Birth to 3 and our IFSP

IFSP
(Individualized Family Service Plan)

An IFSP is a plan that guides and supports your efforts to boost your child’s development up to age 3. After the age of 3, this turns into an IEP. (More on IEPs later.)

My husband and I met first with our region’s Birth to 3 coordinator. In the very beginning of the meeting, we were to create our “support circle”. This was accomplished by letting our coordinator know who we have that we can talk to or open up to about Augustus. At first, I felt awkward and like our circle would be pretty small; but once we got going, I was able to come up with so many individuals who have helped us in so many ways. I felt so much gratitude after completing that very first task.

We then went over every detail of a day in the life of Augustus to see where and what he would benefit most from occupational and speech therapies. After that, we ranked the things he needs support for most from greatest to least. This list will become the priorities set for his therapies.

Our Birth to 3 coordinator is our advocate and in our corner. We were told we can start or stop anything at any time. We are in control. Our Birth to 3 coordinator will also help us to find other programs and opportunities that may be available to our family and/or Augustus.

We then met with our region’s Birth to 3 program coordinator, a representative for our school district, and the speech therapist that works with our school district. We discussed everything we went over with the coordinator and then the school rep and speech therapist told us their thoughts and we set up a time and place to get therapy started.

For now, we will be traveling to the school for therapy once a week. The speech and occupational therapists will work together for now.

Gus doesn’t have a very long attention span at all, which is something we are working on and have seen improvement in. Therefore, we are meeting just once a week for now and only for half hour periods. He’s a busy dude, a lot goes on in those half hours.

On the IFSP, suggested by the Birth to 3 coordinator, for Dane and I is to have a date night once amonth. We haven’t penciled that in just yet, though.

Good News

As I explained in previous posts, we are waiting to be seen for Augustus’ official autism evaluation. This evaluation gives a clearer picture of where Augustus falls on the ASD (autism spectrum disorder) spectrum. This will help us to see what things may work better for him with regard to communication, learning, etc. This evaluation will also give us an “official diagnosis”, which will help with health insurance and support programs available to us.

These evaluations are four hours long and involve a psychiatrist, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, and a physical therapist. Therefore, they are extremely hard to get scheduled, and it generally takes months (sometimes even a year or more) to be seen.

This evaluation will take place at LifeScape. There is a LifeScape in Rapid City, SD, and Sioux Falls, SD. The Rapid City campus is much closer to us, but if we were to schedule there, we would have been looking at well into 2019 before we could have the evaluation done. Keep in mind, it was June/July 2018 when we were working on getting on the schedule for this evaluation. Sioux Falls was able to get us in late November 2018, so we decided that was the better choice.

The good news is that I received a phone call and was told as long as I got my paperwork sent in within the next few days that Augustus could be seen in mid-October rather than late November. Needless to say, I got my butt in gear and got that paperwork done and sent! These appointments are rarely cancelled and rarely rescheduled as they are so hard to get in the first place. We are one of the lucky few. Woo-hoo!!

Augustus also had to have an official hearing evaluation three weeks minimum before his autism evaluation so they would have time to receive the results and go over them. They do this just to rule out any hearing problems that could be causing or exacerbating any of Augustus’ issues and problems. Thankfully, his primary care physician is amazing and when I called him to let him know we needed to be referred for one he got it done the very next day and had us scheduled for one in Rapid City within the next couple of weeks.

We got his hearing evaluation done, and his hearing is completely fine. I was almost 100% sure this would be the outcome. Once we received the results, I had mixed emotions. The fact that his hearing is completely normal is a good thing, but it also means that all of his listening issues are cognitive. On the flip side, at least there are no hearing problems to add to the things we are already trying to sort out.

I look forward to and dread his autism evaluation. It will be nice to see where he falls on the spectrum, but it will also show me a little bit into what the future might be like for him, and that scares me. I keep in mind that no matter what we find out, nothing changes. He’s still the same Gus I know and love, and literally nothing, to include any diagnosis, will change that.

-AMomsFaithUnbroken

As you will see, and as I have learned, there are a whole lot of acronyms in the special needs world. I sometimes even quiz Dane on a few here and there, just to make sure we are staying on top of everything we are doing and are able to explain to others.

30 Things I’ve Learned in 30 Years

These are in no particular order or sequence.

1. Take care of your skin.

First of all, wear sunscreen! I learned this the hard way and have plenty of skin discoloration and issues to show for it. Also, it’s never too early for anti-aging products. I only wish I would have cared more about my skin in my teens and 20s. Wash your face!

2. Alcohol has never done me any favors.

This is a quote taken from my dad. I’m not saying I don’t and won’t drink. I’m saying that I am well aware of how stupid it is. I finally seem to be at an age where I know my limits; not to say that I don’t sometimes still exceed them. I’ve had a lot of fun drinking, but no, it has never done me any favors.

3. Share your story, to include the good and the bad.

Now that I’m 30, I’m finally at an age where I know who my real friends are. That being said, I know who i can really open up to. Having those few you can really open up to is priceless. It’s freeing. From a religious standpoint, it’s nice to be able to share the good and the bad and know I’m not being judged and am being prayed for. As you may have noticed, I’m an open book for the most part. I share a lot. Why? Because you just never know who you might be helping by sharing your story.

