Monday, December 31, 2012

Sledding 2012

We took the kids sledding just the other day.  I remember going almost daily as a kid.  Well, here it is a bit different, it's not as easy, you also have to find somewhere to go.  We went up to where Jared's parents live, which is on top of a mountain, we went there and it was quite deep know and a lot of the hills were a bit much for my kids, to go down.  We also borrowed sleds that fit my sister's kids (they are little), so I think doing this again, we will go to a different spot, were the hill isn't as steep and have bigger sleds.  They seemed to like it.  Connor HATED it, but I think that was mostly due, to him having just woken up and did NOT want to go outside for any reason!  I think he would have had more fun, if he was in a better mood.

Connor's Big Boy Bed 2012

We officially moved Connor from his crib to a new bed!  We have been meaning to do it for a while, but just haven't gotten around to it.  We had a toddler bed in the basement that we brought up for now and he LOVES it!!  He thought he was such a big boy in his bed!  He is almost too big for it though, so this bed will be short lived and he will have to graduate to a twin bed this year, I guess that means we get to pick out more room decor!

Merry Christmas 2012!!!!

We got to get our pictures taken with the annual new Christmas clothes on!  They love getting new clothes (well the girl's do anyway, Connor couldn't care less).  I loved all their outfits this year, they turned out so cute!!

 Every year on Christmas eve we get together with a bunch of my friends and the kids all get to decorate cookies for themselves and for Santa.  We also make "reindeer food" that we sprinkle on the lawn every year for the reindeer to have.  It's a great tradition and we love it!

We went to our Ward Christmas Breakfast and Santa came with Mrs. Claus.  The kids were so excited to see Santa!  Jayda couldn't stop hugging them both.  I wondered how Connor would be because he is at that age, where kids are typically weary or scared of Santa.  Well, not him apparently.  Santa came in and he was up on a stage and Connor goes running over to him and holds his hands up to be picked up.  So Santa, reached down and picked him up off the floor and up onto the stage and Connor was a happy camper, it was so cute!!

We spent Christmas eve with my fam.  We all opened up our Christmas eve pj's.  Even Jared got some and we even got him to wear them, ha ha!  Jayda was sad, that I apparently didn't know to get her "footie" pj's, but she does like hers.  I just figured she would like a nightgown because she LOVES dresses and wants to wear them every day.  Funny kid!  We had fun hanging out with my fam, we watched "It's a Wonderful Life" (which I had never seen before, it was AWESOME)!!  We ate Christmas dinner, then we did a Twas the Night Before Christmas mad lib, which had us rolling with laughter.

Well, Santa made it all the way to our house and he did NOT disappoint!  The kids got lots of new, fun things.  All there things this year from Santa were rather large though, it was hard fitting them all into our cozy front room.  We may have to move the big Christmas "shin dig" down stairs in the family room for next year.  Connor had fun "helping" his daddy put some of the toys together, he went and got his own little toy drill, it was so cute!  I believe they got everything they wanted and then some, it was a great day!

Jayda's Dance Recital 2012

Jayda got to have her very first dance recital in December.  It was so adorable!  She did awesome!!  We love her teacher Ms. Addee, she is so cute with the girls and they all just love her!  For the new year, with my sister, Karri living here now, her daughter, Kaija is going to be doing dance with her, so that will make it even more fun!

Happy Halloween 2012

Oh, the fun that is Halloween!!  I love helping the kids to come up with their costumes every year.  This year, Connor got to be a pirate (we could not get him to stand still for a decent picture), Nyah wanted to be a "cute" witch, Jayda was a mermaid and Keira was an Orca.  They had a ton of fun going trick-or-treating and getting loads of candy.

Happy Birthday Jayda 2012

Jayda turned 5 this year!!  She wanted a cake with a mermaid, then it was Minnie Mouse and it went back and forth, so I decided to get a little creative and had them make a cake and turn Minnie into a mermaid!  Best of both worlds!  She had a great time and got everything she wanted.  I blew up a bunch of balloons and then taped a plastic table cloth to her room door, then in between the door and the table cover, I loaded it full of balloons, so then when she opened her door in the morning it was like a balloon avalanche!  They thought that was great!

Family Pictures 2012

We went and got our pictures taken (just with my camera by my friend).  We figured it was about time since the most current family picture we have on our wall, Connor is not even in!  The funny thing is, we got them taken and yep, they are still on the computer and I have yet to print them.  Ugh!  I will be doing that within the next month though.  They REALLY need to be updated!

