Saturday, April 28, 2012

Get out of my room!

Recently my husband and I decided to take a few minutes a week and spend some extra time (one-on-one) with our children. We have three kids, so I thought this would be good for us. So, we picked a day for each child and they get to spend some time with us. They also get to pick what we do during that time.

Last night was Rhys' turn. I knew he wouldn't really understand what we were doing, but I thought he'd enjoy the time with us. I was wrong! You don't mess with an autistic child's schedule! When the other children were getting ready for bed, we tried to explain to him that he can stay up and spend some time with mom and dad. He looked terribly confused and said "No".

We saw this happening, in a way, but we always try to push Rhys outside of his box a bit. I think that's good for him. So, I go upstairs and start getting him ready for bed. The husband and I decide to try to read him a book while he's in bed or something. We sat on his bed with him and he doesn't like this. He keeps telling us to get out of his room and to move. He just didn't understand why we were there. We just kind of laughed and decided to let him be.

I'm sure there is some way that Rhys will enjoy time with us. We are just going to have to be creative. He loves to be outdoors, so maybe we could go outside. He can't say no to that! There is something that breaks a mom's heart when her baby tells her to leave him alone. This is something a lot of parents of an autistic child go through. I get sad for a minute, but I realize there are moments when he wants to sit and cuddle with me throughout the day. Those are our moments and I will never take them for granted.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Potty Training

It has been a struggle to potty train Rhys. He is now five and we are still struggling with this. It took maybe a week to potty train my other children so this is new for me. We have come a long way though.

In the beginning Rhys was afraid to go in the bathroom to use the potty. It probably took him from age 3 to 4 to get used to sitting on the toilet. At school they really started pushing him to use the potty this year. From what I've heard, he goes when they take him. He only does number 1, no number 2 yet. At home, he will reluctantly go when we take him.

I know he knows what he is supposed to do. He is very smart. He is also very stubborn and seems to be giving us a hard time because he just doesn't want to go to the potty. I have tried putting him in "big boy undies", giving him rewards like a skittle, and letting him sit and read his favorite books. Nothing seems to help for more than a few days.

I would like to get to the point where he can tell me he needs to go instead of me taking him every hour or so. There have been exciting moments where he will just get up and go by himself out of nowhere just to have it all go back to the beginning the next day. He starts kindergarten next year and I really hope to make some huge improvements over the summer. Please let me know your tips! Thanks.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Walk for Autism

My family went to the autism walk that was in our area yesterday! Each year the turn out gets better and better. It was really cold here yesterday, but we still had friends that woke up early and walked with us. They played upbeat music to help I mean pump us up! We probably walked around the track up to ten times when the kids were burnt out and wanted to see the jump houses they had set up for them. There were booths with all sorts of autism related information. My son's aba therapist was there sharing information on how therapy helps children on the spectrum. They had popcorn and snowcones (which should have been hot chocolate!) there for all to enjoy. In the words of one of my friends, it felt like the paparazzi was there. We had so many photos of us taken it was crazy! It was great to see our community come out and raise awareness for autism. This disorder is so puzzling and hopefully one day we'll figure it out!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sandy J Family Fun: Walk for a Cause

Sandy J Family Fun: Walk for a Cause:    This weekend my family and I will be participating in a Walk for Autism. This cause is close to our hearts because our youngest son ha...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shhh… We Can Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies : Baseguide

Great article for those picky eaters!

Shhh… We Can Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies : Baseguide

They are braver than I am!

     I don't know if it's my age, but I have become a big chicken. I have always been afraid of some things like roller coasters or wasps. Now that I am older, it seems I am afraid of way too much! I've realized that I need to lighten up a bit. We went to a lake this weekend and here's our story.

     We went down to a lake that they have here on post. I have always loved being outdoors and adventurous. I think I inherited that from my father. When we went to this lake I found myself frozen in fear. There was a small duck pond that was separated from the lake by a large cement wall. This wall (that my husband just had to climb up) seemed harmless at first. It was very steep but we all made it up. At the top it was very pretty. There were views of the lake, waterfalls, and all the families fishing down below. You would think I would enjoy it! NOPE! I was frozen by how high I was. It really wasn't that high at all, but enough for me. All I could think to myself was how I've climbed mountains in Arizona like it was a habit, and now I can't climb a silly wall! All the while my kids are running up and down the wall and getting way to close to the edge for my comfort. They most certainly thought I was no fun! My husband looked at me like I was an alien.