4. Smoking is bad.

This one seems obvious, because it is! Now that I’m older, though, it’s a whole lot easier to see just how bad it is for a person. When we’re younger old age seems so far away – we don’t worry about it. Now I’m like “Okay, you’re pushing your luck!” Did I want to quit? No. Did I feel I needed to quit? Yes. I’m 72 hours without a cigarette right now. It was time. I’m always going to miss it. My advice is not to start in the first place.

5. Forgive yourself and others.

This is BIG. In my life, I have found it harder to forgive myself than to forgive others. And trust me, I’ve held a few grudges in my day. I now see just how toxic holding on to those negative feelings is. Holding a grudge and negative feelings doesn’t do anyone any good and does nothing but hurt you; eating you up on the inside. True and real forgiveness is hard and something you have to work on, but once you get there, it’s worth it. Forgiving yourself is an even harder feat. I still sometimes struggle with this, as I think everyone will throughout their life. BUT life goes on. There’s no reason to hold onto yesterday when today is lying ahead. I know I’m forgiven, so why not forgive myself!?

6. No one’s house is ever completely clean.

Oh man have I struggled with this one. I like clean. It makes me feel at ease. I’ve had to train myself to accept that there are two kinds of dirty. There is dirty (think cluttered), as in there are things strung out throughout the house and then there is dirty, as in things are grimy, stinky, dusty, rank, dirty-dirty. I have come to accept that messy is okay sometimes. I have to prioritize to keep my sanity.

7. You don’t always have to say what’s on your mind.

Really! It took me years and years and years to comprehend this concept. Honesty is absolutely always the best policy. I actually prefer blunt honesty, but not everyone else feels the same. It’s important to be honest but use some tact in how you portray and share things. I’m not even talking sugarcoating here. I’m just talking saying and sharing advice and things in a tactful un-brash (is that a word?) manner.

8. Ask for help.

Coming from Miss Independent herself…I’ve always taken pride in being extraordinarily independent in life. After graduating high school at the age of 18, I got my own place, car insurance, cell phone, you name it. I didn’t waste any time. I was all about being on my own. Well, on my own, with the exception of my husband (then boyfriend) being by my side.  My husband and I always kept this stance until lately. There were a lot of times in life I (or we) should have just asked for help and saved ourselves a lot of unnecessary grief and trouble. Now that I have young children, one with developmental delays, help is no longer an option, it’s an absolute necessity. Swallow your pride and ask for help when you need it.

9. Be kind to everyone.

This one is so easy. It takes so much time and energy to be negative and unkind. I can’t think of anyone at this point in my life that I wouldn’t be nice or kind to. First of all, everyone deserves kindness. Secondly, I’m just too tired to be anything but kind.

10. Take (calculated) risks.

I will include my husband in this one, as I have spent my whole adult life by his side. We have taken so many risks; so many big, scary, life altering risks. And boy have we crashed and burned a few times. The road-rash and burns heal, and we learn. There is not one risk we have taken that I wouldn’t take again in the same situations. Live a life of “oh wells” rather than a life of “what ifs”. Take chances, make mistakes!

11. Ask/Don’t fear “no”.

This is one I live by. Do you think you deserve a raise? Ask. Does something seem off? Ask about it. Guess what? The worst thing that’s going to happen if you ask is that you’re going to hear “no”. It’s just a word. Learn to be okay with hearing “no”.

12. Don’t be afraid to say “no”.

This relates back to #11. Not only do I not fear asking, I don’t fear saying “no” myself. There came a point in my life where I realized I didn’t have to do things solely to make others happy. In order to live a good life you need to be happy and rarely should someone else’s life come before yours.

13. Rid yourself of toxic people, relationships, and situations.

This relates back to #11 and #12. We all have to do things we don’t like, but if something is truly causing you emotional or mental harm quit doing it! It doesn’t matter if it makes sense to anyone else. You do not need an excuse to do what’s right for you. I learned this throughout my 20’s. There were a few situations in my life that I would literally dread and worry about to the point of them consuming me. Why? I don’t really know. All I know is that said situations were unhealthy for me, and that once I cut them out of my life a huge weight was lifted. Whether it’s a toxic person, a toxic relationship, or a toxic environment…let.it.go.

14. Drink water.

First of all, I feel so much better when I drink the recommended amount of water daily. Yes, it makes me have to make frequent bathroom breaks, but to me that is reassuring. The system is getting flushed out! I also learned long ago that there are so many hidden calories in beverages. I’d so much rather get my calories through food than a drink.

15. Wake up and makeup.

No, I don’t mean literally put makeup on. I mean put whatever amount of effort into your appearance makes you feel good. I was always the type that would roll out of bed ten minutes before I had to be somewhere. I didn’t feel self conscious about my appearance, but I found that I just felt tired and blah throughout the day. Just recently, I have started actually getting ready for my day; washing my face, dressing for the task, possibly putting on some makeup – whether it’s some under eye concealer or the whole shebang. Whatever I feel I need to do that day to feel my best is what I do. It has helped.

16. Invest in a good calendar and/or planner.

Just this year I invested in a Bloom daily planner (check them out). I made this investment even before my son was found to have some developmental delays and all of the phone calls, consults, and doctor visits began. Organization and calm go hand-in-hand.

17. Prioritize relationships. 

Love grows where you water it.

18. Be present.

In today’s world, this is more relevant than ever before. Put down your phone or tablet and close the laptop and live in the moment. This moment you will never get back. This moment you must be present in to remember later. Don’t mask your feelings. Feel all the feels.