Keira's Horse Riding 2012

After, trying many, MANY different activities for this kid and to have all of them turn out to not go well.  Let's recap, shall we... we have tried gymnastics (she hated being touched/spotted by the instructors, so she did a lot of screaming), there was dance (that worked for a bit, then she got sick of it, not to mention, this kid does NOT perform, she is the kid that everyone is laughing at, because she is doing her own thing), there was Soccer (wow, this one was the most exhausting!  She wouldn't stay out on the field for more then 30 seconds at a time, she would sit down in the middle of the field, scream when other kids had the ball, etc.)  There was also the time we let her do the play with Nyah, (oh my gosh, I have not laughed that hard in such a long time, do you remember me saying she does NOT perform, yep she was doing all sorts of things to attract attention to herself, the whole audience was laughing at her, and we heard people talking about her "special performance" afterwards and how funny it was, the even funnier part is, she doesn't even realize the attention she draws to herself.  In the car on the way home as we were laughing about it, she looked at us and said, "why are you laughing at me?")  So, after several tries and fails, I think we have finally found something that works out great!  Horse riding!  She loves it!  They have other animals at the barn were she goes and she can tell you the names of all the different animals, she still can't remember the name of her trainer though.  She is doing really well, and that makes me happy!

My Birthday 2012

Yes, I do have a birthday and thanks to my awesome friend, our entire neighborhood was well aware of when it was!  This is what I woke up to on our garage and my door.  On the door, are 31 hearts that all have fun inside jokes that we have created over the years.  I will let you figure out why there is 31.  I had a great day, getting lots of presents, going out to eat, and just enjoying time with family and friends.

Jayda Starts Dance 2012

Jayda started doing dance this fall and boy does she just love it!!  She gets to go with her best friend, Tylie.  She is always so excited about it and loves to show us what she has learned.  She is our little girly, girl ballerina!

Keira Gets Baptized 2012

With Keira turning 8, she decided she wanted to get baptized.  It was awesome and went so smoothly.  I worried how she would do, she HATES when people touch her while in the water, let alone if someone were to put her under the water.  Not to mention, you really never know what is going to come out of this kids mouth at any given moment.  In the end, it went very smoothly and without incident.  While changing out of her wet clothes right after, she looked at me and said "mom, do I look different."  I know she felt something, she didn't understand it, but she felt something, she felt different! Of course, my literal child had to look in the mirror and point out that she looked the same and was not different at all, ha ha!  Love my little Squeaky!!

Camping in Star Valley 2012

We love going camping.  Every year we like to go to my good ole home town of Star Valley to camp.  It's great, the kids can just run and play like the wild kids they are.  We can ride 4 wheelers all over the place, get dirty and shoot guns.  What more do you need?

 Grandma had to get a pinata this year, the kids thought that was awesome!  Grandpa had fun teaching the kids about guns.

1st Day of School 2012

Of course with the ending of summer comes the starting of school.  Summer always goes by way to quickly.  This year Nyah started 5th grade, Keira started 2nd grade, and Jayda went into pre-k.  Connor gets to stay home with me still.  I can't believe how fast it goes and how big they get!

Oh BOY!!!!

Oh, we are in trouble with this kid!!!  Let's go over what he has gotten into just this summer shall we... There was of course some food coloring, not the regular kind, but the gel kind, so there was a whole lot to go around!!  There was also the lovely acrylic paint, he got into that with me in the same room!!!  There was also the nail polish on our wood floors.  You would think we just let him run rampant.  We even put this stuff away so he can't find it, well he does find it, he is fast, and he is quiet!!  I figure he is going to be the death of me!!

Keira's Yard Sale for Autism 2012

We had a big yard sale this year to earn money to get Keira officially diagnosed.  It was amazing how much love and support we received for this.  It's frustrating to have our insurance not cover anything to do with it, but it's also humbling to see how much support we got.  We are happy to report that we got the money we needed to get a diagnosis.  As many of you know we thought she had Aspergers (a form of Autism, on the high functioning end).  Her official diagnosis was High Functioning to moderate Autism, so it was a little more severe then we originally thought.  If you go back on the big post I wrote about this, you will see that we had the school do some testing on her and they had someone come in to give her the ADOS test (which is the official Autism test, they give kids on a national level to measure the amount of Autism the evaluator sees in the child).  Anyhow, on her school test her score came back as a 4 (basically the higher the number, the more Autism they see).  That person said she didn't qualify for an Autism diagnosis.  The school and I, however had different opinions on that and she did get on the IEP under the autism umbrella.  Through this process, we went through a place called the Autism Assessment and Treatment Center, I figured if there was any present, they would see it.  They gave her the ADOS and she scored a 16 on that one.  That is a HUGE difference to have one person score her at a 4 and the others at a 16!  She said she had never in all her years seen were the ADOS is given and the child scoring a number to not qualify for Autism and have the school over ride it like our school did for Keira.  She then said, that says something about the school, they are on top of it with this, which is so nice and reassuring to know.  On top of her Autism diagnosis, they also diagnosed her with Anxiety (which wasn't a real surprise) and then Transient Tic Disorder (which was a surprise).  We didn't see the tic disorder diagnosis coming.  Then we had it explained to us, what it's all about and we could see exactly what they were talking about.  Some of the things she does with this are continually popping her Jaw, yawning a lot, coughing a lot, blinking her eyes drastically, etc.  These things can come and go, some days she will do it all throughout the day and some days it's not so much.  With all of this, we at least know where we are at and where to go from here.  We are just taking it one day at a time and learning as we go.

