Little friends :)

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This summer Eli had Tuesdays off. No therapy or preschool. Tuesdays were his “go to Nanna and Pop’s house and swim in their pool” days. Most every Tuesday we were there or he was there if I had something I needed to go and do. Lydia, Rhett, and Karli would spend most Tuesdays at the pool with Eli. This is the “pool crew!” They keep those waters busy that’s for sure!!! These are my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Randy’s grandkids. Eli loves them so very much….especially Rhett. Rhett would play with Eli in the pool, play ball with him, push him around in the boat, help him in and out of the water, etc. etc. Eli became quite fond of Rhett pretty quickly. He talks about him often and whenever we are are Nanna and Pop’s and Rhett surprises us by popping in, Eli’s face just lights up! It’s the sweetest thing ever. Karli’s Mommy, Valerie just married my first cousin, Randyclark. Carolyn and Randy are Randyclark’s parents, so Karli is their grandchild too now…officially! 🙂 They have such a good time together.

The other little boys in the picture are my second cousin, Britney’s sons: Greyson and Hunter. We don’t see them as much, but they came over with their Nanna, Diane, one Tuesday this past summer to swim. Eli had a lot of fun playing with them and still talks about that day with Greyson and Hunter. They had a ball on the trampoline. They would’ve stayed on their for hours! Luke didn’t get to spend quite as much time with us on Tuesdays. His school schedule didn’t change like Eli’s did this summer. Eli was going on Tuesdays too until it worked out that it was the only day he could get a break. We kept Luke’s schedule the same because it was good for Eli to have some time to himself. He had such a fun summer! Lots of god memories were made.

The last few pictures are of this past Saturday. Rhett and Lydia walked over to my parents house when they saw Eli and Luke were there. My boys were very happy to see them come in. They played and ran and chased and played some more. We had to convince them to sit and read some books just to get them settled down. I’m so thankful that Eli and Luke are close to family where they can play together and make wonderful memories growing up!! So thankful.

Nowadays it seems that it’s different from when we were kids. My brother and I spent every single day of the summer playing with our cousin and sometimes cousins, plural. Not everyone lives next door to family like we did nowadays. But we are so much closer now, and Eli and Luke are getting to play with family, and they seem to really be having fun with it! It’s such a joy to my heart to see these 4 having so much fun together!

We are looking forward to many more family memories with these kiddos the rest of this year!

 

Fall is in the Air….Feeling Good!! (Cup not as full ;) For now…

Got home from a sweet, beautiful wedding last night, and it was pretty cool outside. Made me happy and excited for fall, which seems to be just around the corner! I immediately thought about making soup the next night. 🙂

As you can see, my cup doesn’t seem “as full” as it was during my last post..maybe it’s full, but full in a good way…not full as in I’m about to spew out! Ha

It’s a beautiful Sunday, and I hate SO BAD that we missed church today. =( I hate missing church. That is such a precious time…a time that I need…a time that we all need. Anyway, Eli got to go, so I’m happy about that! Luke’s eyes were pitiful, so I took him to the urgent care doctor this morning, and he has infection…pinkeye in both eyes. They are really not even red, just puffy and yucky. It doesn’t really seem to bother him though! He’s happy and playful. He’s napping now, but I may just have to get him out for a ride in the wagon in this gorgeous weather once he wakes up. He’s been such a sweetie this morning. I love him in his little long sleeve and long pant-pajamas. So cute. Want him to stay little!

Oh and I might mention….on the way to the doctor, we had a flat tire. Ha! I would’ve gotten mad but it’s just so typical for us that I never once got upset. Luke and I just sat there and ate pretzels until Daddy got the tire replaced.

Had a great time with family at my cousin’s wedding last night. It was the perfect weather and such a sweet wedding. Maybe I’ll post some pictures of that later on.

I posted the pictures above since it’s FALL now and those pictures bring up good memories of last fall! We are already enjoying watching football every Saturday, and I can’t wait to take some pumpkin patch trips on upcoming weekends!

Times may be tough, and as I mentioned in my last post, there are days where we can just barely make it from Point A to Point B, but we have made some sweet, wonderful memories along the way. That is why I’m always taking pictures. Through all the stress and heartache, I have captured as many smiles as I can so I can always look back and remember that no matter the trials, we made some precious memories and had some happy, happy times along the way. Can’t wait to make more memories this fall!

My cup runneth over….Literally.


Well Well here I am at school at 10:55 and I needed a “brain break” so I logged onto my blog for a minute. I’ve got about 10 minutes before I have my next class of kids.

The job is going great…I’m really enjoying it. Trying to learn how to balance being a counselor at 2 schools, but it keeps me busy, and I like that. Grandparents’ Day was today, and WOW did they go all-out for that. Cutest thing ever. (I’m at Benjamin Davis today–the school w/ first and second grades.)

