Friday, December 30, 2011

worth the fight?

It seems there has been more tantrums, more screaming, more kicking. Its hard to know if its part of typical development as a 2 1/2 almost 3 year old, or if it is the autism. Either way, it sucks! He's generally a very happy dude so it makes the rough times such a stark and dark contrast. I know its nothing compared to what some other children and families dealing with ASD go through. Its harder having this my first child too I think. Nothing to compare to. I've been debating going back to the gluten free casein free diet to see if his behaviors improve again. I didn't think it was making a difference but now I wonder. Its just such a huge commitment of time, lifestyle change and money. We still attempt to eliminate dairy products, but we've been lax on that the past month and I'm also wondering if that is the problem. I reintroduced gluten first a few months ago and saw no difference, but then this past month has been harder and that is when we got relaxed with dairy. He doesn't have tons but he has enough and I've also seen a change in his bowel movements. They've gotten worse, back to the way they were before all of the diet work we did. Ugh! 

Then there's this whole thing about getting pregnant and having another baby. My heart longs for it, you know that. But then today when he was screaming his head off I thought, "What if the next one is just like this... Autistic". What if they scream more than Gav does. What if they have more gut problems and actually have intellectual developmental delays, instead of genius in them like Gav does. What am I fighting for? Another child with autism? Is the monthly challenges of infertility and multiple false starts really worth it?" Maybe the negative pregnancy test earlier this week was a blessing? Could it really be? Seriously, I don't know. I don't know how I'd do it. I know I've been armed with much more information and tools to help with behaviors since starting intervention with G, but you just don't know where on the spectrum the child will fall and what their needs will be. Its scary. Do I take the risk? I read in a newsletter again the new statistics that research is finding-- 19% chance that our second will have autism. The other side of that is 81%, but for some reason when spirits are down and I'm deep in the trenches of working through tantrums all I see is 19 PERCENT! 

Add to all of this the endless number of theories and treatment approaches to autism and its mother load of life challenges and its easy to get overwhelmed. Is this behavioral method really the best thing for G?  I'm sticking to my guns, praying that what I'm doing is actually going to help and not hurt him in the long run. It takes sooooooo much strength to listen to your child scream and to "ignore it" and go on happy as a clam trying to redirect their attention. All I want to do is scream back, to yell, "Shut up!" (and sometimes I do). Oh, and just in case you were wondering, it doesn't help! Duh! Redirection and extinction do help, sometimes it takes a while (probably 5 minutes on average, which seems like an E-T-E-R-N-I-T-Y) before G is back to himself, but I'd say 100% of the time if I do my part to redirect and I don't give up he comes around eventually and his happy little self returns. 

It's quiet now. He didn't want to part with his 18-wheeler for his nap, but he wouldn't go to sleep with it, he just kept talking and playing. I offered a trade, but he lost it. That one wasn't so bad. He must have succumbed to dreamland. Oh how I'm grateful he sleeps well, something most with autism don't do. 

So, I guess I have some more soul searching to do. Definitely some fasting and praying, trusting in the Lord's plan. There isn't much more I guess I can really do than to strengthen my faith and turn the rest over to Him-- Thy will be done. 

The screaming has returned. I spoke too soon. I'm off to comfort the weary.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

on my mind: stand-ins

stand-in (stndn)
1. One who substitutes for an actor while the lights and camera are adjusted or during hazardous action.
2. A substitute.

So I've been thinking. I've been thinking about spiritual stand-ins. During the past year I've experienced a lot of challenges. I've also had friends and family experience challenges. Its part of life. In attempting to understand the "why" of my own personal tragedies I came to learn that if allowed, the Lord has lessons to teach us through these challenges. I've come to realize that these challenges and adversities allow my Savior to take his teaching role in my life and help to mold me spiritually. Learning this has caused me to have more gratitude for challenges (I still have my moments of hating them of course, I'M HUMAN!). I seem to have more faith that I will be able to get through them with my Savior and that I can be a better person because of them. I'll admit that I would have loved to had someone come and sweep me away, out of those miserable moments, those times when I just couldn't take it anymore, when I just couldn't see the light ahead. Shoot I'd love to have all of my challenges taken away this very instant, but I know better--1. that will never happen; 2. I know its for my eternal good!

I'm sure you'll all agree with me, we all want that someone to make everything alright and for all the bad to just go away.

This got me thinking. Do we not as mothers do that for our children? Do we attempt to make all the bad stuff go away? Maybe its how its meant to be, but because of what I've learned about challenges and the Savior's ability to succor and to comfort and all that it has taught me about the atonement and turning to my Savior (because I didn't have someone there to make the bad stuff go away), it causes me to wonder. I wonder whether or not we can actually become stand-in's for the Savior when he is the only real source of peace, comfort, and the only one able to save. In our attempts to love and free our children and others from pain and suffering do we actually neglect and lose out on opportunities to teach them of the power of the atonement and to help them develop a relationship with their Savior? Do we attempt to make all of the bad go away and thus rid them of the need for the Savior? Do we prevent circumstances that would otherwise require bended knees and humility before the Lord?

Earlier this year our son received a priesthood blessing just prior to his ADOS evaluation to determine a diagnosis of Autism. In the blessing, the Lord blessed our son that he would be able to use the atonement to rise above challenges. I've thought a lot about that promise and realized my role in helping to teach Gavin the power of the atonement. It wasn't until my adult years that I began to understand the atonement as a source of peace and comfort to pains and sorrows. It had always been viewed as a mechanism for forgiveness of sin. I had never understood the underlying foundation of the atonement, perfect (complete) love.

At the age of 2, Gavin has already had to do many hard things. There have been countless moments when I've wanted to quit it all. I've wanted to just embrace the happy boy that our son is, avoid his challenges, and forget the therapies. He will have even harder things ahead. I sometimes think about the days ahead and fear when his autistic characteristics in his speech and social behavior will turn from cute now, to odd and different which will lead other children to tease him and not want to be his friend. I hope and pray that I fear the worst, but of course I want nothing more than to prevent those moments from ever happening. But, I can't. There will most likely always be noticeable differences and even typically developing children generally always experience social insecurities, bullying, and the likes. Shoot! I was nicknamed "Stacy O'Smell" my freshman year by the boys in biology class and was constantly teased by the girls on my sports teams through high school. Its inevitable. Looking back, I didn't have a parent rushing in to make things better, I didn't even tell my parents, but if I had understood the atonement more and the power of my Savior to help me through those moments, I could have grown from them, instead of becoming more and more insecure and hating high school when it came to social relationships.

