Autism and Sleep (or lack there of)

Whenever you hear someone mention Autism what do you think about? Do you think about the hand flapping some kids do, or behavior problems in public? Well since Brodyn’s diagnosis we have learned a lot about Autism and it’s different forms, but most of all we have learned to live without sleep. When I hear someone new in my life has a child with Autism I think “are you sleeping?”

Many kids in the spectrum have problems sleeping in one way or another. Some take forever to fall asleep, some wake super early, some wake all night long and are a danger to themselves if they can get it if their room.

So what sleep issues do with deal with you ask? Well the first time it because a real problem it was Brodyn taking HOURS to fall asleep. No matter what we tried or changed he would just lay there flipping and flopping missing hours of sleep he needed every night. When worked and worked to make a schedule that would get him ready for bed to be able to sleep early enough and after months we finally locked it in.

But then came the waking up 3-4 times a night for hours leaving him exhausted every morning for therapy and school. When your child is tired it’s hard for them to learn and grow and when they can’t control their lack of sleep it makes for long data for the whole house.

After months of waking 3-4 times a might we changed some things, bought some things, and worked out a good flow again. But we only had like 5 days of good enough sleep and then he started waking up at 2-3am for the rest of the day.

Now I know we aren’t the WORST case as far as sleep and Autism goes, but we aren’t the best either. We try and hold on to what we do get and be thankful. But I’m going to show some pictures of Brodyn’s bed and explain a little of what we have tried and where we are now. I know a lot of parents already do these things but when I was searching for help and ideas I ran across some I didn’t know about.

So first picture is what we call “mommy pillow” Brodyn has always been attached to me and I am his comfort so when I was getting ready for a surgery that would prevent me from being able to pick him up or lay with him for weeks I decided to make this. I bought a wig close enough to my hair at the time and sewed it onto a body pillow. Then I added rice to socks and made arms for weight since he likes my hand on his back to fall asleep. And finally I used one of my shirts and periodically I spray it with my perfume. This worked wonders for Brodyn and he still sleeps with it every night.

This is a picture of his bed! He has a bed tent that makes the room feel smaller as well as keep it darker. We also bought a special sheet for his bed so he couldn’t kick the covers off and get cold. He has a weighted blanket, special pad for his bed to be perfect for him, stuffed animals to fill some space and his bed set.

What you don’t see in the room are things like his iPod with special song mix that he has used everyday since he was a baby. He has a humidifier to keep moisture as well as block out noise. His dresser is in his closet for safety reasons and he has locks on the doors so he can’t open the closet and get hurt. He also has a baby gate on the door so when he wakes in the night he can’t get out and escape.

There was no ONE thing that helped Brodyn when it came to sleep. He still has really bad nights of sleep and every once in awhile I think he gets so exhausted that he sleeps good. But with all of these things combined we have been able to get him some sleep and most nights for him it seems to be enough. But as parents it’s not enough for us since we can’t just go to bed when he does every night.

So if you are struggling right now with your child and lack of sleep just keep trying to find the combination of things that will work best for your child. It may seem impossible but it will click if you just keep working it. And most importantly know you aren’t alone in this. There are others just like you that are going through the same thing every night! ❤️❤️

You do what you have to do.

So here it is October and the big holidays of the year are coming up. So we all know that means tons of money to be spent on food, gifts, activities, and maybe even travel. As parents we want to give our kids what they want and need but sometimes it can be hard to budget everything in with all of the day to day expenses. We are planning a family vacation for July of next year and because of our families needs it will be a very costly trip. We have never done a big trip as a family so we are very excited about it and want to make sure we have enough money saved up to allow us freedom to enjoy our first trip.

The last thing you want when you finally do get a vacation is to have to pinch pennies while you are on it. So we always plan way ahead and save so we can have a nice travel fund. So what happens when life happens? Well we recently we to the dentist to get both boys cleaned as well as check on a tooth that Jase has hit months ago while jumping on the trampoline. And while there we were told we need to pull Jase’s tooth and if we want we can put a fake tooth there for the next 4 years or so. Of course him only being two we want the replacement tooth because it’s his front tooth and we don’t want him toothless for years lol. So this whole thing is going to cost us $1300 out of pocket AFTER insurance.

Now most people would probably freak out at the words of that kind of money, and although we were not happy to hear we would have to spend our money on an accident like that, we were thankful we wouldn’t have to open a credit card or take out a loan to provide for our child. So how can we pay in full for such costly procedures like this even though we just spent more than $1300 a couple months ago on my dentist trip?

