Sleep Is Not Refreshing

I’ve been reading through Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan to my kids.  We do a few pages at the breakfast table in the mornings.  I know they’re young, but I’m hoping to go through it several times over the coming years, and I pray that the spiritual truths will slowly sink into their hearts.  In the meantime, they’re captivated by an exciting story like I was at their age.

I just pulled out a fascinating little nugget from this story for myself that I wanted to share.  For those of you not familiar with this story, it is a beautiful allegory of our Christian walk with the Lord, depicted through the tale of a man named Christian who takes a journey from his City of Destruction to Mount Zion and of all the adventures and encounters he has along the way.

The part that really struck me a few days ago was the bit about the Hill of Difficulty.  Christian is climbing this hill, and it’s really tough going.  He has to pull himself up this mountainside on his hands and knees, and he is brutally exhausted.  On the side of the road is an arbor that God made to provide him with some rest, so he steps off the road for a moment to sit on this little bench and take a break.  He pulls out a scroll with words from Jesus that was given to him when he received his salvation and means to encourage and refresh himself a little from the hard journey.  What really happens is that he’s so worn out he falls asleep, and when he does, he drops his scroll under the bench.  He wakes up several hours later, in horror that he’s slept the afternoon away, and rushes off to make it to shelter before night fall.  As he’s traveling along, he meets some men who are terrified of lions up ahead.  He wants to fight his fears with the words of Jesus but he realizes he doesn’t have his scroll anymore.  As it’s his ticket into Mount Zion, he has to go back and get it.  He retraces his steps in tears and prayers and finally finds it under the bench where he slept and repents to the Lord for falling asleep before continuing on his way.


This is a photograph of an illustration from the Pictorial Pilgrim’s Progress edition released by the Moody Bible Institute in 1960.

Now, as a child, I could never understand why Christian would repent for falling asleep on the bench.  I mean it was placed there for him to get a rest, and if he was tired, wasn’t a nap a good thing?  But now as an adult, I get it.  He was in a trial in his life, and it was really, really hard.  It was totally wearing him out, and he needed a moment to catch his breath before his difficulty got the better of him and he gave out in the middle of the road.  God provided a moment of rest for him, time he was supposed to use to refresh his spirit by connecting with the Lord through the word, and instead he fell asleep.  Instead of digging deeper into the Lord and finding strength for the journey ahead, he loses his focus, he stops keeping watch and drops his connection to Jesus.  And when he does wake up and remember he’s supposed to be moving forward, this forgetfulness causes him to lose time by having to retrace his steps.

How many times have I done this?  I’m so worn out by fighting my spiritual battles, by climbing my hills of difficulty, that when God gives me a breather, a few days of rest, I use it to pull away from Him, to forget everything, to forget to connect deeper to Jesus and just wander away spiritually and mentally.  Then when it’s time to resume my fight again, I’ve lost ground because I’ve forgotten what I’ve learned and need to retrace my steps again.  This was such a powerful reminder to me that just because things get a little easier for a moment, that doesn’t mean I should loosen my tenacious grip on the Lord, even for a second.  The time of peace should be used to dig in deeper and bring strength to myself through my connection with Jesus during in my quiet times.  I’m going to need that strength and that connection again when I resume my road, which always comes sooner than I expect.  It’s time to stop falling asleep.

Take My Yoke Upon You

In the two weeks since my last blog, it’s like I was going through some sort of test to make sure I really meant all the things I wrote.  It was fun, let me tell you.

Everybody had a thing.  Everybody.  Michael lost it due to excitement stress, full moon, and who knows what else.  Gabriel uttered the magic words “my tummy hurts” (he just finished a round of treatment for Bartonella which among other things had inflamed his stomach), William suddenly lapsed into major abdominal pain like he hadn’t experienced for over a year (as in waking up in the middle of the night screaming hysterically for long periods of time), and Caleb grew two teeth.  Oh and don’t forget we had Thanksgiving and two birthdays.

I wanted to slip back into my old ways and figure everything out, and I did  do a bit of work helping my people.  I’m Mommy, it’s what I have to do.  But it was different this time.  Even if I could do nothing else but deal with crises while chanting “God, I’m putting You first” under my breath, I tried to keep my focus on Him.  I told Him I was going to trust Him and stay in His peace whether or not my kids got better.

