Thursday, February 28, 2008

In the Presence of Christ

Papa L. A. passed from this earth and into the presence of Christ early this afternoon. He has received his rest. We are rejoicing for him, but sad for those left behind. We will be leaving early Saturday morning and returning late Tuesday night. Darrin and I will be the only ones going down to Arkansas. There is a whole lot of drama that will be hitting the fan soon and after discussing it with Darrin's parents we decided that it would not be good to expose Edy.

It is the first time that I had to tell Edy that someone she loved had gone to be in Heaven with Jesus. She cried as I expected, and I am sure there will be other tears from her at different times. I wish I could shield her from these hurts, but I know that God will comfort her heart.

We went down to Arkansas last March to see Papa LA and Grandma Bobbie. I am so glad that we did. He got to meet his great-grandchildren that he had heard so much about. He got to watch them play and swim, and Edy talked his ear off. After we had left for home the rest of the family from Texas and the East Coast converged there. A fun time was had by all.

I am told right before he passed into the arms of Christ, he was surrounded by his 2 oldest sons, his wife and his pastor. They read the 23rd Psalm and prayed. It was while they were all in prayer that he was ushered into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Psalm 116:12-19
What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,
I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
O LORD, I am thy servant; I am thy servant, the son of thy handmaid. Thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.
I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!

I'm Tired and a Change in Perspective

Today I am just too tired to do much. I am physically and emotionally drained. I thought I could handle the everyday messes that the children create. I could do this if life was normal, but there is little about our lives that is normal.
I am tired of special diets.
I am tired of smeared poop in the bathroom.
I am tired of the screaming.
I am tired of being tired.
I am tired of my struggle with weight.
I am tired of the same food over and over.
I am too tired to think.
I am tired of trying to get supplements down my children.
I am tired of medical bills.

As I was writing this in my pity party state I received a phone call update on Darrin's Papa in Arkansas. He is not doing well. He was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma about a month ago. Everyday is a struggle to know what to do to help him. My in-laws are there at this time. They do no know how long they will need to stay, but if things keep progressing the way they are, it will not be much longer.

At least there are things that I can do for my boys. They do not have a life threatening illness. What we are doing will make it so they will be able to lead full, normal lives. They will recover. There is not a whole lot of guess work left. We are on the path to recovery.

I can not imagine what Grandma Bobbie is going through right now. The realization that she is going to lose her husband and close friend of over 25 years is starting to close in on her. She has lived with this possibility looming over her head for years. Papa has Emphysema. He has been living with this for a very long time. As it turns out, his lungs are working fine right now. It is the rest of his body that is having trouble.

It is amazing to me how one phone call can put me back into perspective. The timing of the call was of the Lord. A gentle reminder to me that my life is not all that bad. Yes, I am tired, but our family in Arkansas is much more so. So today I will continue to give my kids their supplements and Epsom Salt baths, not care that the house is once again a mess, and pray for our family, in Arkansas, who is facing a much bigger battle today than I am.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Monica

Today is my friend Monica's birthday. (see her great blog)

A little over 6.5 years ago the Lord brought the Bird family to the church that we were attending. Monica and I would have brief conversations in the nursing mother's room, and other church functions, but it was not until early 2004 that we became good friends. Monica did something that I don't think that I would have had the guts to do, she let me sell her house. I had just received my Real Estate Agent's license and she was very brave to allow me to help them sell their home and purchase another. Through this process we talked more and the friendship started to grow.

I do not think that I would have survived this journey without her. She has been my constant voice of encouragement. When I am down and in tears I always know that she will have a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear. I can not tell you the countless times that I have retreated to her house when things are just too much to bear.

She has taught me so much about how to be a good mom, just by being a fabulous mom to her 7 children. I love to watch her interact with her kids. She has such a great relationship with her older daughters. I hope to have the same type of relationship with my girls as they grow into young women. I know that some days are hard, but her children are such a joy to be around. They are the kids that I want as my children's friends.

Many people go through life hoping for the type of friend that I have found in Monica. She is a true friend, never judgmental, yet I know she shoots straight from the hip and will tell me like it is. She is full of compassion and love.

Monica, my friend, I hope this day holds special surprises for you and that as you start this next year the Lord will fullfill the desires of your heart. It is a privilege to call you my friend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


The kids were sick last week and then lucky me I got it too. Fortunately Darrin was off on Monday and I got a sick day. I have not had one in a long time. It was quite nice.
Because of all of the sickness (not as bad as other families have had it) my week is a bit off. I thought all of the doctors appointments were this week. NOT. They are next week.
Because I thought they were this week I filled out a new Autism Treatment Check List, called an ATEC, for Taylor. You can see what we progress we are looking for here:

The saying that you can not see the forest for the big tree that is right in front of you has been so true for me over the past month. I did not see the progress. I started to wonder if what we were doing was truly worth it. Well.... the ATEC score is on a scale from 0-100, 0 being the best and 100 being the worst. Taylor was in the mid 60's in November. Today when I did his ATEC........46!!!!

