Friday, April 29, 2011

Absolutely nothing!

We are in New York. We are doing nothing. That's right, nothing. Hanging out, walking around and enjoying the tulips in Central Park.

Miss the darling kids, but so nice to relax and have some alone time with my sweet husband.

Sounds like the kids are having fun at home with Amanda, Paige and Mimi- the best crew out there.

We are going home tomorrow night and getting ready to start another crazy week. Can't wait for my upcoming posts- I've got some good stuff :)

Goodnight y'all!






- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The Big Apple!

No- I am not talking about applesauce again. This time I am referring to something totally different yet totally exciting!

Tonight I got on a plane and headed to New York City. My husband also boarded a plane and we met at JFK!

So fun to have a little getaway for the weekend. Thanks to the whole crew of people at my house taking care of our darling kids. You guys are the best!

Awesome Paige and my amazing mother in law just drove 2000 miles to bring my car out. They got here just in time to get back in the car and take me to the airport. We now have a car! However, Wyatt does a lot better in the Cart and it saves on gas so we will still be using that as much as possible.

Well I am off to bed and I might actually get to sleep in (past 7 am...) for once!

Goodnight!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Goodnight!

Yes, I usually end my posts that way, but tonight I am starting with it.  I am beyond tired.  After 2 months of 3-4 hours of sleep and the most insane days you can imagine, it is finally really hitting me - bad.  I am about to fall asleep as we speak. 

We are on Tornado watch so I am spending what little energy I have left watching the updates.  I hope we are in the clear, but not sure yet.  I am wishing I had a flashlight in case the power goes out.  I am wishing I had 72 hour kits or emergency packs ready to go just in case.  I am wishing my husband was here to take care of us.  The sirens are going off again.  I am not even sure what that means exactly, but it is the 4th time.  I think the map looks like maybe it has switched to just a bad thunderstorm warning so that would be nice. 

I just fell asleep so I guess that is my cue to go to bed. 

I have so many great updates to tell you and can't wait!  The kids are doing great.  They are improving.  I can see glimpses of my little Wyatt coming out every day and it is a amazing.  Brody is maturing every day and improving as well.  Little Hazel is just a doll.  But sometimes still has that curl right in the middle of her forehead if you know what I mean... :)

Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This is truly one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Really.

I know I have told you all how amazing it is that Wyatt is trying new foods.  But there is NO way you can even comprehend how amazing this is.  My son is 6 years old and has never fed himself with a spoon.  He never would even let a spoon get anywhere close to his mouth.  He never ate anything that wasn't a finger food.  He never tried new foods.  (All of the above he used to do before his regression at age 2). 

Over the past 4 years, I have tried offering him new foods often.  I have tried creative ways to get him to try them.  I have treated his bowel disease which I had hoped would help him start eating more foods.  I have done 3 years of ABA therapy including a program designed to get him to try new foods.  All of these things have just really not worked. Over the years he has gotten slightly better at least with being more flexible i.e. eating square waffles and not only round ones, etc.   But overall, he has been the same.  If I do get a food near his mouth or try force feeding him, he gags, pushes things away, and even throws up. 

Wyatt has only been in Brain Balance for 4 weeks.  4 WEEKS!  Over those  4 weeks we have gotten him to lick the spoon with applesauce on it.  We have gotten him to actually get some applesauce in his mouth.  This all had to be coaxed and heavily reinforced.  Well on Sunday that all changed!  I hadn't given him applesauce in about a week because I had just forgotten.  I decided to give him a small bowl.  Of course he immediately asked for "game".   I wanted him to try the applesauce again so I gave it to him but not without a price!  He had to wear his sock, his eye patch and his earphone in one ear. 

Note:  I know it looks like my poor child doesn't own clothes because all of these videos he is shirtless.   He does, in fact, have clothes.  Some of these videos are in the morning.  As for the rest, they all just happen to be taken when he doesn't have a shirt on. 

So I gave him his applesauce and went to the kitchen to get the medicine ready.  I came back very shortly after and the bowl was empty!  He had eaten it all without me even telling him!  He handed me the spoon and said "apple".  HE WANTED MORE!  I couldn't believe it!  I gave him some more and reminded him that it was applesauce.  Within a few minutes it was all gone again!  He said "apple" and I gave him some more. 

I was SO tired.  My husband was here so I went to lay down for a minute and actually fell asleep!  I think it was for a total of 6 minutes, but I am not complaining.  Anyways, I was awoken by the most amazing little boy.  He ran in my room, sat on the bed by me and said "applesauce!"  It was with such determination like he knew exactly what he wanted and knew that he had asked for it properly!  I immediately jumped up and got him some more applesauce!  By mid-day, he had eaten a jar and a half of applesauce.  This makes me a little nervous, but I am hoping it is just because it is a new food and ti is different and good.  I hope he is not overly obsessed because it is bad for him :( 

NOW I WAS OUT OF APPLESAUCE!  No big deal right?  Wrong.  I had a little boy that after 4 years FINALLY wanted to eat something new.  He actually liked it and he was verbally asking for it and he was going to get it!  Problem:  It was Sunday and we don't shop on Sunday.  Solution:  I had three apples and a Vita-mix.  I watched a video online and headed to the kitchen.  I whipped up the most awesome applesauce and it was delicious!  I made the mistake of adding a little cinnamon.  Wyatt tasted a bit, but didn't love it.  He kept asking for applesauce until he went to bed. 

The next day he asked for "applesauce" about 1000 times until I made some more.  He loved it and ate it all day long.  This has continued since then.  Today I made it with 3 apples and one pear and he loved it! 

So, now we are to today.  He wanted applesauce this afternoon, but he needed lunch.  Brody was eating my delicious home made chili.  I have gotten Wyatt to lick the spoon before but we haven't gotten far.  I was sure he didn't like the looks of all the chunks - beans, meat, etc.  So what did I do?  I blended it all up in the Vita-mix.  I gave it to him and told him to eat it and he did!  Now, he doesn't scarf it down like the applesauce, but he was actually taking little bites of it.  He needed coaxing and reinforcment, but that is how the applesauce started too. 

My new plan:  Since with Brain Balance we are kind of starting from the beginning and rewiring the brain, why not go back to the beginning with food?  I have decided to puree all of the food I want him to try - just like it is baby food.  The plan is that he will get used to different textures and tastes and eventually will tolerate the foods even when they are in their usual state.  It is going to work.  :) 

Again, there is NO way any of you could understand how HUGE this is.  This alone (okay, maybe with the potty training that happened overnight) is worth the money we have paid.  I know without a doubt that Brain Balance has made this happen.  I am so happy.  So excited.  So relieved.  So grateful.  So blessed.  This journey is a worthwhile one and although it is very challenging, I am SO happy that we are on it. 

