th sense. I have many reasons why I believe this in both of my boys.

Andrew,my 4 year old son, sent goosebumps up and down my body yesterday morning. My breath was literally taken away from me, tears filled my eyes, and I froze looking at him in amazement.

Andrew has always been very mature for his age in certain areas. He will often talk like a mature adult. However, what he said this morning would leave almost anyone dead in their tracks. I am sure many adults would never say what he did nor be as mature to say what he did and he is only 4.

I often wonder if Andrew has a small percentage of a savant in him and he will go far in life with areas that no one would have ever imagined at one point in his life.
I won't disclose everything and won't say exactly what he said so no one has any hard feelings but WOW! In a nutshell Andrew told me that he is trying to teach  someone by his example even though he is just a kid, he is being an adult. .....HELLO!!!! What four old says he is doing adult stuff to teach other adults. WOW!!!

Like I said, I am not saying word for word but his words came out of no where! We were getting in our van ready to pull out at 7:15 on our way to OT and the words just flowed out of his mouth. I am still in shock truthfully.
Never has anything remotely close to what he said ever been taught to him. It is more like a young adult lesson and words but a four year old. Andrew has often shown and said things that are very "deep" for his age and it simply shocks me every time. His depth of understanding things in life just blows my mind. He doesn't have to be told anything, he just simply knows.

His maturity and big word choice is very common for high functioning individuals.  It is just amazing what him and Trenton teach me every day. Simply amazing!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

First Event & Pictures

I had my first event as an author this weekend:)
I just love helping others and I feel this is my way to not only help my boys but to help others. It is AMAZING where your life leads you when you let God lead you and accept it. I am very blessed. I wish the boys could have been in the picture but they weren't. I was so tired in this picture. Trenton was up the entire night on Friday. He was so stressed and couldn't settle down. It has been two months since he had a night like that. Of course, the night before his birthday and the night before my event. That is okay. I am used to doing everything on little sleep. It is something that you just get used to after awhile:)
Trenton and I before church this morning. He may not be smiling but I know he is on the inside. He stood there for the picture so I can't ask for much more!!
 Mommy said something funny right here and I captured the picture at the perfect time. I think this picture is the best picture he has ever taken. He is with his Nana and Pops in the below picture.

My words of encouragement today.....Be happy with your life. It is what it is and make the most of it with God leading you!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Birthday Boy

There is not much else in this life that can put a smile on my face faster than hearing T-man's happy sounds and clapping!! From my understanding, he was one happy boy today when his team at Harsha Autism Center sang to him today.

 He claps when he is happy. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Receptive Language

Another huge improvement in Trenton since his last birthday is his receptive language. Receptive language is the ability to comprehend and understand. Trenton understands everything. It is simply whether or not his body allows him to respond. He never appears to be listening or paying attention but he is. His soul is trapped in a body that doesn't allow him to respond the way a neurotypical persons body responds. I can give many examples...I can give you all the technical terms and numbers that prove that he is improving in this area but I won't. Instead, I will share a cute thing that happened this week.

Every Tuesday Andrew almost always wears his pajamas to go with me to take Trenton to Harsha Autism Center. This Tuesday right before we left, Andrew had to go to the bathroom. After I helped him in the bathroom, I told him to put his pj bottoms back on. Well, apparently he didn't. I didn't notice because his underwear was boxer briefs which look like shorts.
Halfway to Harsha Autism Center Andrew shouts from the back, "On no Moochies. I only have my undies on. I forgot to put my pajama bottoms back on." As soon as Andrew said that Trenton let out the biggest laugh I have ever heard from him. He giggled and he giggled. He kept on trying to turn around in his carseat to get a look at Andrew. I 100% believe that Trenton heard and understood everything and he thought it was hilarious that Andrew was in his underwear:)

I have many other stories on Trenton like this. Some stories are good and some are sad because he understands so much! One way or the other, so proud of him in this growing accomplishment.