19. Have genuine interest in others.

I truly have genuine interest in everyone I meet! I think this sometimes drives my husband crazy because I will talk to anyone and everyone. He seems to think I always single out the…how shall I put this…uh…his words aren’t appropriate…the seemingly lesser accepted people in society (?). That’s the best I can do. If you want to know what he thinks, ask him sometime. Anyway, his views are not mine, and I am interested in everyone’s story. I want to learn from them and they can learn from me. I don’t care who they are.

20. Get the haircut.

Not just the haircut: the piercing, the tattoo, the new hair color. Be bold. If you can’t stop thinking about it, just do it. Life is short and our bodies are temporary.

21. Slow down.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the routine and in the hustle and bustle of life. Slow down and don’t miss out on what’s really important.

22. Happiness comes from within.

Probably the greatest truth I have learned. Someone at work the other day called me “smiley” and said they had never seen me without a smile on my face. Those of you that know me and have known me probably think that sounds insane. I get it. I haven’t always been this way. At this stage in my life, I am happy with me which allows me to be happy and accepting of every other part of my life. Find out what it takes, and get happy and share that happiness. It’s contagious.

23. Focus on Him and study scripture.

I’ve known this my whole life, but have never applied it until recently. This is one thing I do wish I would have implemented a lot earlier in life. I have always been a believer but never put the time and effort into it that it deserves. It is so true that once you place your focus on God and put him first above all and actually study and apply yourself to His Word that everything starts making more sense and falling into place. My priorities have become more obvious. I am happier. I am saved.

24. Write it down.

It is a proven fact that if you write something down you are much more likely to do it. Whether it’s a to-do list or your goals, write it down!

25. Keep a hobby.

No matter how busy and all consuming a family, job, career, life in general gets, it’s so important to keep something just for you. Whether it’s gardening, reading, writing, exercising, hiking, crafts, scrapbooking, cooking, baking, you name it, keep it alive! It will keep you alive.

26. Family really is everything.

Everything I’ve faced in my adult life has brought me back to the simple fact that family really is everything. Family is probably the easiest thing to take for granted. Now I just try to even imagine where I’d be without my family, and I cannot even fathom it.

27. Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.

I am big on this! I’m glad you love cheese and sorry you hate eggs, but I’d so much rather hear about why you love and promote and advocate for cheese than all the reasons you hate eggs and why we all should, too. (I know, weird example, but that’s all I could come up with besides political crap.) To me this goes along with not complaining. We all need to vent at times, but just think how irritating it is when you talk to someone and all they do is complain.

28. Find a job you love (eventually).

We can’t graduate high school or college and then jump right into doing exactly what we know we’ve always wanted to do. Most of us don’t even know by that time exactly what it is we want to do. It takes time and patience, but with time and patience, it can and will all fall into place if you work hard for it. My dream was always to be a stay-at-home-mom. My husband made that dream come true, whether it was the best for us financially or not. It was definitely right for us as a family. I got to live my dream. Now I am out in the workforce, but only part-time. I may have went to school and got a degree in Medical Transcription, but I honestly like tending bar more at this point in my life. Life changes and we evolve. Guess what? If the job you find and love isn’t what you went to school for oh freaking well. We change. Life changes. You don’t have to know exactly what you want all the time and exactly what you want will most likely change as you age.

29. Learn from others.

There is nothing more valuable than being able to speak to someone who has been there and done that.

30. Time is the most valuable thing in life.

Time flies. The older we get, the faster it goes. Don’t take even one second for granted.

– AMomsFaithUnbroken

 

Inchstones

From the time you give birth until your bundle of joy is a big kid, you hear the term “milestones, those big leaps our little ones take in learning, coordination, language, physical ability, growth, and cognitive ability. We celebrate them as they occur and sometimes even feel a little sad to see our littles growing up. Doctors ask about milestones at every checkup. Naturally, we usually remember the when the where and the why of these big events in our childrens’ lives. When worried, we are reassured that children often vary in age and the time they will hit each milestone.

As a parent of a child with special needs, these milestones become an obsession as you begin to notice more than one has not been met. Even scarier, when your child begins to regress, and those milestones you celebrated and praised start to disappear.

I learned a new term from a fellow special needs mom, and that term is “inchstones“. Once you learn your child has cognitive and physical disabilities, the way in which accomplishments in growth are made and celebrated changes. While a small milestone so seemingly simple to most may not be a big deal, to some it’s monumental.

I want to share with you an inchstone we celebrated yesterday.

Yesterday, my husband and I worked and our littles went to daycare. My husband picked them up from daycare. When I came home later, I was shocked to see a picture colored for us by our son Augustus. Why was I shocked? He has never colored before. We have tried in the past, but all he was ever interested in was eating the crayons. This was major for us. A major inchstone.

Not only did Augustus color a picture, but he was also able to jump on the trampoline by himself. This is big for us, too, as he has low muscle tone in his lower extremities and struggles with jumping and balance. Another inchstone.

In conclusion, I have to express my gratefulness and acknowledge the absolute blessing that it is to have found a daycare so capable and willing to work with my child with special needs. While maybe most moms would be sad to have missed these inchstones, I absolutely am not. I am in awe of the patience and the ability of my daycare providers to provide the attention and apply the skills needed to work with my child. They are unequivocally a part of our family and a huge part in raising our children. Invaluable.

Thank you all for being here to celebrate the milestones and inchstones we experience as we walk along in this journey we call life.