Now watch the videos and see my Amazing Boy in action! 

Goodnight!

Here he is eating whole, real bites of applesauce!
video 
Here He is asking for more applesauce! 

 
Here He is eating Chili!!!!!!!!! video

video

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Article: 10 Big Ways That Technology Affects Your Brain

This post may seem boring because there are no pictures or flashy titles, but the information is important - so read on! 

I actually find it quite fascinating.  The world has totally been overtaken by computers, TVs, phones, video games, etc.  We all know this and I admit to being a victim.  I am rarely seen without my phone in my hand.  Not because I have free time to socialize or chat, but because I use it for EVERYTHING.  My calendar, my journal, my to do list, my scriptures, my bill paying, my shopping, etc.  I LOVE It and I think it has helped me be more organized and much more efficient.  However, that doesn't necessarily mean I should be attached to it :)   I never really understood what this technology was doing to our brains.  I had heard that it was addicting.  I had heard that it had led to more violence.  I had heard that it had been linked to ADD, etc., but I didn't really know why. 

When my kids were little, I remember hearing that I shouldn't let them watch TV at all under the age of 2.  I didn't really know why and didn't really look into it.  Plus, everyone else was doing it :)  My kids loved Baby Einstein and they watched plenty of it.   I remember hearing that they should have limited time after age 2.   I figured it was just because they were sitting and not learning anything.  So, rather than really look into the reasons behind this, I just made sure they were watching educational programs - that makes it okay right?  Well, not really.   Educational is good, but it is the amount of time spent watching the screen, regardless of content, that is really the issue.

Now, I am not at all saying that watching TV alone (or other screens) damages the brain or causes ADHD, Autism, etc.  In fact, there are still WAY too many theories of what causes all of these disorders and I am not going to get into them individually.  As a whole these are thought to be the major culprits:
(Most of these are taken from the Book "Disconnected Kids"
  • Lack of Physical Exercise
  • Overweight and Obesity
  • Television and Computer games
  • Stressful Pregnancies and births
  • Enviornmental Toxins including Vaccinations
  • Inadequate nutrition
Theses disorders could be caused by one or any combination of these things.  Some children are born with Autism or other neurological disorders, but more commonly children are regressing at a later age and actually losing skills, etc.  This signals a definite environmental factor.  To quote one paragraph of the book: 

"Each of these negative influences is interfering with the positive environmental stimulation the brain needs to grow and strengthen.  The most egregious is physical inactivity."

Now, my kids are hyper and crazy and bouncing on the furniture so I wouldn't say they lacked physical activity.  However, that doesn't mean it was the right kind of physical activity.  Again, it is not only ONE thing that causes these disorders, but many things can continue to make it worse or make it impossible to get better. 

The kids in Brain Balance (if Right Brain delayed*) are supposed to limit their "screen time" to 30 minutes a day.  That means ALL screens.  Computers, TV's, iTouchs, etc.  Why?  Because this screen time stimulates the left hemisphere of the brain.  If a child (or adult) is already out of balance, you don't want to continue to do things that will stimulate the brain that is already developing/working faster than the other.  We have cut out most all things that stimulate the left brain and are trying to implement everything that will stimulate the right brain. We need to get the right side to work harder and get stronger and we need to get the two hemispheres communicating with each other.

* Right Brain Delays are Usually Diagnosed as:
  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • Asperger's Syndrome
  • Autism
  • OCD
  • Tourettes Syndrome
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • Conduct Disorder (CD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Noverbal Learning Disability (NVLD)
Left Brain Delays are Usually Diagnosed as:
  • Dyslixia
  • Reading Disorder
  • Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Language Disorder
  • Processing Disorder
  • Learning Disability
  • Depression
For the children and adults that are neuro-typical, I think it is still all about balance.  If your child is constantly doing things that stimulate one side or the other, re-direct them to other things.  They don't need to do anything all day, no matter what it is.  Watch tv, play legos, play video games, read, etc.  It really isn't good to do the same thing all the time.  It doesn't work our brains.  If our brains aren't functioning properly, then our bodies don't either.  It is okay to have some TV time, but then we also need outside time, puzzle time, play time with friends, craft time, travel time, reading time, exercise time, etc. 

I know it is WAY easier to just turn on a movie.  I have done it for years.  My kids didn't watch TV all day, but they watched way too much.  Why?  Because they usually preferred that and it calmed them down so I could get things done or have less chaos.  The truth is,  it is a lot harder without a TV because you have to keep your children constantly engaged all the time or they go nuts!  This is easier with neuro-typical kids because they know how to play appropriately, use their imagination, read a book, etc.  When you have a child with Autism or on the spectrum somewhere, it is not that easy.  The reason I allowed Wyatt to play games on his iPhone so often was because he didn't have other things to do.  If I was trying to make dinner, get work done, etc., he was climbing the cabinets, destroying things, escaping the house, flooding the sinks, etc.  If I gave him a movie or an iPhone to play, he stayed out of trouble.  However, that was just continuing to exacerbate the problem. 

I am not here telling all of you to throw away your televisions and toss your computers out the window.  I am only here to tell you what I have learned and pass it on to you.  There are so many things I didn't look into or took at face value and I don't make that mistake anymore. 

Lesson I have learned about EVERYTHING in life.  Don't assume something is okay or good because someone else does it.  Don't assume everything is safe just because other people say it is.  Don't assume that the government or others are looking out for you and your family's best interests.  You are responsible for reading, researching, praying and making the decisions of what is right for YOUR family and no one else.  

Okay - Finally!  Here is the article.  It was given to me by Brain Balance but it is all over the internet.  Look it up if you like.  Read it and pass it on!