BTW, Moochies is my nickname from Andrew:)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Potty Training

Another big jump that Trenton had from his last birthday to this birthday is potty training!!! SOOOO proud of him! Sixteen months ago I started potty training him at home while his team at Harsha Autism Center trained him at the center. It has been brutal. Again, words can't really explain what I have been through with him in this area.

These are my words from day 1 of training...

He was running into our walls the hardest he could. He would hit a wall with his body and then lick it and lick him. I tried my best to control him and redirect him to another activity but I was unsuccessful. Words can't describe how terrible it was to try to introduce toilet training to Trenton while he was behaving like that. It is going to be a very long road ahead of me to get him toilet trained. It's a road I am not looking forward to traveling but I have to. It doesn't matter what the task is, it is always difficult with autism.

Throughout the past 16 months he has hit, kicked, through himself into walls and on the floor, held on the bathroom door kicking it refusing to go in the bathroom, yelled, cried, you name it he has done it. I bought a special toilet for his bathroom, re-decorated one bathroom and bought an expensive high reinforcer which is very crucial to get kids on the spectrum trained in some cases.

I cried with him. I fought him with sweat running down my back. I was left with scratches and bruises from trying to force him to the bathroom. I have cleaned up more pee accidents and poop accidents than anyone could imagine. I wanted to give up BUT I DIDN'T!!! I knew he could do it. It just takes way more patience....way more strength....way more endurance than neurotypical children.

We had periods were he did good such as toward the end of the year in 2015 but after too much stimulation and change at the end of the year, he regressed. However, I am happy to report that he is doing SPECTACULAR!!! I am crying typing this out because I am so proud of him. He goes to the potty when he needs to go! He simply stops what he is doing and sits on the toilet and goes!!!!!! The past few weeks, I don't even have to ask him every time. He goes on his own. I have to follow him because if not he will pee all over the shower curtain, floor, wall, and anywhere else in the bathroom because he needs help but he knows when he needs to go! This is HUGE!!!

We still have a long way to go with his bowel movements but we are getting there.

My goal for him from the day I found out he had autism was to achieve potty training by age 6. We are getting close to accomplishing that. Everywhere I read six was the magical number for kids moderately to severely affected by autism to get them trained. The older they got past 6, the harder it was.
I'm not going to lie, I feel like a million bucks at times just thinking of our big accomplishment. It has been very hard but Trenton has taught me that it doesn't matter how hard things are in life, you can accomplish if you put your mind to it and have all of your faith in the Lord and that is exactly what we did!! Love can accomplish anything and our love for each other helped to accomplish this!






Monday, August 15, 2016

Sleep Improvements

In honor of T-man's birthday, I want to discuss the phenomenal improvement that he has made in the area of sleep since his last birthday but most especially since the beginning of 2016. WOW! WOW! WOW!

It is still NOT great but it is TOTALLY the best it has ever been in his 6 short years of life. Let's review his past first! Up to about 4.5 years old, Trenton would go to sleep around 8 or 9 at night and wake up at midnight and run around the house crazy till roughly 5 AM and then go back to sleep till 7. Some nights I was never able to go to bed because I was taking care of Andrew and this was going on while Andrew was having sleep problems. Many of nights I would just go from one kids bedroom to the other helping them with their sleep problems. Some nights my only shut eye was from ten to midnight. This is no joke folks! I drove a lot at night....drove the country roads trying to put him to sleep. I can't put in words what I have went through with Trenton with his sleep. Simply can't describe it.