-AMomsFaithUnbroken

A Day in the Life

I am not being sarcastic in titling this “A Day in the Life”. This really is THE life. This is the life God knows is perfect for ME. This is MY life. This busy season I am in will not last forever. I sometimes have to remind myself of this…okay, maybe daily, but I really, truly, seriously wouldn’t have my life any other way.

I did have a frustrating and difficult day, and it’s not even over yet. I guess I’m kind of in a venting mood and figure if I blog about it, you get to choose whether you want to read it or not. It’s also a good way for me to look at how I’m managing my time etc. and an opportunity for you to see a little bit of what goes on “behind the scenes”.

8:00 AM – The kids slept in today, but only because bedtime was a bit of a disaster last night. Dad has been sick and was home later than usual this morning. Dad got the kids up and got them breakfast and Gus his allergy medicine. I got to stay in bed a few minutes longer. Hallelujah.

8:20 AM – Ada is at my bedside and wants me out of bed NOW. I try to resist to no avail. Gus wanders in and shuts the window air conditioner off and on a few times. He then gets in my closet and sits down and attempts to pull some clothes down off the hangers. Dad leaves to run some errands.

8:30 AM – I’m dressed and ready for the day. The kids have been up for half an hour now and already have toys spread throughout the living room. That’s the norm around here.

8:30 AM – 9:15 AM – Get some SeneGence (my makeup business) orders ready to mail and deliver. Ada wants to color. Get Ada’s crayons, markers, and coloring books out. She has a constant narrative while she’s coloring and begs me to color with her. I feel bad, but have to get my work done. Gus is trying to take things off of the table and counters no matter how many times I redirect him and tell him not to. He’s running back and forth between Ada’s bedroom and the living room just throwing things around. The norm…

9:15 AM – Dad shows back up with the mail and hands me a big manila envelope from LifeScape in Sioux Falls, SD. I open it up to find lots and lots and lots of paperwork and assessments to fill out. I’m overwhelmed. There is literally a message in this envelope that says “Fill out the forms and assessments enclosed in this packet. We understand completing all of these forms may feel overwhelming. We recommend starting to fill out one assessment/form a day, starting today, and you will be done in less than 1 week.” Did I start today? No. This goes right along with one of my previous blog posts, “Whelmed…A Bit Overly”. The paperwork never ends. NEVER. I also find out in this letter that my son needs another evaluation by a specialist prior to his appointment at LifeScape in Sioux Falls, SD, and that this appointment must take place more than 3 weeks before he is to be seen at LifeScape and if not his appointment at LifeScape will be cancelled and it will be months and months before he will be able to be rescheduled in. Okay…So, I start making some phone calls and leave some messages to try to get this all scheduled and sorted out. Dad leaves for work.

10:00 AM – Time to run errands. I make a list of all of our stops in hopes I won’t forget something. I take my packages to be mailed, my list, and my purse to the car before I even start getting the kids ready.

10:01 – 10:20 AM – Get the kids dressed, hair combed, shoes on, and ready to go. Ada insists on picking a pretty for her hair and has to go through all 50 pieces before deciding on one while I attempt to keep Gus from getting into them. Ada is dressed, her hair is combed, and we put a pretty in her hair. She has a dilemma over which shoes to wear and decides to wear her brother’s sandals. Whatever. As long as she has shoes on. She has about 3 different meltdowns because she wants to put them on herself but they keep falling off. In the meantime, Gus is running wild, literally, screaming and running around the house. That’s kind of his thing. I catch him and get him dressed and his shoes on. Have I mentioned that sometimes dressing him is like wrestling a 30+ pound rolling biting alligator?

10:20 – 10:35 AM – We head to the car. Ada’s shoe (well, Gus’ shoe on Ada’s foot) falls off and we have a meltdown. “Wait for me!” “Me first!” I convince her to calm down and put her shoe back on while I try to help Gus down the stairs. You see, Gus struggles with stairs, and it is something we are working on per his physical therapists’ request. He has a really hard time going down stairs and requires a lot of help. We finally get outside, Gus falls down and on his way up picks up a small rock and puts it in his mouth. Have I mentioned he puts EVERYTHING in his mouth. It’s something we have to be vigilant about constantly. I wrestle him and get the rock out of his mouth. I get him strapped into his car seat. Whew! Now Ada gets in on the other side of the car. I look at Ada and think, “Shoot, we forgot your glasses!” So, I run inside to get her glasses for her. By the time I get back to the car with her glasses, she is in tears and wailing. I ask her what’s wrong and she says she needs “baby”, which is her stuffed animal Goofy that she takes everywhere. I can also smell that Gus needs his diaper changed. I get Gus inside and get his diaper changed and find baby, but I cannot find baby’s blanket that he takes everywhere with him. I think “I hope she doesn’t notice.” Gus and I get back to the car. I buckle him in for the second time. Ada is still in tears and lights up as soon as I hand her baby. I told her baby decided it was too hot for a blanket in the car. She’s okay with that, thankfully. Let’s just hope I can find said blanket for baby before bedtime tonight.