The Internet and digital technology has wholly revolutionized the way we do business, conduct research, find entertainment and even socialize. It’s a godsend for college students, and arguably an invaluable tool for everyone from freelancers to CEOs to stay-at-home parents. But with all of the information and media that we’re exposed to everyday, our minds are actually changing. There’s a scientific and neurological shift in the way we process information, read, communicate and interact with each other, and some of it is quite frightening. Here are 10 big ways that technology affects your brain.
  1. It’s physically changing our brains: Brains are malleable, and through our power of imagination, virtual simulation and technology experiences, we’re actually changing the physical shapes of our brains, strengthening parts of the mind that can lead to a decrease in sense of self and human identity.
  2. Developing brains are especially at risk: Today, people "consume" about 12 hours of media — including TV and Internet — per day while at home, while in 1960, people consumed only 5 hours per day. Children are especially at risk because their minds are not developed enough to process so much digital stimulation or information, especially when it comes to prioritizing and practicing self control.
  3. It can be addictive: For lots of reasons, being plugged in can become a serious addiction which interferes with daily activities, child rearing, social events, normal conversation, and even business and work.
  4. We’re less able to think abstractly, but can tune out external distractions: Perhaps because of the immediacy of information, over-stimulation, and multitasking applications and technologies, our ability to think abstractly has been greatly affected. On the other hand, we’re better able to tune out external distractions like music or TV while processing information online or via a smart phone.
  5. Our neural pathways are affected: The change in attention span isn’t just "habitual," as this Guardian article points out, but neurological. Our neural pathways are actually being damaged, and we’re less able to really process and remember information, even though we’re constantly reading, or skimming, online.
  6. It affects our ability to read: Reading books or even longer articles from a medium like a newspaper has become more and more difficult for lots of frequent web users, as we’ve become accustomed to taking in information superficially without taking the time to really appreciate things like fully constructed arguments, narrative or even complex plot. This challenge may be a result of lowered attention span, but others believe that the way we think has actually changed, and our minds have "taken on a staccato quality," possibly because reading isn’t a human instinct. Just as we learned how to read, we’re un-learning it after years online.
  7. Fragmented communication leads to jitters and addictive personalities: This writer shared her experience "dreaming in Twitter": after too much Twittering, her brain couldn’t relax, and she and her friends attuned the experience to having ADD-like symptoms. Their concentration is limited to 140-character quips, and addictive personality traits surfaced almost immediately after she got the hang of sharing peak experiences and participating in global conversations.
  8. Our brains function more primitively: With such "deluge[s]" of information popping up at a constant rate, we’re more prone to panic and irrational reactions to e-mails, blog posts and other things online. We get too excited too easily, feel bored and empty when we’re not plugged in, and feel impulsive and compelled to respond to every piece of data coming in.
  9. We’re losing our sense of place, and the ability to contextualize: Scientists and researchers have pinpointed a problem with GPS and other direction services like Google Maps: we’re given directions to follow, but no context to put it all in. This lack of understanding and personal customization or familiarity makes us more likely to forget something or miss out on a piece of information altogether. Social networking is being used to help solve the problem, but if we rely on technology as a one-sided provider, we lose our ability to contextualize.
  10. We process visual information more quickly: Those who spend more time reading webpages and playing video or computer games are able to process visual information and translate visual symbols at a much faster rate than those who don’t.
Goodnight everyone!  I must turn off my computer now ;)

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Happy Easter, Messy House, Random Thoughts

    Happy Easter Everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful day.  We had a great day, but definitely not at all like our usual Easter Sundays.  We had no family around, no Easter Dinner and even the Easter bunny didn't show up until about noon!  None of that mattered because we were all together!  Having Papa here changes everything.  We actually felt like a real family.  We went to the park, we went on a walk, we went to the store together, we played together, etc.  All things that we didn't even get to do very much BEFORE we moved away.  The kids had a blast and didn't want Papa to go home.  Brody cried at the airport, but it was better than last time.  They all wanted to go home with Papa on the airplane...  Brody at least wanted to go all the way up to the gate and I explained to him that we couldn't do that and he wanted to know why.  I ended up explaining 9/11 to him in the best way I could.  It is weird how I assume that my kids know things just because I do.  I don't even realize that they weren't born yet and don't even have a clue about things before their time unless I teach them.  He was SO interested and wanted to know everything about it.  He then wanted more stories that related to that and I ended up telling him about Pearl Harbor.  He was fascinated and wants to learn more.  He is just like his father :)

    I really have so much to talk about, but just no time.  I feel like I should stop saying that since I say it every day, but it is true.  And I guess it is my way of apologizing for throwing random pictures and thoughts up.  I guess It is also my way of telling you that there is something better to come.  However, in the end this blog is just a crazy journal of my thoughts and of our journey so the entire thing may be random pictures and thoughts and that is fine by me.  I just want to have everything documented so I can look back and never forget.  I also want others interested in Brain Balance to have something to read to give them an idea of what it is all about. 

    So - since it is 11:30 and I am even more tired than usual, I will do my best at a short re-cap of the last few days and then I am off to bed. 

    The first photos are the main reason that I don't have time to blog.  After a weekend of Birthday Celebrations, Playing with Papa, and Easter Bunnies my house is DESTROYED!  I always swore I would never put pictures on my blog of my messy house.  However, for the sake of keeping it real and never forgetting the craziness that is my life, I did it anyway. 

    This is now spotless, but it was not fun.  I actually don't mind dishes, but I am getting too old to stay up late doing them.

    Dining Room mess as well as laundry, etc.  Laundry will have to wait until tomorrow! 
    The family room/random bedroom/toy room.  This is such a funny looking room.  We don't really have furniture and just take what people have so graciously offered to us.  Now add Birthday presents and Easter stuff and you have got yourself one crazy messy place!

    Easter stuff before the kids got to it......

    When I took Paige to the airport on Thursday Hazel insisted on coming.  I think she was tired.  (The other kids were home in bed (or were supposed to be) while my friend came and sat at the house with them and also let me use her car.  Thanks M!!)  Paige was supposed to come back at 6:00 am tomorrow morning, but unfortunately her grandmother passed away on Wednesday Night.  She is extending her trip to attend the funeral and spend time with Family.  Rather than buying another expensive plane ticket, Paige has so generously offered, and has not been forced in any way ;) to drive my van back!  My wonderful mother in law has agreed to keep her company.  Also, My sister is flying in tomorrow for a visit!  For me it is perfect timing because she will be here to help out since Paige is gone.  I really don't think I would make it the week alone - seriously.  However, she may be wishing that she had purchased refundable tickets... :)  This is a crazy week!  By the end, I will have my sister, Paige and my mother in law all here.  Yahoo!!  I wonder if there is a way I can keep them all and never let them leave?

    Waiting for Wyatt to get out of Brain Balance so that we can go get Papa from the airport!!

    Papa bought Brody a Lego Star Wars dictionary for his Birthday.  He is in Heaven! 

    Wyatt just chillin on his new ride.  (Thanks to Grandpa and Grandma and Great Grandpa and Grandma!) He can't/ won't quite pedal by himself yet, but we are going to work hard this summer to get him riding it!  He loves it and keeps saying "bike" with a smile on his face. 

    Papa brought Hazel her makeup kit from home.  She didn't waste any time getting all dolled up.  I think she does a pretty good job putting it on by herself! 

    Haze got herself dressed today (which she always does) but today I LOVED the outfit!  I think she looks so cute!  She usually comes running out in something crazy like red leggings and a spider man T-shirt.  Or, a T shirt and only tights?  Love my crazy Hazy!
    Goodnight!

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRODY!

    BRODY is 8!! 
    I can't believe that my first born is 8.  I really can't.  Time goes by SO fast.  Brody is SO Smart.  He has the vocabulary and personality of someone much older than him.  He says the funniest things - really, I think they are funnier than anything.  Once when he was 5 I asked him why he hadn't done what I asked and he said, in the sweetest voice:  "Oh, but I didn't year you - My ears are VERY small." 

