Monday, September 28

The Start of Something New

Will started ABA today. He will go twice a week for the time being, and hopefully soon I will be getting some help in setting up our home program.

We're ready for this. Our whole family is ready for this. He's a smart kid, but we're worn out from trying to address his behaviors and from trying to get him to show what he knows.

I've been reading some interesting research that shows the Lovaas Institute recommends 40 hours per week of ABA for kids with autism. Holy moly. I'm curious if anyone else out there has more information to follow up on that.

Friday, September 25

Patience, the missing virtue

When I mention that I teach special ed or that I have a son with special needs, people frequently comment that I "must be really patient."

Oh, if only they knew.

I was thinking about this today as Will is beginning an ABA program on Monday. Because of some things we've done with him in the past, I know he responds really well to this method. I believe this is going to help us reduce Will's problem behaviors, get him potty trained, and teach him skills that don't come naturally for him.

So, typical of my personality, I want to start. NOW.

To give you another example, my husband and I talked yesterday about Will's sleep and school. I was so frustrated yesterday that I was ready to call the naturopath who has given Will his supplements for sleep and ask her to pull him off of them. NOW. We decided to give it a week. Last night, Will slept remarkably.

I went into special ed because I wanted to work with kids that others found challenging. I continue to work with them because I want to make a difference for their parents, even more so than the kids. To show them someone believes in their child. Someone cares.

As far as my own family is concerned, I have a secret. I lose my patience. A lot.

I'm just a girl. A girl who was given a child with a little something extra. Because of that something extra, I'm passionate.

But I'm not patient.

Wednesday, September 23

What to do, what to do.

Really, sometimes I wonder when things will begin to go a bit more smoothly around here.

Yesterday I received a note from Will's teacher letting me know that he was unwilling to engage in any organized activity in his preschool classroom and that he'd rather throw things all day. When asked to pick up the things he's thrown, he starts flailing and pinching and kicking. *long whistle* She wants to meet with me.

The background:

We've been giving him something to help him sleep. It is helping - some - but he is still tired. I have to wake him at 6:30 to get on the bus and he still doesn't go to sleep early enough. I can't give him melatonin with the meds.

So this morning I had to take him to a doctor for follow up, and I got to see why he's not functioning in his classroom. He's exhausted. We've adjusted meds, so hopefully that will help, but otherwise, he really needs to sleep to allow his schedule to start adjusting and to let his body rest. He's also not eating when he's exhausted, which means he's losing weight. (It takes a lot of energy for him to chew and swallow.)

I'm contemplating taking him out of this preschool for the time being. What good does it do if I have to wake him at the crack of dawn and then he does nothing all morning in preschool? He is literally walking around exhausted, but then can't sleep when I need him to at night. We're in a vicious cycle and it seems never ending.

These are the days when I just want to crawl back in bed. I'm so overwhelmed I don't know where to begin.

Monday, September 21

The Great Phone Experiment

photo by JonJon2k8 from

I've talked before about how we adopted Norah from Vietnam last December, and how we did this on faith that God would provide the resources we needed. Once we move some money around here soon, we will be about halfway through paying our adoption debt off using Dave Ramsey's method.

Last night was budget crunch time. We are trying to go hard core...mainly because kids with special needs can be so expensive! When we budgeted last night, we realized that between Will's PROMPT therapy, ABA therapy which we are adding next week, and his mito supplements, he is costing us a small house payment. No wonder we never have any money!

We run a pretty tight ship here already, but decided our cell phones were one place that we could save some cash. We read about pay-as-you-go Tracfones, and I think we are going to give it a shot. Currently, we spend about $80/month on our two cell phones using one of the cheapest plans around. We use less than a third of our minutes each month.

When we checked out the tracfones, it seemed as though we could spend a total of $250 for the year, and this includes buying two phones.

So...original cost: $960/year
Change to Tracfone: $250/year

If we can pull it off, that's a savings of $710 for the year! I'll update on how it goes!

Friday, September 18

A word about my oldest....

I was thinking about my six year old all morning as I drove my two youngest from doctor appointment to doctor appointment.

She makes my job as a mother so easy. She learns easily, enjoys school, and is just generally a good kid. She shows a lot of similarities to me when I was a young girl. I was a people pleaser. I loved school, and it came easily as well.

But she has something I didn't. She has an amazing sense of compassion. I mean, I was a nice kid. I was mostly respectful of others' feelings. But Caroline has an innate sense of compassion. She thinks of things I wouldn't, even now as an adult. Could it be because she has lived most of her life with a brother with special needs? Maybe. Could it be that God made her this way simply because? More likely.