He was and is a pacer. He paces the length of the house many nights before he can settle his body down enough to sleep. He used to fall asleep in his swings, on the floor of the living room, kitchen, bathroom, you name it but it was everywhere except for his bed. I went on an average of two hours of sleep a night and had to drive and spend two hours in the car daily getting him to and from therapy the next day after little sleep.
I know what sleep deprivation is and it is very detrimental to a person. Two years ago my body started to tell me that it couldn't do it anymore. My body had enough...four years of no sleep and it took a toll on my body. My heart had developed an irregular heartbeat and stated to have some issues in the way it beat. I had three scary hospital visits during that year. Flash forward two years later, I still have to see a cardiologist and always will and it was all because of sleep deprivation and the toll of taking care of a child with severe autism who doesn't sleep.

Trenton's sleep started to go through periods where it was good after he turned four years old. He would give me breaks. For example, he wouldn't sleep good for two months and then he would sleep fairly good for two weeks and it would go back and forth. Good sleep for Trenton during this time was falling asleep around midnight and up at 5 AM.
What he had to do to fall asleep is another thing that is hard to put in words. I heard his upset noises while he paced the house, he would scream, he would cry, he would meltdown and then he would run around the house laughing at absolutely nothing. He would do this for four hours before he would fall asleep.

Right around one year ago, his sleep again slowly was getting even better. He would give me a longer "good period".
The link below is a post from exactly one year ago. As you can see, his sleep was still not good but I was not as sleep deprived.
http://twobrothersonejourney.blogspot.com/2015/08/sleep.html

So, here we are now and we are even better than we were one year ago!!!! This year has been the best ever for his sleep!!! It still isn't good and would be considered terrible to many but it is FANTASTIC for us! He falls asleep in his bed and about 75% of his nights he will sleep for a consecutive 6 hours. (If I could get both boys on the same sleep schedule so I could get 6 hours then it would really be good.) He wakes up really early majority of the time. We almost always start our day by 4 AM. However, it feels great! I am tired every single day but it is not sleep deprivation like it was. The damage was already done and I will live the rest of my life taking medications for my irregular heartbeat. However, we are in a great phase and 2016 has been the best ever for us in this area.

I think some of it has to do with the consist, strict bedtime routine that we do every single night. Since it is just me, I do things  with no distractions at all. It seems to have really helped both boys. It may be because he is getting older and that we are also on the right medications now. I am sure its a combination of all of it. Whatever it is, I love it and I do whatever I can to make sure our routine gets followed as much as possible in order to get some sleep. The slightest change in his schedule can cause a terrible phase of sleep.

When I think of Trenton and all of his trials, I always get teary eyed. The one area that gives me a numb feeling when I think about what him and I have went through with his sleep. It is an emotional feeling....a feeling of amazement of what him and I have went through.....a feeling of shock that that was part of my life and still is but mostly shock of thinking of the worst times and how we survived....disbelief that we went through that and still do at times.
The numb feeling I had on my face daily from sleep deprivation was terrible. I wanted to run from everyone because I didn't even have the energy to smile. I didn't have the energy to enjoy the good times when they happened because I was so deprived of sleep I just couldn't focus on it. Needless to say when other people talk about being tired I quietly think, "You have no idea what tired is really like."  LOL!

I literally could talk for hours on this subject. This area has really made me grow as a person in the area of strength and perseverance.  It is a bond that I have with Trenton. Only the two of us know exactly what we have went through and the other autism parents who go through it with their child. It is a very special bond that was made out of a lot of tears, heartache, sleep deprivation, and much more.

I love to look at him sleeping. I always have and always will.
Mommy is so proud of you T-man.  Keep up the amazing improvements! Love you always and forever!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Stores/Restaurants