It was blessedly different.  Usually I get angry and frustrated because I feel like I’m losing control of everything.  By telling God it was all in His hands and relinquishing control up front, I didn’t have anything to get mad over.  And He took care of stuff.  Not everything got better, but some things did.  Miracles happened, like same-day and next-day visits were available at our doctors so we could take care of William’s pain.  Gabriel’s hurting stomach was just his way of telling me he was hungry (that kid must be in a growth spurt or something, I hear “Mommy, my tummy’s hungry” about every 20 minutes), and Michael’s unwinding slowly.  Stuff’s not great, but I’m OK, and I’m trying to keep my focus where it belongs.  Every day’s different right now, some are hard, some are a little easier, and I’m still practicing my walk, but I’m starting to understand when Jesus said,

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

It’s true.  While all the drama around me is mostly the same, it’s just a little bit easier to carry.  There’s rest and peace for the soul.

It’s just what this mama needed. 🙂

On Fighting And Letting Go

I just realized it’s nearly been a year since I last put up a post.  I’d say I don’t have enough energy to blog while I’m pregnant, except our little Caleb is now 6 months old, so I’m not sure that’s a valid excuse anymore.

It’s been an interesting year.  We’re constantly riding out ups and downs.  Very high ups and very low downs.  Everything happens in extremes around here.

I want to share something that I learned earlier this year, just before Caleb was born.  Spring was a very dark time for me.  I was in my final trimester, huge, pregnant, and in a lot of pain.  Psychologically I was a mess as well.  Not only did the end of my pregnancy seem so very far away, but Michael was not in a good place.  He had lost all of his self-control and had zero self-regulation whatsoever.  The result was a child who screamed, kicked, punched, and had meltdown after meltdown ALL DAY, EVERY DAY.  I would be down on the floor with my gigantic belly, wrestling with him to keep him from hurting someone, carrying him kicking and screaming to his bed so he could calm down.

It was hell.  I was so miserable, I just wanted everything to be different.  I wanted a child who wasn’t violent.  I wanted to not be pregnant, to not be in pain every moment of the day.  I wanted to not have to care for three very demanding boys.  It didn’t help that my husband was at the climax of a major project at work and was required to work several weekends in a row.  I felt like we didn’t see him for almost my entire 8th month of pregnancy.  I was really desperate for a change.  I researched and researched and tried to find answers for Michael’s behavior.  I spent hours in front of the computer, hours fighting with him, hours struggling emotionally and mentally.  I began to despair when potential problems were ruled out by his doctor.  I really began to sink into a depression.

At that time, I was so busy trying to fix our home life that I just couldn’t be still and wait on the Lord.  Every time a problem cropped up, I didn’t turn it into a prayer, I turned it into a research project.  I was going to find a problem that I could fix!  I just needed to be able to make things better.  God had been gently reminding me through various means that I needed to put Him first, but I just couldn’t figure out what that looked like when it seemed like my little guys were tearing the house down right on top of us.

In my mothers’ Bible study and support group, a mom spoke about how she had searched for two years for a cure for her daughter’s condition and things didn’t get better until she just told the Lord she was done searching and would leave her daughter in His hands.  At first, I just disregarded her story.  It sounded like the attitude of someone who had given up.  How could a mother stop fighting, stop pushing for the well-being of her child?  I couldn’t see how I was being consumed by the fight for my children’s health, that it was actually an idol in my life.  It was pulling me away from God.

I hit rock bottom a few weeks later.  I had exhausted all my avenues of research.  I had hit a dead end everywhere I looked.  Michael was just as out of control as he ever was, and I had burnt myself out in my search to help him.  I finally threw myself at God.  I told Him I was done.  I was done struggling and fighting because I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I was too tired.  I repented for not turning to Him first in my time of trouble.  I asked Him to show me what putting Him first in my life looked like.  And I asked Him to give me the grace to accept Michael’s health, no matter what it was.

I spent the next few weeks focusing on God instead of on my kids’ issues.  I tried to put Him first in my day and keep Him in the forefront of my mind at all times.  It was hard, it was discipline.  It was new to me, but I prayed and asked God to give me the strength and show me how.

