Saturday, December 16, 2006


We have been here for one week so far, and it has been great! The boys are having a good time visiting with Nana and Grandpa, and Nana and Grandpa are having a great time with them. Last Sunday we went to Daytona and saw my aunt Nancy and cousin Jennifer. We also saw her little boy, Braden. Braden is about 3 months old and is just the cutest little thing!! I am sure he was not so cute when he was screaming all the time though :) I am glad the medicine is working for him Jen! We also took the kids to the beach last Sunday so they could see the ocean. There is hardly any beach left after all the hurricanes. They have erroded the beaches pretty bad, and the water now comes up to the seawall during high tide. Not the beach that I remember of my childhood at all.

This week we drug Nick around to almost every single Wal-mart,K-mart,Toys R Us, and Target in central Florida. We have had a great time shopping for them!! In the evenings I have also been going with my mom to help her clean her office at work. She cleans it after everyone leaves so that she can get some extra $$$. The weather here has been wonderful. It has been near 80 almost every day. Well, I better go for now, my sister in law is coming over today for a visit.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Getting ready....

To go to Nana's house that is! We did some last minute preparations today such as shopping. I think I got enough pop-tarts,lemon aid, and all sorts of other munchies to sustain us every day at least until dinner time. We have Michael's Dr appt. tomorrow morning and then we should be leaving in the afternoon. We will keep you all in the loop as to where we are located every night. Cant wait to see everyone! Here are some pictures from this weekend. Mike's unit had their Christmas party on Sunday, and the boys got their picture taken with Santa. Michael had a great time in the jump castle, and Nick LOVED the pinata.

More pictures on the photo page.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Let it Snow....Let it Snow!

This was the view out the front door this morning! We had a light dusting of snow Friday,but it melted by noon. But,starting yesterday evening, it snowed most of the night, and temps today barely reached 27f. Michael had his first "snow day" of the school year today,and from what the weatherman is saying, he could have another one on Thursday. We are supposed to get more snow tomorrow night. They say around 2-6". We will see!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Hope everyone had a great holiday! We had a nice day even though it was rainy and temps hovered around 40 degrees. Michael loved helping with the turkey. I invited Kristine over to have dinner with us,and everyone seemed to have a good time. I took some photos of the boys today and put them on the photo page. We are supposed to get some snow this weekend,so if it sticks during the day time, I will get some pictures of that as well. See you all next month!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Shadows on the wall

Nicholas had fun this morning playing with the shadows created on the wall when he opened and shut the front door. He was so amused, that he was dancing and screeching for a good part of the morning. He would open the door,stare at the wall,get close to the floor,and follow the lines the light created. He would then shut the door and watch the lines disappear. Then he would open it halfway,then all the way..and do his dances all over again. He can also count to five now. He uses "echolalia" now more than ever when he talks. When he talks,he copies what we say. An example is "Where is Michael?" Nick says "Michael". It is really funny when he gets going like he did last night.

Michael: "Nick NO!"
Nick: "NOOOO!"
Michael: "poop!"
Nick: "poop!"
Michael: "I love you"
Nick: "I love you"

He says it the exact way that you say it; so it is not like spontaneous speech. That is why it is called "echolalia". Most kids with autism use this form of communication. They use it because they dont fully understand what is being said to them; so they repeat it. We love it because the alternative is him not talking AT ALL. He has also proved to us just how literal he thinks.

Mike was putting both kids to bed one night last week and it turned into a tickle fest on the beds. Giggles were coming from everywhere,but after 20 min it was time to get to bed. So, Mike went over to Nicks bed and said "All Done". Nick promptly gets up out of bed, and walks into the living room. He took "All Done" to mean that he was "All Done" with going to bed. Both of us had a good laugh over that.

This week was a busy one. Wednesday we had a Thanksgiving potluck that was put on for the people on the EFMP program(Exceptional Family Member Program). We saw kids who were much worse off than Nicholas and Michael. It was a nice little get-together,and nobody looked at your kid strangely, and did not bat an eye if they could not tolerate the noise level and began to stim(Nick was uncomfortable and out of his comfort zone-but held it together long enough for us to eat). That day had been rather stormy out,and the lights went out just as we pulled in to park, so we ended up having dinner by candlelight! I cant even remember the last "romantic" dinner we had by candlelight, so this power outage was kind of a treat-though probably in the most "UNromantic" setting imagineable. Friday we had another potluck event put on by the Fabrication Flight. This time Nick even climbed into the chair himself! Did not eat anything,but progress nonetheless.

