A family's story

Posts tagged ‘Holidays’

My Version of a Holiday Letter

Sometimes I would just love to include my version of the House of Hope letter in our Christmas cards…but for fear of alienating our friends and family, I resist. But if I did, I think it would go something like this..

Hi everyone! We hope you are having a great holiday season. This year, we thought it would be so cute to have Tate write the letter, but seeing as how his expressive speech is delayed, we couldn’t get more than, “Ew, diapers” out of him. We tried a second time, and were promptly told to “shoo”. He is now busily vacuuming the family room while watching the kitchen fan spin on “bonky” speed. (That is middle speed for you and I.)

Jake is now in second grade. Can you believe it? Because he is shy, slightly immature, and dealing with some slow processing issues, school is not that easy. He isn’t in any gifted classes or reading above level…but he’s a happy kid who enjoys Angry Birds, Pokemon, and books about animals. We are having him evaluated by the school district to confirm our suspicion of ADHD. Between Tae Kwon Do once a week, swimming lessons, and Cub Scouts, he is pretty busy.

Tate was diagnosed with Autism this year. We saw it coming. Why else would a 5 y.o. be more interested in watching a fan spin than play with kids his age? He is a kindergartener!! I know- crazy, right? He not only goes to school, but does about 15 hours of therapy a week. Tate can print his own name, can last through a birthday party without a meltdown during “Happy Birthday”, and gives hugs and kisses without prompting!! Bonus for us is that he actually has told us he’s scared, appropriately, and he’s learning how to answer “what” and “where” questions with almost 100% accuracy. We are sooo proud of our Tater-Tot.

Cole is 2 going on 8. While we want him to be the baby for a little while longer, he is ready to rock. He is rough and tumble, loves wrestling with his brothers, and loves Mickey Mouse. His expressive and receptive speech are above average! Yay! He can run, skip, jump, and climb like a pro. He’s feeding himself with a fork, and drinks well out of a cup. He is answering questions about the stories we read with 80% accuracy. Kid is smart! He also is sport-obsessed. His favorite sport is baseball.

Hubz is working hard. He avoided more layoffs, and actually got a merit increase for the first time in 3 years!! He is still managing a few people, and he seems to be hanging in there. He has started getting more involved in Jake’s Cub Scout den, which will hopefully motivate Jake to stick with it.

I am still a SAHM…but between therapy, activities, teaching religious ed, and being a shauffer, I am rarely home. I often wonder how we get it all done.

Despite all of this, though, I am actually relatively happy. WE are relatively happy. The kids are healthy, are making progress, and we have each other. There’s something about listening to them laugh together that lets hubz and I know that they are ok. We are ok. We hope 2011 was a good year for you all, and here’s to bigger things in 2012.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and have a Blessed New Year!

Love,
Lisa & the guys

System Overload

The holidays are upon us. This week we celebrate Thanksgiving…and for the next 5 weeks we have the seemingly never-ending barrage of Christmas festivities. Plus we threw in a vacation….to Disney World. (€re we gluttons for punishment?!)

Many people look forward to all of the excitement and revelry. For me, for our family?? It’s a mixed bag…we love the idea of spending time with others, throwing schedules to the wind, eating foods we typically don’t serve, and the excitement. But it takes a lot to make it through these weeks with our sanity intact.

Anyone with children knows that holiday celebrations are a bit taxing…Throw in a child with Autism…and sensory processing disorder, and you get a major system overload!  Spending time with others? Well, yes…but it becomes a strategy game. Analyzing Tate’s behavior, gauging when it’s time to “say when”. Keeping one step ahead of him..paying attention to his eyes glazing over, staring at ceiling fans…dealing with his insistence to play with the kitchen sink while his brothers and cousins play games in the next room. Redirection. Letting him stim with a pencil, spatula, or butter knife for 5 minutes so he can move forward with the rest of the day. And doing all of this while juggling Jake’s requests for approval and Cole’s antics…