Well it’s easy. We do what we have to do to provide all of our kids needs. Jordan and I love our lives NOT keeping up with the Jones! We always have lived this way even before kids. We don’t need the newest products or the “coolest cars.” We live life comfortable while still having money set aside for things like this. We also make sure to have some side hustles going on so we can bring in extra money.

We were taught growing up that now job is beneath us and that you do what you have to do. I remember as a kid when money was tight one year for Christmas my dad painted a neighborhood ladies whole house for a little extra money and two pairs of rollerblades because that’s what my sister and I wanted for Christmas that year. My dad worked full time and then came home and worked more until it was done to provide for us.

And that is what I want to teach my kids. I want them to have pride in what they do even if it’s flipping burgers because it means you are providing. I try to use what little spare time I have to make, build, sew, or paint items that I can sell to make some extra spending money and it has always been a good thing for our family. So I suggest when times get tough or you need some more finds, find your skills that you can use to make money.

Sleepless nights!!

Here it is 6:00am and Brodyn has been awake since 2:45am!! This is the 3rd night in a row of him waking up between 2:45-3:45am and he is worn out and fussy. I was finally able to get him to fall asleep on my lap around 6:00am!

So now I’m trapped! No morning coffee! No sleeping! No peeing! I just get to sit here with my back hurting while he sleeps! But I am perfect! I’m perfect because I’m allowing my son the safe comfortable space he needs to sleep and get the rest he needs. I’m perfect because even though I’m the only one awake in the house I know my boys are sleeping. And I’m perfect because God not only blessed me with two amazing boys but he also blessed me with an amazing husband who helps me in every way.

With Autism comes so many ups and downs but if you focus on the ups you can love a life of happiness. For me I’m staying focused on the lack of sleep Turing into a positive thing. Have you heard of leaps? Like the first years of your child’s life you can follow their leaps and predict when they are growing and developing and there for more fussy or not sleeping as well.

Well I would like to think that these nights of little to no sleep are leading us to a leap forward in Brodyn’s development! That he is sleeping less because his brain is trying to focus on what he is learning and it’s replaying it over and over while he is trying to sleep.

As a mom I will always do my best to focus on the positive and provide a safe and comforting place for my children. I will gladly sacrifice anything to allow them to succeed in life. And I will forever be grateful God blesses me the way he did.

Wishing star farm

Today went to a place called Wishing Star Farm! Per the norm I researched before going to figure out price, activities, safety, and any info I could to make sure our time was amazing. This place looked to be family owned and operated and every person that we talked to there was so helpful and very kind.

When we first arrived we saw animals immediately while walking to pay. They offered a military discount so it was $32 for our family of 4. As soon as we got there I started gettin a little worried about how the boys would react. Would they cry or run away, would we need the stroller like normal to keep them safe and contained? But we didn’t need the stroller and the farm was set up VERY kid friendly.

The boys were able to walk freely, pet and feed the animals, and get in the corals with them. You could tell the animals were all well cared for and used to playing with kids. They were very tame and I didn’t fear for my kids safety.

Now here is where it gets fun and personal for our family. Jase loves the animals we knew he would they have a camel so he was extra excited. But Brodyn tends to be more timid and gets overwhelmed easily. But at this place they both had smiles on their faces the whole time. It’s normally impossible to get a smiling photo of Brodyn because he is usually staring or he is moving but we were able to capture the perfect photo of him playing in the little kid sized hay maze.

Jase loves the little tractor pulled train ride and wanted to go on it so many times! And of course we allowed it lol.

With special needs it can be really hard to go out of the house and pay for activities that you may not be able to enjoy, but this place was a win like huge win and we will be going back for sure!

Some of the things they have are, hay rides, hay maze, giant jumping blimp, petting farm, pedal carts, large slide, food, gift shop, pony rides and a pumpkin patch. General admission pays for everything except food, pony rides, and pumpkin take home. The price and experience was well worth the drive and the price. To see the sheer happiness of my boys was priceless!

Birthday blues….

It’s been awhile since my last blog post and even longer since a personal post. I have been going back and forth about doing a blog post right now because this is a hard time of the year for me the last couple years.

You see we are just about 3 weeks away from Brodyn’s 4th birthday and while I celebrate and LOVE that day, it has been hard the last couple years. It’s common for parents to look back and think wow where has the time gone and then smile and celebrate the year to come. But when you are a parent o a child with Autism sometimes it can be hard to look back and celebrate the year that has passed.