Its as if our relationship with the Savior is built on experience after experience of turning to him so that he in turn can come to our aid--"And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities" (Alma 7:12). In this text succor means to "run to". So he has suffered that he might be able to run to us. I love the imagery those words invoke in my mind. I imagine the Savior dropping everything he is doing to attend personally to my needs and rushing to my side. And I know that he does the same for my son as we continually witness miracles in his life during the past year. Each small moment develops and adds to a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ, in His atonement, and in His Gospel.

To realize that even Lehi, a prophet of God, couldn't prevent his sons from dissenting or from the problems they caused Nephi, gives me much perspective about my role as a parent. The Lord doesn't prevent much of life's heartache and sorrow because agency plays such a significant role in His plan of happiness. He understands that it is our agency that allows us to choose to turn to Him and to experience the bitter and the sweet. In electing ourselves stand-in's for the Savior in succoring our children (old and young), they miss out on vital spiritual life lessons.

We have to teach them to believe. They come to earth innocent and full of faith, but the world quickly pollutes that innocence and if we are not there to help them establish from a very young age a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement and help that childlike faith to blossom when they are young, our children will seek happiness in places other than the Savior and His gospel. He will not be their refuge from the storms of life. The prophets and apostles of our time have continuously been promising us that if we will do the "small and simple things" individually and as a family consistently and deliberately, then we will be greatly blessed! Our children will be more prepared to witness for themselves the power of atonement in their times of need and we will have more faith in our Savior and a greater ability to be sensitive to the Holy Ghost and those teaching moments and times when we need to hold off from jumping in to rescue our children and instead help them in opening their arms to the Savior, who will undoubtedly run to their side! Each experience adds to their reservoir of faith and testimony in the reality of the living Savior and prepares them for challenges ahead as they will undoubtedly come.

* Please realize I don't mean that you should allow your toddler child to touch a hot stove or run into a busy street, nor am I saying that we should not attempt to prevent our children from making big mistakes. This is merely a representation of some of my observations of life and relationships, as well as, food for thought and discussion on the significance of the Savior and His atonement in our lives and the lives of our family.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

If you only knew...

Please excuse the extremely long post, but Ryan and I agreed it was important to document this year and everything our family has been through as a sort of family history and reminder of the lessons learned.

After reading a friend's look back at 2011 of her life via blog, I decided to take a look back at what I had posted throughout the year. It being a very challenging year, I wondered how much of it I had actually documented. I wondered what my perspective had been and feelings I'd felt throughout the year that had been softened by perspective and growth. I knew there had been months of silence. The first month, January, I only posted once, here. As I read, I couldn't help but say to myself, "If you only knew then what you would endure this year." I would have never imagined such a year up for myself, but now looking back its been a trying but wonderful year!

January - Gavin received his results from his developmental delay intake and was approved for the intensive early intervention program through Parent Infant Programs (PIP). He started the intensive 5 days a week program the end of January.

We also found out we were finally pregnant with baby #2! We were excited!

February - Gavin was evaluated and approved for Occupational Therapy (OT) once a week to address his gross and fine motor developmental delays and his sensory integration delays.

Our excitement about baby #2 quickly came to a disappointing end when I started experiencing horrific cramping and pain and was diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, go here and here for the details and recovery.

March - Gavin began OT with a wonderful therapist who has come to love G as one of her own children I believe. She has been so good to us! I have prayed that his therapists and interventionists would grow to love him and be inspired to provide the best care they have and she is definitely one of the many answers to those prayers. Gavin also was evaluated for and started Speech Therapy.

He still had no speech, maybe after being prompted he would say single words. I honestly can't remember.

Ryan left for his clinical residency in Austin, Texas for 9 weeks and G and I stayed home. It was a rough start but after the first week it was amazing how much the Lord blessed us. I honestly thrived during that time and was really happy!

April - Ryan was gone. I made 2 trips to Austin to see him and my family took care of G so I could go solo. They ended up being awesome times for us to be together alone and have fun making memories.

Gavin increased speech therapy to 2 days a week instead of one and we reduced intervention to 4 because our schedule was too crazy.

A tender mercy from the Lord occurred and G's nasal problems with speech went away almost overnight and his speech has grown like crazy since that day. We started realizing his receptive language skills were much better than we realized and his expressive has blossomed since then!

May - Ryan came home the end of the month. G was a completely different kid! Miracles happening! Ryan passed the clinical portion and found out he would be able to take his oral exams in November 2011 rather than waiting until October 2012 like we thought. Although exciting this meant he had to get right to work studying after being gone 9 weeks. Another grueling 5 months and then hopefully we'd be done with the diploma portion of McKenzie and all seriously hard schooling for a while (cross my fingers).

June - Job offer resurfaced with Eugene, Oregon PT clinic. Ryan started discussing details and offer. We had a great summer and lots of fun weekends hanging around home and our parents pools. We made one trip to Santa Cruz with G and Ryan's parents. Love that place. It may be our last trip in a while, sad.

July - ? Must have been pretty normal thank goodness!

August - we received the date for G's medical evaluation by Dr. Lisa Benaron - September 13th. I was busy reading books and research articles on autism to get a better understanding about the disorder and to figure out where G was at on the spectrum. I read Dr. Benaron's book before the exam to really wrap my head around it and intellectually and emotionally prepare myself for the diagnosis.

We accepted the job in Oregon and schedule a interview/meeting with the Corporate office in Texas.