Happy Birthday Keira 2012!!!

Keira turned 8 this year!  It was a year she got to have a "friend" party.  We do friend parties on the years they turn an even number.  This year Keira wanted a stuffed animal party (big surprise there)!  She had a lot of fun and got even more stuffed animals to add to her giant collection.

Cherry Hill July 2012

We went on our annual Cherry Hill "Staycation" with my fam.  Our kids look forward to it every year!!  We have a blast as well.  We have been going since I was 10 years old, so that is a lot of Cherry Hill!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Keira and Aspergers

This has been a while coming now.  I knew I wanted to one day put into words exactly how I felt and what thoughts have gone through my head since finding out about Keira having Aspergers.  Ya, know, we knew there was something unique and special about her the moment she was born.  Even the Dr.’s sensed something.  She cried for over an hour straight non stop, I still to this day remember the Dr.’s words “oh, your in trouble with this one.”  From that day, there have been little things here and there, little signs.  I remember when she was around the age of turning 1, the biggest thing they said about Keira was how content of a child she was.  I could sit her down on a blanket and she would just sit there and be content for the longest time.  It wasn’t until now I realized why she was so content on that blanket, she was in her own little world, thats what she wanted.  We knew she would be stubborn.  When it came time to feed her, her first foods, what an ordeal that turned out to be.  She REFUSED to try it, I mean mouth clamped closed, would not give in for anything.  The Pediatrician, told us to just be consistent and she would get used to it.  That is when the battle began...6 weeks, it took us.  6 weeks of consistently giving her that baby cereal every single day, twice a day before she would willingly take it.  When it came time for her first taste of fruits and vegetables it was the same thing!  Then, with walking, I didn’t think she was going to walk almost.  She finally did, she was 19 months old before she did.  When she turned 2 my content child turned into the spawn of Satan!  I mean, I know terrible two’s.  Nyah, the drama queen had the tantrum down to an art at the age of 2.  But, with Keira, I had never in my life heard the loud of a death rattling scream that would come out of her mouth!  It’s interesting to me now, that I know more about her, that at the age of 2, when they are starting to talk and to “communicate” with the people around them, is when her frustration had come out.  Then came potty training.  Ugh!  I still have nightmares about this experience.  You can actually go further back on my blog to the whole story of the potty training tale of this child!  I, waited until after she was 3 to start potty training her.  We tried EVERYTHING under the sun to get this child potty trained, nothing worked, half of it backfired.  You name it we tried it, the sticker charts, treats, potty training the doll, running around naked, letting her clean herself up, keeping a potty chair in every room, keeping them on the potty chair for an extended period.  It was awful, I honestly thought at the time she would be graduating from high school in diapers, and I knew it wouldn’t phase her, she would not care.  We eventually had a break through and she did get potty trained after a year of trying everything.  Yes, I just said we did this for a year of consistently trying daily.  By the time she was preschool age, we knew, we KNEW, something was...different for lack of a better word.  We could never really assess what she knew.  Because she would just not answer the question, or she would answer the question wrong, and we would assume she just didn’t know the color, shape, number or whatever we were trying.  Only to our dismay later, when we would hear her talking about whatever thing we had been asking about.  Her attention span, was extremely short, even for someone her age.  One day, I was talking to my mom about her and my mom mentioned something about ADHD and Keira.  I remember thinking, “hmm, it’s something to think about.”  I didn’t really know anything about it, so I started googling it.  She did seem to fit in this category.  So at that time I was thinking okay, well I think we know what the issue is.  I thought it was ADHD with Anxiety, because even at preschool age the meltdowns and tantrums were still going on, on a regular basis, when normally a child has outgrown this for the most part.  I took her to a Counciling center, I told them our concerns and what we were thinking.  I remember, one of the things, we were concerned with, was that we couldn’t have a real conversation with her, she would only talk about what she wanted to talk about.  The counselor mentioned her need to “control” the conversation, he thought she was very unique and was excited to work with her.  They wanted to have her tested for her development.  At the time she was 4 and her developmental level was that of a 3 year old.  Well, we found out a little later that our insurance didn’t cover most of this and it got very expensive.  We decided that, for the time being we would educate ourselves on this and take it one year at a time.  So, we decided to hold her back a year for Kindergarten, her birthday was in August, so it was late in the year anyway.  We sent her to Kindergarten the next year.  Boy, was that a transition.  We knew, from experience that she does not do well with transitions.  She had her fare share of bad days and many, many meltdowns at school over different things.  Luckily for us her teacher was great with her, and very willing to work with her and make accommodations where it was needed.  We had told him about us thinking she may have ADHD but were not sure.  He made a comment once about how he wasn’t sure that was the case, because there were things she would sit still for, where with ADHD kids, they can’t sit still even if it’s something they love.  The year ended and it was on to summer.  Half way through summer break, I started worrying about sending her to first grade, she doesn’t do well with the transitions and this would be a pretty big one.  I was googling things about this, when, I came across a website called “Ask the Expert” or something to that effect.  You could ask this social worker/psychologist one question about your child for free and then you go from there basically.  I thought, well it can’t do any harm, right?  I told them a bit about Keira and her issues she had in Kindergarten and that I was concerned for her going into 1st grade and basically how can we make it go okay for her.  I also told them about the possible ADHD and Anxiety.  I got my answer...the turning point for us with her.  This woman told us, that from what it sounds like she would guess more along the lines of Autism, specifically Aspergers.  She outlined the reasons why, based on what we had told her about Keira.  She of course said, this is just something to look at and in no way a diagnosis.  I remember my first real experience with Autism.  I was babysitting kids at my house and I babysat for this woman, that had a child with Autism.  I watched the younger brother for her, while she took the one with Autism to his school and what not.  Now, he was severely Autistic.  I remember thinking how hard that would be as a parent, to deal with this.  It almost seemed as though he had developed to like 18 months old and then stopped mentally.  I remember assuming that was how all kids with Autism would be like.  I also, remember being worried about any of my own kids ever having this.  Now, at the time Nyah was still a baby.  I would watch my kids develop and when they passed the 18 month mark and went beyond developmentally I was relieved.  It’s funny how little of knowledge we can honestly have about a subject, when we assume we know based on a one experience.  How naive that was for me to think.  So, when I was told to look into Autism, my response was more of “huh, I haven’t ever thought of that.”  At that point I had more experience with Autism and knew a little more about it, like that it could be severe, all the way up to high functioning.  I had heard the term Asperger before but knew nothing about it.  So, I was back to googling.  What I found out was surprising.  All the little traits Keira had, that we thought were unique to her and didn’t fit with ADHD, were traits of Aspergers.  It was scary how well she fit into this category.  I remember reading about things that are hard for kids with Aspergers or Autism.  They were the same things Keira would be struggling with and I never really knew the reason.  So, now I was thinking, “okay, well lets look into getting her tested.”  Well, the first thing I found out, is that it’s really expensive, the second thing I found out was that our insurance didn’t cover anything to do with it.  So, now we were at the “what do we do now” part.  I really was researching as much as I could.  I really wanted to know, if this was in fact what was going on with my daughter.  I remember one of the things they say about kids with Aspsergers specifically is that they have some form of obsession.  Whatever their particular obsession is, is all they want to talk about.  Keira, you see has an obsession with animals.  She LOVES them.  She collects stuffed animals and wants new ones all the time.  Just the fact that she even had an obsession, was telling to me.  Now, I know, that kids can all become “obsessed” with some sort of toy or activity.   The difference being, that one, this is typically a phase for kids and they move on after a while and two, while they love the specific toy or whatever, they will do other things, play with other things sometimes, they can move on.  Not so much with Keira.  She will have play dates and while at the friends house, she will play with their stuffed animals.  It’s like, that is it for her, thats all she wants to talk about.  I will talk more about this in a bit.  So, I continued my research, the more I learned the more convinced I became, that, this was indeed what was going on with her.  I decided to try the school route at this point, since we had no funds to cover even a diagnosis for her and the insurance was no help what so ever.  I had a big fear about talking to the school.  I had heard horror stories about parents having to fight with schools to do anything for their kids and let’s be honest I am not a fighter.  The reason for talking to the school, I knew they had programs to help with students that have special needs.  They have whats called 504 plans and then IEP plans.  