    Today he said that he only had one battle droid and "isn't that a bummer?"  He also said, "This is the greatest day ever!" 

    Wyatt also got his Birthday presents finally since we wanted to celebrate together as a family.  He is very excited as well! 

    Hazel has been asking (crying) all day about where her presents are.  She doesn't quite understand why BOTH her brothers are getting things and she isn't.  (Even though Papa bought her Tangled, she got a new swimming suit and she gets to share many other things with her brothers. 

    I will do a post with all of the birthday presents and festivities later!  For now, I will be playing with the kids and cleaning up the messiest apartment ever.  Seriously. 

    See you later!

    Date Night!

    Hubby is here! 

    Played with kids! 

    Brought them toys from home! 

    Kids went to bed! 

    We went to dinner and then Easter shopping!

     Now we are going to watch a movie!

    I will catch up on Blog posts later, but for now it is Husband time! 

    Three weeks was too long.  I am giving him no choice but to change it to every weekend.  Okay, maybe every other, but not THREE weeks.  That was just too, too long. 

    Goodnight!

    P.S. Fastest blog post ever.

    Friday, April 22, 2011

    Happily Ever After

    Tammy & Bo - March 4, 1999  

    My sister recently found this photo of us on our wedding day.  I have never seen it before!  As I looked at it wondering who those people were, it really made me think.  When two people get married they have NO idea what is in store for them or where their lives will take them.   Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we could see the future complete with good times, bad times, trials, triumphs, etc. Would we still jump in with two feet?  We all have ideas or plans in our heads, but they are just ideas and plans.  Here were some of mine:
    • Love My Husband unconditionally forever
    • Go to college and get my degree
    • Have 4-6 kids
    • Teach them all to read before kindergarten :)
    • Teach them all to play instruments starting at age 4 and have a family rock band
    • Be in a rock band with my husband
    • Open a Studio that taught dance, gymnastics, guitar lessons, singing lessons, etc. 
    • Buy a house, but never build one - too much work.
    • NEVER drive a mini-van - only an SUV
    • Live Happily Ever After
    Sounds feasible right? 

    I am very glad that I am (usually) an easy going person and that I am open to change.   Otherwise, I would not have been very happy that my life did not turn out exactly the way I had planned it. (Not bad, just different)  If we get too stuck on what we THINK we want or need, we will have a hard time accepting the Lord's plan for us. 

    Here is how things have turned out (so far):
    • Definiltly love my husband unconditionally forever
    • Went to College for 2 years in business and 2 years for paralegal studies.  Although I have a wealth of knowledge and information, I have no papers to prove it.
    • I have three kids - so far.  This topic is still open for discussion.  
    • Brody was not reading before kindergarten and had a really hard time until Mrs. Tony came along.  After a month with her he was reading great!  He is now 7 and tested at 7th grade level for reading comprehension.  Wyatt could read many words before he was kindergarten age, but couldn't speak them.  That will soon change :)  Hazel still has a year and a half so I guess I better get on the reading program with her!
    • The kids have not been able to learn instruments yet, but I am NOT giving up.  They are all VERY interested in music and hopefully have inherited their father's natural musical talent.
    • Played in a rock band with my husband. :)
    • Haven't opened a studio but still hope to teach guitar lessons to children someday.  
    • Built two houses - and it was a TON of work.
    • Totally drive a mini van.
    • Also:
    • Helped put my husband through law school
    • Helped my husband open his Law practice
    • Moved 9 times and in three different states (children were all born in different states)
    • Had a son diagnosed with Autism and another with sensory processing disorder
    • Spent 4 years (so far) treating the boys bio-medically and have done many other treatments
    • Did 3 years of Behavioral therapy with Wyatt which included hiring and training therapists, doing scheduling, payroll, etc.  A definite full time job on top of the Mom job I already had. 
    • Moved across the country without my husband for the boys to attend Brain Balance. 
    Now- this is obviously not even CLOSE to what has happened in the last 12 years, but it was all I could think of at midnight.  


    There were a few things that turned out as I had planned, but not very many and that is okay.  It is good to  have goals, but I feel that too much planning doesn't allow for change, learning, growth, new and exciting things to happen,  etc.  It also sets you up for disappointment since it is not realistic to think that everything will turn out EXACTLY the way you see fit.

    This reminds me of a line from one of my favorite movies "17 Again".   This movie just makes me laugh so hard!   

    The father in this movie had dreamed of going to college and playing basketball.   But after getting his high school girlfriend pregnant and getting married, he was never able to do that.  At one point he says to his soon to be ex-wife  "I am extremely disappointed with my life"  He had spent 20 years wishing things had turned out the way HE had planned.  In doing that, he lost his family and children.  Throughout the movie he realizes that the way his life had turned out was WAY better than what he had planned.  He had a beautiful family and a place to call home and that was the most important.  In the end he says what is one of my favorite movie lines of all time:

    "You were the best decision I ever made.  I just forgot"

    Gives me the chills every time.  :) 

    I am not disappointed with my life.  I truly believe my life is WAY better than the way I had planned.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it simple?  No.  Is it without trials, pain, heartache?  No.  But....  Has it been fun?  Yes.  Has it been rewarding?  Yes.  Has it been exciting and ever changing? Yes.  Have I grown as a person, a mother, a wife, a sister and a friend?  Yes.  Have I learned more in the last 5 years than I feel a lot of people learn in a lifetime?  Yes!  Has it brought me happiness that I didn't know was possible?  Yes. 

    Okay, so my life has not been your typical "fairy tale", but one thing I know for sure: 

    We will live Happily Ever After :)

    P.S.  My husband is coming tomorrow and we haven't seen him in three weeks!  We are so excited to spend the boys' birthdays and Easter together as a family.  You will probably be seeing very short and sweet blog posts for the next few days. :)

    Goodnight!

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    The Very WORST Day Continued.....

    Okay, now where was I? Oh yes, the TERRIBLE day.  It was one of those days that everything that could go wrong did - and then some. 

    So, after the pancakes didn't turn out that well, I decided to use the batter and make muffins.  Don't they look moist and Delicious? 

    I will not take the blame for these failures - it was the recipe!  The other muffins I made later turned out great and the kids loved them.  (But let's not talk about that right now - we are focusing only on the bad!)

    Oh - and I failed to mention - Paige woke up not feeling well at all so that just made everything worse.  Of course the days we don't feel well are the worst right?  Anyways, she was trying to do exercises while I was trying to pay bills, etc.  Wyatt wasn't cooperating and was throwing a huge fit so that was fun.  Paige finally took the kids on a golf cart ride to get them out of the house while I finished some work.  They were still going nuts after that, so they went swimming.  I don't think Paige liked the idea, but she was a good sport.  I hadn't paid bills or done paperwork since we moved here and I was so behind.  Since I didn't have the bills here, I had to make my poor mother in law go over each one with me and give me the amounts and account numbers and addresses, etc.  Thanks Mimi!  Paying bills is never fun so that added to my not so fun day.  I jumped in the shower and of course, ran out of hot water.

