Nov 17, 2013

My Personal Hiatus: The 'D' Word

     It's been almost a year since my last post.  After looking back and re-reading some earlier journals, I realize part of the reason for my absence. I started slipping into severe depression about two years ago.  I have always battled depression.  In fact, I cannot remember a time when I didn't have it. I was diagnosed with dysthymia in my adult years, which in simple terms is known as "double depression".  Couple that with my own anxiety and the issues with my kids, it's all I can do to get through day by day. 
      People who are afraid of mental illness have not had any or much experience with it. So people make assumptions, which are usually wrong.  People avoid because it is uncomfortable. This leaves the person struggling with mental illness feeling more alone than ever. And that is not a good sign. EVER.
      Last month, Elder Jefferey R. Holland gave a wonderful-and insightful-talk about mental illness. It is the BEST talk I have ever heard on the subject and I wanted to post it here.



Dec 30, 2012

PAYING IT FORWARD


  2013 Happy New Year Wallpaper 2013-happy-new-year-1024x768.jpg



 This Christmas would be very lean this year.  The longer I’m alive I realize how fast time passes especially when raising a family. I’ve also come to realize how stressful the holidays are-never mind the social anxiety and the changes in routine that upset the family balance-but a lot of the stress boils down to money.  Luckily, our kids are pretty happy with anything, but they also seem to understand our situation.  

Several days before Christmas, a dear friend I met via the internet, messaged me and asked how I was doing.  I am usually really guarded when people ask such a question, because, really, what can you say in passing, except, “Good, how are you?”   

But this friend  I knew, knew better.  She herself is a mother raising multiple children on the Autism Spectrum.  I knew I could really open up to her because she would understand and not judge.  And so I did.  And I felt better just getting my worries and concerns off my chest.

Several days later, I received a little package in the mail. It was from my sweet internet friend and her children. They had each sent a “pen pal” letter to each of our kids and included inside were some gift cards.
I am in awe and feel deep gratitude for my friend, who even though Christmas was lean for them as well, made the sacrifice of time, words and money for a family they never met. 

This is an example of a Christ-like love. This is what Christmas is all about and I intend to pay it forward.

Happy New Year, all.

Nov 25, 2012

GoLytley-What an Oxymoron!

Now that the boys are older, we have elected to have them "cleaned out" at home instead of at the hospital, where they have experienced the fun of having a nasogastric tube shoved up their nose to feed the GoLytely (a major laxative) through.  No matter what we have tried in the past-and we've tried everything-they still need a good clean out every two years.  Probably sooner than that, actually.  So this weekend just happened to be the time.  

New underwear?  check.
Flushable wipes? check.
Plenty of TP? check.
Toilet plunger? check x 3.
Lots of movies to watch? check. 
Air Freshener?  check.
Sleepless nights? check.
Toilet cleaner? check.
My insanity? checked out.

Blow out 2 Blowout002.jpg


Nov 5, 2012

Autism Asperger's Digest






I love Autism Asperger's Digest this month.  There are some great articles on "Raising Multiple Children with ASD's."  I haven't even finished reading them all because I like to savor them, like a Swiss chocolate.  If you are new to Autism Spectrum Disorders-and even if you are old-to Autism Spectrum Disorders, I would definitely recommend a subscription.  Totally worth it.  I never throw away my copies because they are so helpful to go back and re-read.  It would be a great gift idea too, with the holidays approaching.

Oct 16, 2012

IN THE BEGINNING...


Hunter age 18 months and Sadie age 5

 The following is a short essay I was asked to write for a book coming out about disabilities--(more on that later)


“Just throw the leaves over the fence” I told my husband after he asked what to do with them.  

He and the kids had been raking and playing in the leaves outside for most of the morning while I tended to our newborn baby inside.  In my exasperation, I failed to explain in detail to my husband that what I really meant was to throw the leaves in the dumpster on the other side of the fence. 

 Instead, because of his undiagnosed disability-which would later be classified as an Autism Spectrum Disorder-he took my words literally and dumped the leaves in huge piles lining the other side of the fence; while being completely oblivious to the ominous gray dumpster just several feet behind him. 

 Our entire married life has been filled with these sorts of events but it wasn’t until the birth of our last child that we clued in to Autism as being the culprit.