September - I turned 30. I'm excited for my 30's! We found out were were pregnant (I took 3 different tests to confirm, even different brands) with baby #3 (#2, attempt #2). I started bleeding and we had blood work done to see if I had miscarried. The day we flew to Texas for our interview for the Oregon job I took a pregnancy test again and it was negative, confirming my fears I had miscarried. We had the interview in Texas and details about the Oregon job that we hadn't be given previously shook us up some and had us worried maybe we'd made the wrong decision (also let me note that Ryan had given notice to his employer which we hadn't planned on doing until after the contract was signed, but circumstance kind of forced it on him. So, when problems seemed to have arisen with the Oregon job I was terrified because we weren't guaranteed his current job here anymore). Then the next day after flying home we had G's autism evaluation and he was diagnosed with classic autism. The worst news being that we had a higher than expected chance of having another child with autism, up to 40% chance depending on how much genetics was playing a part.

We hit rock bottom emotionally, but quickly the Lord picked us up and I felt at peace and true happiness despite how bumpy the road. Within a 5 day period we had found out I was pregnant and then I miscarried, we had to reconsider the job offer in Oregon, G was diagnosed with Autism and we would have to accept that we may very well have another child (or children) with Autism or seek out adoption.

October - Ryan and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary. Every year gets better! Its helps when year 1 was pretty dang rough. We are grateful and laugh about it now!

General Conference was a huge boost for me. I love receiving counsel and words from our prophets and apostles.

For Halloween, Ryan was a volcano, Stacy a Cave Woman and G a dinosaur. G loves volcanoes so Ryan suggested the prehistoric theme.

November - Final push to exam time for Ryan's oral exams for MDT. He traveled to St. Louis, Missouri for the exams. No more studying but now it was full of worrying whether he passed or not with such a low pass rate. The exam wasn't without bumps in the road-- radiator problems on way to airport to fly to test and almost missed his flight. Ryan missed his connecting flight on the way home and had to spend the night in the airport and lucked out getting a another flight the next day (it was Veteran's Day weekend and a Monday) and then had to have the car towed home from the airport in Sacramento.

I remember after this weekend saying to Ryan something like, "I prayed that you'd travel safe and without delay, but I guess my prayers just weren't answered." As I was thinking back about how there were several bumps in the road that seemed so frustrating at the time during this weekend I realized now that although I wanted a seamless weekend for Ryan's travels, if the Lord had granted that then I probably wouldn't have been as grateful or apt to recognize what he did bless me with. Without challenges be them small or large it is so easy to forget the Lord and think that our success is because of our own strength or due to coincidence.

That weekend I was grateful that we had AAA plus and that it was only 93 miles to home instead of over 100 so that it didn't cost us a penny to tow the car home. It made me every so grateful that somehow Ryan's mom was able to find a $350 ticket to get Ryan home after missing his flight rather than the $1000-2000 tickets we were quoted on the phone and initially seeing online. It made me realize that the Lord did in fact know the limit to what we could handle and gave us just enough to humble us and help us turn once more to Him.

I was finally able to put aside my fears and we signed the contract and officially accepted the Oregon job. Since signing the contract all of the anxiety and fear that had taken over me has been gone. It feels so good to have that decision made and to press forward now. Another testament to the power of the Lord's holy priesthood.

Thanksgiving was great and we ran our first 5k. I intended on doing a mix of running and walking but ended up running the entire thing, pushing the double jogger stroller too! I've since started running about 3 miles on at least a weekly basis. It feels so good. I never imagined I'd say that! We agreed to make it a family tradition to do Turkey Trots each year on thanksgiving. We are considering training for a 10k! Eugene is full of races each month of the year! Its a runner's paradise.

December - After just short of a month of waiting on pins and needles, we finally got news that Ryan had passed his oral exams and completed the diploma program. Ryan S. Beck, DPT, Dip.MDT (oh ya!). What a huge blessing from the Lord! The pass rate we had been told was around 50% so this was a HUGE blessing!!!!

If I'd only known.... Honestly I think there is wisdom in NOT knowing. Would I have signed up for the kind of year I had. My first response, NO, HECK NO! But then slowly and surely, the Lord has blessed me with more understanding about who I am and my potential and how all of these challenges are indeed experiences that will be for my good.

This year truly has been a testament to the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the words of his scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. Line upon line, he has given me just enough to challenge me and humble me to turn closer to him. What I didn't detail above is how much my testimony has grown. I have felt it in my life--stronger faith and more willingness to obey. I have more of a desire to share my testimony and express gratitude. I realized that this desire to express it comes in my life when I am living the gospel more fully and when my testimony is growing, but that those desires don't come when I am not actively living the gospel and striving to grow and improve. I have struggled all my life to read my scriptures and this year because of a true gift from the Lord (a very sacred moment in my spiritual lifetime I have no doubt), I have consistently read the Book of Mormon daily for the majority of the year. I read the entire Book of Mormon and have been able to read and spiritually experience for myself the power of that witness and the truth and safety that lies in follow its counsel. I have now more than ever instituted sincere prayer into my life as a result of being humbled and knowing that in order to accept and embrace the world of Autism that I needed the Lord. That challenge turned me even closer to God. It still has to be a conscious decision everyday to keep doing it and to do it with a sincere heart and effort but I have felt the power it has had in my life and I know that true happiness and peace are possible and only come through doing the small and simple things the prophets and Lord have commanded us to do.

In January I posted that the pending news of G's developmental delays was a challenge I didn't know if I could handle. Had I known then all that would actually occur I probably would have totally lost it, but the Lord prepared me throughout the year to be able to faithfully endure and actually grow through the challenges.

My goal as a result of this year is to strive to always remember God and my dependence on him for happiness. The Book of Mormon is a true testament of the joy and happiness that can come through always remembering Christ. It is also a testament to the misery and destruction that will come from forgetting God and relying on our own strength. I choose to remember Christ and to honor the covenants I have made with Him!

And because of what I know now and have experienced this year, I am choosing to continue on to what could be another challenging year but also has the potential to be more beautiful than I can imagine! Faith and hope in the Lord's promised blessings are powerful!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

to the moon and back!