I had no idea what I needed to do to even begin this process, so I started with talking to the school counselor.  She told me that, there would be meetings involved, testing on her behavior, assessments on her academically, they would need to observe her in the class, etc.  She also gave me the information to get in contact with the schools special education director.  Now, real quick  here is basically the information about the 504 and IEP.  This is something that is nationwide, so basically if your child where placed on one, in one state and then you moved to another state, it would go with their school records to the new school and the help would continue on, which was nice to know.  The 504 plan, is what they place students on, that have issues that interfere with their learning moderately.  On the 504 plan, this is all done in the classroom, they have special instructions for these kids that the teachers have to follow for different things.  For example, some kids have issues testing, just sitting there, reading the questions, so they will put on their 504 plan, that the teacher or other adult, will read the test to them and they can take the test in an environment that is helpful to their situation.  These things are things that can be done in and around the classroom setting.  Now the IEP (which stands for Individual Education Plan) is when these kids that have issues that interferes with their learning significantly.  These students will automatically qualify for the 504 and all it’s benefits and then they will qualify for help outside of the classroom setting as well, these students will get extra tutoring help in whatever areas are needed.  So, now, I got a hold of the special education teacher, telling her I would like to get Keira tested to see if she qualifies for an IEP based on the fact that I believe she has Aspergers.  So, then went the testing process.  There was endless amounts of paperwork, for us to fill out, paperwork for her teacher, and even for the school counselor.  Then came the waiting (at least for me).  At the school they were doing all their assessments for her and other one on one testing in different areas.  They had  a psychologist come in to give her the ADOS test.  This is a test for kids on the Autism spectrum.  Finally they called to set up a meeting for her IEP.  In this meeting, they wanted me there of course, her current teacher, the school counselor, the special education teacher, the reading specialist for the school, and then the speech specialist for the school.  Now, we were to go over Keira’s results they came up with and see where to go from there.  So, I guess based on the ADOS test, she did not qualify for help on the Autism spectrum.  They gave me the number she scored which was a 4.  Now, I really don’t know much about the results or how they work, but from what I have read, I guess they need to score a 5 to qualify, so basically she is one number off.  Now for me personally, I don’t know how accurate, any test can be based on a psychologist, having never have met her before, sitting with her for one hour and that is it.  A lot depends on the child’s mood, during that time, and even the events going on that day, there is just a lot of factors to be considered.  Now, after telling me this, they said not to worry because the school can basically over rule that and decide amongst themselves if they feel that student does need help based on Autism.  Of course, they told me this was in no way any type of diagnosis, but thats what the plan was.  So we sat there and they got out a book, and we went over all the different things the student will be showing in order for them to rule it Autism.  They felt she was showing every single one as we went over each of these.  They told me then, that based on her speech evaluation alone she would qualify for an IEP.  Now, what they decided to do, was to decide how to proceed.  In the end, they decided to put her on an IEP under the Autism umbrella.  Now, she would get special help when needed in her classroom setting, some of the things here are that she has a stuffed dolphin she can hold to help her with math and other things.  She also has this small blanket, like very small like 5x3 inches.  It was crocheted around the edges.  She loves these kinds of blankets that have the crochet edging.  She rubs it between her fingers.  She can have this to help her sit still on the rug.  I keep in close contact with the teacher going over things that help to calm her down if she is having any type of melt down, or other things that happen.  Now outside of the classroom, she qualified for help with her speech, math, reading, and social skills.  It really is a learning process for us to see what works and what doesn’t work. You see, I was so happy that she was on an IEP and getting some help.  I was still continuing to research different things that would be helpful to her as well as reading books.  I bought a book from Barnes and Noble that is very helpful.  But through all this, there was the issue of her not having the actual diagnosis.  I guess in my mind, it left room for doubt.  That, maybe by some chance it was wrong, or people would think I am just trying to diagnose my child or something.  Also, with her getting the actual diagnosis, I believe it will open up doors for her.  Door, that will get her the help that she so desperately needs.