    When my family was done exploring the waterfalls it was time to walk down the wall. I listened to my husband who said "walk at an angle" and I made it down without falling! Wheww! We went down to the duck pond to let the kids put their feet in. All I could think was "what if they fall in... I heard on the news about these brain eating creatures in dirty water...". They didn't fall in, and they had fun. We found turtles, craw fish, and these really pretty dragonflies. All in all, it was a great day. I look back and think how much greater it could have been had I not been so worried and had just taken in all the beauty of this day with my family. So, I make a promise to myself remember to follow this great Bible verse for the rest of my life.
For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgement.
                                                                                                    2 Timothy 1:7

Friday, April 13, 2012

Eating fruity

          It is so hard to get my boy to eat! All he wants to eat is bread, cheese, and baked beans! We have him drinking Pediasure to help him get good nutrition. I wanted to share something I tried by accident and turned out well! I wanted to make some gluten free chocolate chip cookies for the kid's after school snack. I was mixing all of the ingredients and realized I had no eggs. I am not an expert in the kitchen at all so I tried to look up egg substitutes online. I found that you can use half a banana for one egg or a bit of applesauce. So, I chose the banana. The cookies turned out great! Rhys ate them and he hardly ever will eat a banana! I realized I could probably mix all kinds of things into a cookie recipe to get Rhys to eat fruit and veggies. I'm going to have to brainstorm! I know there is a book for ideas like this. I need to find it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bouncy House Meltdown

      Meltdowns are very common in this house. Our Rhys bear will have them usually everyday and usually with no warning at all! You never know what is going to set them off, and when you think you have it figured out, it changes. Stuffed animals with "weird eyes", reversing in a vehicle, a broken tile on a ceiling, drains on the street,  movie theatres, and shower nozzles are all things that have frightened him or sent him into meltdown status. Meanwhile, things that bother his brother and sister, like bees and scary movies, don't bother him at all!
      The most recent meltdown was a bouncy house. He has always LOVED bouncy houses. We did not see this coming. He went down the slide in the house of terrors and it didn't end there. I think he thought it should have ended right there. Unfortunately, there were a few more obstacles ahead. He had to climb up and go down one more slide while still inside. Nope, he wasn't having it. He froze and proceeded to scream "HELP ME, HELP ME". Yes, people were staring, as they normally do. Meltdowns seem to find a lot of attention from close minded people. Every now and then you get that sympathetic look of "I've been there". Somehow that can always be comforting and I try to do that for other frantic parents. Anyway, I'll get back to the house of terrors. Big brave daddy came to the rescue by climbing up the slide he refused to go down and pulling him up as if it were a rescue mission. He was saved! Poor guy.
     For most autistic kids it doesn't end there though. No, that would be too easy :) Now the bouncy house is a sign of anxiety and fear in Rhys' eyes. Anytime he sees one he will become a different person in a matter of seconds. He will cling to you like his life depends on it and he will watch it out of the corner of his eye as if it were going to attack him. I've noticed with Rhys that a new meltdown motive will only last a few months to a year and he will outgrow them. The new ones will then arise out of nowhere catching mom and dad off guard. Some people may be reading this and thinking, "wow, that seems like a lot of work." I think it makes life interesting. My husband and I have become very good at staying calm during these episodes and finding the humor in it all. You will often find us joking around and trying to make Rhys laugh when he is throwing a fit. This is our life, and we love it!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Finding the right toys for autistic children

Even as a parent, it can be tough to come up with what toys to buy your autistic child. There have been many purchases we have made over the years that are pretty much never touched by our Rhys. One thing that never fails with him are blocks. You can only have so many blocks! So, here's a great article I found on finding the right toys for the autistic child in your life!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Care package ideas

Here are some of my favorite care package ideas...

-Pictures (you, kids, house, anything familiar)
-Snacks such as chips, tuna packets, granola bars, nuts, beef jerky
-favorite magazines
-cologne, deodorant, lotions that they love, hair gel
-drawings/ letters from you kids or kids you know
-baked cookies (seal up well in tupperware with clear plastic wrap)
-stress relief balls and other fun gadgets ( I loved to get them from
-Sea monkeys (this one makes them smile. They don't make it home though so don't send them if you'll feel bad for the little things!)
-small fleece blankets (team logo's are great for this)
- small rugs or other items to spruce up their room or tent
-movies or tv series they love
-slippers and shower shoes
-nerf footballs
-comic books
-grow your own grass kits
-females love flower growing kits
-inspirational books/cards
-socks (army regs)
-crossword puzzles
-coffee/tea/hot chocolate mix
-reusable cups or mugs
-let your kids pick something fun out at the store and let them send it
-drink mixes such as crystal light
-silly putty
-create your own personalized book at ( I did this and it was a HUGE hit)

I know there are so many more things. Tell me what you would add....