I came across this image on pinterest. G is obsessed with the moon lately. Forever he's had an obsession with the sun, well, not the actual sun but with shapes and images that resemble the sun. If it is circular with lines of any form coming from it, he would exclaim it was a sun. Well, now he is obsessed with looking at the moon and stars. Whenever we are outside or driving in the car at night he can't help but point out the moon and get excited. His favorite song has continuously been "Twinkle, twinkle Little Star". Well, when I saw the image above I thought of him. I decided it'd be perfect in a gallery wall for G's room when we move to Oregon. I couldn't find the original source, so I decided to create my own version. I decided it needed to look like a chalkboard so I googled how to create a chalkboard layer in photoshop elements and here is what I came up with. What do you think? Now to have it printed. The image is 20x20 inches. Its been a while since I've created anything in photoshop. I should give it a go at digital scrapbooking again!

It could still use some tweaks. I'm going to stew over it for a while. Maybe more layers of brush work. I also couldn't find a font I really loved for it. I may have to download some new ones. Hum... That being said I really do love that little dude to the moon and back!

POST EDIT: Here's another go at it based on your feedback and time...

I increased the transparancy of the layers and added an additional layer too. I also toned down the opacity of the words. Better?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


here's my thankful post!

Ten. Ten months! It has been 10 months since G started his early intervention. The method they use is Early Start Denver Model which uses the main components of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy and establishes small piece-by-piece measurable goals for teaching and achievement and relationship based therapy. Gavin has been fortunate enough to have the same interventionist since the beginning. She has been by his side 4 days a week, 2 hours a day for 10 months now. She will forever hold a special place in our hearts when this chapter of G's life comes to an end and he ages out of the early intervention program. I really hope he remembers her. I need to get some pictures of them together. This early intervention has had the most amazing impact on G and on how Ryan and I parent and help Gavin. I sometimes feel like I'm more a therapist than a mother to Gavin, but more often I feel like I am actually having precious moments with my child that I was missing prior to this intervention.

A year ago G wasn't even talking. If prompted enough times verbally and visually he would repeat the word "Keys", but it wasn't natural or spontaneous speech. Now he is speaking 4 word sentences. Tonight he says, "Dada go in gym". Last night when leaving the grocery store we saw a dog in the back of a truck. I pointed out the dog and Gavin said, "Dog in truck. Dog in Blue Truck." Even more precious, today we were playing hide and seek. We were hiding around the couch and I was on hands and knees crawling as fast as I could to get away from him and hide. No bueno on hard wood floors! No bueno! The discomfort and floor burn was worth the giggles and laughs. We were pretending to be airplanes, dancing to Elmo and Sesame Street songs on Pandora. We were pillow jumping off the couch and playing "Tickle Gavin". As soon as I'd stop, he'd want more. He was alive and I was alive as a parent, albeit exhausted from spinning and jumping and dancing around with absurd amounts of energy and animation in my actions and face to help Gavin become more excited and thus motivated to imitate me. Its exhausting and probably slightly embarrassing, but for this little man, I WILL DO ANYTHING!

People games (those that require an adult's interaction in order for the child to play) are highly motivating to Gavin and almost all children with Autism. From the Hanen "More Than Words" class that Ryan and I have been taking we have learned the significance of these games in prompting conversation and language with Gavin and increasing social skills. If you want that kid to make eye contact with you (something he has been significantly lacking) get physical with him or play "where's Gavin" or hide and seek and you won't be able to stop him from looking at you, engaging with you, and verbally asking for more. He comes alive and the tools we have learned from intervention and More Than Words has helped us to extend these moments on and progress them farther. Its a beautiful thing to engage with your child and before all of this, 10 months ago, those moments were few and far between. Everyday, multiple times a day.

While we were playing the song "Fix You" by Coldplay came on Pandora. Its the song that plays with the Autism video I blogged about here. So naturally it reminded me of that video. Moments later I realized all of the healing that has been going on. I realized how much progress G has been making. I'm so in the thick of it and so entrenched in the small little goals that I forget the much bigger ones and how much closer he has come to achieving them. Let me remind you, a year ago he was saying NOTHING he wouldn't look into your eyes for the life of him, not even if you offered him a room full of trucks and chocolate. Now he is a chatter box and is becoming more and more aware of the world and people around him and talking about it. He can tell me what he wants and when he starts to get frustrated and throw a fit I can tell him to use his words and he will 9 out of 10 times stop and tell me what he wants. He says hi to the person standing behind us in line at the store and starts talking to them about his "monster truck, vroom, vroom". Yes, he still has more progress to make and will have more challenges come as he grows, but he is making progress and engaging and that amazing! It is all about small steps and improvement. Forward motion is key!!

I have no intention of "curing" G of autism, but I am determined to help him grow and overcome as many barriers as he can so that he can be as happy and successful in life as possible. It has been 10 glorious and miraculous months and I thank the Lord for them. He has been good to us and I have faith that he will continue to bless Gavin and our family! It is amazing how we are so limited in our perspective and understanding of life and its challenges. What is often viewed as catastrophic can in time and with the Lord's hands become miraculous!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Update: This is just a glimpse into G's progress. He has also been blessed with an amazing Occupational Therapist who has been helping him with his sensory integration issues, and fine and gross motor delays. He has also been receiving Speech Therapy throughout the past 9 months as well. We have been so blessed with people who love and encourage G along. He also has been in a playgroup for kids with developmental delays for 2 months now and has finally come to the point where it is the highlight of his week. He is learning to parallel play with his peers and is having little moments of true genuine engagement with his own peers. This is all in preparation for beginning preschool when he is 3, which will be a whole new chapter for us.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

gallery wall update: children's art


Once you're a parent you quickly begin accumulating your children's art. I love it! Yes, these days between art time during daily intervention, art time during playgroup, and art time at the library, we are accumulating mass amounts! That doesn't even include when he requests to color during our free time at home. Yes, I admit some goes in the trash. Gavin is a little delayed in his fine motor skills so he still does large circles, but I love seeing the work as it progresses and he learns and improves his skills. As I mentioned before here, I was intending to create some more of my own art to fill in the center frame, but then when I sat down to start it, I realized that it was the perfect spot for some of G's works of art. I have been saving some and it worked out perfect. My trick is to choose the colors f paint or markers he uses and then let him go to work. That way it works with my color palette, which is all over the board these days it seems. The artwork can easily be changed out in the future too because you know there will be more of that! I love having his works displayed as part of the gallery. Its a mash up for sure! I've also already switched out some of the art until it feels right or I want a little change. Here are some other examples I've found of displaying children's art.