So, that brings us to our current date.  She is on the IEP and we are learning.  We are working towards getting her the official diagnosis, trying to earn enough money to do so.   Now I just wrote all of this without much emotion involved.  It was easier to write it that way.  To go through all the facts of it first.  Now, for the emotional bit.  Learning that there may be something wrong or different about your child gives you that panic.  You don’t ever want anything to be wrong with your child.  Learning what is wrong is such an emotional roller coaster.  I felt like I was punched in the gut, that the wind was knocked out of me and couldn’t quite catch my breath.  There is also a very tiny bit of relief almost, not relief that your child has something, but relief that your much needed questions have been answered finally.  Having these questions, and the unknown associated there, is almost scarier then the reality, thats when your imagination can run wild with all sorts of horrible possibilities.  Then, of course, finding comes with a bit of finality.  You can’t change this, this is it.  Getting this answer, isn’t like finding out your child has RSV or some other sickness.  Now don’t get me wrong learning something like that about your child would be devastating just the same, it’s just different.  You know with RSV or other such illness’ that while yes, they are dangerous and can be deadly.  There is still hope, that everything will eventually be okay.  They will get better and a lot of the kids do get better.  They may have their stay in the hospital or are able to stay home to be treated, but they get better.  I knew that, this wasn’t the case with my daughter.  When we were first finding this information out a lot of people told me to watch this show that is on TV called Parenthood.  There is a family on there that learns that their son has Aspergers and all the things associated with this.  I remember watching one of the episodes where the boy finds out he has this and one of the questions he asks is “will I always have this?”  Then, they have to tell him, that yes, he will always have this.  It’s not something that goes away, it will always be there.  There is no magic pill or treatment for this, you have to learn to cope with it, how to deal with the difficulties that come from it.  I find myself so many times watching that show Parenthood and I will be in tears, seeing what they are dealing with and knowing that I will have similar issues in my road.  There is nothing worse to a parent then having to watch your child suffer in any way.  It makes you feel so completely helpless.  Now, my daughter, she most likely will not have to suffer physically.  Her suffering will be emotionally.  Emotions that she just doesn’t understand.  There have been times through this, that I find myself collapsing on the floor gasping for breath, tears streaming down my face.  Crying anguish for the emotional issues she will have to face in her life.  There has been the of course “why” question.  Why her, why a child.  I have learned that those questions can’t really be answered and there is no one to blame, so that can be a dangerous road to travel, so I try not to stay there to much.  I try to build up my daughter, to prepare her.  To make her strong, so she will realize how amazing she is, when one day peers may be telling her how horrible she is.  I need her to KNOW this, to not EVER doubt it.  I can’t have her feeling like she isn’t good enough, that she is “weird,” or “different,” or a “cry baby.”  Yes, these are all things that she has already been called at school before.  I find myself singing songs to her.  Songs that might empower her, make her realize how awesome she really is.  One of my favorites, that when I listen to it, it makes me cry for her, is True Colors.  The lyrics seem to be about her and I want her to know that who she truly is, is beautiful.  
You with the sad eyes.  Don't be discouraged.  Oh I realize.  Its hard to take courage.  In a world full of people.  You can lose sight of it all.  And the darkness inside you.  Can make you feel so small.  But I see your true colors.  Shining through.  I see your true colors.  And that's why I love you.  So don't be afraid to let them show.  Your true colors.  True colors are beautiful.  Like a rainbow.  Show me a smile then.  Don't be unhappy, can't remember.  When I last saw you laughing.  If this world makes you crazy.  And you've taken all you can bear.  You call me up.  Because you know I'll be there.  And I'll see your true colors.  Shining through.  I see your true colors.  And that's why I love you.  So don't be afraid to let them show.  Your true colors.  True colors are beautiful.  Like a rainbow.
There is a music video, that makes me cry every time I watch it.  It’s called Beautiful Heartbreak by Hilary Weeks.  At the same time it is making me think about the hardships she will have to face, it makes me realize that this world is full of people and everyone has their own hardships.  Everyone one of us has trials.  This is just what ours is I guess.  In the end when they are standing there with their signs, I picture myself holding my own sign.  Some days are easy, some days are so difficult.  I came across, this episode of the Ellen show, where a family was on there.  Their son, had 2 years earlier committed suicide because he was being bullied so bad at school.  Their son had Aspergers.  It made me scared for my daughter.  I sure hope things NEVER come to that.  It’s seeing things like that, that throw me for a loop.  So far we have been lucky with the school.  I was worried about having to fight them to get on an IEP, but that was not the case, they have been amazing to work with.  Keira has kids in her class that look out for her, and while yes, some days are difficult for her with her peers, the school does not tolerate bullying and I am so grateful that we could be in a good school.  I think, it was an answer to a prayer, we hadn’t even known to ask for at the time.  We got in this school before we had any idea about Keira’s issues, before she was even in school.  It was one of those blessings, that we got in advance.  It just goes to show you how much our Father in Heaven watches out for us and helps us through all of our trials.  I don’t even know what I would do without his help through any of this.  I find myself on my knees often asking for help in dealing with one aspect or another of this.
It’s funny, because recently when we were getting ready to go on our cruise and I was trying to make sure everything would be taken care of while we were gone.  It dawned on me, there is so many things that we do in our house, that the typical family doesn’t do, or doesn’t need to do.  These kinds of things are our “normal.”  We do these things without ever really thinking about the fact that these things aren’t other peoples “normals.”  Now, I know every house has there own things they do and every house is different.  But these things are even more on the different side.  It got me thinking a lot of the “why” question.  I get it, I get, that there are things we have to adapt to, you just don’t realize it sometimes.  I decided, that since my mother was going to be watching my kids, she would need instructions.  Now me, being me, I started typing up information that my mom would need.  You see my kids would still be in school that week and with my mom doing daycare, I had to make arrangements for them to be taken to and from school.  So, on one page was any phone number I thought she may need, the next page was there schedule of who would be picking them up and bringing them home and on what days, etc.  This is something most people would need when watching someone else’s children.  Then I decided that Keira needed some instructions to go with her.  That brings me to my first “why”
~Why does my daughter need to come with a set of instructions?
As I am typing these up, it ended up being 5 pages long, 5 PAGES!  She needed a lot of instructions to help things go smoothly and to help my mom from having to endure one of her difficult meltdowns.  What did I type on these pages?  Some of it was things that are our “normal.”  Like for example, when Keira says her bedtime prayers it HAS to be absolutely silent!  If she hears anything, she will stop and start again, if noises happen to many times then a melt down is sure to come.  Also, she will stop during the middle of her prayer and ask “where are we going tomorrow?”  She does this EVERY time.  You can’t tell her before her prayer where we are going tomorrow because then when she gets to that part, she will stop and start over again and then start to get frustrated.  There are many things like this, that we deal with all throughout the day.  With brushing her teeth, with getting out the door to school, going to church, at church, at school, eating meals.  Which brings me to another why.
~Why is she so picky?
When I say picky, you have no idea.  She is very specific with some of her things she will or will not eat.  Like, she loves yogurt, but it cannot have chunks in it, she loves apples, but not applesauce, she will not eat ice cream because it’s to cold.  Some things she won’t try because of texture or color or because it’s new to her and she just will NOT try new things.  Sometimes I worry about what nutrition she gets.  The only fruit I can get her to eat is apples and one bite of a banana and that is on a good day.  Vegetables you can forget about.  I never usually tell her when we are planning to go somewhere or to do something fun.
~Why can’t we all plan as a family to go and do something fun?
If I tell her in advance what is going on, then it’s every hour of every day, “when are we going?”  I know that a lot of kids do that, but with her, her concept of time is not there.  She doesn’t understand and she starts to get really frustrated with passing days and the activity not happening yet.  Then, if by any chance our plans get changed for any reason or something falls through, if I have to tell her that we are not going somewhere or doing something that we where planning, it will be an instant melt down.
What are some of the differences I notice in my daughter compared to other children her age?  It’s in the way I observe other children playing with each other.  My 4 year old Jayda is naturally drawn to other children.  Most kids start to play with other kids more around the age of three.  As I sit at my moms daycare watching the kids as they are all playing with each other, some in pairs, some in groups all playing something with someone.  I look and I don’t see Keira, I go and find her content to be all by herself in her own world.  This is frequent.  Not all the time, she will play with other kids, but usually they will initiate the play.  It’s in the way that she still gets upset at something and I watch her arch her back severely stand on her tip toes and scream at the top of her lungs.  Usually when kids are 7-8 years old they have grown out of the tantrums, not her though.  We frequently talk about different things that will set her off.  It’s in the way as I watch other kids socially grow past her.  She has never really played with kids her own age, it was always kids about a year younger.  Now we are watching as those kids that are a year younger grow past her socially and she is playing with kids even younger then that now.  It’s in the way that the kids in her classroom just seem to know that there is something different about her.  They have even asked about it.  It’s in the way where she will talk to adults by getting right in their faces sometimes rubbing their chest (to my utter embarrassment) and if they turn their heads she will grab it and say, “hey I need to  talk to you.”  She has no concept of personal space, however at the same time she does not like to be touched.  I could go on and on and on about all the different things that make Keira tick, but that would make this already long post that much longer.
In the end, I love this kid with all my heart and I want what is best for her.  I want her to be happy in all that she does, I want her to succeed.  As her mom I will do what I need to do, to ensure she gets the things that she needs.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!
Independence Day.
This is one of my favorite holidays.
I don't know the exact reason.
Being Together
I love what it represents.
 Something that our forefathers fought so hard for.
Something that seemed impossible to obtain.
We achieved the unthinkable.
I look forward to this holiday every year.
Dressing the kids up in red, white, and blue
The patriotic songs we here
All of it.

So, for our festivities:
We started at our neighborhood pancake breakfast.
After, I made them pose for pictures.
They seemed all happy to do it.
Which was amazing to me.
So we really went with it.

Thanks to pinterest and their great ideas.

We took so many pictures.
All the different varieties 
Even with Bella.

Then, it was off to the lake with the fam.
We had everything we needed.
Great company
Nice hot day
We cannot go anywhere 
without the yummies

Then, we had our annual BBQ
We completed our evening 
with fireworks of course!

Connor, kept finding all sorts of treasures
in my parents garage.
If you have ever seen the garage
You will know what I am talking about.
He used this as his gun

He did not like the loud "popping" sound so much.

At the end of the night
We looked at the mountain
This was the view
Not fireworks
One of the many fires.
This fire was on the other side of this mountain
It crept all the way up.

This picture is almost surreal to me.
Fire in the background 
Sign of the times I think.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Camping Family Reunion

We went camping in southern Utah.
It was a big family reunion with Jared's family.
We had a lot of fun.
It was cold at night though.
Hot during the day.
Other then temperatures not being what we liked.
It was a pretty good time.

We did have a few mishaps.
Mishap #1 taking 5 hours to get there!
It is only supposed to take 2 hours.
Don't always trust your GPS on your smart phone.
I don't take the blame for this one though.
I printed off a map on how to get there.
If we followed the map.
We would have drove right to it.
Instead we followed a brother in law (who shall remain nameless).
He was following his "smartphone."
Wasn't so smart on that one was it.

Mishap #2 we had NO pump for our air mattress.
Our solution:  my poor husband.
He blew up, not 1 but 2!
He was so lightheaded after that.
I can't imagine why.

Mishap #3 Keira freaking out about where Bella was at night.
We brought Bella with us.
We figured she could sleep in the tent.
With us.
Everything was fine.
Until 3 AM
We hear "dad, I need to go to the bathroom."
After that , Bella got out of Keira's "bed"
Keira was NOT happy.
She wouldn't settle down about it.
The dog would NOT stay in Keira's "bed"
End result was me yelling at Keira.
I told her I would send Bella outside with the bears.
I told her I didn't want to hear another sound.
Every time I heard her.
I said "is that a sound I hear."
She stopped pretty quick after that.
We were pretty tired the next day.
Almost everyone in camp heard all the commotion.

We only got pictures of the one mishap.
We have our memories for the others.

We had 4-wheelers.
Connor's favorite!  
He didn't want to get off them.
Big surprise!

The kids had so much fun playing with cousins.
Nyah even got to play with cousins that we never get to see.
The distant ones.
Jared's cousins kids.
She had a lot of fun.
I was glad to have kids her age to play with for her.

They had fun games planned for us.
It was very entertaining watching these games.
They even got Keira playing.
That surprised me, that she willingly participated.
She didn't throw a fit about it either.

There was a small pond nearby.
The kids kept catching frogs.
They had  so much fun doing it.

This boy, had little sleep at night.
We all did ha ha.
He didn't have a nap either.
He would NOT stop going.
He was SO tired!
This picture, you can see it in his eyes.

We went to see the kids at the pond.
This is how we found Jayda
Sitting in the pond.
I loved it.
There is just something about
seeing my kids explore
get down and dirty
just to play!
I love watching them.
Even if it means her being really wet.
and dirty.

The older cousins, found a way to make face paint.
Nyah was all over that idea.

Playing with more frogs.
Connor seeing,
and touching it.
Nyah's face cracks me up.

The VERY tired boys!

Look at this kid!
Look down.
at her shoes.
or, lack of them.
She didn't want her shoes on.
They were bugging her.
she walked everywhere
Like it was no big deal.
funny girl.

Poor dog!
She got tortured.
ALL weekend.
Of course,
it was all my kids.
doing the torturing.

These 2 were just laughing
and giggling
all through dinner.
It was fun to see them have fun together.

This is how we strap a 2 year old down.
He won't stop to eat if we don't.
He is so busy. 

This kid got SO dirty!!

This was our view.
On the way home.
So many fires this year.
It's scary.
and sad.

Much needed sleep!  
He was gone within 5 minutes.
You can see Jayda behind him 
sleeping away.
We were all so tired!

Gotta love summer fun.
Getting dirty.
Getting wet.
Seeing family.
Enjoying the sun.
Love summer time!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sidewalk Chalk Festival

This year we went to the sidewalk chalk festival.
It was really fun and really cool.
There are so many amazing chalk pictures to see.
People are so amazingly talented.
That is definitely not something that I can even come close to doing.
They had music and a lot of different booths set up to see as well.

This one was really cool.
They let the kids sit on Captain America's shield.

This was Jayda's favorite.
Don't know what the look on her face is for.
Funny Kid ha ha.

Jack Sparrow is my hero!

It was neat watching them create these pictures.

I made them take a picture in front of my favorite ha ha.

I love Dr. Seuss!  
I love how the way they did it makes it look like a book.

The kids got to have a dance competition.
The winner got an Avengers pinata filled with candy.
Nyah was the winner.
Love watching her dance.
She really gets into it.

Nyah and her winning loot. 

Free Cotton Candy!
All the girls in our family (especially me) LOVE it.
The boys (Jared & Connor) not so much.
It was a lot of fun.
I highly recommend it.
The kids had a blast.
Jared and I had a lot of fun.
All in all a good time.