And then it happened.  Michael calmed down.  For no earthly explainable reason.  Weeks before Caleb was born, Michael became a different child.  He found his self-regulation again.  The violence was over.  I didn’t have to wrestle and restrain him or shield my belly from his attacks.  It really blew my mind.  God had used the situation to draw me to Him, and it was only my own blindness that made the trial last as long as it did.

I still get distracted.  Discipline is hard, it’s not very much fun.  But I’ve learned.  I sometimes fall back, but I’m quicker to recover and run back to Jesus now.  I’m learning to walk the fine line of fighting for my children, doing the hard work but still putting the final result in the Lord’s hands.

The holiday season is always a test for me.  There’s a lot more going on that usual, and it is my prayer that I keep my focus where it belongs.  And then let God handle the rest.

Since it’s been a year, I clearly owe everyone some pictures!

Me and my crew.  They’re why I do what I do.


Nate has just been the most incredible, supportive husband.  He’s wonderful with the kids, and more importantly, he’s never stops patiently loving me, no matter how crazy my drama gets.  The boys just LOVE him.

Our little Caleb joined us in May.  I will admit I was terrified at first that we’d see some of the same issues we had with our other boys, but this little guy has just been terrific.  He has the sweetest disposition, and HE SLEEPS!!  He’s seriously the first baby we had that sleeps.  He’s healthy so far, and super fun.  The older boys love him.  I haven’t seen any jealousy at all, for which I am grateful.  It seems like he’s going to fit in just fine.

I’m still figuring out what life with four kids and homeschooling looks like, so I don’t know how often I will update my blog, but I like to think it’ll be more than once a year.  We’ll see! 🙂

How We Survived The Holidays

Like many parents of special needs children, I found myself starting to worry about and even dread the holiday season this year.  If last year’s disaster was any indication of how December 2014 was going to be, I knew I was going to be in for an awful ride.  Just to make things more interesting, in addition to Thanksgiving and Christmas, our family has five birthdays (including Michael’s) in the last six weeks of the calendar year.  Because, you know, breaking routine and adding lots of excitement and parties to life is just what every autistic kid needs to remain stable.

Last year was the first time Michael was really aware of his birthday, so we built up the anticipation and went all out.  He got an Iron Man/Avengers themed affair and dictated what kind of cake and presents he wanted.  He was SO excited about it that he was sick for two months afterwards.  Then we went away for three days at Christmas where he was up all night in families’ homes and hotels.  January was hell.  It took him weeks to return to normal.

Then I’m a wild card too.  I love my family’s traditions, and I try to hang on to them as best as I can.  I love Christmas and the special family times and memories.  I really do enjoy it.  But hosting Thanksgiving and three birthday parties, taking the family away for Christmas, and thinking about purchasing presents for nineteen immediate family members (let’s not forget those birthdays too!) can really make my ADD go into overdrive.  I find myself running around without a plan and not in a good frame of mind to provide Michael with the stable environment and routine that he needs.

I was determined that this year was going to be different.  I learned a few lessons from last year and was ready to make some changes while keeping as much as I could about what I loved from the holidays.  Here are the changes we implemented.

  • We did not talk about Michael’s birthday at all unless he brought it up.  I did not mention a party or presents or anything.  He knew the day was coming up because he has a calendar on his wall with special events written on it.  (He’s been doggedly crossing off all 280 days on it so he knows when the new baby is coming.)  He requested some presents but I made no promises and downplayed everything.
  • The day of his birthday we did not throw a party.  Members of the family came and visited in groups of twos and threes, staggered throughout the day, and did not stay more than 20 or 30 minutes, which is Michael’s limit.  We had the whole day planned out, kept him busy, transitioned him from activity to activity, but kept things calm and low key as well.  There was no huge excitement, cake event, or momentous occasions.  He turned down offers of singing happy birthday and hugs and was very happy with all his new birthday presents.  He never got overly stimulated and the whole day was a happy and stress free affair for him.  Again, we did not talk about birthdays or parties afterward.

The birthday boy gets some cake.

11-30-14 Michael Cake

Icing cupcakes he made himself to give to his guests.


Receiving a toy NASA shuttle that once belonged to his mommy and uncle.