Michael's tooth is STILL hanging on! Not much to report there. He is looking very forward to our trip, and asks me everyday "How many days until we go to Florida?"

That is all from our little corner of the world. Cant wait to see everyone next month!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The end of a busy week!

It has been a busy week for us and I am glad it has ended on a good note. Nick continues to explore Stage 3 babyfood, and our use of pediasure has subsided. I never expected to be feeding babyfood to a toddler who is almost three, but I also never expected to have a son with autism. I will take what I can get! He has made some progress with feeding himself lately as well. I am just happy he is eating more of a variety of food!!

*****Check out the new video******

Michael's tooth is still hanging on by a very thin thread! Not too much else happening around here other than more rain! Here are some pictures of Nick with a new spinny toy:

He likes to feel the vibrations with his mouth and now his hand!

Friday, November 10, 2006


Nicholas has been making some big improvements with food! We can now get him to "try" jarred green veggies! This week he ate green beans and peas. We have to say "try" and get a little bit on his lips so he can lick it off and decide if he likes it. He still gagged somewhat,but he at least started to eat them. We tried a very small piece of hot dog,but he gagged on that(I mean it was a very small piece) and became we did not push it any further. We were happy just to get him to try it. We are re-introducing some of the Stage 3 babyfoods to get him used to chewing a little bit.

All of us had the day off today,and we took full advantage of just lounging around the house and being lazy. It has been raining all day long,so it was a good day to just stay inside. Michael has another loose tooth which is now hanging on by a thread. His new tooth is just starting to come in. We are all doing great. Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 06, 2006

24 hours

Change.That was the word of the day! First off, our weather. It has rained for about three days straight, but today was the worst. According to the news on the radio; we now have 18 counties declaring disaster. The roads are flooded all over western Washington. I hope everyone is having a better weather day than we are!! Ok, so DUE to this weather scenario, Mike's Guard unit called asking for volunteers to help with flood control. He declined the offer; stating that he was not trained on truck driving. Reality: It would have caused some hardship on us to find daycare that will accomodate Nick. You mention "Special needs" or "autism", and your daycare offers dwindle fast. Secondly, Mike might also have to go on a training mission in December! UGH!! We would still come down,but would need to make some hasty alternate plans of travel.

I sat quietly at dinner time; enjoying the company of my ever talkative 7 year old. I know I should be paying attention to what he says. After about the 3rd time of telling me about his friends pencil case, I am just nodding in agreement with everything he says. Every once in a while I interject something about needing to eat his dinner while he keeps talking. Nicholas slowly comes in to my peripheral vision; he is crawling on the floor rubbing his forehead on the linoleum, and then proceeds to the carpet. My boys.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Another blog that's all over the place!

The rainy season is in full swing up here in the Northwest! I feel like we should be building an ark with all the rain we have recieved over the past 24 hours. We are expected to get 2 more inches tonight, and over 2 inches tomorrow. We are under a flood watch until tomorrow evening. It is taking me a little time to get used to the daylight savings time this year. Normally it is no problem, and heck, last week I even welcomed turning the clocks back an hour. But this weekend it hit me as I was driving Nick to Chuck E. Cheese at 5:45pm and it was dark out! I am not talking about the "sun is setting" type of thing either-it was DARK! I will be eagerly anticipating our trip down south next month-maybe we can even hit the beach!

As for Nick; he did WONDERFUL in Chuck E. Cheese last night!! No meltdowns, in fact, he barely moved at all,and I was even allowed to laugh at my child's "oddness". Another mom was talking about her son being a picky eater, and I just had to chime in when she revealed her son smells his food before he eats it. Nick does this ALL the time, especially with new foods that are unfamiliar, and even with some that are. It is just a funny little thing he does. I had brought a stroller that I found for FREE, and packed some colorful straws and some snacks since there was no way he would even attempt to eat pizza or cake. I also brought some home made play doh in a little container in case we needed it. Nick sat quietly in the stroller which was just under eye level of the table, and was just a little gem.

Michael had a good time at his friend Keegan's house last night. I picked him up this morning. It was nice having both my boys home again! I missed them!