10:35 – 11:00 – First we go through the bank drive-thru. Then we hit the post office. Then I drop something off at work. Then we need to go to the courthouse. There is road construction going on in town, so we finally find a spot right off of a busy street and get out of the car. I unstrap the kids from their car seats, and as I get Gus out he bites me in the hand. Yay! Gus likes to “bolt” as they call it and run off, so someone absolutely has to have his hand at all times or he will literally run and not look back. He still strains and tries to get away, but I keep a tight grip on his hand. Every few steps he decides just to stop and try to sit down. When that doesn’t work, he tries to twist and walk backwards, which makes him lose his balance and stumble. I lift him back up. This happens roughly 5 times just getting to the door of the courthouse from the car. Ada has to be prompted along, as she is interested in the rocks and things painted on the sidewalk and so on. We make it to the courthouse doors and now we’ve got three flights of stairs to go up. Remember what I said about Gus and stairs? Well he’s refusing to even attempt to go up the stairs even while I’m holding his hand, so we give up and I carry him. (Yes, there is an elevator, but it is old and scary and I once saw two of my friends get stuck in it.) Have I mentioned I have terrible back problems? Ada goes up the stairs with constant commentary and narrative being sure to yell loud enough it echoes. We get to the office we need to be in. I was sure to fill out my check before we got there so I wouldn’t have to let go of Gus’ hand to write a check. While waiting for my receipt, Gus is yelling and trying to escape my grip and push buttons on the fax/copy machine. Then he decides to lick the chair in front of the desk we are standing at. Ick! I’m sweating. Now it’s time to head back down the stairs. Ada demands independence and has to crawl down them backwards. I try with Gus for a while, but eventually give up and carry him. Ada has the same yelling and narrative all the way down as she did going up. Okay, Whew! We make it back to the front door of the courthouse. Ada heads out first, and Gus almost gets his hand shut in the door. We play the same try to run away game and sit down several times. Gus manages to wriggle his little hand out of mine and takes a seat in the grass and wants to stay there. I get him back up and on our way. I’m sweating. Ada has to stop and select 6 rocks to take home. I try to talk her out of it. I even try to get stern with her. It’s no good. The rocks come in the car with us. She has so many, that she needs me to hold three of them. She’s getting impatient while I’m trying to get Gus in the car without anyone getting run over.

11:00 – 11:25 AM – I need to put gas in the car. NEED to, as in the low fuel light has been on and it doesn’t even give me a number for miles left on the tank. We get to the gas station, I pump my gas, I go inside to pay. I get back to the car and decide I’ll grab a sandwich from Subway for lunch for myself and find the kids something as well. I go into Subway. By the time I’m back in the car there are tears again from Ada. She is sobbing and yelling. I ask her what’s wrong. “I was trying to hide my rocks and now one is stuck!” The rock is somehow lodged behind Gus’ car seat. She can’t get it out. I can’t get it out. I end up having to unbuckle Gus car seat to get the stupid rock out from behind it. We then head to the other gas station. Ada comes in and we grab some lunch for her and her brother and head to the counter to pay. She chose a Ninja Turtle topped juice for both her and her brother. Hers with a red tie around its eyes and Gus’ with blue. The cashier rings up her juice and hands it back to her. She kisses her juice and says “Oh, thank you. I love it so much!” Okay, that was cute.

11:25 AM – We are home from errands. Nearly an hour to do a few quick tasks, but this is my life and I must now plan accordingly. We get out of the car and all walk inside. I make another trip to the car to grab my purse and our lunch.

11:30 AM – Lunchtime! Mealtimes really, really wear on me. Ada does pretty well, other than that she likes to play with her food at times. Gus on the other hand…It doesn’t matter what he eats or how, I have to sweep and mop when it’s over. He has to be vigorously scrubbed down if not thrown in the tub. This is at every meal, people! No, it’s not his fault at all, but it is trying for me. He has a thing with textures of food and tends to crumble, squish, or tear up anything he eats. He also really likes to throw things on the floor, rub food in his hair, dump his plate on the table and rub his food into the table, and then put his plate on his head. This is every meal, people. EVERY MEAL. Yes, toddlers do this, but he is over 2 and considered a “preschooler” and we aren’t getting anywhere at all with it. Not yet, anyway. Also, when Gus drinks something, when he is done taking a drink, he launches his cup. This includes during mealtimes. So, we are still using sippy cups. We don’t have a choice. He also likes to get a big mouthful of milk, juice, water, whatever, and spit it out down his chest and stomach. Somehow during lunch, Gus gets Ada’s glasses off of her face. Ada gets them back and literally launches them across the table to me and they hit the floor. Thankfully, they didn’t break. After lunch is over, I scrub everyone down and ask them to please go play for a moment while I clean up. Gus gets out of his chair and grabs some food he has thrown on the floor and gets dirty all over again. Ugh…

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM – Lunch cleanup to include the chairs, the table, the floor, etc.

12:00 – 1:30 PM – We play, we run, we make messes, we build, we pretend, we have fun. Messy fun. Fun is almost always messy.

1:00 – 3:00 PM – I request that we have some quiet time. Gus usually takes a nap in the afternoon, but we have pictures today, so no nap. Ada plays a bit, Gus watches some television. Ada climbs all over me in an attempt to stay awake. She hasn’t taken a nap at home in a very long time. We take it easy for a while. During quiet time, I get 3 different phone calls regarding appointments and therapies for Augustus. I spend quite a bit of time on the phone.

3:00 PM – Poor Gus gets upset and cries and cries and cries. I rock him and hold him. This is one of the hard parts of everything. He cannot specifically tell me what’s wrong. I know he’s tired, and that probably has a lot to do with it. Granted, he cannot tell me what’s wrong. It breaks my heart sometimes.

3:30 PM – Grandpa and Grandma show up to help. Grandma gets Ada dressed and does her hair for me. I get Gus dressed. I mentioned before how hard it is to dress this 30+ pound rolling biting alligator. This applies here, too. It was even worse because I had to get socks on him, a button-up dress shirt, and dress shoes. I start the dishwasher as we head out the door.