Throwing schedules to the wind used to be glorious. And while I still try to enjoy the lack of appointments and activities to run to, abandoning our routines and schedules in favor of 3 days at grandma & papa’s house, with 11 people and 2 dogs, has me feeling a fraction of Tate’s anxiety. I am always anticipating the next meltdown…intervening and talking Tate through the loose plans for the end of the week. Writing lists of things to pack so we are ready for the down time…trying to come up with some at-home therapies to use when Tate is starting to come undone…

Oh, and the food. My mother-in-law is a great cook. She makes the most delicious turkey and sides. She uses real butter and cream and full-fat cheese. It’s heavenly…but for my picky eaters? *sigh* not so much. And guaranteed, we’ll have at least one incidence of gagging and puking. At.least.one.

Probably the most difficult thing to deal with is Tate’s excitement. He looks forward to seeing his grandparents. He loves his cousins…especially our nephew. He likes the flurry of activity…the busy-ness of it all. But, while he is excited, he still hasn’t mastered coping mechanisms for when things get too loud, too busy, too much. His anxiety ramps up, he starts to lose control, he melts down…and holiday tantrums have a whole life of their own.

This year he has made such progress. Between therapy, medication, and maturity, he has become a different kid. I hope beyond hope that these strides help carry us through the next 5 weeks…or this momma may need a complete system reboot starting on January 1st….

What happened to Thanksgiving?

It’s November 9. I’m hosting a bunco gathering  tomorrow night, and our “theme” is pot-luck. I thought it would be fun to get a few Thanksgiving-themed napkins/plates/table cloth for the evening.

I headed to “The Red Store”…which to the typical American is Target. Oh, how I love Target. Let me count thy ways….but I digress. Thanksgiving. Right…So, I went in looking for something, anything that had some sort of Autumnal/Thanksgiving/Turkey theme. I saw red….I saw green…I saw Santa, and Rudolph…but I’ll be darned if I didn’t see ANY type of Thanksgiving party ware.

I walked up and down aisles. I went to the seasonal section. Nope. There was one little side-row of meal-prep items by the groceries…but I don’t need a fat skimmer or turkey lifting hooks. And while I thought the little turkey-shaped gravy boat was kitschy and cute, it was NOT.WHAT.I.NEEDED.

I was about to give up, throwing my arms up in defeat, when I saw it…one tiny little end-cap, in the back of the greeting cards section. Could it be??? Maybe?? I saw burnt orange, and gold, and olive green…and, why, YES!!!! Autumnal- check! Thanksgiving- check! Turkey- check!! I was so excited…I impulsively grabbed a package of napkins that said, “Gobble, Gobble, Gobble”…and on the back, “Until you Wobble.” Ah, America…the land of excess….The napkins totally went in my cart!! I’m a sucker for cute phrases and adorable cartoon turkeys!

I am ecstatic that I found something…and relieved that I didn’t have to go store hopping with my sniffily, boogery 2-year-old. (Because everyone knows that a sniffily, boogery 2-year-old is a TERRIFIC shopping companion…((eye roll)))

But as I loaded my purchases onto the conveyor belt, I began to wonder, what happened to Thanksgiving? It’s wedged between the big consumer-driven “holidays” of Halloween and Christmas. I guess because people don’t deck the halls, walls, bushes, windows, roofs, etc., with crazy lights and inflatables, it doesn’t get its due. Poor Thanksgiving.

I, for one, am a big proponent of Thanksgiving. I think it’s great that our nation sets aside ONE DAY each year that is all about being thankful for what we have. We should be thankful EVERY day, but at least once a year it’s kind of thrust upon us…and we are given the day off, so that doesn’t hurt, either.

The moral of my long-winded story is this…take time, be thankful and for goodness sakes, (big, corporate merchandising gurus), DON’T FORGET THANKSGIVING!!!!

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

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