This is close to what Spencer was in January. So very exciting. Now it may go down a bit after Darrin goes over it and changes some answers. But he has made huge progress in just 3 months. We still have a ways to go, but we are going and that has made my day. We have covered a vast amount of the road. Wow 46!!

The tantrums are gone! He is seeking me out for hugs and play time. The other day he came up to me and said "let's play together." He wanted to do a puzzle. He is also starting to use 5 word sentences consistently and telling us what he wants instead of pointing or grunting. He is also using the scripting language that he has in an appropriate manner.
Last week Darrin caught him playing with a car on the car rug appropriately. He was pushing the car down one of the roads and following it as it curved.

As I said earlier, it is hard to see the progress day to day. This ATEC really helps us see by numbers what ground has been covered.
The day we hit the single digits we are going to have a huge party.

To top it all off I lost a pound this past week! It was a very stressful week and I still managed to lose a pound. Life is good today!

Monday, February 11, 2008


One of the things that we are trying to do with the boys is open up the pathways for their bodies to be able to detox. One of the theorys out there is that this elimination/detox system is not functioning correctly. This is why we get the heavy metal build up from the vaccinations and different environmental toxins. When these toxins build up the body reacts.

In order to get these pathways open we are doing a number of things. We started with Vitamin B12 shots. To this we are adding Epsom salt baths and zinc. This is in addition to the MSM (helps with allergies), digestive aids and other supplements.

I can not say that we've seen major dramatic results with the vitamin B12 shots, but with adding the Epsom salt baths I am starting to see some improvement. Taylor is much calmer than he has been in weeks. I give the 3 younger children a soak in their swimsuits when the boys get home from school. They were staying in the bath for about 1 hour, and now we are down to about half an hour each day. Yesterday Taylor referred to me as mommy for the first time. Most of the time he refers to me as mom. It was just an easier word for him to say. Today he used a 5 word sentence. "I want more bacon please."

We have not seen the dramatic result that others have seen with the allergy tests and removal of the foods that they should not be eating. Some things cleared up, but the communication did not improve. The communication is now emerging. It is slow, but it is there and that is exciting. We started our next supplement for detox this weekend, zinc. It is not easy to get it down the boys, but we are trying to be consistent in hopes that we "win" and they start taking it more willingly. (I wish all could be given in shot form. So much easier!!!)

After our next appointment we hope to be adding GSH. This is the compound that is in your liver that helps to detox. It is also the element that is eaten up by Tylenol. We will no longer be giving our children Tylenol. I knew that it was toxic, I just did not know how toxic it was to our boys.

Once we have gotten their detox system going strong we will start chelation. This should remove any mercury that is sitting in their bodies.

It is a step by step process, but I know we are on the right path. The diet is going well. I am learning to cook and you my friends give me different ideas all of the time that I can incorporate into the diet. Their bellies are getting flatter and attitudes are better.

Right now it is quiet here. The dishes are mostly done and the rest of the house is an absolute mess, but it is quiet and peaceful. That is more than I could hope for a few months ago.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My Partner on this Journey and Weight Loss

Never in a million years would Darrin and I have imagined that this was the journey that we were meant to walk together. When I was single I had the notion that I did not want to get married just to be married. I wanted someone who allowed me to be me, and did not expect me to be something that someone else said was the "ideal" wife. I also wanted someone that I could help in life. Not just be there to wash his clothes (which I do not do well) and keep his house clean. I wanted my life to be enhanced by the one I married, to be better than I was single.

I found just that man in November of 1996. I took a Desktop Publishing class and he was the instructor. I can not say that it was love at first sight, but it was love during the first 2 weeks. I did not know what it was about this man, I just knew that I wanted to be his partner. My gut told me that he was destined for great things and I wanted to be a part of that.

I waited for 2 years for him to get his act together. He finally did and we were married on September 11, 1999.

There were many trials that we went through in our first year of marriage. We lost a baby and later that year I lost an ovary and he was by my side through it all. As I look back I should have gotten a clue. Most of our trials were medical and now here we are in the biggest trial that we have ever faced together and it too is medical. Go figure.

All this to say that I am so glad that I am walking on this journey with Darrin. He is a man destined for greatness and this journey is just adding to this greatness. He may not be recognized by the world as one of the great men of our time (I think so, but I have found that not everyone sees things the way I do) but he is a great dad. This is the man who had never changed a diaper before we had our first child. This is the man who gaged when he changed his first "rice" diaper. (you who have experienced this know what I mean) This is the man I love. He has always jumped in with both feet even when the waters were a bit scary.

He has taken an active roll in the recovery of our boys. Most men with Autistic sons just bury their heads in the sand and let their wives deal with it. 80% of marriages that have Autistic children end in divorce.

I am thanful beyond words for Darrin. I do not ever have to worry that some day he will give up and leave. He is as dedicated to this as I am. He hurts for our boys every bit as much as I do. Because of this I know that even if the world does not bestow the label of greatness on my husband, his children and I will.

The last 2 years have been very stressful. I am one who eats when stressed and the result has not been pretty. So, starting today I am going to lose 30lbs.
I had lost 30lbs after Addi was born, but those little buggers have been making their way back on to my body. It is time to shed them again.

I will be posting my results on a weekly basis. This is to keep me accountable. I also am going to be doing something that was mentioned on The Rachel Ray show today. I am going to get sponsors for my weight loss.

This is how it works. Each person who wants to can sponsor a certain pound. For example one woman's boss sponsored her 180th pound. He will buy her a new outfit when she reaches that goal. I do not need new outfits, but I am looking for bits of encouragement and accountability along the way. So if you are interested in sponsoring one of my pounds or goals let me know. Darrin has already said he will sign up.

I will be using my online weight watchers and I hope to make it to the gym everyday to do the eliptical for at least 30 min. Also the night snacking will stop. No more food after dinner.
With this in place and a bit of encouragement from my friends and family, I hope to be ready for our vacation to Florida in July.

Also, If any of you out there want to join me, I would love to sponsor one of your pounds.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

My Favorite Kitchen gadgets and Video Games

I had forgotten that I had a small George Foreman Grill nestled away in the back of one of my many cabinets. I remembered the other day when I did not want to dirty a pan searing steak, neither did I want to brave the cold and turn on the gas grill. It took me about 6 different turns to get all of the steak cooked. I had forgotten how easy cooking meat was on this gadget. I am now looking for a bigger one.

I have always enjoyed researching my purchases. It gives me great pleasure to find out the retail price and then either find one on sale and use a coupon for another 20% off or find it online for a fraction of the cost. So now I am looking for the biggest, baddest, grill out there for the lowest price. I will let you know what I find.
I plan on using this grill to cook my turkey bacon. :) (in addition to other things)

The other kitchen gadget (if you can call it that) I can not live without is my Kitchen Aid mixer. I make muffins in this at least 2 times a week. I am sure I will use it for other things as I get time to experiment with my baking.
I received my Kitchen Aid mixer as a birthday gift from my family. I know it is a bit weird, but I am one of those who likes to get things like vacuum cleaners as gifts. I am not big on getting flowers, I do like the chocolate, but bring me home a new kitchen gadget or something that will make my life a bit easier and I am one happy mama.


We are a video game family. We started out with a Play Station I. We had so much fun with it that we were going to get a Play Station ll, until we found out how expensive they were. We settled for a Game Cube knowing that we would buy a Wll when it came out. (We have one now, but still use the Game Cube.)

We have been collecting Game Cube games for some time now. I like this system because they have a lot of muti-player games. One of the kids favorites is Monkey Ball.
While we were away last weekend Darrin found a Monkey Ball game that we did not have. He said it would be better than the one we did have. We both thought the kids would like it better.

I must pause here and explain a bit about how an Autistic brain works. One thing that these kids lack is impulse control. The boys are getting better except when in a highly stressful situation. Let me tell you Monkey Ball is HIGHLY STRESSFUL!

We had the screaming down to almost nothing. That is except when Monkey Ball is being played. When mama is winning all is smiles, but as soon as that ball rolls off of the would have thought that they were being tortured back in the medieval times. Wow, what my neighbors must think.
So for much of this week I have had to endure the screaming as they roll one by one off of the maze. I would try to put a stop to it, but it would not work. They truly can not control their reaction. As their bodies heal this control will be developed. I do have glimpses of this from Spencer. He can handle a little of mama messing up. He will tell me "it's ok mom try again." He can do this for about 10 times and then he has had it with this woman's clumsy fingers.

I could just hide the game and not let them play until the impulse control has been developed. I am either a glutton for punishment or something. I can not bring myself to take this game away from them. As much as they scream when they fall off the maze I get an equal reaction of joy when they get to the goal. You would have thought they won the lottery. They are also getting better at their eye hand coordination. Every day they get through one more maze without falling off. I think that the rewards of what they are learning and developing out weigh the disappointments of falling off the maze.

Because they both are getting better at the game, I purchased 2 more Game Cube remotes last night. They boys and I sat on the floor and played Monkey Ball races. There was no screaming. Most everyone had a great time. Spencer gave up about half way through because he was not winning. Well, on to the next battle. :)
As I was writing this Spencer got very mad because he could not win at the Star Wars ship race. He was quite distraught and came up to me and said
S - I want to win
ME - Try again
S - No try again
Me - shall I tickle you?
S-No tickle
Me- shall I raspberry you?
S-No raspberry
Me- shall I wrestle you?
S-no wrestle
Me- shall I love on you?
S- Love you!
He then gave me a big hug.