This morning, while I was in the shower, Caroline realized her brother was awake. She helped Will carry his bank downstairs (his newest obsession). She knows that he loves money and loves to put money into his bank to watch it go down into the bottom. When I got out of the shower, she says,

"Mom, I hope you don't mind, but I had a quarter left over from my hot lunch money the other day, and I gave it to Will to put in his bank." Meanwhile, she also heard her sister get up. She proceeded to get her out of bed and make Norah breakfast. I was struck by her innocent thoughtfulness this morning.

Sometimes, when I have a moment to stop and think, I realize that the easiest child I have been given to parent presents me with the greatest challenge. It would be easy to continue status quo with her while I address other challenges in our household. However, I need to be there for her, to teach her that it is okay to be a be silly for no reason at all. That it is okay to make mistakes....and that we love her just as she is. That she doesn't always have to be the good one, the well behaved one, and the responsible one.

I hope someday she realizes how lucky her dad and I feel to have her as our daughter.

Thursday, September 17

We've been sick and sleep deprived....

Which is why I've posted nothing. Will has only gone to school one day this week. Yikes!

We've enjoyed some lazy days, though, and I can't say I'm sad about that. Be back next week! :)

Monday, September 14

Day out with Thomas

Will and I had some one on one time last weekend, just the two of us. It was nice considering most of the one on one time he's ever gotten has been therapies and doctor appointments. My husband and I are making a huge effort to make sure that each child gets some special time, and it has really helped.

Will loved Thomas. I think he was totally amazed that he was seeing him in person, live, attached to a train that he got to ride. It was so cute! He also really enjoyed the gift shop (surprise, surprise) and attached himself to a motorized Thomas that I bought. (Of course. I'm such a sucker when this kid decides he REALLY wants something.)

The rest of the weekend was spent at Caroline's soccer games and a pub crawl in honor of my nephew. It was great! I really enjoyed watching C is so much fun seeing these kids go from little lollipop leaguers to kids who can actually play!

Wednesday, September 9

More Jewelry given away...

Similar style, but the "simple line" is cheaper than the other place I told you about! This is the Vintage Pearl.

I might seriously have to show my husband this stuff this time. For real. So pretty.

Details on the giveaway here: i Heart Faces giveaway

Thank you, Lord, for giving me coffee.

This morning I had an appointment to meet with one of the directors of an ABA school nearby. (ABA = Applied Behavior Analysis, often used with kids on the autism spectrum) I thought, for some reason, that our appointment was at 9:15. You know, so I could get my two older kids on the bus and then skip off to the appointment? At 7:40 this morning I double checked my email...just in case...and discovered it was actually 8:30 that I was supposed to be there.

(Seriously? It takes about 25 min in traffic to get there.)

We made it, luckily. The place is awesome, and I think just what Will needs. Now his dad and I need to decide in what capacity we are going to utilize the services. As a kindergarten classroom next year? Just for after school programming, starting now?

To pursue the school day program, he must have an autism diagnosis. He does not. I believe one fits. He's not classic, but certainly can be placed on the spectrum in my opinion. Interesting how things play out in life.

Before I had Caroline, I prayed that my children would be healthy. I saw what parents of kids with special needs went through as a special ed teacher. Then I had Will.

When I had Will and he was diagnosed with the chromosome abnormality, I prayed....please Lord, I can handle a lot of things. But please let him be social. Please let him not fall on the autism spectrum. Well, he struggles with social skills and (after years of fighting it) can probably fit on the spectrum.

Sometimes I think God chuckles at my prayers. (You silly, "type A" kind of girl...don't you know that you can't plan your entire life? That it isn't in your control, but in Mine instead?)

So, this morning, I prayed at the coffee shop nearby as Norah devoured a blueberry muffin and said hi to everyone who passed. I thanked Him for friends who jump in to bail me out as I screw up appointment times; I thanked Him for Will and my other two kids and for their health. I thanked Him for good family who support us as well as for leading me to places like the one I saw this morning.

And then, to finish up, I thanked Him for coffee. Because surely that kind of goodness comes only from heaven above.

Friday, September 4

Orphan no more!

Our neighbors have officially adopted their little one from Russia. I'm sure she and Norah will be great friends! They are close to the same age. Isn't that awesome?

We're just waiting for them to come home. We are so thrilled!

Tuesday, September 1

IKEA swings

Did you know that IKEA has swings? I checked their website, and unfortunately, the one I'm seriously considering (pictured above - EKORRE line) isn't available online. But of course, it's there on ebay, and pretty similar price for anyone that's interested. Really reasonable considering what places charge for sensory swings. This one is less than $50 with both parts. You can buy it without the inflatable piece at the store and then it is between $30-40.

We have two sensory swings in our basement, but I'd love to have one outside for when Will gets tired or overloaded and starts doing things he shouldn't be.