Getting help from Daddy to assemble a Lego shuttle and launch pad (see a pattern?).


Getting a Toothless action figure at bed time (the one gift he had been begging for).


  • Michael had very limited access to the other birthday parties we hosted at our home.  With six adults and nine children celebrating, the place gets pretty full and noisy, and Michael finds it hard getting alone time in his usual escape places.  Instead, he got to go out and have one on one time with a grandparent from the other side of the family for several hours while the party was going on at our place, and he would join us just for the last 30 minutes or so.  He wasn’t deprived of celebrating with the birthday person, but he wasn’t forced to deal with more than he could handle either.  He would usually come back in time to give his birthday present, eat some cake, and see the family for a few minutes.  It really worked out for him, and he wasn’t totally wired when everyone left either.  This was a really big win for us, something we are definitely going to repeat.
  • I kept up my routine for as long as I could.  Michael had lots of new toys, particularly Legos from his birthday, that kept him busy.  We did our morning homeschooling and afternoon movies.  I didn’t talk about upcoming events until the day of and tried to keep things normal and boring as much as possible.  He totally thrived.  I lost it the week before Christmas as I went nuts with last minute preparations, mostly leaving the children to their own devices, and I noticed his behavior declined in that time, but all in all, I gave him as much stability as I could, and he really rose to the occasion and kept it together.
  • We ended up not traveling this year.  The decision was mostly made by Nate’s job that required him to be local, and I was really bummed about missing out on my annual visit with extended family, but I could not deny that it was really the best move for the kids.  They just don’t sleep away from home and their behavior quickly spirals out of control as their sleep deprivation increases.  We spent a few hours visiting with family on Christmas day and quickly took the kids home as soon as they crashed around nap time.  They’ve been home in their beds every night and getting afternoon naps and it’s really kept things even keeled.

My only major slip up this year was I left a broken bottle of red food dye on the back of my counter on THE DAY OF CHRISTMAS EVE NO LESS and Michael got into it while I was out doing errands and he was home with a sitter.  The stuff leaked into his skin and he got a bad reaction, the same as if he ate some, and got out of control with his sensory seeking behavior (we got NO sleep that night).  Usually stuff like that lasts 48 to 72 hours, but with the use of some of our alternative medicine treatments, the reaction was substantially minimized and only lasted about a day.  I really considered myself lucky there.  He did very well Christmas Day while we were out visiting (again, new Lego set kept him quiet, happy, and busy).

Now I’m trying to catch my breath from the whole month of December (and catch up with the laundry, the dishes, the routine, etc.), but Michael has coasted through beautifully.  I’m so pleased.  It’s like the opposite of last year.  It was very hard work for me and Nate, trying to anticipate and plan for every little event that might upset his equilibrium but it was totally worth it.  We definitely learned what worked for us in terms of keeping things calm and easy for the kids to handle.  And we were still able to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas and spend time with family as well, which was very important to me and my years of tradition.

I’m so grateful for how things went, and hopeful about having enjoyable, peaceful holiday seasons in the future.  Here’s hoping you all had wonderful Christmases yourselves, and may you enjoy a fantastic New Year!

christmas cover photo

Moving From Fear to Faith

I’d been living in so much fear the last few months, it really wasn’t pretty.  I knew it was the wrong way to approach life, but I just wasn’t sure how to change.

The inadequacies of Michael’s and my situation just seemed to face me everywhere I turned around.  He wasn’t doing well in school, and I was afraid that the school district would start to harass us as a homeschooling family.  His physiological situation wasn’t improving, which meant he wasn’t getting physical control of himself and moving through his remediation program, and I was afraid that he was just never going to improve (it hasn’t been our greatest year for that).  I had been so awfully bogged down with my first trimester in the fatigue and nausea, I was afraid Michael was losing critical time with homeschooling and therapy.  I was just so afraid that this year was setting us back in so many ways.  Everything I could see going on around me didn’t promise much hope for the future.

It’s a terrible way to approach your kids, doing things only out of fear.  Expecting the worst of the future every time you think of it.  I wanted to stop, and yet I couldn’t pull myself out of it.