    When Paige got back she said the water was too cold so no one was really swimming. Surprise.  She showered the kids and then there was no water left for her.  She was trying to do Brody's exercises and he would NOT cooperate at all,  Wyatt had his phone and the battery died so he screamed and threw it and it hit the ceiling and Hazel was running around naked and would NOT get dressed!  I finally talked Hazel into getting dressed, told Brody I would take a birthday present back if he didn't obey (his birthday is Saturday!)  And I don't even remember what I did with Wyatt..  Oh wait - now I remember.  He started freaking out and saying "toast".  Well, I didn't have any because my earlier baking had failed so I was going to have to start over.  I knew it would be a good hour or two before the toast would be done so Paige started a chicken breast (which he doesn't eat) but I was going to make him eat.  He also wanted a smoothie.  He was freaking out really bad again and pushing us and screaming, etc.  This is so unlike him, however, it really scared me!  When I see him act so unlike himself, it worries me and I always think something else is wrong.  I didn't want him to starve to death so we just started cooking away.  I was still in my bathrobe and paige was still in her swimming suit and there was NO TIME to change.  It was seriously so crazy.  The screaming, the crying, the blending, the grilling the mixing....

    We finally got the chicken breast thawed and grilled and then tried to get Wyatt to eat it.  He did NOT want to.  Thankfully, he wanted his phone bad enough that we got him to try it.  He realized it wasn't that bad and ate the rest - game in hand of course.  In the craziness, Paige and I had forgotten that we had thrown in a frozen pizza (since it was 4:00 and we hadn't eaten yet - and also because we were trying to make more freezer space).   It was burnt.  It didn't taste too bad, it was just really really crispy.  I had just a few bites and Paige decided to pass. 


    We looked at the clock and realized that it was time for the Community Easter Egg hunt!  The kids had been talking about it a lot and we knew we had to go.  We had 10 minutes to get ready so I threw on some clothes, put my muffin batter in the fridge and we headed out the door.  Poor Paige was still in her suit.  We got there and they had some snacks and treats which the kids wanted but couldn't have.  They had some grapes and water.  Then the hunt started and it was nice and low key with not too many kids.  Wyatt was not interested and kept wanting to go home.  He picked up one egg and put it in his basked with a little coaxing but that was it.  The kids couldn't even eat the candy they got but they wanted to search for the eggs anyway.  Brody went around trying to give his candy to other kids and most of them said "no thank you!"  What?  More candy and they said no?  I guess that is a good thing but poor Brody was trying to make kids happy and give them candy and it wasn't working.   He finally did get rid of all his candy (keeping his eggs so he could play with them and have endless egg hunts around the house later.)  We tried to take a photo and the sun was too bright so it failed too.


    After the hunt we came home and the cute girls from upstairs came to play.  I sent Paige to finally take a shower and relax since she had a bad headache and still didn't feel well.  Wyatt ran around and caused trouble while the kids all colored Easter pictures and then had multiple egg hunts.  They were all really worried about not getting their own eggs back so I had to write their initials on every egg.  One egg was never found in the end and there was a bit of drama, but it was a good play date.  The kids all LOVE playing together!

    Meanwhile, I was in the kitchen baking muffins and cooking chicken and peas for dinner.  The girls went home and more fun began.  Wyatt wanted his phone back so instead of saying "game" or "glasses" now it was "chicken".  He asked for chicken because he knew if he ate it he would get his phone.  He did the same thing today.  Very cute.  Brody whined about the peas and I made him eat 8 because he is almost 8.  Hazel ate pretty good for once and then showed me her plate when it was gone.  She expects a VERY big response to that.  We have to scream and clap and say "Wow!  you ate all of your food!  You are amazing!  (One time I was really busy last week and she brought me her plate and showed it to me and I just told her to put it in the sink.  She had the saddest look on her face and said "You don't seem very happy".  I immediately gave her the show she wanted and she was satisfied.)  Paige got out of the shower and went to bed :(  Poor Paige. 

    Meanwhile, I was in the kitchen baking muffins - yes, still baking muffins.  I started laundry, gave the kids 12 more snacks because they are always "starving" and was cleaning the kitchen like crazy.  I finally got everyone in bed after 12 stories and 12 more snacks and then started on my blog of the crazy, stressful, bad day. 

    Paige ended up waking up and neither of us had eaten dinner.  She still had a headache and I told her I would make her food and get her some medicine.  We started on grilled cheese sandwiches and I decided to make Paige some guacamole with our perfectly ripe avocados.  We both LOVE guacamole and I thought it would make her feel better.  Sorry I never got it made Paige!  Every time I cut an avocado I stick the point of the knife in the pit to get it out.  Every time I do it I think "I shouldn't do this" but I do it anyways.  One time the knife went through and barley poked my hand and I swore I would never do it again.  Should have listened to myself. 

    So, I poked the pit and the knife went through the pit, through the side of the avocado and through my ring finger.  I don't know how but it didn't just do a clean slice.  It essentially cut my finger like I was butterflying a chicken breast.  It went in and then somehow sliced under the flesh - yuck. 

    Anyways, I screamed and scared the crap out of Paige and she didn't know what was going on.  I was bleeding bad and she got me a rag.  I put pressure on it and kept it in the cold running water.  I wanted ice, but we don't have any because we had to take the ice maker out of the freezer because there was not enough space.  We wanted to run up to the neighbors and see if they had band-aids, etc. but it was 10:30 and we thought they were probably asleep.  It really did hurt really bad - and I am pretty tough :)  It wasn't as bad as having shots in my toes for surgery on an ingrown toenail, but it was pretty bad.  After 5 or 10 minutes the blood was still coming a lot.  I was worried I was going to need to go to the instacare and that scared me.  I have never had stitches and never want to.   But what really scared me was a thought I had.  What if something had happened, or happens to the kids and I have no car to take them to the hospital, etc?  It just really made me nervous to not have a car here in case of emergencies.  I am glad I have scheduled to have mine shipped here- for many reasons and now for this reason. 

    During all the commotion the sandwiches were on the grill.  Lately, every time we make sandwiches on the grill, they burn.  There is just too much going on here.  So - I am not kidding when I say that even though I was hurting and holding my finger and bleeding to death, I probably said "don't burn the sandwiches"  about 10 times - maybe more.   Please see below:
    This photo was taken AFTER she scraped half of the bread off since it was black as night.
    The first sandwhich came off burnt and I told her to make sure to not burn the next one.  But I guess she was too busy taking care of me that the next one burned too.  Just a nice icing on the cake for the day of fun we were having. 