I changed the links up a little bit. I keep getting questions like "What IS autism?". These questions are mostly asked by acquaintances whom we do not see too often, or have no kids in which to reference to,so I thought I would put up a link describing this "different ability". Well, I am off to start putting little boys to bed. It is one of my favorite times with them...BATH TIME! They are so incredibly cute and good smelling!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Sorry I did not get around posting until now; but we have been busy!! Tuesday, I had Nick's first IEP meeting with the school district. He will be attending Evergreen pre-school on Ft. Lewis. They will hold another evaluation of him in January to see what services he will be provided with. One of the things I specified was that Nick also be taught all the academic stuff that normal kids learn. They informed me that he will be taught academics, as well as any other services he needs. I made a list of goals that we want Nick to accomplish--most of the stuff that he should already be doing, but isn't. He is proving that he can learn things, it just takes him more time than others. He is saying more words lately, and is just a sweetheart. We still deal with eating issues, and sensory issues as well as obsessive behaviors, but he is SPEAKING. We went from him having to be prompted to say "UP" to a big milestone yesterday--he came and pulled me to the ceiling fan and said "UP" by himself!! Oh the joy!!

Halloween was frantic as usual. I did not get home until close to 5pm, fed everyone(Nick was going through another spell of not eating--tonight we changed the dining room light again as it had gone out--he ate.)Michael finished up his homework, and after that Mike helped get the boys dressed. At 6pm, two of our friends came over with their little boy and we all went out. Nick,managed to get his shoes and socks off, and kept pulling his sleeves up (he hates long sleeves). I strolled him around for about 35 min before taking him back home. After that, I went back out with Michael for a little while.

We have a busy weekend coming up. Michael was invited to a sleep-over party at his friend Keegan's house Sat. Night, and we were also invited to another party at Chuck E. Cheese. Michael said he thinks Chuck E. Cheese is for babies!! AAAhhhh, the working mind of a 7yr old! Enjoy the pics!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Another Milestone!!!

We have our very first LOST TOOTH!! We have been eagerly awaiting this moment ever since last December when Michael first started on his shots! He was the last one in his class to start losing teeth, so he is very proud to have finally crossed this threshold. Now, the toothfairy is going to have to caugh up a couple of bucks!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A world of our own

Even though it is reported that 1 in 166 children today have some form of an autism spectrum disorder, when we are out in public with Nick we are in a world of our own. To many outsiders, Nick can ALMOST blend in with normal 2yr old behavior. Although I do suspect that even outsiders can detect something "Off"; many will not say anything and just smile. Today we went to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese for Michael's friend Rachel. I often have to employ Michael somewhat on these outings, out of necessity. Mostly it is to hold Nicks hand when either getting out of or into the car. Unlike most kids his age, Nick is oblivious to danger. I know most toddlers are, but we are talking about a kid who one day walked right into Carter Lake and walked himself under water. It was one of the worst moments in my life, and thankfully I was right there to pull him out immediately. Nick will not answer to his name, so it is imperative that he is kept close for his own safety. If he happened to get loose in a crowd, it could be disastrous. He has no way of communicating,and only understands certain phrases that we have used. So, I often have Michael help out in some instances where I just do not have enough hands. So, I decided that Michael should be able to go out and have fun despite his brother's issues; and that Nick should go along to also have "fun". I try to expose Nick to as many social outings as I can possibly tolerate with him. We had barely got into the door when he began to scream. Luckily, he was calmed by me holding him, and we found our party within seconds of entering--I was thankful not to have to look for them! I automatically asked for a highchair for Nick. The party was held in the upstairs portion of the place which was quieter and more Nicks pace. (I think the good Lord knew that was best!) To many of the guests, Nick was just a very quiet fellow who entertained himself with straws,and refused to eat any of the food. Until he unleashed his fury when I had to get Michael a drink. I came back to hear him screaming, and thrashing himself in the highchair. He had a crowd of people around him trying to prevent him from tipping over. Michael had a good time, and it was nice to see him smiling and playing with his friends. As we reached the 2 hour mark of the party, Nick entertained people with singing in a barely audible voice "Rain Rain Go Away" People outside our world think it is just the cutest thing--"Oh he is singing!" they say. However, we here from Nickland know it really means that he is about at his breaking point, and we had better get going SOON. But there are two problems here: 1. Michael is nowhere to be found and 2. Mommy has to pee! Judging from Nicks response to my absence earlier, leaving him for a few minutes was out of the question. I took him with me downstairs amidst all the chaos of kids having fun. Nick lasted about 2 minutes before he started to "shutdown". He clenched his hand to mine and every few seconds I would feel him stiffen up. When we got to the bathroom he lost it. He threw himself to the floor screaming, and I basically dragged him into the stall with me. I have become sorta immune to his screaming, but I realize that others are not, so I try in vain to calm him; but it never works. It does not help that he is pounding either his hands or his head on the back of the stall door while screaming. I know it is the noise that irritates him, maybe we should get him some ear phones to put on his head? It is during outings like this that make me feel we are an island to ourselves. We have Nick's very first IEP meeting this Tuesday to discuss his transition to developmental preschool. I also went to that EFMP class on Thursday, and got a ton of information regarding special trust funds, education laws, and all the things this military program provides. It was also nice to meet other parents with special needs kids. I ended up meeting a couple of other parents of autistic kids and just to have someone else say "I know...we too have had that problem" is so comforting. I have signed up to become a member of an ASD(Autism Spectrum Disorder) support group, and even hope to volunteer for some stuff.
Michael is doing good in school! I had a meeting with his teacher last week, and he said Michael is right on par with the other kids in class! YEAH!! He is going to lose that bottom tooth any day now! It is hanging by a thread! Well, I am going to go for now and get to bed. Thats all that has gone on in our little area of the world!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Last Game