Our youngest boy was not meeting his developmental milestones.  He did not have eye contact, did not mimic us, had no interest in social games and he preferred to be left alone. Noises and lights bothered him and he began having auditory induced seizures.  By 12 months, when the hand flapping manifested, I knew he was autistic.

Thus began the beginnings of our Autistic life.  I poured over books and did countless hours of internet searching.  I was on a quest to heal my boy.  In time I became fully aware that autism was a spectrum, and that not only did it affect my husband and our  youngest son, but also our other two boys, and eventually eight years later, I would learn our only daughter would be diagnosed as being on the spectrum.

The signs were all there, but denial became a part of our home as well as all of the other steps of the grieving process:  depression, anger, guilt, bargaining, and acceptance.  I revisit each one often and without warning. I don’t think those feelings will ever go away, especially when I am reminded of how different my children are when we go to family functions, schools, church, activities, etc.  It is a slap in the face and it stings. 

During these past few years I have learned and am still learning to take it one day at a time and sometimes I have to dial it back even more and take it hour by hour or minute by minute.  Autism can be cruel and unfair.  Our children are intelligent enough to know they are different than their peers, so as they experience the teenage years, dealing with autism shifts from the physical challenges to more social, hormonal and emotional challenges. 

Our faith plays a big role in how we survive these tough times.  I know there is a purpose for these trials and I also know we are blessed by enduring to the end.

Sep 30, 2012

ROPE LADDER FAIL

video


Above is Big Man Mason-all 190 pounds of him--trying to climb a rope ladder. I always hated those.   Enjoy. :)

Sep 14, 2012

GIRL INTERRUPTED by PDD-NOS



School has begun.  Our oldest is a senior and decided to go back to public school after a year of attending an online school last year.  So far, she says she is not used to easy work.  Last year's curriculum online was very intense and busy, busy, busy.  She is sort of bored now, but likes having a routine.  

She is recognizing how her PDD-NOS affects her in everyday life, after being diagnosed last Spring.  So am I.

 Friends?  Not so much.  Just one, and as she sees this friend mature and hold down a job, plus date, plus drive...it sets her apart.  She's just not ready for that--yet-and wants to be like everyone else.
  
As she left for school this morning, I eyed her up and down.  She wore sweatpants that are too short (they're supposed to be for bed or around the house) and a frumpy sweatshirt.  She feels comfortable in them and any source of comfort is something she craves when heading off into the world she's unsure of. 

 She ran a comb through her hair, but has no desire to straighten it, or curl it.  I've done it for her and shown her how, but she doesn't care enough to struggle with it every morning. 

 Last Spring, I took her to get contacts, but after she tried for 3 hours at the optical shop to put them in, we ended up leaving when they closed.  She doesn't want to try again.

 What about make-up?  She says she isn't coordinated enough to put make-up on.  I never really thought about it before, but yes--sometimes with PDD-NOS, fine and gross motor skills are lacking. 

So this morning, as she left, I tried to roll her sweatpants up to just under her knees, like I've see the other girls at school do.  

"It's ok, Mom, my legs are too hairy."  
"Are you sure?" was my reply.
"I don't care how I dress, Mom, because today is Friday.  No one notices me anyway."

I wish people could see her as I see her. She's extremely bright with a great sense of humor. She's beautiful inside and out regardless of the PDD-NOS. 

 But then again, I'm just a mom. 


Aug 16, 2012

Our Trip to Paradise


Paradise Lane
Our trip to Mulino, Oregon, outside of Portland, was a success.  This was our first attempt to go together as a family on a vacation that wasn't just an overnight local trip.  We visited my sister Liane and her hubby Paul, and cute little girl Maddy (age 3) and handsome dude, Woody (age 2), who moved there from Salt Lake City last February.

 We followed my mom and dad and another sister Alana, and her four kids (Raine, Aspen, Ethan and Lily) on this journey.

The backyard


















Following my dad left me feeling very anxious because of his infamous shortcuts.  Before this trip, we had talked my parents into buying a GPS and getting familiar with it, but apparently my dad just ignored the automated voice and kept driving like he's The Boss.

