Thursday, April 28, 2011

"it's gotta be a good life" with my caden

my new favorite song is by One Republic titled "Good Life". yesterday was our big triannual IEP meeting with Caden's 'team' so i've been evaluating him leading up to it and then was filled to capacity with more Caden-isms. while driving around i play and replay the song just appreciate the blessing caden is in our lives. how could you not just love this adorable gentle little boy??!! in the meeting with all the professionals that work with our autistic child, jared and i found ourselves grinning, giggling and cracking up at some of the stories they shared. he definitely beats his own drum in his own unique band. my favorite was hearing about when he starts to get frustrated in class he takes off his shoes and hangs them on his ears saying, "i cant hear you, what are you saying?". he's the master joke teller and keeps everybody smiling and laughing all day long. as a toddler he found his fair share of mischief. he developed very typically and did everything a 2, 3 year old should do. looking back now, knowing what we do, there was an excess of jumping, going to his own little world, and running off that could've clued us in. but we have no regrets on any of the assessment process and feel grateful how much intervention and help we have received post-diagnosis. our smart mister man is testing about grade level in most areas. which we are THRILLED with. his academics have come so far, it was interesting to measure his success from his past goals. this is the boy who couldn't answer the questions, "how are you, what did you do today?'" in the past you would get some scene of a spongebob episode recited to you. now he always answers, "it was great, i did everything!!" i can get more details if i probe him at the right time. we used to have to tag-team all our errands and outings, but with a lot of preparing and coaching we are able to do many more family fun adventures. daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, going to siblings' sporting events etc have all become much more bearable. he doesnt sit and watch and he always got some gummy worms to keep him happy but we can at least attend them now as a family. society in general is still tricky for him. this past winter, following the rules while sledding down a hill caused a big meltdown. we are always prepared to exit early or split up if situations are too tough for him to handle. his brother and sisters are accomodating. but lately brady keeps huffing, "why does he...., how come caden...???". kendra understands and sweetly explains it to her friends as well. we can only hope that the other two handle it as gracefully. as his parents we have so much to learn. the nbc show 'Parenthood' is a good portrayal, i cry at every episode. it has become distinctly clear that he is a dominantly visual learner. he doesnt want to listen to us go on and on about anything. one or two questions is all you get at a time. but he could sit with daddy on his tab (like an ipad) and stay engrossed in just about anything. his current obsessions are the smurfs, scooby doo, and his love of animals could never go away. there's a health insurance commercial on tv right now with a dad stating that his son has autism and he is ok with that, he loves him just the way he is. i was so happy to see that. theres so much science and speculation about theories and cures and its easy to get wrapped up in that. but at the end of the day i just wrap caden up in my arms and love and accept all that he is and isnt. do i get sad sometimes? for sure. do i wonder if he is going to do this or that? of course. this picture of him and i at the aquarium makes me sad and happy at the same time. i asked a stranger to take the shot for me, (it was a nice looking lady) and she was trying desperately to get caden to look at her for the picture. he didn't, of course. after a couple of attempts i told her its ok, it'll be fine. she frustratingly commented that she just couldn't get him to look at her. i reiterated that it was OK!!! she didnt know. but i do. and the people around him do. and that's gonna have to be ok. at the end of the day, meltdown or not, running off by himself not always needing or wanting us, socially successful or not as much, it's gonna be alright. when i squeeze him at nite in his bed, i tell him, "i love you, you are my heart and my soul". we love him so undescribably much, we will make everything ok. it's gotta be a good life.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

eggs, treats, & roosters

egg hunts at school were fun but ancient history it seems. easter falls on the end of our spring break, so i have just been keeping the kids busy busy busy so i can stay happy happy happy. we had at least one recreational activity per day and i tried to sneak a daily educational activity in there as well. this post will just show the easter related outings. i wanted to keep them very happy on my birthday which fell on the thursday of their week off. so i made em pose as a present to me. then we headed out to enjoy the bunnies, goats and fresh strawberries at "the farm" here in town. the next day grannie annie hosted her annual easter party for the kids. they dyed eggs, made krispy trest eggs (idea from the cute commercial) ate bunnies in a blanket and hunted for their eggs. it was quite the success. on easter eve we headed out to the Barlocker Ranch for our ward's easter get-together. i spent most of my time at this rooster cage with caden. he was fascinated for some reason even though the cock-a-doodle-doo was too loud for him. (notice his fingers in his ears) the other kids ate and ate then loved exloring to find bunnies, cows, and horses. and yes, that is my oldest holding a chicken--have mercy. it was a great turn out, it was great to see and chat with friends we don't always get to. and the day was beautiful, so they hunted for their eggs, and we headed for home. a pretty successful holiday thus far considering easter morning is tomorrow.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

i have a man cave???

so there's some guys (jared's former young men+ a friend) who have come over to hang out. it started with PS3 playing & snacking into the midnite hour,and now has progressed to wrestlemania with the kids during a "fry party", a meaningful converstion here & there, and family scripture reading/prayer quality time with my clan. the boys use the fried food, video games and binging on junk food as an excuse to hang out with jared and i cause we are so cool. nah, not really, but these guys are great and we love having em over. sorry the pictures are blurry but these are definite action shots, my phone's camera isnt fast enough to keep up with the body tosses and human catapulting into the couch cushion mountain. the boys catapulted me too, its pretty safe and the kids love it. after the food and fighting frenzy we settle down for some quality time. that consists of raylee demanding on stories read by whoever is her favorite that nite, then we get a kick out of including them in our family stuff at the end of the day, picking on them for prayer etc. this great group of guys are growing up and going on their separate ways in life. but as one of them said at Spenser's going away party, "this is like our man cave". and one of them is famous for referring to me as, "the old lady we hang out with". we are excited for their upcoming adventures and so proud of who they are already. they will always be welcome to come hang with the old fogeys in the cave.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

my kids' first sport--besides gymnastics

even before i knew about the gym closing i finally braved the big bad world of childrens sports. i settled on the rec center's basketball program. this was a risky move considering where we reside and how i'm a bit of a coach-snob. i swallowed my pride for the sake of brady and kendra who really wanted to try this sport. i was very happy with their coaches. kindergarteners playing this sport is more than a crack up. the amount of ball hogging and traveling that happens is unbelievable. brady only took about 4 shots all season, and he made one. he was so shocked and thrilled in that moment. he looked at me (as i was quite the spectacle standing, screaming and jumping for joy) he paused and wanted to come hug me since he was so overjoyed but i shewed him back to keep playing. he was on cloud 9, it was adorable. we had a good cheering section for both of the kids' seasons. lots of family support, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma vofo and tanner and rob made it to see them in action. kendra had a blast learning the game. she did pretty well and maybe shot the ball once. she gained some skills and loved that her coach nicknamed her "smiles". her games got pretty competitive for 4th graders which meant i was shooting my mouth off at the refs and other team, which meant jared was shushing me and shaking his head. and we've only just begun. brady and kendra had a blast, that is what matters most (i suppose). nah, it was great to watch them acquire different skills, work with a team and respond to their coaches so well. bring on the next sport for this family.