    My favorite part:  At one point during all of the drama, Paige tried to get me to come into the bathroom to let the water run on my finger.  I told her I didn't want to move and that was it.  Later, she admitted to me that the reason she was trying to get me into the bathroom was because she didn't want me to see the 2nd burned sandwich!  She was going to try to make a whole new one without me knowing!  Silly Paige!  She makes me laugh all the time.  The sandwiches were delicious once all the burn
    stuff was scraped off.  Then, since one hand was holding the still bleeding cut on the other hand, Paige literally fed me bites of my sandwich.  It was funny. 

    My finger finally stopped bleedin gafter 2 hours and we wrapped it with the paper towels and scotch tape and we were finally ready for bed at 1:00 a.m.  We were SO exhausted and ready for this now HORRIBLE day to come to and end.  I brushed my teeth and thankfully, everything went alright there.  Then I went to go check on Wyatt and he had wet the bed - and not just a little.  The blankets, sheets and the poor little guy were all soaked and he was awake just laying there.  Paige came to help me change the sheets and Wyatt's clothes, etc.  He wanted toast of course, so we gave him that and a little water and got him back to bed.  As I put him in bed I said "night night" like I do every night, but tonight he said "night" back!  He used to do that more when we were doing consistent ABA therapy, but hasn't done it in months.  Then I said "I love you" and he said "I love you too".  Again, he has done that before, but it has been months!  It was so cute and wonderful because it was spontaneous language and not me telling him to say something.  In fact the last two days he has had a lot more language than he has over the last couple of months and I know there is more where that came from!

    Now it was FINALLY time for bed!  Yahoo!

    Sounds like a crazy, bad, messed up day, doesn't it?  Well guess what?  Most kids on the spectrum have very little, or no rhythm and timing.  So what does that mean?  It means that their entire life is essentially off beat.  When Brain Balance describes it to you they say something like "you know those days when everything goes wrong the whole day?  You stub your toe getting out of bed, then you burn your breakfast, spill your OJ and are late for work.  Sounds kind of like our day yesterday right?  (Except ours was WAY worse!)   Well for kids like Brody, Wyatt and so many other children, they explain that EVERYDAY is like that for them.  Everything goes wrong, they feel unsettled, off beat, etc.  That is so sad.  We felt terrible yesterday and today wasn't much better.  But to think that these kids feel like this almost everyday is so heartbreaking.


    Good news is that we are here to fix all of that! 

    I have so many updates and funny stories to post but the typing is hurting and it is late.  But I do have one thing to say.  Today Brody and Paige were talking and Brody told her that he "feels regular" She tried to ask more questions and basically just got that he "just feels more regular."  I believe that what he is describing is that he is maybe having less days like ours was and more "regular" days.  :)

    Today was not my favorite, but better than yesterday.  I will hopefully get to that tomorrow!  Paige leaves tomorrow night and Bo gets here Friday!  Yippeee!! We are so excited to have Papa back for the Birthday fun and Easter!  We miss you Papa and can't wait to see you!

    Goodnight y'all. 

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    It Finally Stopped Bleeding

    It is way worse in person.  All we had was Toy Story Band-aids, so I wrapped it up with paper towels and scotch tape so that I could finally go to sleep. 
    Today will be a challenge trying to do all I need to do without moving, bending or hurting my finger.  I think I need to get a proper dressing on it because this one is just not going to cut it.


    I can't wait to finish my post from last night - but it is really hard to type without bending my finger.  Plus, I have a billion things to do today.  Okay, maybe a trillion. 

    Let's hope today is a better day. 
    See you tonight!

    The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

    Okay, the day wasn't THAT bad and I don't want to move across the world - across the country is far enough thank you very much.   However, it was definitely one of those days where it seems that everything goes wrong, is hard, doesn't work and so on.  This is how it started:

    Wyatt has been FREAKING out.  This is NOT the way he usually is at all.  He is very mellow most of the time.  Sometimes he is hyper, but he has never really been one to tantrum.  The last few days, he has been throwing tantrums like I really have never seen before.  It is really hard to tell why he is doing it, but from what I can tell he is revisiting his terrible twos.  Brain Balance told me this would happen.  Hooray!  Why am I happy?  Because when they start to "regress" into the terrible two behaviors, that means that what we are doing is working and that his brain is changing.  I believe they said it may last for a couple of weeks and then when it is over the BIG changes start coming.  So even though it is really sad and hard to deal with, we are praying it is short-lived and that a few weeks from now Wyatt will be taking off like we have never seen.  Note: This was first thing in the morning, hence the boxer shorts.  Also, the tantrum went on for at least 5-7 minutes prior to us filming.

    video 

    Now - I wouldn't typically put a video of my child having a tantrum on my blog.  But for documentation purposes, for myself and others looking into Brain Balance, I decided to post it. 

    Wyatt had already had a turkey burger and now a smoothie and he was still acting starving.  He kept asking for "Toast" which of course only takes about 3 hours to make once I grind my own pecans into flour.  I decided to look online for some other recipes and found one for pancakes.  I thought maybe it would be easier and he could just eat it like bread.  What do you think?

    Yummy Pancakes. 

    I don't usually have recipes not turn out so this did not make me happy.  Especially because it was so hard to make and the ingredients were costly.  


      *********BREAKING NEWS*********
    Tammy was injured in an unfortunate avocado accident.  It has been 2 hours and the wound will still not stop bleeding.  She will be finishing this post as soon as she regains her ability to type. 

    Thank you for your patience.

    Goodnight!

    P.S.  Tammy would like to retract her earlier statement that "The day wasn't THAT bad."
    Too much blood to even see the wound.
    After putting pressure on it for 15 minutes with a rag, we wrapped it with this paper towel.               It bled through in 5 seconds.

    The culprit.
    To be continued.....

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Yep, She's Mad

    Which means I am satisfied.  :)

    A Cinderella Story

    Once upon a time there was a girl named Paige.  She was the hardest worker around - she put Cinderella to shame.  The End.  :)

    Paige answered a newspaper ad three years ago and it truly changed both of our lives forever.  In the middle of being the contractor on our new home, helping out at my husband's office, being a mother of three children, two with neurological disorders,  keeping up on a household, dealing with Autism, training tutors and running a 40 hour a week behavioral program, etc. etc., I finally had to admit that I just couldn't do everything alone at this point.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done because I consider myself a capable and independent (and sometimes co-dependent) woman and didn't want to admit that I needed help.  But I did.  Even over that first year, I literally didn't even go to bed many many nights - even with the extra help she provided. 