Today was the last game of the season. We played against the toughest team on base,and we TIED 1-1!! The first time we played this team we lost 4-0, so for us to tie them was just awesome! After the game, the team headed to Burger King for a well deserved lunch out, and we handed out certificates and medals. It was fun for everyone, except Nicholas. He did not care for all the noise and comotion,but it was Michael's day to celebrate. It was HIS shining moment, and Nick eventually got used to it. We just let him peel stickers or twirl...that is how he copes with things most of the time. I will update the photo page with all the new photos I took today.

I Love Fridays!!!

Fridays are my favorite day at work!! We really do not do much on these days, so it is very relaxed. My supervisor came to me today to tell me he is putting me in for Maintainer of the Week. He told me it was MY turn to recieve an award...since I am usually the person who puts everyone else in for them. Sorry I had to cut our phone conversation short today Mom!! Mike thought he would be funny and hide the jar of Ragu on me! They are trying to make me lose my mind I tell you!!

There is a two day class called S.T.O.M.P.(I have no idea what it stands for) that I put my name in for. This is a class that is going to talk about all the programs that Nick is enrolled in. They also have info on special wills that we need to have drawn up, and also information regarding PCS(moving bases) and networking with other parents of special needs kids. It is kind of hard thinking that Nick qualifies as "Special Needs". Whenever I hear those words I always think about kids with much more severe handicaps;but then again; autism can be a severe mental handicap and requires special treatment. I have asked my supervisor if I could attend at least ONE day of the class, and they have agreed. I dont normally ask for time off, and this is information that will benefit us, so they have been pretty flexible. Somedays this is all just so overwhelming and I think "Is this really happening??" We have started to get the insurance statements from all of Nicks therapies--his recent OT session was $120, his last speech session was also $120. We have not had to pay any of this thanks to the military! It is such a relief to not have to worry about where the money will come from for all of this. Michael's shots alone can cost upwards of $10,000 a year. Not counting all the visits to the Endocrinologist we make. Then, factor in all of Nicks therapies, and a family could easily go bankrupt. But, enough on the depressing stuff.

We are thinking of taking the boys to pick out a pumpkin this weekend. I put Nick in his Micky costume to see if it would fit. It was adorable!! He LOVED it!! He kept looking at his hands as they were covered with the little white gloves...he kept it on for about an hour! He went cross-eyed trying to look at the mouse ears that were on his head. Michael has his last game tomorrow. I am baking some cookies to take as snacks after the game, and we got the trophies all ready to go. I will also take the camara and see if I can get some good pics. Well, I am going to bed now. Talk to you all soon!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Growing Boys!!

Tonight I measured Michael again, and surprise....he is now 44" and 45lbs!! I just happened to have a growth chart(been kind of obsessed about that since he started dropping OFF the chart at 18mos. He is now in the 50% for weight, and his average bone age has caught up to a 6yr olds!! He is "average" height for someone who is 6! I can deal with him being only a year behind, not THREE years behind like he was before!! He is at least starting to blend in with the crowds and is not soooo obvious.