Source: via Stacy on Pinterest

You can check out more of my pins on Pinterest here!!

Dyson vs. Oreck

My apologizes to all you Dyson vacuum lovers. I had the hardest time deciding, but I finaly think I've figured out what's best for me... the Oreck! I couldn't even commit to one when we went to the store, so Ryan told me to just try out the Dyson since everyone seems to rave about it. So, we bought it at Costco so that I could easily return it if I wasn't happy. We went with the DC33. It weighs about 17 lbs and is a workhorse, that is no doubt.

It took me a month of testing both the Dyson DC33 and the Oreck XL out in our house, but I just hate how bulky the Dyson is, its weight and its too powerful of suction for my rugs. It would get stuck going up onto my area rugs and I'd have to lift it up over the lip. It couldn't fit under my kitchen cabinets it is so bulky. I love how the Oreck has such a small footprint, 2 speed settings that are switched up at the handle (not down on the floor) and it is so lightweight (9 lbs) it will be great for my hand problems and vacuuming upstairs and downstairs. Each had its + and - and it was so hard. I finally just had to bite the bullet and make a choice. Since making my choice I have heard that people either love or hate the Dyson. What about you? And my followup question is: Have you tried both the Oreck and Dyson?

I feel slightly naughty for not choosing the Dyson. I almost did, but I just think I'll be happier in the long run with the Oreck. At least I hope so. The only downside now is getting it tuned up each year which isn't required on the Dyson. You win some, you lose some.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

for the love of art

So I picked up the painting (originally posted about here) this week and when I got it home I realized I hadn't established a place for it. So, I ended up starting on a gallery wall in our dining room that I've been debating over for months and gave up on since we're moving to Oregon. I figure this way I use some of the pieces of art I've been collecting instead of it sitting in closets. As for the empty frame in the middle, I'm going to DIY something in black and white abstract I think this week. I'm excited! The yellow and green abstract on the right is one of my own works as well. It's an original! LOL! I am definitely no artist but I am loving painting. It is so relaxing and really gets my creative juices flowing. I was supposed to take a second acrylic painting course in September but the class was cancelled. Hopefully I can pick up on some more courses in Eugene. I absolutely love the significance and meaning behind the Large Horse, Small Rider painting! Love it!

Friday, October 21, 2011

halloween 2010

halloween 2010

This year Ryan's costume may or may not be based on G's favorite Dora episode. Just wait and see!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


The above is Gavin's therapy schedule. Not very typical for a 2 year old, eh? What amazes me is how resiliant he is. Our schedule changes about every 2 months it seems and every time it does I get stressed and crazy. I have to stop myself from saying things that I know I'll regret and from being someone who's demanding and overzealous about their child's well-being. For example Gavin's speech therapist took a new job and we were assigned a new therapist. She was on maternity leave for 6 weeks and so we had an interim therapist and the only time available for G was 8am. For those who know me, I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON! I remember a co-worker once telling a new employee that you don't talk to Stacy until after 11am. So true! I'm the get to work and get busy type, chit chat is so overrated! Then at 11am I'm ready to gabber on. So I told her that time just wouldn't work for us and so she asked another family to switch times so we could have the 9am slot. Horrible I know. It worked out because that child gets up at like 6am and G gets up at 8am so they were already up. Since then we added in our therapy playgroup to help G work on and develop social skills to prepare him for preschool. It necessitates that we drive to Chico for it so that adds another hour of driving to our day. That threw a huge wrench in our schedule and I had to adjust again. I had to cave in and actually request the 8am slot for speech therapy to make it all work. Its crazy at time how much sacrificing motherhood requires, at times more than others, but its also amazing because it all brings us closer to becoming who we can and who the Lord wants us to be. We can get so caught up in our own expectations for life and needs, but having children and those with more needs than others allows the opportunity to give daily service and sacrifice.

I'm finally working out the chinks and its funny because every time I worry we won't be able to make the schedule work due to naps or otherwise and EVERY TIME it changes, it works out and fits perfectly it seems with our life at the time. And through all of it that little dude meets the challenges and changes in his routine. What an amazing kiddo! Right now he's struggling with playgroup and wanting to go, but his moments and length of time crying or screaming are lessening and shortening in length. I am the one having to tolerate some pain for much needed gains and I know this will make all the difference for G. I may just have to get a datebook to keep up with his schedule though! Don't forget to add in all of this his naps, eating which is a challenge too, park outings, working on homework and exercises from all of his therapy sessions, and just being a plain old toddler because he is a toddler ya know!

Friday, October 14, 2011

red flags...autism

What have you been learning about autism? Share with me!

Did you know there are "absolute indicators" or what are termed "red flags" that indicate a child should to be evaluated for autism? A year ago I remember seeing TV commercials by discussing the Red Flags. I am positive that seeing these commercials helped me to investigate further and then push G's pediatrician for a referral. I thought I'd share them with you today. It is a scary thing, but once I started reading I found out that even though we don't know the cause of autism and there are a multitude of different treatment methods to help with the behavioral and medical symptoms, the one thing we do know is that Early Intervention reduces the lifetime affects and helps children to thrive and be more successful when they begin school. The brain is still in a pliable state up until age 3 I believe and so new neuro pathways can be developed and hurdles overcome easier at that early age. There is NO BENEFIT in waiting it out! ABSOLUTELY NONE! Do not let fear keep you from asking the questions and getting the evaluation. Family and friends need to be willing to look out for children too and help parents to see concerns if they are warranted. Another reason for not waiting is that the federal and state governments provide funding for services for children under 3 who show signs of developmental delays. These services are what Gavin has been receiving for almost 9 months now. They can be for infants/toddlers under age 3 who have speech delay, physical gross motor delays, food/eating problems, hearing/vision problems. Any developmental delays, not just autism. What a resource! Too many children miss out on these services and once they are 3, they do not qualify for them. Yes, there are services after 3, but not as intense or easily accessible.

