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!

Public Service Announcement

Ok so here is the deal….

As a parent of one child with Autism and one without I feel like I have a foot in both worlds these days. Managing the day to day struggles of what one kid needs vs what the other kid needs is a battle intake on daily.

Recently I had someone I know messaging me online asking me questions about how I get all my son’s cool “toys.” When I was talking to this individual she was telling me how much her child with SPD needs a place like my son has so that if he gets overwhelmed he can escape and go to a calming environment. We talked for awhile back and forth and nothing was that bad yet. Until the conversation took a turn and I got very upset fast.

You see I sent this mom a couple links to websites we shop on for our children designed for children with special needs. She proceeded to go on there and look at some of the items we have for our kids and then messaged me saying that she could never afford those items for her kid. Not so bad right? Well what to follow was her asking very brass like how my husband and I could EVER afford them as well since we have to make around the same money and we only have one income. IT GETS WORSE…..

First off someone else’s finances are no ones business in my opinion so it should have never gotten to this level. Then I told her that until the last 3 months my family, husband, and I had been buying EVERYTHING ourselves but have finally started to get a little help through a state ran program that allows for a small amount of money to be used on therapy and medical needs for the year. The next thing out of her mouth was the straw that DESTROYED the camels back. She said ” You are so LUCKY your son has a diagnosis of Autism and you guys can get financial help.” “My son’s diagnosis of SPD doesn’t get him any help.”

EXCUSE ME?? Now I try my best to be the best Christian I can and in this case this lady was very lucky that we were messaging back in forth on Facebook because if we were talking in person and I had to reply right away I probably would have lost it. If you think that the trade off of having a few hundred dollars of help towards toys is worth the struggles please take a second to understand ALL that is involved in a child’s life with Autism. Ya our house is fun as SHIT and we have so many cool things, but most of those cool things were bought gently used or bought as gifts from grandparents. And yes my husband and I buy a lot for our boys BUT we don’t buy anything for ourselves.

We believe that right now we don’t matter in that area and some people might think thats crazy to let your kids have it all but we don’t. We feel like our money is better spent taking cards of our kids EVERY need even if it involves toys. Our son has a FULL time job with school and therapy and he is stuck at home Monday-Friday with therapies. So making our home a safe and fun learning environment is our most important goal. And when you are telling me you can afford some toy yet you are always buying the newest and coolest everything I don’t feel sorry for you.

In life it’s all about priorities. Want vs need. And when you are evaluating your priorities you get to pick how they rank in your life. What you don’t get to do is start saying ignorant crap to people when you don’t understand their life. I am thankful God kept me calm when inside my blood was boiling. I’m proud of the way my husband and I parent and how our boys are being raised. And I will not feel bad about anything we have been blessed with. We truly appreciate all we have been blessed with and we pass on our blessings all the time.

So if you know a family like us please just think about things before saying how lucky they are for the stuff they have, or how lucky they are their kids don’t talk yet. These things may seem crazy to be picky about but if you truly knew their lives you would understand how heart breaking these statements are.

Finding huge value in small steps forward

Well we are just under two months away from Brodyn’s 4th birthday and last year when he turned 3 and was still not talking I made a goal list for the next year. I feel like every year he gets older I feel broken. Obviously you feel heartache as any of your children get older and you realize one day they won’t need you as much, but as a parent to a child with Autism it’s a different kind of broken.

I’m broken for my son. I’m broken for the struggles he faces EVERYDAY with his lack of communication. I’m broken thinking about just how unknown the future is for him. I’m broken as a mother who stays home and does EVERYTHING she can to help both of her boys succeed in life. I’m broken when I see Jase make these HUGE leaps forward in his communication while his older brother struggles. (And then I feel broken by comparing the two of them and not focusing on all the positive of Jase moving forward.)

You see every year it becomes more and more noticeable just how far Brodyn is behind for his age group. When he was first diagnosed at 2 people would say they couldn’t “tell” he had Autism because he was only two and not everyone talks at two. Then he turned 3 and he was a little taller and looked older and still wasn’t talking. Well now he is 4, in preschool, and super tall thanks to his dad, so it really shows.

Although I can see all the ways my son is behind I can also see all the ways he has grown over the last almost year. He is feeding himself now with fingers AND utensils. He can put his clothes on himself and is working towards his shoes and socks. He can ask other people besides myself and his father for help getting things (most the time it’s after we already said no that he tries to sucker someone else into giving in to more chips) He can stay at school or church playroom without crying over separation. He also has an amazing babysitter that he will stay home with and play and have a blast. And he is growing everyday.

He is obsessed with the ABCs and 123s and he can line up the ABCs in order by himself. He is also showing so much growth in his fine motor skills, his oral and motor imitation, and his gestures.

So when I look at the list I made almost a year ago and I notice that not all of the items will be checked off in a couple months, I am still trying to focus on the growth he has made. I am trying to push myself even harder to work with him and his brother on further growth. And MOST IMPORTANTLY I am PRAYING!!! Praying that God gives my son the voice he deserves so that he won’t have to struggle to communicate is whole life. Praying that with that voice given by God that my son will use it to encourage and uplift those around him. Praying that God will use my husbands voice, my voice, and my youngest voice to encourage and uplift Brodyn and those around us. And praying for strength in our family and friends to help us keep moving forward.