Nicholas is around the 50-75% in height, and 50% in weight. He has always been my little giant. He is nearly 3ft tall at just over 2 and a half! He just happened to step on the scale the other night and he is 29lbs. He is eating again(Thank the Lord), although it is still limited to mushy stuff.

Not a lot has happened this week. I have figured out how to get Nicholas to talk a little more. I take his hand, and make him point to things like his cup, or cookie, or whatever else I have in my hand that he wants. I say: "I WANT...." and make him point to the object and he says "CUH!" or "CEWKIE" or "GO-GO" (translation: Cup,cookie, yogurt). This seems to be working for the moment,so we are going to stick with it. He has not said these words on his own yet, he only says them when we do the little routine, but if anything, he is learning to vocalize. He has not had many meltdowns at therapy this week, which is always good.

This Saturday is Michael's last soccer game of the season. They are playing a pretty tough team, so wish them well! I will try to take some new pictures this weekend and post them up. Not much going on here. Just will enjoy a little down-time after soccer!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Real Life vs. Rockwell Life

I am almost certain that Norman Rockwell DID NOT have children; or if he did, he most certainly did not take them out anywhere. Otherwise, his idyllic paintings would have been DRASTICALLY different than the peaceful,serene portraits he painted of them. We have all seen his paintings of children who seem to get along with each other, never make any messes, and whom have adults smiling at them. Ok, so we do often get the latter part of that,but thats where it ends! I have all these wonderful things I am going to do with my boys in my head all week at work, and then reality sets in. It is a major undertaking just getting everyone to the car. And once in the car, Nick takes off his shoes and socks immediately;not a problem when it is sunny and nice out;but is more than annoying when it is rainy and cold! We get to our destination and schlep everyone out of the car. That is when it starts. "Michael come here!" "Where's YOUR jacket??!" "WHO stinks???!!" Then we get in to the restaurant. All the silverware gets pushed to the opposite end of Nicholas,Mike and I are getting kicked in the legs by a two yr old flinging his feet, Michael announces he has to go potty, and Nick has managed to get his shoes off again...and we have not even ordered our food yet! By the time everyone orders, it seems like we have half the menu ON our table,which causes another space! Suddenly, what Nick is eating becomes PART of the table,himself, and the floor. The more we wipe him, the more we get on ourselves. By the time the meal is over, Mike and I have not had a real conversation, we are covered in pink yogurt, and Mike announces "I need a cigarette!". Shopping is another entity all together! Then there is shopping for a Halloween costume. I took the boys out to do this yesterday. I figured that it is still early enough to get a good costume, and that we would find one the first store we went to. I got everyone ready and we headed to TOYS R US to have "FUN" picking out a costume for Michael. I seem to remember that this large toy store having everything you need for kiddy fun! Not so. They only had ONE aisle of costumes, (and they were rather picked through already), and why must they put displays in the MIDDLE of the aisles so that it is next to impossible to get your cart down them???!! Michael found a pirate costume, but when I looked at the price I became disgusted! $40!!! $40 for a cheap costume in a plastic bag!! UGH!! I was so disgusted we left the store immediately. We ended up finding a Ninja costume at Target around $20. Not exactly cheap, but better than 40! I am also fed up with the lack of quality of these costumes. Part of it ripped as Michael took it out of the bag. UGH!! He can still wear it,but has been told that he must put it away to prevent it from ripping more. He was quite upset, and so was I. I had spent $20 on something that ripped within 5 minutes of getting it home.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A typical day in Nickland

Yesterday was Nick's OT and Speech day, so we were at the center from 9am to around 11:30am. First he went to his playgroup. Things started off very well, but in true Nick fashion, things can change drastically. He became quite upset during snack time. For one, with all the kids in the room, the snack area kind of echoed-and I think this was one thing that bothered him. He has become increasingly intolerant of loud noises. He has never liked the vacuum cleaner,but now it is also blenders,garbage disposals, he will even steer clear of the microwave. Two: There was a little girl sitting beside him who was just very active, and he was not comfortable at all with sitting next to her while she was jumping in and out of her seat. Three: He is afraid of the table top fan they had in the room. They had to cover it up with a towel just to stop his crying. Once he saw the fan, thats all he would look at. I actually had to hold him to get him somewhat calm. We have noticed that at home he has started covering his ears more when things get too loud. He is also banging his head more frequently. Yesterday morning, as we were leaving the house,something irritated him and he went outside and banged his head on the car. Anyway, after his playgroup, it was time for Speech and OT. Christy wanted to know what an OT does, so here it goes. Nicks OT is working on getting him to play with toys appropriately. This may seem like common sense to most of us, but Nick needs to be taught. For instance; instead of pushing a car on the floor,Nick will spin the wheels. We also work with him on things like climbing, jumping, and we will eventually work with him on his stims. Right now, when he is excited or on "overload" he flaps his hands, shakes his head, or stiffens himself like a board. This is acceptable for a toddler, but as he gets older it will only make him stand out more. So, we have to teach him other methods like twiddling thumbs or giving himself a hug. Another thing he will do is pace the floor over and over, and slap his hands on the wall. He will do this around 20 times or so before stopping. Today was ok until around 10am-when he apparently just had a meltdown. Mike has no idea of what triggered it, and even Tam was taken by it. He usually likes her session, so this was completely new to her. Such as a typical day with Nick; we never know what we will get.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Some nice fall pictures