Here are the "Red Flags":

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age

source: click here For more specific signs/symptoms of autism, visit and go here.

Post Edit: FYI As a parent you can self-refer your child to receive an evaluation for developmental delays/services. All you have to do is call your Regional Center. For Northern California its Far Northern Regional Center. You have to be the advocate for your child because too many doctors are still promoting a Wait-and-See Approach which is robbing children of time and resources! If you insist with your pediatrician most likely they will refer.

comfort foods!

Gnocchi Mac & Cheese

What are your favorite comfort foods? Hands down mine would be mac n cheese, chicken pot pie, shephard's pie, and I think I've added tamale pie to the list. Did I forget any serious contenders?

I have been making lots of the recipes I actually pin on Pinterest. Amazing right? I try and only pin things I actually think I will make, use, or ideas for outfits I actually would do. Sometimes I get carried away, but I'm trying to be practical with it. So far I'm doing pretty good, especially with my food board, which you can find here.

So, this week I made Gnocchi Mac & Cheese. It was so rich and creamy and good! I may try making this with traditional elbow macaroni instead of the gnocchi and see if it turns out as well. I used some gourmet cheeses for the first time ever in my cooking so that was exciting too-- gruyere and fontina. Seriously worth trying! The only unfortunate thing is that you can't eat as much as you want because its so rich. I served it with roasted asparagus (drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with fresh ground black pepper and sea salt) and a sub-par salad to help balance out the richness of the Mac & Cheese. Definitely making this one again, but must wait until my arteries de-clog. Yum!

I'm already craving the Tamale Pie again. Its THAT good!

*For the Gnocchi Mac & Cheese recipe go here or access all my FOOD pins on pinterst, here! photo taken from website as well. I'm too concerned about eating my food as quickly as possible to get a photo first. hehe! Super easy to make, I bought the gnocchi from Trader Joe's.

On a side note: are you obsessed with Pinterest. I have to limit my time on there and like I said earlier be realistic. What are your favorite categories for pins? Have you actually used any or referenced them yet? How long do you think the craze will last? What was the name of the social website pre-Facebook? Haha I have already forgotten the name of it. I think I still have a profile/page on there.

Ooh another sidenote: I actually think my belly is slimming down even with all this eating! My trick ditching the scale. No seriously, I have come to an agreement with myself to limit the portion size in order to enjoy yummy ne foods w and I've been walking religiously 3 mornings a week and started doing yoga 2x's a week. Loving it too! Exercise is feeding my body and soul, even if its not the intense kind. I'm going with the counsel of prophets on this one, consistent and steady, not short bursts of insanity that I know I won't maintain. Now if I could just quit buying bags of halloween candy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

large horse, small riders

Large Horse, Small Riders Brian Kershisnik Oil on canvas, 1996

I came across this painting a while ago. It is described as depicting "information that is contrary to everyday experience--An immense horse with no reins ridden by four people suggesting that there is a higher force directing the family to their destination, with a faith like that of the pioneers (click here for source).

As soon as I read the description I fell in love with the painting. I bought it and its been rolled up in the tube waiting to be framed for many months now. When I bought it I felt it would be a great piece of art to have as a reminder of that higher force that we always want to have directing our family to our destination.

Little did I know those many months ago, that this painting would become even more significant in our lives as the realization that we have no reins to control the challenges of life or the bumps in the road has become ever more apparent. But more importantly I never imagined the power, the peace, the trust, the happiness and the strength that could come even as we wade through affliction. That faith is essential to help us move forward to whatever it is the Lord has in store for us. It is the Lord who is in control and the only thing I can control is my faith and willingness to give up my agency to follow Him! I am finding more and more peace and strength the more I give of myself to follow the Lord more strictly and more willingly throughout my daily living. I feel like I am doing so much more to live for the Lord instead of myself and I know that it brings peace and happiness! I have no doubt that it is through strong faith and hope in the Savior that we find the strength to endure to the end and to experience happiness and peace now and in the hereafter. This must have been how the pioneers endured the physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering and challenges along their journeys and I will endure those same challenges and sufferings because of Him who loves us all!

I'm going to get the print framed this week to remind me more of that faith I want to keep alive!

FYI - If you are interested in this painting, a print of it on canvas can be ordered through the online store (here's the link). It says its on backorder, but it said that when I ordered as well and I received it a a short while later. I think they print them as ordered.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"looks" can be deceiving

There is a saying in the autism community, "Once you've met one child with autism, you've met ONE child with autism." It's so true. There are general characteristics and some will have similarities in their behaviors and challenges, but there is such wide spectrum of presentations in these individuals. It varies which types of behaviors and limitations they have and to what degree they have them. Its frustrating sometimes because people will meet G and then find out he has autism and then make comments like, "He doesn't look like he has autism", "but he's so cute!", or "oh I'm sure he will just grow out of it". Since when was there a "look" to autism? NEVER! The challenging thing for our society is that we 1. the majority of the population doesn't understand what autism is; 2. that we need to get past judging people by their "looks"; and 3. we don't have any credentials to be diagnosing these kids ourselves. I'd love to believe a total stranger when they tell me my son doesn't have autism, I mean I actually had the thought cross my mind for a second about canceling his appointment to be evaluated in order to avoid the diagnosis because he doesn't "look" like he has a disorder. Unfortunately I love my son too much to put my own personal weaknesses and fears ahead of his well-being.

I digress.... the existence of a "look" baffles me. I already find myself becoming numb to the comments because I don't have time or any desire to engage in a counterattack. I'm sure they are just trying to make me feel better. Bless their hearts. Funny and humbling thing happened though. Two weeks ago G started going to a playgroup for children with developmental delays. I'm pretty sure that all the boys, but one have been diagnosed with autism. Even within those 5 boys they have such varying delays and challenges, as well as amazing strengths! We had two days of orientation where Gavin went in and was with the leaders of the playgroup and got a feel for how it would be. It went great! Then the first day with the other kids came. We walked in and G went right on in, no problems, what a relief!