The title of my post sort-of sums up the week for me….lots of things…small things, but the accumulation of these small things have made my cup tilt to where I feel like I’m about to spill out….and trust me, it wouldn’t be pretty. We are well-acquainted with “hard” and things being “hard” or difficult in our home. Everything we go through, because of Autism, is a process, and we take certain steps to get there. Sometimes we get there quickly, without hesitation, and with no problems, and man that is awesome. Other times it’s a complete trainwreck including tears, screaming, kicking, fighting (both children and adults), confusion, questioning….well, you get the idea. Lots of families go from Point A to B without much thought, consideration, or dialogue along the way. They do it, and that’s that. Not us…it’s not that simple for us and for my other Autism friends. Not feeling sorry for us…just stating the facts. It’s just life for us. We know no other way. Is it frustrating at times? Yes, very. And occasionally, I will put down my stone-cold “I can do anything, anytime, anywhere” face/front that I wear, and I break down. This week I have done that….

I have just needed for something, just one thing…to go smoothly and be somewhat “easy” for us. Not all the way easy because I’m not sure I would know what to do with that! But just a little bit easier maybe. Just one thing. That hasn’t happened yet, but hey, we’ve still got the weekend. Is my tone a little sarcastic and maybe unpleasant? Yes, maybe so. I’m having to work on my attitude today…working very, very hard, and I think typing this out may help me move on and put my “I can do anything” mask back on to finish out the week. That mask is made up of a lot of things…one thing being my Lord and Savior who gives me strength when I have NONE and I mean NONE left. I know my attitude is most likely not pleasing to Him now, and that’s why I’m working on it….hoping my venting in this post will help get perspective and QUICK because I need it. 😉

Now, I’m not all doom and gloom this week….as in anyone else’s trial, there are always wonderful, awesome moments that get you through. You guys know. Two come to mind this week:

1. Yesterday, I picked Eli up from preschool. They were having recess in the gym. Once I got there, he saw me, ran to me so fast, smiling all the while and saying, “Mommy, Mommy, it’s Mommy!” Talk about a welcome! Wow…nothing beats that…nothing…no amount of money in the world. Then he walked over without anyone saying a word and found his backpack in the huge line of backpacks, found his lunchbox, strapped them on, grabbed my hand, and proceeded to tell everyone “Bye! See you all tomorrow!” And yes he said “SEe you all” and not “yall”. HA! Talk about a big boy! Proud Mommy moment.

Now…Time-out for me to brag for a second…Eli’s therapist says no matter what his abilities are compared to some of the others in his room at preschool, he is the most well-behaved child in the class. BOOM! Take that, Autism. 😉 We will have our moments, melt-downs, freak-outs, and hard times, but Eli is somewhat like a little trained solider in many ways because of all that time spent in intense therapy at The Riley Center.Those thousands and yes, thousands of dollars spent a month and sometimes a WEEK are worth every single penny when you hear things like that about your precious child.

Ok time-in.

2. The second moment that comes to mind is when all four of us were just sitting at home. Eli was wearing his “Yo Gabba Gabba” shirt and Luke was so curious about it. Luke was pointing to the different characters, and after he would point, Eli was telling him who each character was. They were having their own little conversation, and it was the CUTEST THING EVER. If that’s not cute to you, something is bad wrong with you… I’m just sayin!

So yes, thankful for those moments. Thankful for joy. We talked about having joy in our girls’ Bible Study Tuesday night. Joy is different from happiness. As a Christian, you can have joy when you are unhappy….joy that never leaves you. Joy goes much deeper than just “being happy.” Joy can save your life when you are losing your mind and your patience. That is awesome…and if you don’t have that joy, you need to get on your knees and accept it. Best decision you’ll ever make.

I hear the pitter-patter of 1st grade feet coming down the hallway. I will return sooner rather than later this time…hopefully with a cup not quite as full. 😉

No pictures yet…but coming soon…

Well I promised to add pictures the night after my last post, and of course, I didn’t do it. This is a big week! I hope to get some on here tomorrow, but we’ll see. Tomorrow will be busy since it’s one of Eli’s 8-hour days, then Tuesday I have a technology conference to go to with my job, Wed-Friday will be all 5k preparation since the race is SATURDAY!

Can’t believe the race is already here! So much preparation has gone into it…just hoping and praying it goes somewhat smoothly. I’m anxious to see how much money is raised!

On a different note, my parents were nice enough to keep the boys this afternoon after church, so Matt and I went to school to get some work done. It’s a bit tricky trying to get my office and rooms ready at 2 different schools. That will be something to get used to. I’ll be at Leon Sheffield on Mondays and Tuesdays, Benjamin Davis on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and then Fridays will be just wherever based on what’s going on that week and what work needs to be done where. Elementary is very new to me even though I’ve always wanted to work with that age group. Nervous but looking forward to the challenge. I’m enjoying all the bright colors in the hallways. 🙂 I’m amazed at the rooms these teachers have with such elaborate and creative decorating. I am sure the kids love it. My office/rooms have a ways to go, but I’m working on it!

Meanwhile…..a few very random thoughts:

I LOVED the Hunger Games…I’m working on reading Catching Fire…in bits and pieces. I only have like 3 chapters left, but I have to read in phases because of my crazy schedule.

Big Brother has started! One of my all-time favorite shows…watched it every season. This year is pretty good I guess…I don’t think the cast is that exciting..not like years past. Maybe it will heat up more as time passes.

That’s all for now!

 

HELLLLLLLLLLLLO BLOG!

Well my dear little blog, I am so sorry for abandoning you for so long. I have been so busy that I barely have had time to think straight on most days. Eli’s summer schedule has him (on some days) going to 2 different places 4 hours at a time, I am planning and hosting a 5k run, and I’ve accepted a school counseling job that I’m trying to prepare for as well. It’s been c-r-a-z-y. During the day I take Eli and Luke (mostly Eli) to and from wherever they need to go, when we get home we play, eat dinner, take baths, play some more, then the boys go to bed. After that I try to eat something, get clothes ready for the next day, bags packed for the next day, and then begin to work on my race…at this time it’s usually around 10. LoL I usually fall asleep holding the laptop and wake up to Eli sitting up in his bed around 3:00 a.m. just-a-talking…..every single night.  After I get him back to sleep and situated, then I usually fall back asleep by 4 and then hear Luke at 5:30. And here we go ready for the next day! LOL  I’m really not complaining….I very much enjoy working on my race. I actually enjoy good, busy days with things to plan for and things to look forward to.

The race is something I wanted to do and I really can’t even believe it’s really happening! It’s A LOT OF WORK. It takes a lot of time….contacting people, venders, sponsors, timers, coaches, city officials, rapid responders, policemen, runners, walkers, volunteer workers, etc. People register daily so I have to stay on top of that. I’ve had a wonderful learning experience throughout this whole process…I’m VERY excited about all that has been accomplished, and I hope that the event will get bigger and bigger each year!

Let’s play catch-up a little. It’s been way too long….Where to start…I’ll go with the boys:

Luke: He is a MESS. ha He is still very full of life…very active, passionate, aggressive, and so much more. He still eat lots of varieties of foods. He loves fruit…his favorites are blueberries and watermelon. He’s often too busy to sit down and eat for long though. He is really into throwing a ball right now…Boy can he throw hard…sometimes at your face. Ha Anyway, I can see him on a tee-ball team coming to your city very soon! He can say: MaMa, DaDa, bye bye, ball (sometimes), cheese, yuck, and he will sometimes say “Bubba” to Eli on demand….”He will say bye bye Daddy.” It’s so very sweet. He goes to FBC Athens Daycare 3 days a week and loves it.

Eli: He is doing great…He is singing the days of the week, months of the year, and saying and doing new things everyday that surprise me. He is holding whole conversations and answering more and more questions. He LOVES to swim. We have been at the pool a lot this summer! We also went to the beach, which he loved as well! He would sit in the sand and let the waves just rush up and hit him. He loved it. He goes to FBC Athens Early Education Program on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 to 12, then on those days, we leave there at 12 and go to The Riley Center from 1:00 to 5:00. My baby works 8 hours a day on those days! Tuesdays he gets a break. Thursday and Friday he goes to Riley from 1 to 5, with speech on Thursdays from 12:00-12:30. He is a busy little guy. We have pretty much given up naps because he would not go to sleep at night if he napped during the day. It’s hard b/c he still doesn’t sleep very well at night, so some days he’s really tired and there’s just not much we can do about it. But I’m so proud of him! He loves to sing…he sings Bible songs all day long.

Job:

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it’s back to work I go! I had several interviews this summer…not really knowing if I’d be able to work with how Eli’s schedule was, but I went ahead and interviewed just in-case I had opportunity to work again this fall. It has worked out really well because after observation and testing, Eli’s therapists and case manager at The Riley Center feel that he is ready to transition to a “preschool” setting every day, full-time. This is a great thing! He would still have an ABA therapist “shadow” him several hours a day at the preschool, but that is good and needed as well. Eli is strong in academics but would really benefit more from being in the room with typical peers every day so he can practice the behaviors he has learned at The Riley Center. This will be 2 years of GREAT PRACTICE before entering kindergarten. I can’t wait to see how awesome he’s going to do in the school setting. So anyway, Eli will be in a preschool setting during typical school hours each day, so that “frees me up” to work again.

I’m excited about going to work! I have felt for several months now that it was time and that I was ready. I’ve had 3 years at home with my boys, and the many wonderful memories we made I will cherish forever. The job that I was offered first and the one that I accepted is with Decatur City Schools. I will be the counselor at Benjamin Davis Magnet Elementary and Leon Sheffield Magnet Elementary schools. Ben Davis is K-2nd, and Leon Sheffield is 3rd-5th. I was thrilled when they called me. These schools are few in the state….they offer many programs and classes that others do not. What a blessing. I don’t think it’s a coincidence either…I say that because when Dr. Remick, in Birmingham, diagnosed Eli, he told us that Decatur City Schools has a lot of great programs going on for students with Autism. He said they “really had it together.”  Wow. And they do…with each day that passes, I am more and more impressed with what they have for students. Excited for this opportunity! It’s only about 17-20 miles from where we live. I’ve always wanted to try working with elementary…it will be new, but I’m looking forward to it so much.

There is so much more I can disclose, but that’s all the time I have for now. My next post, which I will either do tonight or tomorrow morning will be lots of pictures.

🙂

Not sure what to entitle this post…

I couldn’t decide what to name this post because it’s going to be about so many different things. First of all, I am thanking the Lord daily for bringing us to Athens. We get to attend the church where we were married wayyy back in 2005 (lol), but what makes it most special is we get to go to church with family! Haven’t done that since my senior year of high school! Living so much closer to family is wonderful. I can drive the boys to my parents house or Matt’s parents’ house and come back to my own home all in the same day! People laugh that I get so tickled over that, but when we don’t experience it for so long, it makes you so thankful for it when it does happen. I’m sooooo grateful.

So many people are getting to know and love my boys, and that makes a momma happy! They are both doing so great at church, and Eli, especially, is really getting into a routine there.

Speaking of Eli, we are FINALLY over the potty hump. We are having great potty success!! 4 months ago Eli was scared to even sit on the potty..he refused. After much “practice” at Riley, he began sitting on the potty, and as of this week, he is peeing in the potty with no crying or screaming! It’s wonderful!! lol Never, ever dreamed I would be SO HAPPY over pee in the potty. HA

You see, if you were around for a potty session with us, you would understand why. When we first started potty training, Eli figured out the system pretty quick. He knew when he would get to wear a pull-up…in the car, and then for his nap. So he would hold it ALLLLLLL day long…literally for hours and hours until he knew that pull-up was coming. So then we had to take away the pull-ups and even skip nap-time on many days. Once we started doing this, the screaming began. We would take Eli to the potty at the appropriate time (when his timer went off). He would sit there, and keep in mind he has probably been holding it for hours, and he would start to go, but only one TINY little drop at a time. He may let out 3 drops and then scream his little self to death and cry until we either gave in and let him get up, or until he halfway got finished. He would rarely finish all the way. His therapists said it was a control thing…he didn’t like letting go of the control he had on that.

So anyway, you can imagine how much fun it was during all the screaming….multiple times a day. Eli was having a really rough week a while back, so Matt and I decided to give him a break. I kept him home one day, and we went and had a fun day out and about, and we did no potty training. I just kept him in a pull-up. He was the happiest child in the world! No screaming. So that told us that the frustration of potty training was triggering a lot of meltdowns for him. But we knew we had to keep at it…and we did.

BUT good news!!! As of this past Friday, he is doing GREAT!! He went all day at school on Friday, then he went great for me at my parents’ house on Saturday, Sunday was crazy busy, but he has gone at school and at home both yesterday and today. He has sat right down on the potty and started going, and he finished! And he was happy!! No crying! lol I praised him and loved on him and made the biggest deal out of it. I could tell he was proud and excited too. 🙂 Hallelujah! Praying the success continues!

Anyway, enough about pee! Luke is doing good as well. I do know he has 2 big teeth coming in way in the back of his mouth. That has made him a little sensitive at times, but other than that he seems great! He is still funny as ever! When I take him to bed at night, I love on him for minute, then I lay him down and kiss him and say Nite Nite Luke-Luke, and when I walk out of the room, he raises up and makes a kiss sound for me. LoL Sweet baby. He is saying MaMa and Daddy and Boo and waving bye-bye like crazy. He loves to give high-5s. We participated in the child dedication service on Sunday with Luke. He had to stand up on stage with us for a long time, but he did well. We survived! He gave Pastor Tim a couple of big high-5s before the service. He had a great time mingling with all the other children in the pastor’s reception room while we were waiting to get started.

In other news…I found our next 5k! It’s in June and it’s in Decatur. Excited to get busy working toward that.

I’m actually planning a 5k event of my own. It will be for Autism Awareness and families of the Riley Center as well as a new sensory room for the Autistic students at Hazlewood. Lots of info on that coming soon. I’ve got lots of planning to do before I even get into it!

Stay tuned!