For those of you who don't have the Fall season; here is a glimpse of what it looks like in western Washington right now!

This is the tree that is in our front yard.

Our view from our driveway

Looking down our street

As you can tell, it was overcast outside and the temperature hovered just below 60. We did not do much today. Just relaxed and cleaned the house up a bit. Michael went over to a friends house and played some video games. He also spent time cleaning up the playroom!! I did not even tell him to do that!! Nick is slowly getting over his cold. I cannot wait until he gets done with it--he gets even more picky with what he eats when he is sick. It is hit or miss (mostly MISS) getting him to eat anything that is not a pop-tart or cereal or yogurt. These are the three foods we are currently alternating now. If anyone has any other suggestions I would LOVE to hear it!! Otherwise, things are just as peachy as they can be.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tough day for daddy

Actually, this whole week has been tough. The first sure sign of fall arrived in our house Tuesday. Nick came down with a cold, and is just miserable. Monday apparently was a bad day for Nick as well. There were only two other kids in his group that day, so his therapists decided to combine classrooms with another class. This was a disaster for Nick. He refused to cooperate,refused to eat snack, and raised such a stink that they decided to go back into his normal classroom. Well, the minute he got back into his normal room, he went right to his chair at the table and sat down. Days like this end up in a domino effect...once one thing is off, his whole universe is out of whack. Today was no better. It was raining out, so his playgroup played indoors instead of on the playground. Once again, as you can imagine, this did not go over well. Not to mention there were two new kids in the class and their parents...Nick went haywire. He screamed the entire time. Poor daddy called me at work to tell me of this latest disaster. Nick has become more and more rigid about his routines, and it can be tough. He has a new thing he does too. He throws himself to the floor when he gets frustrated/angry. When he is sick, he tends to regress a bit....very little speech,more self-stimming. Yesterday we actually went to soccer practice with Nick twirling a remote. He sat in the stroller spinning the remote in front of him constantly. He was perfectly happy until something set him off and he lost control. At that point, I could tell it was time to take him to the car. So, I picked him up and BAM! He head-butted me right in the face. I took him to the car, and put him in his carseat. He calmed down right away, so we sat in the car until practice was over. Needless to say, Mike is very happy that I will be home on Monday to take him to therapy, as he said he needs a break after this week.

Michael is doing good. We have three more games left of this season, and then I think I will put him back in swimming. He loves it, and has been asking to go back. He got a 100% on his last spelling test(naturally!!LOL!). He is doing good in school. They have picture day on the 12th of October,so you all will be getting some recent pics soon. He is still getting his shots everynight, and does not even fuss about those anymore. Well, I am going to go now. We got an early morning game tomorrow.

Monday, October 02, 2006


About a week ago my computer took a BIG dump and Mike had to install a new operating system(thanks in part to our little sticker-boy peeling off the Windows sticker with the numbers on it). Well, the one he put on there was not working for me--I could not view my pictures,videos, or anything else; so he installed a new system today and IT WORKS!!!

Dana and Troy came over today and we had one last visit before they went back home. It was fun getting together with them, and the kids played like they had never been apart!! Michael and Nathan were wrestling on the floor, and all we could hear was laughter. I think even Ericka had a good time--even if she was surrounded by boys! All three of them were carrying on without missing a beat! Nick even bonded with Troy--who showed him the wonderful art of spinning the wheels on skates!! Nick was even glad to see him today--greeting him with an acknowledging glance! I think Troy earned G*d like status with Nick--he worships people who show him how to spin new things!!LOL!! Today, Nick even played "peek-a-boo" with Troy. We loved seeing them was like old times.