For me when I say I want the time to slow down I mean it in a different way. My son is almost 4 and with each passing year he falls further behind his peers. When he was turning two and wasn’t speaking and we were getting him evaluated for Autism I was able to handle that because he was only 2 and I truly believed that getting him the diagnosis and getting him into therapy would help him catch up to his peers.

But now he isn’t almost 4 and still not talking and although he has come a LONG way he is still so behind. So it is hard to think about another year passing without an “I love you mom” or any other form of communication.

Can I hold on to the positives? Most days yes I can but sometimes it’s so hard to stay positive when all you want to do is help your child not have to struggle so hard. I wrote a list on Brodyn’s 3rd birthday of all the things I wanted him to accomplish before 4, and although he has done a lot of them the two biggest ones we are no where near.

I want so badly for him to be able to tell me if he is hurting, happy, or mad. I want to know what he wants to do or what his all time favorite meal is. I want to be able to take him on special mommy and me dates for ice cream or whatever he chooses. But right now these things aren’t in our lives. And although I know him better than anyone I struggle. I struggle because I love him more than life itself and want to take away all his struggles and pain.

So another year older and still CLAWING for EVERY little bit of success for Brodyn, but I will NEVER give up hope. I will NEVER give up fighting for him and helping him. And most importantly I will never stop loving him. So this year I’m not going to beat myself up for being sad or feeling like I didn’t do enough. I’m going to spend this time feeling my feelings and come the big day that he turns 4, I will be the proudest happiest mother you will ever are. Because I will be able to look back and know how hard we have worked to get here and can be proud!

My Finished Project

A month or so ago I wrote a post about how to make a travel map for less then $5 or so, and now I have finally finished putting together our travel wall as well as making a growth chart for our boys.

For both projects I spent less than $45 total. I made the travel map for $1 with supplies I already had and a dollar store decal. The two picture displays I was able to pick up on amazon on a lightening deal and only paid $20 for both.

The great thing about these pictures displays is that you can buy them cheap and they come with all the cute clips. I also really wanted these because I get 100 4×6 pictures sent to me every month in a book so I can keep my phone clutter free, but I never do anything with the photos. And with these displays it’s easy to keep up to date photos displayed because it’s super easy to change the photos. Also I have seen displays kind of like this but they are plastic clips attached to strings of LEd lights so that is a cute option too I just found these cheaper.

I then picked up the decal at hobby lobby on clearance for only $5 which was a great deal. And the last purchase I made was the ruler which was also hobby lobby and I paid around $14 for it and then just put some color on it. I also brought out my cricuit to make the scripture on the wall with vinyl I have had for years.

All and all I am happy with both projects. I love that I can now track my kids growth throughout the years. (Well maybe only part of the years with the height of this ruler but we have plenty of time) I also love that we can map out where we travel as a family. Little visual reminders like this are always great 🙂

Scoring at the dollar spot

Yesterday I went to target just to get out of the house. What started as a just because trip turned into a gold mine. The dollar spot was 70% yes 70% off making items .30, .90, or 1.50. I was able to score so many amazing things for the boys and education. I am going to post a few quick blurbs about each one with some pictures. And I suggest you run down to your target fast and see if you have the sale as well.

First we have these handy felt maps and schedules. These are awesome and we’re only $1.50 each. These are a great way to get the kids included in learning because they get to match things up and change them. Allowing for more independence as well as learning from. We bought the ABC one months ago and I am excited to add these to the wall.

Here we have a color crayon banner with chalk board on the different colors so you can write on them. Obviously this is great for cute decor as well as for leaning colors. The other item is twine with colored clothespins attached so you can hang them and then use the pins to hang pictures or artwork. I love this because you can display artwork and then when new art comes home from school you can easily change it out.

Love this very nicely made wooden clock. I love the fact that I can hang it on my wall for the kids to use as well as the fact that it’s chalkboard. This way the kids can learn to write the numbers AND learn to tell time.

The top ones are balance wooden games that can be used to learn to identify the fruits and the pastries which helps with communication. Then we have a puzzle that can help with learning colors, fine motor skills, and counting. It really can help with so many areas.

Lastly, and probably my favorite find at .30 a piece, we have dry erase flash cards. The abc ones work on tracing and identifying the abcs. Then there is money cards, time telling cards, and addition. Of course some of these are too old for my boys right now but at .30 I’ll save them for later.

I also was able to get some really cute things for future teacher gifts and after my 3 bags full of stuff I only paid $17.86. I love keeping my eyes out for deals on educational things and this was a huge score!