A few weeks ago, God sent me a pretty strong and encouraging message to get me looking at Him again.  Our pastor preached from 2 Kings 6, the story of when an enemy king was coming to get Elisha and surrounded the city with his army.  Elisha’s servant saw the siege and was afraid of what was coming next.  Elisha prayed that God would open his servant’s eyes, and the servant then saw the heavenly army there too, just waiting to protect them.  Pastor called it facts versus truth.  Yes, there are some pretty serious facts about our situation.  Maybe there’s an earthly army surrounding us, maybe we’re sick, or our kid’s situation isn’t improving.  We’re not making stuff up, and it’s a reality we have to live in.  But it’s not the truth of our situation.  The truth is, no matter what we’re facing, God is not only greater than it, but present in it as well, working His miracles and purpose through it, if only we could see with eyes of faith.

I think I cried through the whole sermon.  I’d stopped looking to God to speak His truth into my circumstances and was paying attention only to what I could see with my human eyes.  I was literally clinging to worst case scenarios in my mind on a daily basis, and it was time to let that go and remember all the things that God has promised me about my family and all the things He has done for us in the past.

Our situation’s not vastly different, but there have been rays of hope throughout.  Michael’s still not doing well right now, but the calmer, more attentive him did break through for a few days and prove that he has been learning some of the things he’s been taught in homeschool and is making some good, slow progress.  He was able to relate in a few therapy programs, even if only for minutes at a time.  A meeting that I had been dreading with the school district actually went well and ended positively.  While a nasty sinus infection followed on the heels of my morning sickness, I had a couple of days where I managed the household and started to catch up on things and actually parent from my feet again and not from the sofa.

It all culminated this weekend.  Nate had an accident with a power tool that injured his hand and rendered it pretty useless for the next few days.  A few hours later, William fell from a chair and couldn’t walk.  As I was driving him to the ER, my brain was starting to spin down that worst case scenario road again.  Here we were, entering the holiday season, which I love but always brings lots of extra work and effort, and I was going to be pregnant, tired, and carrying around a baby with a casted, broken foot until January.  I could feel myself tensing up, blaming myself for the accident, and playing the if-only game, when I could feel God just stop me.  He reminded me that nothing that had happened this day had caught Him by surprise, that He had provided and cared for us in difficult times before and was certainly capable of doing so again.  Knowing that, and knowing that friends and family were praying for us and already offering help and support brought me peace, and as usual, God provided.

William got a clean bill of health, and with the aid of some painkillers started running around like nothing happened.  While Nate’s hand has been very sore, it seems to be on the mend as well.  My family came together yesterday at a birthday party in our home and helped us through all the household chores that Nate and I just couldn’t do between all the injuries and sickness.  I felt so blessed.  God keeps reminding me over and over again that He knows my situation and can handle it.

It’s a good reminder to have at this time.  As those of you with special needs kids know, this time of year is never easy.  All the breaks from routine and excitement from the holidays can be disorienting and overstimulating, bringing everything from meltdowns to regression.  I hated that I was starting to dread my favorite time of year.  But armed with some great tips from Michael’s therapist, and the proof that God indeed is getting us through all our things, big and small, I’m able to let go of a lot of the fear and try to let Him work through us and our situation.


A Change In Plans

Nate and I had ended the summer thinking that we would focus our energies on homeschooling this fall and working Michael’s RDI program.  I was going to learn how to cope with my increased ADD symptoms.  I had very high hopes for lots of change.

Well, it came.  Michael suddenly regressed again, pretty severely.  Oh, and Nate and I got a little surprise.  Turned out I was pregnant.

Soooo, September and October ended up looking very differently than originally intended.  My first trimesters are always fairly brutal, and I spent two months on the sofa watching Michael spiral out of control and barely had the strength to deal with it.  It was a pretty dark time for me.  I felt very helpless to do anything about his situation and a bit like a negligent parent in that I could not provide the structure and routine at home he so obviously needed.  Feeling nauseous and exhausted 24/7 wasn’t really helping my outlook either.

In hindsight, I can see God was still taking good care of us and walking with us.  As usual, our family stepped up to the plate and gave us invaluable assistance.  God also put us on the hearts of some church people as well, and suddenly we had food and help at a time when I could do almost nothing.  He encouraged me along the way through various people and gave me the words I needed to hear to persevere.  We got some answers to Michael’s health picture, and he began to stabilize.  He still has a way to go, but at least we’re moving in the right direction again.