4:00 PM – Grandpa and Grandma are kind enough to give us all a ride to pictures and also take me somewhere to drop a SeneGence order off. I sit down to fill out the paperwork for pictures while Grandpa tries to keep Gus contained and entertained. Gus wants to tear the building apart. He is trying to crawl under the table and get his hands into and onto anything he can. Grandpa is a trooper and keeps him corralled. Grandma handles Ada. I wish I wasn’t so flustered and sweaty and tired. I wanted to talk to some of the people I saw there getting their pictures taken as well. Sorry, Katie.

4:15 PM – Pictures! Ada does perfect. She sits still. She smiles. She’s good. Augustus is refusing to even sit. He pulls his sisters hair, pulls on her shirt. They eventually have to switch sides because Gus is taller than Ada when they are sitting. Gus is on the table sitting next to his sister and tries to lean forward off of the table. When that doesn’t work, he tries to lean backward. He just refuses to have posture in general for the picture. I’m sure they got something that will be cute, even if my arm is in it. I literally had to hold his full weight up with my forearm to make it appear as if he was sitting for the picture. I’m flustered, but it’s over.

4:15 – 5:00 PM – Grandpa & Grandma graciously take us out to supper. We deal with the drama that is simply walking down the street, the wanting to sit down, bolt, etc. Grandma finally carries Gus. We find a highchair to keep Gus corralled in. Gus falls asleep as soon as the food arrives. We eat and talk and have a good time. Gus gets some zzzz’s.

5:00 PM – Grandpa & Grandma take us home and help everyone into the house. I lay Gus on the couch, but he wakes up crying. I’m not sure why. I attempt to use the restroom in peace. HAHAHA. Ada comes in and takes her hair clip out and says “I don’t want to be pretty anymore!” and throws it on the counter. Then she strips down completely naked and takes off to find a blanket so she can go sit in the living room. Okay…

5:15 PM – I send grandpa and grandma some thank-yous and check in on my sister and niece via text message. I walk into the living room to see Gus has taken a part off of the refrigerator and it is now on the couch. I notice this as he is pulling on the curtains trying to rip them off of the wall. Then he heads to play with the vacuum.

5:45 PM – I decide since the kids are finally seemingly content that I’ll sit down and type up this blog post as a way to just relax and let go. Well…I got it typed, but it took me a long time. Ada was on the potty and had to summon me because Gus was getting into my makeup drawers. Then, Ada needed her butt wiped and Augustus got up onto the table and did something to the computer while I was taking care of said butt wiping. We had a meltdown during butt wiping because she did not want toilet paper, she wanted a wet wipe from Gus’ room. Okay…When I got back to the computer I couldn’t even get it to turn back on for the longest time. Now I have no cursor, and I can’t get it to show back up. Ugh. This was after repeatedly redirecting him from walking up and pushing buttons on the keyboard the entire time. Then Ada decided it was time to color. I took care of that for her. Then Augustus began to cry and whine. Again, he cannot tell me what he wants or needs. Because I know him, it was safe to assume that he was hungry since he fell asleep during our supper outing. This led to Ada deciding she wanted to eat again, too. Then a bit later Augustus decides to chew on some shoes. He is redirected. As I am trying to finish up, he has the piece of the fridge again and is headed to the living room. I head to the living room and he is on the couch jumping up and down and screaming and really enjoying himself. He now has no pants on…He got them off somehow. I see he got a hold of his old Diaper Genie and has thrown that into the hallway. He found a travel pack of baby wipes, too. These are on the entertainment center by the TV.

This may have been the most boring thing in the entire world to read. I understand. If you made it through, awesome! You must really like me.

Please realize none of this is meant to be complaining. It’s just a way of explaining some of the behaviors and things I deal with that are a bit different from you. It’s crazy, it’s wild, but it makes me strong. I have no choice but to be strong. Also, please don’t judge. I don’t need that. Life is hard enough. Also, please don’t judge my use of present and past tense. Yes, this is big. In the past, I would have made sure this post was read and reread and edited and reedited and then edited again. Some things just have to change, as I’m slowly learning. Bear with me all. I need and love you all.

Now, let’s see if I can get this posted without a cursor and Ada attempting to get up on my lap a grip on my forearm yelling my name…

Oh, and there goes the ENTIRE shoe rack to the ground. Loud bang. Shoes everywhere. Guess who? Yep, Augustus. And Ada wants her rain boots on.

Oh, Gus has something in his mouth!!! Ah, it was a cap off of a water bottle.

DVD player is open…he must have been playing with it.

I hope dad makes it home for bedtime. Its not looking promising.

Just a part of a day in the life. 🙂

– AMomsFaitUnbroken

Disclaimer: Times may not be exact – rough estimates. Ha. Also, I’m sure I did not document everything. This is only what my tired mommy brain can come up with as of now.

As I attempt to finish this…Augustus moves a chair at the table and gets onto the table attempting to get Ada’s crayons. He is redirected. He then decides to spin circles and attempt to take the fridge apart again.

Who knows when this will get posted. Haha.

I type over 100 words per minute people. This shouldn’t be taking me this long. Haha. I have to keep my sense of humor!

The diaper is off! Oh no. I get my arm stuck in the Diaper Genie trying to get something out of there that shouldn’t be in there. Owey!

Regardless of How I Feel

His truth stands regardless of how I feel.

Emotion – A natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationship with others.

Created in the image of God, we have the capacity to experience and express many different emotions.

I, personally, often struggle with unpredictable and random emotions that are seemingly out of my control. Don’t we all? Especially us women…

Emotions are a gift from God, but we must remember that even our emotions were and are tainted by the lapse of humankind into the state of sin; AKA The Fall.

Guess what? Just because we feel something does not mean it’s true.

Deep down I’ve always known this, but lately it’s like a light bulb has gone off in my head…”Hello, I can reject any emotion that crops up if it’s not consistent with HIS truth.” I know, I know, totally easier said than done; but just think, how amazing would it be to be able to feel some sense of control over your emotions.

Our feelings do not always = Reality

Okay, so maybe we can’t help how we feel, but we sure don’t have to let our lives be run by our emotions. Perceived negative emotions are not a sin! God, himself, has been angry. For instance:

Numbers 22:22 (NIV)
But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him…

He admits to being jealous!

Exodus 20:5 (NIV)
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…

It’s how we deal with and what we do with our emotions that matters.

When our emotions have us feeling out of control, many of us (myself included) look for ways to mask, numb, or suppress our emotions. We all know how this turns out…We end up making poor decisions that only add to and exacerbate the emotions we are suppressing in the first place. Speaking from experience here!

Many of us turn to social media and technology, staring at screens for hours. Many turn to food, alcohol, or drugs to escape feelings. We all long for a feel-good substitute for actually feeling. We need to feel all the feels, the raw and hard feels, but do so while keeping our mindset geared towards HIM.

If we do not face our emotions and feelings head-on, we will see negative consequences. These consequences will start inside, emotional or spiritual, and will eventually cause very real consequences on the outside both physically and behaviorally.

And sorry ladies, our hormone fluctuations each month or with pregnancy, menopause, etc. are just no excuse. God understands our bodies and how they work better than we do. God created us women. He knows we are strong and capable to deal with the physical and emotional aspects of being a woman. I am not saying this is easy. No way! I fail to “keep my cool” all. the. time. and especially when hormones are raging. BUT I do not believe it is an excuse to behave badly.

What I’m working on now is having my very first response, no matter how I’m feeling, to be to turn to the Lord.

This requires discipline and mental strength. It’s so much easier to numb the feelings and emotions, but I’m here to grow, and growing requires discipline and strength. It’s not easy.

Scripture itself can provide me (and you) with many promises to help level my emotions and feelings. That’s why it is so important to study and know The Word.

I may deal with certain mental and emotional problems for my entire life here on Earth, no matter what I do. Thankfully, though, HE will be with me the entire time. I can look forward to the future knowing that one day all of my pain and suffering will be gone.

True hope is found in Christ alone. He’s with you even when you don’t feel like he is.

Remember this always: His truth stands regardless of how you feel.

– AMomsFaithUnbroken

 

A dear friend shared the song and video below with me. It seemed fitting to go along with this blog entry. Enjoy!

Whelmed…a Bit Overly

I knew going in that this was all a process; but not just a process, but a never-ending process. Never-ending…

It all started the day of my son’s 2-Year-Well-Child Exam; questions, lots of questions. Then referrals. Then phone calls. Then more referrals. Then more phone calls. To this day, I am still in this never-ending cycle; but wait, there’s more. The paperwork. I cannot even begin to accurately describe how much paperwork. Paperwork sent to me before his referral appointments. Paperwork filled out at his appointments. Paperwork filled out for LifeScape. Paperwork filled out for the State. Paperwork filled out for the school. Paperwork I have to have others do. Then, scheduling the appointments themselves is a challenge between work, my husband’s work, when I have daycare, when I have someone to watch my other child, having the money to put gas in the car to get to appointments, and so on. So, yes, I’m a bit overwhelmed. I’m assuming I’ll get used to this, and it will become my new normal. I have so many new contacts in my phone…

As I mentioned in my very first blog post, I am what I like to call a “seasonally single parent”. In other words, in the months of March – September my husbands work comes first, no matter what. He does his best to be where he can when he can, but him working is crucial for us to keep things as they are with my getting to stay home 4-5 days a week. Now that we know that my son needs physical, occupational, and speech therapy, it is even more crucial that we keep our schedule this way, just to be able to have one of us available to take him to appointments. It’s hard. My husband is sometimes gone several day sand nights at a time, and almost always gone sunup to well past sundown. I consult with him as often as I can when it comes to making decisions about our children, but often times it leaves a lot of the decision making to me. I’m sure that one day all of his extremely hard work will payoff, and we will be able to live comfortably. We have added expenses now, but we will be able to make do. I’m sure of it. 

The Process

One would think that you see that your child has developmental delays, you then see a doctor, get a diagnosis, set up what needs to be done, and its done, but that is in no way the case with autism. After expressing our concerns, we were then referred to LifeScape in Rapid City, SD, for an autism “screening”. At this autism “screening”, we learned that he had many “markers” for autism and that he would need three separate evaluations for physical, occupational, and speech therapy, and that he would need an autism “screening”. Does this even make sense? All we learned at his screening was what we had already learned at his 2-Year-Well-Child Exam, – that he has developmental delays and likely has autism. They could not tell us if they felt he had autism or if he likely had autism or anything of that sort, just that he needed an autism “screening” because he had so many “markers” aka red flags. I have to admit, immediately after this “screening” I was super confused. What I do know now, is that he is not “officially” diagnosed with autism as of yet even, but he is starting therapy immediately, as he definitely needs help. Like I said, it’s a process, a sometimes frustrating one. They informed us that right now the diagnosis doesn’t really matter, he just needs help. I agree…

We then had 3 separate appointments at LifeScape in Rapid City for his therapy evaluations. There were three of them; physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. It was found that he needs to have all 3 therapies on a regular (most likely weekly) basis starting as soon as possible.

Now, the autism “evaluation” is scheduled for mid-November at LifeScape in Sioux Falls, SD. We chose to have him evaluated in Sioux Falls, SD, because the Rapid City LifeScape is scheduled out on autism “evaluations” until 2019 sometime. So, come mid-November, he will be seen at LifeScape in Sioux Falls, SD, where he will play and interact with a therapist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and a speech therapist all at once in a four hour time frame. After this, he will have an “official” diagnosis and we will know where he falls on the spectrum and have a little more information. He is scheduled to start therapy before this evaluation, as mentioned above.

Then South Dakota has what they call the Birth to 3 Program. Your child is evaluated at the local school and you are assigned a caseworker to help advocate for your child and to explain and advise you of the resources out there for families with children with special needs. You also work on your child’s plan for education, which is revised and reworked very often to keep your child on the right path for the way they learn. We start evaluations for this tomorrow, and have all the paperwork done, so far. There are also opportunities for therapists to see your child in your home or at daycare until they turn the age of three.

It seems so backwards. I am meeting at the school regarding education for my second child before my first…

My Army

As overwhelming and confusing as this all is, I am certain we will get a grasp on all of it and it will all become second nature. That being said, there is absolutely no way that things would have worked out the way that they have so far without the help of my family, my daycare providers, and my bosses at work. My parents put in a lot of time and help me out a lot. They are not just “watching the grandkids”. It takes extreme patience and understanding to watch my son. They aren’t just watching him, but learning to work with him. He absolutely cannot be left unsupervised unless he is in a completely “Gus proofed” room, and sometimes even then he can find something unsafe to do or get into. He cannot verbally communicate, so it can be very frustrating to figure out what he wants and needs. He is very curious and has some destructive behaviors. He never stops moving unless he is sleeping. Plus, he has a 3-year-old sibling that needs attention, too, which is so important to provide as well. I can’t just take both of my kids places. My son will “bolt” aka run off without return or any regard for danger etc. Therefore, doing something as simple as getting a haircut or going to the grocery store can really become a chore. My parents and my sister are what make these things possible and keep him safe. For that I am already eternally grateful and know just how lucky and blessed I am. This goes for daycare, too. I know his daycare providers had to have noticed that he had some problems. I let them know what was going on once we knew, and they thanked me for telling them and have been on this journey with us 100%. Seriously, how amazing is that? I know that my son requires more work and attention, and would completely understand if they felt he’d be better off somewhere else, but they have taken this on and are willing to help in any way they can. That’s love. I know that my children’s daycare providers truly love them. That in itself is one of the biggest blessings a parent can find in a world full of so much scary. My boss and coworkers also deserve praise in being so willing to listen to me, work with me, work out a schedule with me, and always make time to talk to and interact with my littles when they are around.

Although this is a never-ending process and a life of constant learning, adjusting, and compromising, I know that I have plenty to be thankful for. Sometimes, it just helps to blow off a little steam.

– AMom’sFaithUnbroken

My New Take on Self-Care

I’ve been thinking about how the world views self-care for a while now. The topic was brought up in a Bible study I’m doing, and it really piqued my interest.

Have you noticed that almost anywhere you look there are signs, messages, and advertisements telling us to “love ourselves first” and offering to show us “ways (or how) to love ourselves more”?

These messages, to me, are not a right-out lie, but a distortion of the truth.

The real truth is that our worth is not bestowed on ourselves. It is impossible to experience God’s complete and total love simply by telling ourselves how lovable and worthy we are.

We also often hear “I’ve never loved myself…” or “She just doesn’t love herself enough…”

The truth of the matter is that we are born loving ourselves. It comes completely naturally. It is not something learned. We listen to our inner voice and take care of our bodies when needed. We are born children of Christ and in his image. He loves us, and we are precious to Him. In His love, we find love for ourselves. God does not tell us to love ourselves before we can love others. He asks that we listen, help, take care of, and pay attention to others in the way that comes naturally when doing those things for ourselves.

That being said, caring for others as we do ourselves does not come naturally. It is something we must consciously put effort into.

We do not have a low self-image, but a low view of God. We do not need to learn to love ourselves more, but to love God and others more in order to receive light, love, and blessings.

Think about it, maybe we are easily offended and hurt because we do love ourselves and not because we don’t. In fact, I’m sure of it! Nowadays, people take offense to anything and everything they don’t agree with it seems. This can be attributed to people being more self-involved and not putting God before themselves or treating others as they treat themselves.

God’s love will set us free from self-loathing and loneliness. 

His light will shine within and out of us as we learn and practice loving others as we love ourselves; not by focusing on ourselves, but by focusing on His Word.

This is not to say we shouldn’t take care of ourselves, but take a look at what we are doing to take care of ourselves. Spending time in prayer and studying His word should be our main focus in self-love and self-care.

–  AMomsFaithUnbroken

DISCLAIMER
I do not mean to minimize or trivialize those who suffer low self-esteem, self-love, and self-image due to mental or verbal abuse or manipulation, which is a different story. 

REFERENCES
Ephesians 2:4 and 5
Genesis 1:27
John 3:1