I, however, had an unexpected reaction. I looked around at the other boys, was overwhelmed with their autistic like characteristics, arms flapping and odd social mannerisms and I started to freak out. Then I met the mothers and immediately the thought came to my mind, "Wait a minute, I don't belong here. I don't "look" like these other moms." I continued to have thoughts like we are in such different stages of our lives, they don't have any similar interests that I have, they don't dress like me, they don't have the same level of education that I do or professional career like my husband does. It was all clearly vain and prideful. Don't hate me for these thoughts, I'm being brutally honest. Here I was preaching that we have to get away from this preconceived "look" about autism and I myself was do much worse by judging others and placing myself and G above others because I had more material wealth, more education, a child that maybe didn't "look" like he had autism when some may. It is shameful really! I just didn't feel like I could fit in there. Honestly when I reflect back on that moment, I think it had more to do with accepting that nothing I could do or obtain could influence this point in my life. I couldn't stop G from having autism. I couldn't buy our way out of this or educate myself enough to prevent this. I think it all had to do with accepting this life we've been handed, stepping out of the denial stage of grief and entering a world where more families than just our own are working through the challenges of autism as well. It was, in fact, our first experience with other autistic children around. It was as if my subconscious was doing anything it could to change the reality we were destined for. Shoot I even knew from reading that autism wasn't restricted to socioeconomic status, age, gender, ethnicity, education, etc. And yet, in that moment my ego wasn't willing to accept that I am the mother of a child with autism.

This coming to acceptance, its a strange experience.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I just came across this talk by Elder Richard G. Scott, an apostle of the Lord. I remember when he gave this address (or at least studying many years ago) and I remember telling my sister about it a few years ago when she was going through a tough time. It speaks to me so differently now and I find so much more strength and meaning in it. I may have to read it daily for a while.... It's a gift from God!

I especially loved the following excerpt:

"Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain.

When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this, now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, “Please let me know Thy will” and “May Thy will be done,” you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father.

This life is an experience in profound trust—trust in Jesus Christ, trust in His teachings, trust in our capacity as led by the Holy Spirit to obey those teachings for happiness now and for a purposeful, supremely happy eternal existence. To trust means to obey willingly without knowing the end from the beginning (see Prov. 3:5–7). To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience.

To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it. We are like infants in our understanding of eternal matters and their impact on us here in mortality. Yet at times we act as if we knew it all. When you pass through trials for His purposes, as you trust Him, exercise faith in Him, He will help you. That support will generally come step by step, a portion at a time. While you are passing through each phase, the pain and difficulty that comes from being enlarged will continue. If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow. Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love.

I testify that when the Lord closes one important door in your life, He shows His continuing love and compassion by opening many other compensating doors through your exercise of faith. He will place in your path packets of spiritual sunlight to brighten your way. They often come after the trial has been the greatest, as evidence of the compassion and love of an all-knowing Father. They point the way to greater happiness, more understanding, and strengthen your determination to accept and be obedient to His will."

Ok, feeling better! I think its time for Fall "Must-Do" #2 Apple Cider! Cuz its raining outside! We might even throw in some spontaneous puddle jumping too when G gets up from his nap. I have a feeling we will become professionals at it once we live in Eugene! Is it an olympic sport? Should be!

playing the part

Warning: Pity Party may ensue...

I need your help....
How do you do it?

How do you find joy and feel happy for others who have typically developing children when yours is not. How do you express excitement and happiness for those who are having babies when you are not? When everyone's lives seem to be on track with their "plan" and yours is not? I've been battling this for a while and been quite successful, well as successful as I could be by just playing the part. I would express excitement and utter the words, all the while my heart aches. On my good days I can for small moments be excited for them. I seem to forget myself and I realize that their lives aren't free of challenge either and this is their moment for things to go right for them.

But today I can't do it. I can't seem to find the happiness. What about me? What about "my plan"? I've had to relinquish it to the Lord's plan and I guess today I'm having a hard time being patient. I can't sit around and wait for that typical child, for a cure for autism, or for my body to finally produce a baby that can even survive past being an itty bitty embryo. How do I do it? How did you do it? I know I'm not alone in this, challenge after challenge time of my life. I guess all I can do is keep praying for more strength, doing more to deepen my relationship with the Savior, make my prayers more sincere and more frequent and do as was told by an apostle of the Lord, Elder Hales, this weekend to "wait upon the Lord". I came across this article today. I appreciated her faith and it reminded me of all the Lord has been teaching me lately. She says, 'the Lord asks us to “wait patiently” on Him not because He has abandoned us, but because He loves us and wants us to draw closer to Him.'

Maybe once I strengthen my faith and hope that all things really will work out for our good, then I can find joy in others successes despite what seems like a life of disappointment and challenge for myself.

Hum... In the meantime either avoid me or tell me how crappy your life is and avoid informing me of any good news! Ok, maybe that's a little extreme!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

tamale pie

It's October! Isn't that crazy! It is usually my more favorite time of the year, but this year is different. I just don't want to let go of the long summer days, the swimming and lazy weekends spent outside. Don't get me wrong, I am so over 100 degree days for sure! I love the crisp air that is starting to present itself. I will have to pack this fall with all the favorites to get me in the mood! So far, last week I made pumpkin squares and they were the only thing I ate for about a 24 hour period I fear. I did half with chocolate chips and boy those hit home!