After they left Michael and I had some fun decorating the windows with Halloween stickers. Michael wants to be a Pirate this year. A friend of mine is giving me a Micky Mouse costume for Nick. Hopefully, it will not rain like it did last year and they will actually get to wear their costumes!! Last year was a complete washout--Michael was going to be Darth Vader, and Nick was going to be Yoda. Mike had just come home from overseas and we were getting ready for our Disney trip. We spent last Halloween in the parking lot of Lowes with the boys asleep in the backseat. It was raining cats and dogs,and was cold out. We did not want to risk anyone getting sick while on vacation, and the boys were not too into trick or treating that night anyway. I hope this year it will at least be dry out.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Walk Now

Yesterday we did our walk for the Cure Autism Now foundation. It was a wonderful time! I got to see Dana and them again, and the kids had a good time hanging out in Husky Stadium until the walk began. It was nice to be in a place where Nick could just be himself and we did not have one single person stare at us! It was ok to crawl around in circles and feel the astro-turf between your toes and fingers--no one in the room thought that was odd, or even gave you a second glance. We felt right at home!! Nick and Nathan raised over $500 for autism research. Not bad at all!! Hope you all enjoy the pictures!!

Nick loved the feel of the astro-turf!

Nick and Me

The lights look so pretty through the balloons!

Dana is going to send me some of the photos she took with her camara. So, I will publish those when I get them. I will do a more lengthy report later, I just wanted to get these up so everyone could see.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Quick update

So far; Nick has not had any more episodes like Saturday. We think now that it was a night terror. Normal kids have these and are able to transition smoothly out of them. Nick was not able to make that transition quite so good. Of course, without him being able to tell us what is wrong, this is mainly speculation--but it is possible.

Our week has been good. Busy as always though. I came home for lunch yesterday and the first thing out of Mike's mouth was "Look what he did!?" Nick had arranged his goldfish crackers in piles of two all around the living room. Closest to me, there layed a single remaining fish...he was the "odd man out". This morning Nick got to see the garbage truck go by. Mike took him outside to see it, but Nick was not too fond of the noise...he kept repeating "Go Away, go away, go away!" This is what he chants now when something is unsettling, or he simply has had enough. He has told even us to "go away" at times.

We have our walk for autism coming up this Saturday in Seattle. I dont know how Nick will tolerate the change in his routine, but it will be fun to get out and see our friends Troy and Dana again!! Michael is eager to see Nathan and Ericka. He will not be going to the walk due to an early morning soccer game. I am sad that I will miss this game. It is against one of the hardest teams around, and I would love to see how our team does. Michael is excited about that.

I got a statement today from TriCare concerning Nick's OT. Nothing major, just stating what they paid for it. ONE hour long session of OT per WEEK costs $60! That is just for ONE therapy; he also has three others! At $60 per session, that is $200 per week, plus what we spend in gas. Thank the Lord for the military. It may not be the best insurance around, but it sure does help. Without it, I would hate to see our medical bills for both the boys.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A weekend in the ER

Nick threw us one heck of a curve ball this weekend. Friday night I took Michael to the movies with Kristine and Nathaniel, and we were looking forward to a fun,but busy weekend. Friday night I put the boys to bed at 9pm, and everything was fine. Around 3am I was woken up by Nicholas screaming. I went into his room and tried to calm him down, but he just kept on screaming at the top of his lungs. I picked him up and he literally clung to me with his fists clenched tight. He would not let me out of his sight, so we ended up laying on the couch--where I just held him. Every few minutes he would erupt in screaming again and would stiffen his whole body, he would also bite his blanket. After hours of him screaming off and on in what appeared to be obvious pain, I took him to the ER. All I could say was that "Something is wrong with him...he is screaming!" They took his vitals, and we were sent to a room. His outbursts continued, and every nurse that was there at the time stopped by to see how he was doing,what the dr's had said, etc. He was the inconsolable child. They performed many tests on Nick...from cleaning his ears, to feeling his tummy, his testicles, taking a urine sample, two ultrasounds, two sets of X-rays, blood tests, everything. They all kept coming back negative. They were about to release us, and then the dr wanted me to sit Nick up in the bed to give him some juice. It started all over again. Nick had been content after some IV fluids, and laying down, but when I sat him up, he started crying again. Thats when they started checking his testicles to see if that was the problem. Nope. Poor Nicholas kept mumbling "Rain Rain GO AWAY!" every time they messed with him, he also kept crying "Bye Bye Bubby; Bye Bye" and shaking his head back and forth. At one point, they had another dr come in and try to get Nick to point to which body part hurt...yeah, like that was going to help. This was after they were informed he had autism. They released us, and told me to come back for a follow up this morning. Nick was all smiles when we went out to the car, and I was convinced there was nothing truly wrong with him at that point as he was acting just fine(well,for Nicholas anyway). He was his normal self when we got home, and was excited to see his brother again! Last night, was uneventful and peaceful! I passed out before 9pm.