In honor of T-man's birthday this week, I am going to post a few post this week that are all about T-man.
If you have been following my blog for awhile then you probably know how going out in public is simply difficult for Trenton.  It always has and always will be. However, I have never given up hope with him on this issue and have continued since the time he was born to work with him on this issue. I have been through it all with him in public. I have walked in and turned around and walked out with him screaming bloody murder. I have been with him in a store while he dumped over a whole display of a new brand of chips with about 25 bags of chips scattering all over the floor. I have been glared at, pointed at, and had many rude comments flashed my way. I have sat down at a restaurant and not even ate the meal that we just ordered but instead walked right back out to our car while he kicked, hit, and screamed the whole way out. I have seen the disappointed look on his face after he couldn't handle the outing. I have seen him cry his sad cry of disappointment. I have seen him reach his max of sensory input and have helped him mange his sensory overload for the entire rest of the day. I have been with him when he was so scared that he literally pooped his pants. (He used to always poop when he was scared) I have done about every trick in the book to get him out in public. You name it..... I HAVE DONE IT WITH TRENTON!
It hasn't been easy. In fact, it has been hard. It is one of those autism challenges that only Trenton and I can understand what we have been through.

This year alone, we have made great strides in this area. 2016 has been the best year for us in many areas and this is one of the areas. When everything is consistent for a child with autism, baby steps can be made. Consistency is one of the keys to autism and it has proven to be so very true to me in 2016.  Wow. WOW. WOW! So proud of how we are progressing in this area. Consistency mixed with determination and we have progress!!!

Since working with him in this area, I have focused on three stores and the same three restaurants. It is enough of a variety for him to transition what he is learning from a different environment to another one but a small enough variety for him to not be so overwhelmed.
Every chance I get, we work on this area.
One year ago, we weren't even able to walk into a store like Wal-greens. Now, we walk into the store, he holds my hand, and does great! It is a quick trip in but he does it! We walk fast in the store and if I need something I have to pick it up immediately. I can't browse and do a lot of shopping. We are a very long way from that. However, he walks in and we do great and that is what matters! PROGRESS!!!

I never thought a year ago that I would be able to walk into McDonald's with him and sit down at a booth. Now, he will walk into McDonald's' with me and we order chicken nuggets and he will sit and eat them. Sometimes he only last ten minutes but it is ten minutes longer than one year ago. It is baby steps with autism and we celebrate it to our fullest.
I don't pushed him to go longer. When he says, "all done" or when he pushed me to the door, I know it is time to go.
So proud of you T-man. Our long, hard days full of work is paying off!!! Monies (that is what he calls me) is proud and honored to be your Mommy. God sure did bless me when he gave me you.


The top picture is the very first time I tried taking Trenton to a store and he didn't scream going in. He was three months old and I thought I was on top of the world finally taking my baby out in public!
 This is Trenton so happy that he was inside McDonald's. He makes his happy noises and claps great big when he is happy. He loves it when his body can let him manage a store or a restaurant. I just love this picture because he is soooo happy!
Another trip where he took his animal friends with him:)

Lost in the chaos but still me inside


https://autismawareness.com/im-lost-in-the-chaos-but-still-me-inside/

The link is an article of mine that was published on www.autismawareness.com


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Some things just don't get any easier

In my book I discussed a little about birthdays and autism. Birthdays are not only difficult for the child with autism because of various reasons, but it is also difficult for some parents and I am one of them.
But, why? Why are birthdays are hard?

I am very lucky and blessed to be celebrating Trenton turning 6 very soon.  Sadly, many parents are not even able to celebrate six years with their child due to tragic accidents, disease, or many other reasons.  Thus, I am very blessed. However, it comes with mixed emotions.

I cried tears today just thinking about it so it will be interesting how the week goes. It's hard to watch your child have a disability where he ages and gets older but he isn't "maturing" in every other area. For instance, besides not being able to do many things due to his autism, he is still not "matured" in other areas. For example, forget buying him anything age appropriate. If you want to buy Trenton a toy, your best bet is to look for toys in the  range of eighteen months to two years.  He isn't even close to being able to enjoy many toys that are even aged younger than he is. He is unable to pedal anything. We never were able to get excited about him pedaling a tricycle. He is unable to do things like that so watching him age just simply is hard because there are so many things that he isn't able to do.
It's a cruel world these days and raising children with special needs in an already cruel world is not an easy task and often leaves the parents raising the kids very worrisome.

 It's difficult to watch other children his age. It amazes me to say the least. I get blown away at times at what neurotypical six year olds can do. WOW! I guess when it's not your life, you just have no idea. He could be starting Kindergarten or even first grade this year. Instead, we are better at a facility for kids with autism so he can receive special training.

It doesn't matter if a person has reached the acceptance and moving on stage in their life, the pain is still there and always will be. I have accepted many things in my life but it still doesn't mean that I don't get sad at times. That is human nature. When a parent buries a child they continue to live their life but it doesn't mean that they still don't mourn every single day. They just learn how to live and cope with the pain while moving on. The same goes for parents of special needs children, we move on and accept the life our children have but it doesn't make the pain go away. It's always there. We just learn how to live with it.




Thursday, August 11, 2016

Romans 5:3-4

I've been reading in Romans lately. Today I read Romans  5 which states in verse 3 & 4....And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance and perseverance character and character hope.  Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.


Love this verse and I will you why. God tells us that we are going to have trials in life....we are going to have "downs" in life but it is how we respond to it that will make up our character and who we are! Are you going to run from your trials? Are you going to ignore them? Are you going to do something about it? What are you going to do when life gets tough?!?!?!

Just like a marriage..."for better and for worse"

God gives us issues in life for a reason. Sometimes I think it is to see how a person's heart really is. What is that person really made of?
I hope I am proving to God that I have what it takes for this life he gave me. I hope I am showing him that I do have the courage, endurance, perseverance, and character that he wanted me to have. I hope that I am doing exactly what he wanted me to do with a life that has many trials in it.
Tonight, this verse just leaves me without words....it is such a strong verse

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

It's what you make of it

Your life is what you make of it. Very few people have the life that they dreamt about. Very few. Almost every person has had something tragic happen in their life or at least something wrong in their life happen. But, it is how you respond to it that defines you as a person.

I asked a lot of "why" questions in the beginning of our autism journey. Through a lot of hard work, prayer, and patience, my "why" questions are not asked anymore. Instead, I ask "what". What are you telling me God? What do you want me to do God? What can I do to make this pain and heartache better? What can I do to make this better?...and so forth.

Yes, I do believe that we are given situations in our life to see how we respond. I 100% believe that I am doing what God wanted me to do with my life. I am not only helping my boys but helping others. God gives some people harder task in life than others.
It's a hard life. I never said it was easy. However, I am making the most of what we have been given and putting my faith and trust in the Lord every single day.


Every single day there is good. Every day may not be the best day but there is good in every day. Some days I write about our good and some days I write about our rough moments.

I do consider myself one lucky mommy. I have two boys who have taught me so much. They are my heroes and by far the best teachers that I have ever had. They have made me  and I can't thank them enough for that.





Monday, August 8, 2016

Tips for Back to School

I was asked by another website if I would write for them. I was beyond honored to be asked. They post a lot of educational articles....which is right up my alley:)
Here is my first article for them!

http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2016/08/08/5-tips-to-prepare-your-autistic-child-for-the-school-year/

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Brushing Teeth

This picture is of Trenton at 13 months old. We are brushing his few teeth that he had. He loved to brush his teeth. He always giggled and laughed. Slowly, over time he started to not like it and by the time he was three, I had to hold him down and brush his teeth. His sensory problems have gotten worse over time.  Now, he is a big almost 6 year old boy and holding him down is impossible. The strength that he has is amazing. Trenton is like many individuals on the spectrum and has severe sensory challenges with his autism. He is UNABLE to put a toothbrush to his mouth. I say unable to because it is hard for him. His body and mind is different than ours. It is hard for him to do it. Just like it is hard for some people to talk, walk, etc....it is hard for him.  This is one area that he is working on at Harsha Autism Center. I hope that by the time he has all of his permanent teeth in that he will be trained and able to "handle" it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Harsha Autism Center

Our favorite place ever changed their name. Harsha Autism Center is the best ever with the best coaches ever!! I think their name change fits them perfectly!!