At twelve weeks pregnant, I’m finally starting to feel better.  I can do things!  Michael’s getting a more focused homeschooling program, and my house isn’t a complete disaster.  The kids are eating real food instead of cereal.  Nate and I are totally thrilled at the prospect of another baby joining us soon, we’d been considering another addition in the future anyway.  Things are still tough, but improving, and God’s hand and encouragement has been everything.

It’s been awhile since the last post, so here are some pictures of my beautiful babies!

Gabriel is doing fantastically.  He has a very intense therapy schedule this fall (six sessions a week!), but he’s showing vast improvement.  His speech is intelligible most of the time, and the OT work has improved his coordination by leaps and bounds.  His special instructor is working on his ability to process information and follow directions, and he is showing progress there as well.  I feel like he may not need therapy much longer.


I absolutely cannot resist this face.  William is the welcome wagon at our house and always runs to the door with enthusiastic greetings for whoever comes.  He is developing by leaps and bounds.  His vocabulary is impressive and his relational skills are just plain fun.  God was good, and after an acupuncture session, his liver issues seem to have been taken care of, and he is no longer in constant abdominal pain.  Of course, he’s making up for that by growing four teeth in right now, but he’s a trooper about it and completely adorable at the same time.


Michael is into all things rocket science right now.  He can’t really read (I’m beginning to suspect we might be dealing with some sort of visual processing problems) and numbers still seem kind of abstract to him, but he is always happy to lecture on shuttles with rocket boosters and fuel tanks.  We watch lots of documentaries online about NASA (thank God for the internet), and it’s something fun we can do together as rocket science was one of my interests in college.  We do many outer space themed homeschooling lessons, it’s a great way to keep his attention.


I was just thinking of the chorus to Tindley’s’ hymn “Beams of Heaven”.

“I do not know how long ’twill be,
nor what the future holds for me,
but this I know: if Jesus leads me,
I shall get home someday.”

We’re gonna get there.  Somehow and someway.

I’ll try not to stay away so long this time.  Happy Thursday to you all!

P.S.  Shameless plug here:  Nate started writing a blog recently about what it’s like to be a dad with special needs kids.  It’s aimed at fathers, to encourage them to stay the course.  Here’s the link!  Not A Curse

Climbing Out

August was not a fun month.  Both Michael and I crashed spectacularly, and I lost my ability to do just about everything, let alone write.  I’m not sure why, but my ADD and Asperger’s symptoms kicked in worse than they ever had before.  I was unable to be even remotely productive, I stopped doing laundry and cooking, I lost all my boundaries, and apparently I took the kids with me.  I couldn’t sleep regularly anymore, I couldn’t think, everything was just a big massive overwhelming and unidentifiable feeling, and I even started having meltdowns and stimming pretty regularly, something I’ve never done before in my life.

Just to make things fun, Michael’s brain went into left-spin, and he lost all the progress we had made up until July.  Back came all the compulsory and sensory-seeking behavior.  I was devastated because as you could see from my last post, we had finally come to a point where we could start the autism remediation program.  The kids ran wild, and the only method I had to keep them from seriously injuring one another was to host one great, big, month-long movie marathon, which probably incited the situation more than it helped.

Nate has been an absolute super-hero during this time, never complaining or criticizing, and stepping in to help where I just couldn’t make it.  I’m so incredibly grateful to him and the other members of our family and our kids’ therapy team who non-judgementally came to my aid.

I’ve come to realize it’s time for me to put aside a lot of what I’ve been doing for my kids and help me right now.  I’m going to be looking into the best ways on how to do that.  In the meantime, a wonderful lady in our lives had mercy on us and gave Michael and me a powerful, alternative-medicine ADD/brain treatment over the weekend, and things have been looking up for the both of us.  It’s going to be a long climb out of this mess, but a lot of my mental sluggishness and ambiguity is gone, and I feel like I’m slowly making progress back to the land of the living.  Michael too is showing signs of improvement, and I feel like when I’m in a good place, it’s easier for him to feel comfortable and safe and understand his boundaries.