    Paige has been with us through it all - This whole autism journey.  She has seen the best and the worst of our kids and family and still loves us anyways.  She is like a sister to me and my kids sometimes call her Aunt Paige.  Her family has also been so great and supportive and has become my family away from home since I don't have mine close by.  (Except I do have my AWESOME mother in law!  She truly is the most amazing mother in law in the world.  She is my best friend and I can talk to her about anything.  I really wish everyone could have a mother in law as amazing as mine.) They help us all the time and are still continuing to help us as we are away on this journey.  Thanks guys!

    It would literally take me a solid month to accurately describe how much Paige does and how selfless and caring and amazing she is.  I don't have a month.  In fact, It is SO late and I have had such a crazy day that I hope I can do this in 10 minutes because I am exhausted!   So - we are going to try the bullets again and see if it works this time.  It just has to!  Where to begin? 

    (These will be in no particular order and please take note:  I am not working her into the ground :) The items listed below are shared duties between the two of us - besides the laundry.  She loves it so much I just couldn't take that away from her.)
    • She moved across the country to continue helping our family.  There is NO way that we would be surviving right now without her.  She sees her husband less than she used to (although he works out of town and she didn't see him much anyways), she misses her parents, family, nieces and nephews, etc.
    • She has an awesome husband that supports her in this endeavor and also supports our family and helps out as much as he can. He is awesome!
    • She works for WAY less than she should be paid and works WAY more hours than I can pay her for.  She does all of this because she is so kind, helpful, caring and loves my kids and wants to see them get better and succeed. 
    • She cleans up poop. Lots of it.  She has done this for three years.  It is not pretty.  In fact, her 2nd day on the job Wyatt pooped in the shower and I was gone so she had to take care of it.  (I had him do it on purpose to break her in :)
    • She helps me clean.  Kitchen, bathrooms, floors - oh wait, she usually leaves the floors for me :)
    • She helps me cook - a lot.  We cook everything from scratch and she loves it ;)  She will be a gourmet chef by the time I am done with her. 
    • She does laundry.  This is HUGE because she HATES it. 
    • She goes to the park - a lot. 
    • She plays the "Bad Troll" at the park and chases the kids all over. 
    • She is and expert at taking kids to the bathroom when we are out and about.  I am not sure why she likes it so much, but she always jumps at the chance. 
    • She is right on top of all the medications and supplements the kids need.  She makes sure they get them all each day. 
    • She encourages me when I get frustrated and down. 
    • She puts up with me when I get frustrated and freak out sometimes. 
    • She has given up her late night TV watching because we have no TV.
    • She has pretty much given up all of her free time.  There is no such time as free time anymore. 
    • She grocery shops - even with kids.  
    • She has Fun with us.
    • She cleans up throw up.
    • She wipes runny noses. 
    • She goes along with my organizing frenzies.
    • She tickles little monster children. (those are the best kind)
    • She kisses little monster children. 
    • She swings little monster children. 
    • She plays with little monster children. 
    • She loves little monster children. 
    • She deals very well with my OCD and needing everything exactly the way I see fit. 
    • She lives with way less sleep than she would like....
    • She gave up sleeping in entirely - even on the weekends.
    • She helps with crazy kids during church. 
    • She listens to my crazy rants.
    • She sleeps on a small mattress on the floor in an mostly unfurnished apartment. 
    • She kills giant bugs. 
    • She reads stories. 
    • She helps at Dr. appointments. 
    • She has been bitten.
    • She gives piggy back rides. 
    • She helps me write my endless "To Do" lists and then helps me accomplish the listed items.
    • She helps me teach little monster children.
    • She helps with Brain Balance exercises everyday.
    • She doesn't whine when left with no hot water. (at least very much)
    • She jumps in bouncy houses with little monster children.  (she loves it)
    • She talks sense into me when I have dumb ideas. 
    • She listens to my whine an even cry at times. 
    • She holds little arms during blood draws. 
    • She doesn't let me back down when she can see I am about to give in.
    • She combs Hazels hair - this is quite the task and takes patience.  
    • She does cute hairdos for Haze. 
    • She takes great videos and photos of the kids!
    • She puts up with me teasing her non-stop. 
    • She puts up with Brody attacking her when she teases me.  He is VERY protective of mama. He has been known to kick her, hit her, and try to knock her phone out of her hand (when she was trying to take unwanted pictures of me...)
    • She vaccums
    • She dusts. 
    • She chauferrs
    • She believes in my children. 
    • She believes in Brain Balance. 
    • She loves my kids as if they were her own and that is a rare quality.  I know that she would do anything for them and for our family. 
    Wow - That only took an hour... But I really feel like I missed about 1000 things so I will maybe have to have continuation posts as they come to me. 

    Thank you Paige (and family) There is really NO way to thank you for what you have done and for the sacrifices you have made for our family.  We are truly grateful and know that you will be blessed for your kind service and unconditional love.  

    WE LOVE YOU PAIGE!

    I HAD TO POST THIS!   Here is the story.  I bought this picture frame last year and LOVED It.  As we were looking at the things I had purchased for the house Paige said "I hope you are taking this one back".  She HATES it and thinks it is the most hideous thing ever.  So I put her picture in it and put it in my living room.  :)  I know it sounds mean, but she started it.  She has been a tease from the first day and now she has to live with me teasing her back.  I brought it with us so that she could see it every single day.  You love it Paige!
    P.S.  She is going to KILL me tomorrow.

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Soul Surfer Hazel

    For those of you who have seen the movie "Soul Surfer", you will understand what is going on in this picture.  For those of you who haven't, GO SEE THE MOVIE!  Yes, I am yelling at you  :)  Is she funny or what?  She walked into my room a few days after we saw the movie and saw my backpack on the floor.  The next thing I knew, she had put it on and put one arm in her shirt so that she could "have only one arm like Bethany".  (In the movie Bethany wears a backpack full of rocks and then runs with it as part of her training)   Hazel even tried running with the backpack on but it is as big as her so it was  a bit hard :)  I Just think it is so amazing how a three year old can pick up on the little parts in a movie like that. 

    Surfer Hazel
    Brody and Hazel with their "surf boards" trying to surf like Bethany (in the 40 degree water!) Okay, maybe it wasn't 40, couldn't have been more than 50.  It was freezing!  
    I had to post one of Wyatt at the pool that day too.  I like to imagine what he is thinking sometimes.  He is so smart - and I think, in this picture, he was totally laughing inside at Brody and Hazel's surfing attempts :)

    We went to see this movie last week during spring break.  A friend of ours took us with her and her girls since we don't have a car.  (Thanks C!) Anyways, I had seen the preview once and thought it looked great but was worried about my little kids seeing it just because of the shark attack.  Brody LOVES sharks and so he said he wanted to go so we loaded up 8 people in a mini van (with poor Paige on the floor) and went to the movie!  FYI: The movie is VERY clean.  Not one swear word, no sex or innuendo - unless you count girls in bikinis -  not the Baywatch type)  and the shark attack is really quite mild.   It is a great family movie. 