What menus can do for you

I live off of lists, lists, lists. I have to be organized or I get overwhelmed and end up getting nothing done! One list I always make is my family's weekly menu. When I started writing down a weekly menu our grocery bill was cut in half! Not only that, I know what I will be making each evening for dinner so I can prepare accordingly. I always love looking at other's menus to get ideas for mine. So, here's my menu for this week! Yes, I'm odd and grocery shop on Thursdays. It is a day that usually has far less people at the commissary. :)

Thurs: Breakfast- Peanut butter toast on whole grain bread/Bananas
            Lunch- cheese/chicken quesadilla/ Sun chips
            Dinner-  Tacos

Fri:      Breakfast- Cereal/grapefruit
            Lunch- Turkey Club sandwich/apple/more Sun chips (LOVE them!)
            Dinner- Pizza night

Sat:      Breakfast- Waffles/eggs
            Lunch- Chicken nuggets/green beans/Bananas
            Dinner- Cheeseburgers/Fries/Baked Beans/Watermelon (cook out)

Sun:     Breakfast- Cinn rolls/grapes
             Lunch- mac n cheese (find a great homemade recipe!)/Peas/Oranges
             Dinner- Spaghetti & meatballs/salad/garlic bread

Mon:    Breakfast- Oatmeal or cereal/blueberries
             Lunch- Classic PB&J/ Bananas/cooked carrots
             Dinner- Baked Chicken/Pasta/Green Beans

Tues:    Breakfast- Pancakes/Strawberries
             Lunch- Spaghetti O's/ Cheese slices/ salad
             Dinner- Grilled Cheese and Tomato/ Soup/Corn

Wed:     Breakfast: Cinn toast/ grapes
              Lunch: Egg salad sandwich
              Dinner: Talapia ( so many great recipes for talapia online)/Sweet potato fries/ broccoli and 


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chance for military families with an autistic child to recieve a free ipad!

Moving again?!

It's that time of year! That time when many military families uproot their lives to settle somewhere else for a few years. My family is PCS'ing the summer and I feel so unprepared! This is our fourth PCS so you'd think I'd be more calm, but no, I'm a wreck! In the past we have always stayed in temporary lodging until we've moved on post or rented a home. This time my husband would like to try to buy a home. We also have pets. Of course for some reason army lodging almost never accepts pets so you have to figure out what to do with them. We have a dog and 3 guinea pigs. I'm crazy, yes. They all must go with us though! They are family :) So, we have to find a place to move into right away. Not only that, we never have the army move us. We do a dity move which means we pack up and move everything ourselves. We make money each time we do this and that is worth it to us. We have a lot of work ahead of us! I am already planning. I make a list of everything that needs to be done and break it down into weeks. I feel better knowing there is a plan. I need plans! In the army there are no plans, everything is last minute. So, I make plans in my personal life as much as possible. Although this move is stressful, it is super exciting at the same time. I can't wait to explore a new area, meet new people, and decorate a new house. Mind numbing but invigorating... that's how I would describe a PCS! The link below is a great resource for those of us with an upcoming pcs move.
 Here I am starting a new blog. I am looking forward to this soooo much! Autism became a part of our lives 3 years ago when our little boy was diagnosed. We knew nothing about it and became quite frightened. We have come such a long way since then. Rhys has autism, yes. I wouldn't change it for the world! That's who he is. He is the calm one in the family believe it or not. Yes, he has his melt downs (as they all do), but he is so mellow and happy. Happy is the word that best describes my boy. That's what you want for you kids... pure happiness!
I also have 2 other children that light up my world. They are in 4th and 2nd grade. They are my precious military brats! All they have known is army life and they seem to love most of it. Which leads me to the other love of my life, my dear husband. We are high school sweethearts and will be married 10 years this September! We've been through a lot, including 2 year long deployments, which have only made our love grow stronger. I am looking forward to inspiring others each day!