I've been in the kitchen more than ever these days. I have the cooking bug and I have a feeling it won't be leaving soon because I have so many new recipes I can't wait to try. Pinterest seriously is amazing when it comes to cooking for me. I've already tried recipes I've found on there and love them! Tonight Ryan wasn't even coming home after work, but I decided I couldn't wait another day to try making this Tamale Pie recipe. My mom made Tamale Pie growing up but it wasn't my favorite of her dishes. I was more a fan of the tuna casserole (some of you are gagging right now), another I don't know the name of I think its kind of like shephards pie, and others. Well this one just looked so good in the picture I had to try it. Its from an issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I give it a 4 out of 5. I think all I'd change is to saute some onions in with the ground beef and I didn't add the full amount of salt and pepper it called for. That is odd for me because I err on more salt because s&p are the best way to "season" dishes (so the chefs have told me). I also added in black beans and corn with the olives. I cooked it all in one large deep casserole dish rather than smaller ones. I used a corn bread mix from Trader Joes and it was AMAZING!!! I couldn't figure out why we never have cornbread. It has whole pieces of corn it for goodness sakes! So, here's the recipe straight from the magazine (above). I also served it with sour cream on the side. Oh and the cilantro is a must! Yum! Just inviting a little more fall and cooler weather into our lives! Now if only mother nature will cooperate.

Fall "Must-Do" #1 Cook lots of yummy comfort foods!

What's on your list of Fall "Must-Do's"?

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Fixing" Autism

I am feeling peace. I am feeling strength. It is because of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

What would you do if you knew the road ahead of you would be bumpy and rough?

We all are bound to have challenges in this life. It is inevitable! This one, I would have never imagined for myself, for Gavin, potentially for more of our future children.

I was reminded of a talk I read many years ago about learning from the past, preparing for the future, and living in the present (I can't seem to find it. I think it was by President Monson and I think it was back in 2004-2006???). That reminder by the Holy Ghost has been my saving grace this week - to LIVE IN THE PRESENT. I feel at peace. I can only do all I can to prepare for the future, to learn and increase my understanding of Autism and what we need to do to help Gavin, but most importantly TODAY I can be the best mother I can to him. I can give up more of the things I want to do for myself (that don't have any eternal significance) and sacrifice because I want him to have the best life and best outcomes possible for his life. TODAY I can strive to live the gospel of Jesus Christ better than I did yesterday so that I can receive more strength and help from my Savior, more blessings. TODAY I will do more to strengthen my marriage so that we can prepare ourselves for storms ahead and grow closer together through this, rather than farther apart. TODAY I can kneel in more humble prayer more frequently when I just can't hold back the tears. My closet has become the most sacred place in our home. TODAY I can find joy in the very small improvements G is making and hope that more will come tomorrow. TODAY I have peace because of God's Plan of Happiness which provides understanding of our purpose here on this earth, that OUR SPIRITS ARE NOT DISABLED, and that through the atonement of Jesus Christ my sorrows, fears, and pains can be swallowed up in him as I lay them at his feet. I am finding happiness in this time of adversity.

P.S. I still cry! We still need an amazing support group! Want to be part of this support group? Then watch this YouTube Video to start (Isn't that song perfect! I love Coldplay and that song "Fix You" stuck out to me a few months ago as we've been journeying through early intervention. I love that he used it!). Educate yourselves about Autism. If you don't know where to go for accurate information, email me: The greatest gift you can give is to educate yourselves and then educate others around you.

P.S.S. For more information on the above and God's Plan of Happiness go here. It will change your life and your perspective! It will bring peace, I promise!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Yesterday G discovered a mud puddle while Ryan was washing the car. He was in heaven as most little boys are when it comes to mud. He invited me to join him in enjoying it. After some limited oohing and ahhing, I realized that if I really want to make a change in his world I had to get down and dirty (literally) with him. So, we spent the next 30 plus minutes making mud soup and pretending to drink it. We used magnolia leaves to make sail boats and float them in the "river". We built a "bridge" out of weeds and added lots and lots of "sticks" to the "muddy river". We stomped and stomped and stomped in the water and splashed each other up one side and down the other with mud it seemed. And then when I'd had enough and went inside he came back inside and said "Come mama". Back outside it was for more until I convinced him we could play in the mud another day.

knock, knock

Knock, Knock!
Who's there?
Bye, Bye (slams door).

** POST EDIT - After initially posting this I realize that it could be misunderstood. I have already read that mothers of children with autism have a funny sense of humor when it comes to dealing with acceptance and emotions. This joke doesn't imply that G doesn't have autism, it is meant to express through humor (my lame attempt at humor, sorry) that in fact G was diagnosed with Autism and my initial reactions to it. Hope that helps! We are still in the grieving/processing phase but I promise to write more soon. Thank you for all your love and support through this!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

September 13, 2011

Its been a while...sorry.

We have a date.
September 13th 10:30am.
I've been working to get this date for a month now. Before that I was preparing myself to be ready for that date. I thought I was ready. Now that we have the coveted date my stomach is in knots. Its strange, just reality setting in that we will have something concrete to either go forward with or not. Things will continue as they are most likely one way or the other. Its our new reality. I talk openly, I even use the word in conversation with those closest to me. My reading material is plastered with it.
There I said it.
I have come to terms (or so I thought) and have my own personal diagnosis for Gavin.
Why, then do I all of the sudden feel so anxious and scared?
Maybe I'm not ready. It doesn't really matter if I am or not, he needs this and so do we.
Things have been more difficult lately. I don't even think its related to a disorder, probably just the natural development of a two-year old. I think he's fighting for autonomy and it sucks. I keep telling myself its good, because it is. It means he is developing appropriately, in some areas at least. Why does writing that make me cry?

Those darn doors. I'm about ready to take them all off their hinges. Its his thing and it seems like its getting worse. He is obsessed. He knows how to unlock deadbolts now so he continuously slams every single door in our house over and over and over and over and over again. Any kind of door, he doesn't discriminate. Have a headache yet? I do.

So, when the phone rang today and the woman on the phone told me she was calling to schedule the evaluation, I was relieved it was finally here and yet terrified at the same time. I think these opposite emotions are natural. Tell me they are.

All that being said...the past eight months since we began this journey of discovery and intervention have been amazing. Everyone we have worked with has been very professional and definitely have great concern for Gavin's success in life. I continually pray that the Lord will lead and guide us through this journey whatever it ends up being, that he'll inspire me and all of his interventionists, therapists, you name it. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Love this little man to pieces! Headaches and all...

We have a date!

In the mean time I will be reading this, and this, and just finished reading this.