    Spoiler Alert:  I am not really going to give all the details of the movie, but will just be sharing a few moments and points.  I don't really think I am giving anything away that the trailer doesn't already tell you, but just warning you.

    I knew the movie was a true story about a young surfer girl who was attacked by a shark and lost her arm - and that was about it.  What I didn't know was how many good messages there would be in the movie and that I would cry 20 times.   I am sure that because of my life and what I am (and have been) going through I really looked deeper into some of it than maybe others do.  However, I know others that have seen it that also loved the messages.  I LOVE the fact that every once in awhile, a movie comes out that is clean and that also teaches invaluable lessons like these. 

    These are the ones that I took away and what they meant to me:

    1. God loves us and has a plan for us - even though we don't know what it is.  In Bethany's case she lost her arm.  That is obviously a big deal, but maybe not as big of a deal to a tap dancer as it was to a surfer.   In the movie Bethany asks "why did this have to happen to me?" and the answer was "I don't know why bad things happen, but I have to believe that something good is going to come out of this".  That is what all of our trials are for.  They are for us to learn, grow, change, improve, become more compassionate, hard working, selfless, loving, etc.  Those are the good things that will come out of our trials and hard situations.  We all know that if we are not challenged, then we do not grow.  This goes for all areas of life:  School, sports, work, parenting, spirituality and so on.  However, that doesn't make the process easy or fun.  But if we remember that we do not have to face these challenges alone, then we can make it through and become a better person in the end.   Bethany gave hope to so many other kids and people that were struggling with situations like her own.  Because she did not give up and kept pursuing her dream, others did the same.  She could have easily just quit (which she did once) and live her life in sadness and despair.  Instead, she had to work even harder than she had before to accomplish her goals and she was able to do just that.  
    2. Perspective:  They show a few pictures really really close up and ask people to tell them what is in the picture.  There are many guesses, but no one can really tell what they are because they are "too close".  They talk about "stepping back" and getting a new perspective.  When they zoom out of the picture they are easily able to tell what the picture is.  This really hit me for some reason as well.  It is so easy to get caught up in the little small day to day things instead of focusing on the "big picture" of what is really important.   Example: When I think of how hard it is living in another state away from my husband, my home, my friends, etc, and dealing with what I am dealing with,  it can make me sad and discouraged.  However, when I think about what I will be gaining out of the situation:  Happier higher functioning children with better futures, a stronger family unit, a better relationship with my heavenly father, compassion long suffering, understanding and more, then I realize what I am doing this for and it makes everything easier.  I am happier, I have more hope, I don't get discouraged as easily and I am able to better handle the things that I am faced with.   Bethany learned this at one point when she went to serve others that were suffering terribly and she realized that her own suffering was minimal compared to theirs.  She also learned that surfing, although it was her dream, was not the most important thing in the world.  I love that she learned these things while she was serving others.  I think that is absolutely the first thing that you should do if you are feeling down, discouraged or the like.  Step back from your own problems and worries and focus on someone else.  Serve someone else.  Try to focus your thoughts and energy on what you can do to help others and you will not only feel so much better, but you will realize that you are not the only one with trials or problems.  You also will find yourself saying that you are glad you have your trials and not theirs.  Funny Story:  When Brody is having a hard time with something- sharing, etc.  I will ask him "Brody - What is more important?  Your sister?  Or Legos?"  He will always answer "my sister" and quickly hand over the Lego she is wanting.  This has been going on for years.  Then the other day as we were leaving for Brain Balance we were late.  I started driving out of the complex and Brody said "I can't find my seat belt"  I told him that he needed to hurry, but I kept driving.  He said "Mama, you need to pull over so that I can get my seat belt on"  I told him that we were going to be late and we didn't have time.  Then my cute little Brody said to me "What is more important Mama, being on time? or getting hurt in a crash?"  I love how my son is now teaching ME to step back and look at the bigger picture and realize what is more important.  On the flip side, Hazel still hasn't quite picked up on this yet.  Yesterday the kids were fighting over the balloons that their Uncle had given them.  They were grabbing them, hitting them and Hazel was doing her usual very high pitched scream telling us that she is NOT happy with the situation.  So I said to her "Hazel, what is more important?  Your Brothers?  Or the Balloons?  She said "The balloons."  We will have to keep working on that one.
    3. The last one that I will share is my favorite - AND the one that made me cry the most.  Near the end of the movie (I won't give away details) I believe it was a reporter that asked Bethany -  If she could go back and change what happened to her, would she do it?  I already knew the answer she would give because it is the same one that I have given more than once.  It is a really strange feeling to essentially say "I am glad that a shark bit my arm off".  Now she doesn't say it like that of course :) - but she does say that she would not go back and change it.   Isn't that strange?  I think being an outsider and not living what she lived through it would be easy to say - "I would have rather kept my arm."  But because of what she learned, who she helped and influenced and how it literally changed her outlook,  her perspective and her entire life forever, she realizes that something good came out of her bad situation and it was worth it.  
    Autism is hard - VERY hard.  Heavens - just being a parent is hard!  Then add bowel disease, restricted diets, supplements, medications, behavioral problems, living across the country away from your spouse - yea, it is hard!  However, as I said above:  When Bethany said she would not go back and change it, that is the same way that I feel.  I would not wish this life on anyone, and I would not wish this life on my kids because it is VERY hard on them.  However, my kids will grow up so strong.  They have already experienced more in their short lives than a lot of adults have.  They will know that everything comes with hard work and that nothing just comes easy.  They will know that sometimes you have to sacrifice. They will be more compassionate and more understanding of others.  They will know that they are children of God and that he loves them and that with his help, they can accomplish anything that they want to. 

    As for me, I had to answer this question last year when giving a talk in church.  To make it easier on myself, I am going to paste the section of my talk below.  I was less tired then and was more capable of expressing what I was trying to say. 

    Although this is a trial for us and many times I felt the urge to ask “why”?  I know that I cannot change the past and dwelling on what could have been will not help.  To the contrary, I feel blessed to have such  sweet, smart, amazing children that have taught me so many things.  During the last few years I have become more stressed out, more forgetful, more emotional, more cautious, more worrisome.  I am a bit less social,  and  feel as though a mental breakdown is coming at any given minute.  However,  I have also become smarter, more educated, more cautious, more organized, more compassionate, more giving, more unconditionally loving and just a better person in general.  I would not change my life.  My heavenly father has a plan for me and wants me to learn and grow and he will not leave me.  He will help me move forward and be with me until the end and it is his will, not my will be done. 
     
    Goodnight!