So August was horrible, but I’m ready to put it behind me, and I’m feeling more hopeful about September.  We’ve been homeschooling a bit, and Michael’s finally showing a bit of interest in learning some new things.  There’s a big stack of books waiting for him at the library.  I’m starting to schedule my days a little better and I finally have the fall therapies for Gabriel in place, so I don’t have to worry about a lot of things anymore.

To end on a good note, it took me WAY longer than I thought it would, but I finally finished Michael’s weighted blanket.  I think it’s helping him, and some days it’s really helped ME.

Finished Weighted Blanket

Thank you to all who’ve been walking with me and praying for us.  I’ll try not to stay away so long this time. 🙂


Some Totally Awesome and Amazing Stuff

I have some amazing news I have to share with you all!  Nate and I visited with Michael’s RDI therapist last night, and she feels that he has made enough progress that he is actually ready to start the RDI program.  I am so excited!!  It took about nine months of persistence to get Nate and me ready, the family and house ready, and Michael ready.  We had to learn to be in a good mental place ourselves, and we had to teach Michael some self-control so he could be ready to learn.  But after almost a year, we’ve finally made it to the starting line.

It’s been tough, but Michael’s outbursts are growing fewer and shorter.  He has a lot more physical control over his body, and I feel like I have a better understanding of how to handle him.  Now we move on to the relationship building aspect of RDI (Relationship Development Intervention).  We couldn’t before because just sitting next to Michael usually meant you were going to get kicked in the ribs or punched in the face.

We’re going to start with some exercises that will condition his ability to maintain a role in a relationship.  For example, we’ll play a game together.  It will be a ridiculously simple game, one he could have completed on his own when he was two.  But the point is that I will have a job and he will have a job, and he has to do his job and he can’t do my job.  And that will be hard for him because his autism makes him want to control everything, and his ADD makes him want to compulsively and instantly do everything that appeals to him.

So persistence, persistence.  I’ve been told this takes years.  But I’m still incredibly excited.

And here is another thing that makes me happy.  Here is the first picture ever in the history of the world when all three of my children simultaneously looked at the camera and smiled.  Happiness right now. 🙂

3 boys July

Love to you all!

Hustling Project

Good morning!  Just wanted to let you all know we’re doing fine over here.  It’s been quite busy the last few days, but good stuff for the most part.

I’ve stopped writing in the mornings temporarily because I’ve taken up a new project.  Michael’s had trouble sleeping at night.  The heavy quilt he sleeps under is too hot for the summer time.  He takes off the quilt because he’s hot, but then he can’t sleep because there’s no pressure on his body either.  So we’ve determined that he needs a non-hot weighted blanket, which I am now making him.  A few months ago, I had purchased material to make him a quilt, but now instead of putting quilt batting between the layers, I’m filling it with poly beads.  It will make the blanket heavy, but not really all that hot.  I’m excited, I hope it works, and he’s excited because it has Lightning McQueens all over it. 🙂

Here’s a peak.


Anyway, I’m spending about an hour every morning on it before the kids wake up.  I’m trying to knock it off as fast as I can, I’m hoping it’ll help him sleep better.  He’s still not falling asleep till after 10PM at nights.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this blanket will help.

I”ll keep you posted!  Have a fabulous week!

My Billboard

God either has a sense of humor, or he knows that I can’t pick up on subtle and need a big old billboard sized sign that he’s got things covered.  The day after my big meltdown, I saw this:


Michael was trying to each Gabriel words from the vocabulary cards!!

I sometimes joke that I live with schizophrenics because of the extreme ups and downs the boys go through in short periods of time, but I needed to see this, a reminder of how far we’ve come.  Michael’s therapist is very pleased at the progress he is making and feels that he may soon be ready to begin the actual therapy, now that he is starting to understand physical control over his own body.  While he still may flail and act out, it’s not as often as it used to be, and he now has times when he can calm himself without any more assistance than a verbal reminder.  He does seem to genuinely try to connect with others every now and then, though it’s still in a very controlling and autistic way.  I’m looking forward to seeing some of the RDI progress, watching him learn to work with and learn from others.

And just to make sure life didn’t get boring, I think Gabriel’s starting to potty-train himself.  Should make for an interesting few weeks!  I’ll just keep repeating my mantra: God is good, and he’s up to something.

Happy Thursday! 🙂