Trenton working with Lisa:)


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

We Got This!


 I came across this picture today. It was taken approximately 6 weeks before I cried my first tears of worry. They were tears of fear and worry that something was "different" about T-man. When I looked at this picture today, I felt like Trenton was saying these words to me:)

  

Monday, August 1, 2016

Four years

August 2nd marks four years. It is the four year anniversary of Trenton's diagnosis. It doesn't matter if I knew before he got the doctors official diagnosis that he had autism, the anniversary of the offical stamp is always somber.  Someone once asked me, "If you knew before the doctor made it official why is that day so emotional on you?"

Well, it is kinda like this....you know when you meet and fall in love with someone and you know that you are going to marry them and spend the rest of your life with them. ..well the date that most couples remember is their wedding day. The day that made it official even though you knew before. Receiving Trenton's diagnosis is the same thing. Even though I knew before he had autism, his official diagnosis day still sticks out in my head. Each and every year I will remember that date but it's the opposite of celebrating a wedding.

I remember everything about that day. I remember what I wore and I even remember what Trenton wore that day. I can still tell you about my whole conversation with the doctor. I still remember where all 6 people were in the room and exactly what the room looked like. I remember exactly how the room spun when the doctor spoke the words that I so didn't want to hear. I remember the items that I brought to keep Trenton entertained in the waiting room. I remember the silence in the car ride all the way home from St. Louis. I remember the McDonald's that we stopped at on the way home and the people in the restaurant. I remember exactly where we sat and how Trenton did in the restaurant. I remember spoiling him with a great big chocolate dip ice cream cone and seeing the ice cream melt off of his chin and fall into his lap. I can still see his innocence.

I hated how the world kept on moving when I felt my world stop. I wanted the whole world to stop!! Mine did so everyone else should have their world stop....that was the feeling that was overtaking me.

I remember walking in to pick up Andrew from my mom's house when we got back in town. I can tell you right where they were sitting when I walked into their house. I remember how happy and scared I was to see Andrew." Did he have autism too?" I wondered when I picked him up and embraced him.

The tears that rolled down my face that night was enough to fill a river. The tears that flowed for the following months were uncontrollable.  I hurt today just as much as I hurt then. However, through my faith in the Lord, I have learned how to handle the pain. I have learned how to cope with the pain of a having a child with a severe disability. I have learned to look at the brighter side and make the most of the life that God gave me and my children. I may not be able to take the autism away but I sure can make the most of our life. I can make a difference in the autism community. I can make another autism mom feel not so alone in her early dark days.  You name it, I can do it!

Looking back over the past four years, it is amazing how much I have learned. Having a degree in special education  helped but not to the extent that you think it would. It is a different ballgame raising a child with autism than teaching them a few hours out of the day.
Trenton soon became the best teacher that I could have ever asked for.  He has not only taught me about his disability but he has taught me how to grow stronger with our amazing God.  The progress that we have made the past four years is slow but it is progress!!! I would move mountains for him if I could. Because of him and his disability, I am a far better person than I once was.  He wil never have the kind of life that I dreamed about for my first born son. If I could trade spots with him I would in a heartbeat. Life just isn't that way.

Instead of dwelling on the "what ifs" I have learned to focus on the "what are you telling me God" type of questions. It is simply amazing how positive a person can make their life even during the darkest of times.

The past fours years have been filled with therapy. Instead of t-ball and play dates, we focus on therapy. Therapy has led us to some amazing therapist and coaches that will forever be a part of our life. We will never forget them!
It is exciting to look to the next four years and to see where we will be at. The past fours years have been challenging, yet rewarding. I predict the next four to be the same way.


Tonight, just like every night, I look at him and think, "How did I get so lucky to be raising one of God's angels?"