We drove through desert, hills and valleys and along the Colombia River.  Ryder was so good the entire trip, I almost thought we left him at home.  After 13 hours, we arrived on Paradise Lane, where we would stay for a week.  True to it's title, it was paradise.

The thick, green trees and overgrown canopies were breathtaking. Moss grew everywhere including on the roofs!

My sister, Alana, made miniature fairy houses to hide in the trees for our niece and nephew.  They were so cute and fun to find. (Now the neighbor kids all search for them.)  Wish I took a picture of them.
Enjoy the pics.  Sorry for the bad formatting.  I don't have time to mess around with it right now. :)

---My sister Liane and husband Paul with Maddy.
                                               Liane and Ethan----
----Hunter and Aspen
                                            Their neighbor's tree house--

---Awesome moss, wish my camera could do it justice.
;----Grandpa Myers is in heaven.

                             Ryder looking content or is that sleepy?--



























The whole trip when by so fast.  The kids went on free, miniature train rides, where we discovered that wild berries were everywhere.... Yum.  We went a-foraging. 




;---What is this doing here...you might ask? Well, this is my dad's latest hot topic.  If you have a free hour or two, have a seat because he'll tell you all about it.  These medical secrets will redefine aging as we know it.  :)













A neighbor has beautiful property by the river and we were able to picnic there.  ------












My sis and hubby live right next to his brother, on Paradise Lane.
They let the kids ride bikes.  Ryder loved this!  ---



 One day we went to The Enchanted Forest, which in my opinion, for kids on the spectrum...beats Disneyland hands down! The weather is perfect, no long lines, and the staff was so thoughtful.  One staff member gave us all free snow cones because Ryder reminded her of her brother who has autism. Bonus!

---Here is Woody escaping something...
 

                   Once again, I wish my camera could do these pics justice.  I love the rich greenery.---------------


----Bill and Ryder enjoying The Little Old Lady That Lived in the Shoe.



Ryder trying to get into a door that doesn't really open. :) ---













 ----Sadie and Aunt Liane
















                      Grandma and Grandpa Myers------












---Look!  A real telephone booth!  Haven't seen one of those in years.












Ryder loves smoke because of its "wispy-ness".


Bill studying the landscape for catching crawdads.       


Big Man Mason
Hunter building a sandcastle
Maddy
Lily and Aspen
Ryder in heaven
Playing
One Giant Stimulating Factor



Jul 7, 2012

The Last Bedtime Story-a book review for special kids


 I wanted to share a really cute book that was written by Carol Gray, called The Last Bedtime Story that we read each night.  This is a great concept for a book! 

Have you ever read a story to you child only to end up reading book after book while your eyelids fight to stay open, but your little one requests more and more?

This book is the last book you read to your child, night after night.  For kids who thrive on routine and sameness, this is awesome. Your child will know that after this book is read, it is Zzzzzzzz time. No more requests for more stories.  It takes less than 60 seconds to read, and it has a rhythmic pace to it--like a lullaby. 

The author, Carol Gray is an award-winning teacher, author and speaker who majored in psychology and child development.  Her post graduate work focused on special education, where she would teach social concepts and skills to children.


You can find the book here:  http://store.fhautism.com/p-1245-the-last-bedtime-story-that-we-read-each-night.aspx

Jun 17, 2012

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN



It is countdown time.  In less than six days our family will be embarking on a never-before-attempted 9 hour road trip. We are traveling to Portland, Oregon to see my sister and her family who moved there recently. The kids have never traveled in a car for longer than a trip to Yellowstone or Salt Lake City.  We will either have to A) separate kids  B) drug them  C) threaten them with their life, or D) all of the above.   The van will contain 4 sleeping bags, 6 pillows, 4 duffel bags, 2 ipods, 1 ipad,  and a piggy we stole from the shed.  
  
I am most excited to show the kids the ocean. Who cares about Disneyland--a place where they each would have terrific meltdowns because of all of the people and noise-but the ocean is one giant STIM!  They will love it!  We will also be staying in Astoria, where they filled the movie "Goonies", one of my all time favorite shows.   

Wish us luck!  :) 






BEING GREEN

THE CUT-OUT KID STRIKES AGAIN!

Ernie and Oscar learn they like different things-great for kids on the Spectrum!