This morning, I took Nick to his "follow-up". Well, we just walk in the door of that place and he is crying again. We got to a room, and I placed him on the bed again-and he began shaking his head back and forth. I told him "We see the Dr then go Bye-Bye""NO owies today". What I thought would be just a quick appt. was anything but. They ordered a CT scan, and MORE x-rays. Nick was not too pleased, and neither was I. They were very concerned about this whole head thing(after we told them he does this all the time), and that he did not like sitting on the bed--he preferred to lay down. Again, they came up with nothing wrong--so why cant we just GO HOME??!! After his CT scan, the dr came back and told me that it looked "pretty normal,but I would like to do a spinal tap". Well, that was the last straw. I said "No, I think he has been through enough, he is acting fine now (as he was moving all about in the chair, and happily playing with a sticker). He asked if I had any concerns with him at the time and I said "No". He then gave us our discharge paperwork, and we left with Nick saying "Bye Bye Bubby!"

I have learned that no matter what we go to the Dr for, to tell them Nick has autism right off the bat. I feel so bad for making him endure all those tests only to find out this could have been just an "autism thing". Something (noise,light,movement) could have triggered his outburst at 3am-maybe a limb had fallen asleep and the sensation scared him, and once that started it was a domino effect. His screaming brought about a sudden change to his routine and then he was in a strange place-which made everything worse. We may never find out what triggered this outburst, but I am sure it won't be his last. I have learned a lot this weekend. I learned that autism can sure throw you a curve ball.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Fair

I got to spend some one on one time with Michael this weekend. I take the opportunity when I can get it...with so much of our efforts focused on Nick, I don't want Michael to feel left out. He had been given a free admission ticket from school,so I paid for myself, and we spent Saturday afternoon at the Puyallup fair. I doted on him. I bought $60 worth of ride tickets, and we had planned to use them in no time. But, even with how much he has grown using his shots, he was still too short to ride 80% of the rides. My heart sank as we kept passing rides by. I know it is for his own safety,but dang it!! We ended up riding the "kiddie" rides..or at least the ones that went semi fast. Michael got spoiled at Disney; as he was able to go on Space Mountain, the Tower of Terror, and most of the coasters there. Here, he is still stuck on the baby rides. What would his life be like had we not done the shots?? I don't know. Honestly, he would not be much taller than Nicholas is now. Michael is a pituitary dwarf. I digress. Despite these little set backs, we had fun. We rode all the rides we could, and I must say our favorite was the Scrambler. Michael drove the go-carts, and he even got one of those ink tatoos on his arm. We had a good day! We were supposed to meet up with our babysitter, Kristine and the little boy she is mentoring,but we never found them. I think we are going to get the boys together next weekend and take them to see a movie.

Nick is continuing to make huge progress. Last night while I was in the kitchen, he came to me and started jabbering. He was actually looking AT me while he was doing all this. That is huge for kids like Nick--eye contact is not their strong point, but he was "talking" TO me. After he was done, he pointed to my mouth as if to say "Ok, now it's YOUR turn!". Oh, and if you find a box of crackers sitting out in the middle of the floor, chances are he wants some and this is how he tells us. Now, he will be in a completely different room, but that's just his way. I am signing off for now. Michael needs to be "reminded" to behave in class. I thank Nana for this approach...he is writing sentences!!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Just an update

This week we had Nick's first speech and occupational therapy sessions. It was actually just one session, as both therapists were working together to get an idea of our little guy. The day started out rough for Nick from the very beginning. First of all, he was thrown completely off kilter when someone at the gas station said "hi" to him. He was off his routine and that did not go over well. I met Mike at the center at 9am to see his first session of the day with Courtney. