Monday, September 14, 2015

And the Thunder Rolls

My last blog post was kind of huge and really long and had lots of information in it.   It was so overwhelming I had to take some time to let that all just be.  We have had a rough few days around here too.  Alex has some serious sensory issues that we are just figuring out.  He has always had them, but before we knew what was going on he just would have a tantrum and we wouldn't know why.   Now we do and we have been trying to help him around those so he isn't stuck in one place for too long dealing with the same issues for too long.   
He seems to have oral sensory issues and hearing sensory issues and we are not sure which is worse for him, but right now his hearing ones are causing some stress and anxiety.   He has always been afraid of thunderstorms but it seems since the car accident he now relates that crashing sound to the car crashing sound and he can't function.  He gets so freaked out he needs to know what the weather is doing and what radar looks like.  He wants to see all of the alerts and possible  weather conditions for our area.  It is paralyzing for him and we (Nathan and I) are almost powerless to help him stay calm. We have been teaching him self empowerment phases to help calm himself down like "I am safe", "I am calm", "I can do this", and  "everything is going to be ok".  We work on deep breathing and we focus on using his stops and pauses...they are tools he has learned in therapy to center is actions and focus.   Sometimes he is so excited and upset though I am worried he is going to pass out.

I don't believe that he is doing any of this to get fact quite the opposite.  I think if he could hide from me and the storm he would...he is very upset by the way it makes him feel.   He just doesn't know how to deal with the whole situation all together.   The only one who has had much effect on him is his big sister.  She is a huge comfort to him during the storms. Of course as soon as the storm passes they are right back to cats and dogs as it were...but she is the biggest help when he is all stressed out over the storms.   It certainly doesn't help that I managed to cause both of my kids some distress this weekend with their food allergies...
For the record...Pizza Hut has a lot of Tree Nut allergies on their allergy list...I should have read that list a long time ago...darn it!   And McDonald's Sausage patty has sage in it...both of my poor kids found out the hard way that mom should be more careful sometimes.
Just when I think I have these darn allergies on the ropes they sneak back at us...also after several weeks of elimination diet it seems Cate probably is allergic to Chicken! DAMN IT~

Monday, September 7, 2015

Alex...ASD...Asperger's Syndrome and Us

I have hesitated to post this blog post for a long time...for two reasons.   One I have been concerned that I am putting too much of our life out there on the net.  I have been worried that Alex might be impacted in some way be the choices I am making on this webpage.  The second reason it I am was really waiting for that confirmation that we had this diagnosis. I didn't want to put it out there and then have to back peddle and say oh no...that wasn't it at all.   I do want to be truthful when I am posting..or as much as I can be,
This all being said..,Alex's privacy has been my biggest concern.  He is after all only 8 and has a long way to go.   Over the last few years we have been on a journey with Alex and it has been a windey one.   It really goes all the way back to Parents as Teachers and have some hearing testing done because I was afraid he had some hearing issues.  No one seemed overly concerned that it never changed.   We went to preschool with an overly active kid and into kindergarten with a kid that wouldn't sit still.   The first couple of teacher wouldn't come right out and say there was anything wrong or that we needed to be taking any steps with him.   I would ask is there anything we can do at home to help out.   We would get no information or "just remind him to be good in class"  "tell him to make sure to sit still during quiet time" "make sure he knows that he needs to be quiet sometimes" was maddening!  He came home upset everyday because all the other kids were getting happy faces and he was getting frowns.  He just couldn't get it together.
We were leaving Bloomington IL so I scheduled a sit down with his teacher and asked her point you think Alex has ADHD?  I also see some signs of autism and Asperger's...she said "oh I don't see any of that..he's just an active little boy and you have nothing to worry about."
Of course his dad was relieved and said we needed to put that rest because I had been driving him crazy about this for a while now.   I was not...I just kinda knew that something was not right and we were in for a bumpy ride.  When we got to Salina things did not get a whole lot better.   He found out that his teacher was a lot more involved and wanted him to do nemesis!  She also met me outside everyday and gave me a report on how Alex was doing.  She wanted me to know he was a great kid and Super Smart...but he was struggling in the classroom.  He was going to do well with some help.   "What?"   He needs to see his doctor...
Of course she can't in her professional opinion tell me that my son to see his doctor, but if it were her child she would take him to see his doctor for an evaluation for ADHD.   "REALLY, you don't say?"
So we went to the doctor and dad and I filled out a survey, teacher filled out a similar survey...if that survey had been read properly at the time it was given when her was in Kindergarten we might have gotten an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) diagnosis then...but the doctor at the time glanced at a few questions and said yep...he has ADHD.  Here is a prescription.  I want to see him every month to check weight and height, have a good day.
Six months went by and we had to increase medication to keep up with a growing boy.  We had to change doctors because our pediatrician was out of town and we found a new one that treat Alex and he really liked her a lot better.  It became apparent quickly that this pediatrician was interested in making sure Alex's needs were met...she began to explore the idea that Alex was in fact on the spectrum and referred us to KU...but that was going to take a year.
In the mean time Alex was struggling at school...with friends, with grades, with tests, and with the teacher.   I decided to go sit in his class one day and observe him the whole day.   It was sad how much of the day he spent distracted.  We had asked for an evaluation at the first parent teacher conference in sit in was in December...nothing had changed in the classroom for him.  He was struggling and I could see was loud and crowded and detracting.     He was going to have a hard time getting anything done in that setting...all the kids faced each other and he had to work with then all around him.

While I was at the school the lead teacher asked me if he was seeing a counselor for the ADHD?
"No, why would he see a counselor?"  Most doctors recommend counseling when you have a child on medication.  "HMMM...I never knew that?"
So we started counseling, it gave Alex someone to talk to other than dad and I.  It also gave him some tools to calm down when he was upset.  He was having these horrible meltdowns...and we couldn't figure out where they were coming from.   In  a couple of counseling sessions we talked about the lack of friends and how mom often had to help him form friendships, and help him maintain them.
I mentioned to his counselor my concerns about ASD and she said she would like to explore that further and had us fill out the survey that we had filled when he was in Kindergarten again.   This time they were scanned by the machine and it showed some autistic tendencies.  It was funny though that the teacher and I answered the questions very similar and dad answered them different.  I could only chalk this up to dad being so similar to Alex.  He is the very image of his daddy sometimes.
At this point the counselor thought it best to refer us to a psychologist in the field for further evaluation.
So that is what was a rather long interview with lots of questions and Alex was everywhere...of course we had not been able to give him his medication for several he was kind of all over the place.   Thank goodness this doctor was really a children's doctor and he was amazing with Alex and so understanding of all of our concerns.  We walked out of there with a new better understanding of Alex and it is evolving.  He is an amazing little guy and so interesting.  With everyday we learn a little bit more about this fascinating kid and all the little sides of his little world.   Autism Spectrum Disorder is part of his is part of our is not Alex and it not him.  It does not complete his personality or make-up who he is just a little piece of out world that is in his life and it is in our daily life.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.  We are open to questions.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Because she is AWESOME and silly! We want to keep her safe!

We have had some debate in our live as to where Catie should be sitting now that she is  12 in the car. She is legally old enough to sit in the front seat...she also met the height and weight requirements years ago.   She won't however be riding in the front seat of any vehicle until she is 16 or is in drivers ed and can be driving the car herself.   I am not sure she even ready to think about that yet.
She is still have some PTSD from the car accident.  I didn't even know you could have PTSD from a car accident until we experienced it.  She still fights back tears and panic when I turn too quickly or stop too quickly.  Even Nathan and I have had the same reaction to each other driving, at different times. I seem to not be able to go past the crash site without crying almost hysterically.  We tend not to drive past there since the kids don't like to see mom cry like that.   Nathan almost feels a sense of calm as he drives past there...since he feels like we met angels that day.   I feel like our would almost stopped that day and it flipped it's poles or something.  Back to Catie though....the first time I heard anything about the death seat was the day after the car accident.  Someone said to me "its amazing you walked away from that you know you were sitting in the death seat and all you have is that awesome bruise?"   I cringed and thought my daughter sits in that seat on the way home from school everyday.   What have I been doing.  I started looking into it.   This is what I found first... Of my gosh...ok more front seat for you...Nathan agreed...right away she was pissed off...but within minutes she calmed down and was fine and never said another word about it.  In fact she got really possessive about her seat in the back seat of the car.  She would scream at her brother and throw a fit and temper tantrum ( at age 11) because he wanted to sit there. We finally asked what was going on and she said she felt like she needed to sit in the same place she was sitting in when we had the car accident because we all lived.  Ok...whatever works kid!   Needless to say we have called the doctor...and have put in the call for counseling.   We have to wait for a referral.  It takes months.   She has made comments about not liking having to sit in the back now but she isn't really griping she is just stating that she would rather it have more things to do...more buttons to push...she would rather he brother wasn't right beside her...she just wants to be a grown up.  I think I will take the extra few years and keep her safe in the back.  The last link is the Institute For Highway Safety...It has some startling information...please just take a look at it...the one the thing I was surprised about was the shear number of people killed in auto accidents in 2013.   65% of passengers were killed in auto accidents.  Please buckle only takes a second and it really truly does safe lives.  We are proof!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Another New School!

Catie no longer accepting of change.

No doubt about it change is hard and every time we have moved the kids have had to change schools. Catie has been in seven schools since we started educating her.   She is a pretty easy going kid for the most part and for the first few moves didn't protest too much...the last few moves have been pretty much war in our house.   We had to make some pretty big promises to get her to agree to this last move.   We are in the process of adding a new dog to our pack...ugh!  The pup has her own issues...I won't even get into that right now!  We had to promise to buy a house...done...we bought our house...and I love it!   I can't wait to share it with all of my family and friends.  The last one was we promised to take her back to Illinois to visit her best friend and see some of her favorite places...that got side tracked a little and we had to put it off but we plan to make it happen.
Alex rolls a little easier with our changes.
  Alex was a little easier to convince...he was even pretty easy going about it...he said "mom dad where ever you are that is where home is"   a pretty grown up statement from an eight year old.  Of course he had just had the hardest school year of his school career yet and was ready to get the heck outta town.   He really struggles with school sometimes and could really give or take being in the school setting for the most part.  He has asked me to home school him several times...I don't feel like I am cut out to be that kind of mom however,   We did get so much accomplished with him and much of it was not at the school request or involvement last year.  It was with counseling and hard work.  We learned a great deal about Alex in a short period of time and he is an amazing little guy.  

Ready to be a Wildcat! 
We have had some great things to start this new school year so far...Catie has made some friends!   PRAISE GOD!  HALLELUJAH! She got on the bus home and we didn't get a phone call that she was having any form of a panic attach and she made the whole trip home.  She even got back on the bus the next day and has done it every day since then...griping about every single bus driver the whole time.  Apparently they change drivers for the middle school buses frequently.

Alex has also had some great thing in his first week of school. He loves his new teacher...I have to admit I am quite liking her as well.  She sends an email every day telling us what they have done at school and what they should be doing that evening.  This is so nice...since my son has a tends to tell me another story entirely every night. He also has one of the neighbor boys in his class and that has made the transition from home to school much easier I think.  He seems to be settling in quite well.  

The not so good...Both kids have trouble getting up in the way more than the other...we have way early bed husband thinks it is too early but if these kids go to bed any later I am going to have to drive them across town myself to get them there on time.   Alex needs a lot of rest...or I should say a lot of time in his room to unwind or he just doensn't get the rest he needs...Catie would probably be ok if she would just get up when her alarm went off...Mom is not the alarm.
Rusty misses the kids...we tried very hard to get a puppy over the summer some of you will remember the cute pictures of Catie and Alex holding a sweet little pointer mix puppy.  Well we never got to bring her home...she had and still has a really stubborn case of giardia a parasite and we couldn't bring her home until she cleared it. After weeks and weeks of waiting we felt that we wanted to talk to some specialist and when we did they told us if we brought her home it could be months of waiting, Rusty could get very sick and we might have to wait for her to grown out of it.   We had to back out of the we are on the look out for another dog.  You will just have to wait and see what we bring home.  
A little more skeptical of this whole Wildcat thing! 

So happy to cuddle a Roo!
I have changed my morning walking routine a little to accommodate two kids waking up in the morning...I try and get up at the same time as Catherine and out the door in time to get back in time to see her get on the bus.  Sometimes I am getting back to see the bus drive away and sometimes I see the bus pull into the neighborhood.  It really kind of depends on how fast little Rusty legs are moving and how many times he wants to stop and pee on the little things we pass.    
Older kids are getting home...just not his kids.
Rusty is waiting patiently.

He is getting a little older and a little slower but you couldn't tell for the most part that he is 8 years old.  He keeps up with the kids most days and is a busy little pup.  He is enjoying the kids being in school a little bit it gives him a change to sleep most of the day away.  He gets very excited when he hears the school bus though.  He might be little but he thinks he's mighty and his kids love him. 
My favorite time of day is when the kids are coming home form school...they tell me about the things they did, the exciting stuff they experienced, and the people they talked to.  We are connected and I love to connect to my kids!

A happy boy has arrived.

She really tried very hard to make the volleyball team.  Next year?

So when it is all said and done...yes my kids have been in 8 and 5 schools each...and yes that is a lot...but they are strong independent individuals that make friends fast and they are resilient.  They will go so far in this world.  We never ever intended for them to be in this many places by this age but it is what is and we can't change any of it.     

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Crash...Seat belts...angels and common sense! Photos are graphic

I have to be completely honest...this is not going to have my my normal light hearted tone.
I have an important message to get out and I have been sitting on it  for two weeks.   I was scared to write to put this out there...I am worried the pictures are too graphic. My husband has had them all over Facebook though...I want to tell the story of wt happened the say our lives were saved.
On July 5th, 2015 it was clear and dry and we were excited to be going home.  We had a car full of fun things to do.   We had some new plants and the kids had a new Wii.  We were excited to get home to our dog Rusty Roo.   He had been at the vet's office for boarding all weekend and the kids were ready to play with him.  We stopped to grab a quick lunch on the way out of town...we had our food and our iced tea.  We were ready to go...the Doug had plenty of gas and we listening to the tunes.   We were just cruising along...the tolls came and we pasted Wanamaker...haha....that's a funny name for a street...Nathan asked me if the tire felt low....I said no...the road was just really rough there. We crested the next hill and the road got smoother and the ride did not...worry crossed Nathan's face...he asked "are you sure? if this was my car..."
"I said no"...worry now in my voice too " you should pull over"
Nathan began to decelerate...I felt than he signaled...and I saw him change lanes...first one and then a loud pop..what was that...what was that...a slide the car (Doug) is sliding!  We slid across the next lane Nathan corrected because the car was sideways...we hit the grass still facing westbound...I think, best we can tell from skid makes and where Doug landed.  We slid though the grass for 15 feet and boom we were in the air.  "Oh my GOD!  Yes I said GOD, I said a dozen prayers in 12 seconds...then as if it was all ok I kind of relaxed. I pulled in my armed and we hit the ground...the side I was sitting on hit the ground and the window exploded on me.  I picked glass out of my arm yesterday...still coming out of all of my body.   It has been two weeks.  The second and third roll were very quick only second between the two of them.
  Nathan swearing the whole time.  As soon as the Doug came to a rest the kids made some noise...the first sounds we heard from them.   They made no sounds during the accident.  Catie asked "what just happened"  We had to ask Alex if he was Ok...he took a minute to respond.  Both kids were asleep when were we had the they were taken by surprise by the whole event.
Catie unbuckled and helped Alex unbuckle and they scampered out of Catie's window.  Catie stood outside the window crying for just a second then as if there were angels there were 4 men at least  2 women ushering the kids away from the car checking them over for injury calling for help.
Nathan asked if I was ok...I kept saying "I don't know."
There were people all around us telling us help was on the way and we were going to be ok.  I was so dazed...Nathan just wanted to know if I was ok...and I couldn't get him an answer because I was hanging from the ceiling and I couldn't free myself.
As I was hanging from the ceiling I remember a few things.   1. Nathan told me over and over to not stick my feet through the window...apparently when you are hanging from the ceiling your feet tend to stick out the windshield. 2.  My weight is a huge intended here.  I am grossly overweight...I have been my whole jokes.  I know you and most of you know that I have always struggled with this.  I am done with this...I will never ever have that issue again.  I see my doctor on Thursday to see what I can do to make serious changes.   I have already lost 4 pounds in the last 2 weeks.   This is going to happen.  My weight will never be a factor again in escaping a car accident again.   Mind you I don't plan on doing this again.  3. Seat belts are awesome and I am so glad I am a hard ass about the kids wearing theirs.
So I had to do a push up and Nathan had to unbuckle me while we were trapped in the car...I was freaking out at this point...because the guy on the outside said there is no way to get you out.   I said "oh yes there it now"  and turned to Nathan and told him to find me a way out.
The guy on the outside looked around a minute and he quickly figured out that the seat that I was formerly sitting in could be reclined and we could climb out the back window the kids climbed out of.  I got about half way out and had to was so much was such a little space.   The people were helping me and Nathan was helping me.   I had to stop and breath and I was hurting.   I had my face in the dirt and glass...I so didn't care.   I spent a few seconds crying and and then climbed the rest of the way out...
Nathan scrambled out behind me and laid on the ground until the paramedics arrived.  That was only a minutes or two...they checked Nathan over and he got up and walked over to the kids.
By this time I had told the people standing all around us that our son had Asperger's Syndrome and he needs to know that I am ok...because of course they were not letting me up from the ground.  I could have been too injured internally to move so they kept me laying down.  I couldn't see Alex or Catie.   I needed both my kids to know that I was ok and I especially needed Alex to know I was going to be fine.
After a few minutes the paramedics asked me if I felt like sitting up and they finished their exam...I was able to sit.   Then after 10 minutes and some digging and hunting for my shoes we got me to my feet.  As I leaned against the vehicle and surveyed the damage...and it was extensive...we left our weekend along a 30 x 45 yard swath of I-70 exit real estate.  I had a life flash before me kind of family was sitting together dirty beaten and dazed in a rather shabby pile of stuff and people collected our things around them.  It was so surreal and sad.
The funniest moment and there were strange....I can laugh now...and we did in those God awful moment right after in happened.  Nathan and I were so shaken.  We laughed, we cried and we did all kinds of hysterical things that would make normal people look at us in horror I am sure.  But nothing about this was normal.   Anyway the funniest moment was when the paramedic asked me if "I would like to be transported in the ambulance?"   "Um...let me see...we just rolled down a hill 3 1/2 times at least...and I spent several minutes with my feet sticking through the windshield...I then spent several minutes hanging from the seat belt and had to climb through the window...yeah maybe I should go with you to a hospital?!" "Can the family come to or should they get a cab?"
I made a very long climb up the is the edge of the Flint Hills...and it is rough ground.   I was again examined.  The rest of the family was loaded in...the sheriff collected a lot of our junk.  We made a long slow ride to the local hospital in Topeka and spent the next 5 hours getting tested for internal injuries.  I wish that they had cleaned the glass off of me at the hospital better...I might not be still removing as much from my skin as I am now.   That is not anything I can do anything about though.   It is old news and I am healing and so is everyone else.
We have hidden problems...Catie is complaining about not being able to sleep.  I am not having that problem, but the thought of driving down I-70 gives me severe anxiety.   So much that I don't want to do it alone...I am making plans this next week to drive a whole different route.   My husband is unhappy about will waste time...of the precious time!
Alexander and Nathan don't seem to be experiencing anything after the event.   We are all doing our own thing.
That day is a weird memory and our life has changed.  We were saved...we used common sense and put on our seat belts.   They saved our lives...they were angel wings...I tell almost everyone I meet that seat belts save lives!  I mean it...I had one guy say "they save money on tickets"  I turned around looked straight at him and said "more important they save lives"...its true.  We are required by law to wear them...time and again they have saved lives we are just four more winners.
Please make sure you buckle up...we never ever expected to have a roll over car accident.  Nathan is a very save driver...I always knew that there was a chance that the Durango (Doug) could roll.  It was a generation of SUVs that was of poor design...many rolled over and even the visor had a rollover warning.   We never drove in way that would cause it behave that way though...the rear tire sheared off at highway speed making for a bad combination for us.    We just were very blessed to be riding with angels and seatbelts...
here are the pictures if you want to see them...


Friday, April 24, 2015

"The conversation"

I started writing this blog a little over four years ago when Nathan and I were going through what seemed like the hardest thing I could think of...becoming Foster Parents.  As it turns out that wasn't it...walking away from becoming foster parents was harder.   I shake my head in wonder sometimes at how our lives have changed show much in four short years.   I love it hear in Salina and as we get ready to move again I wonder at what changes are going to have to happen before we are going to be foster parents again.   This is so far from where I was going with this post....I was starting this really awesome grateful post about my daughter!
So here is goes!
About a week ago we were having lunch (BBQ yummm) near home and we were listening to the song by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Same Love
Catie piped up that she didn't know anyone that was gay...Nathan and I both choked on our lunch.  We laughed and asked her what she was talking about she knew plenty of people who were gay.  She said she didn't know who was gay...I shrugged and looked at Nathan and we began to tell her who she knew.   I will not be listing out who she knows here as Kansas and not all of our friends and family are as accepting Nathan and I are.   I will not expose any of our family and they are all family to us to ridicule.  After several minutes Catie called a stop to the countless numbers of people we were telling her about.   We explained to her that she had know most of these people most of her life and I guess it never mattered much who they loved just that they loved.   We knew and she just always understood they were apart of her life.  She never knew any different so she didn't know that there was any difference.   Many of these people were integral parts of her life...she just didn't know any different and isn't that they way it's suppose to be?
I want that kind of blindness for everyone...just see everyone the an 11 year old that sees you the same as the next person.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Pack...OMGOSH?!?!

This is really going to happen...we are really going to buy a house?  We are really going to move for the 10th time in 17 years!
Wow how did this happen again?  I am really getting tired of packing and unpacking.  I just unpacked didn't I?  It's really only been a year since the last move.
I am getting excited about this move...I truly am!  We are buying a house!  We are going to be home owners again.  We lost our last house during the '08 collapse.  That was so much fun(insert sarcasm) we should try it again.   We are really looking forward to having something to call our own.  It's been a rough couple of years since we lost the house...we never seemed to get things right since then.
We have just been bouncing off one obstacle after another and not really getting a very good handle on the situation.
So Tuesday was the first day off from work and I wanted to make sure I made the most of it.  I got some errands ran and I did  a few chores.  I started to pack a few boxes but I could never really get two boxes later I was done and I called it a day.
Wednesday rolled around and I was more ready to get some packing done but not really motivated to do it first thing in the morning.  So I worked on a blanket I am making for one of my daughter's friends for a while.  Still not feeling it...oh I ever going to get this done?  Finally I decided I better get my butt to it and just jumped in...packing here I come!   So I packed five whole boxes.  Whoo!  I am so glad I got that done!

I am so grateful that my job gives me the flexibility to take the time to get my house packed and still keep my employment.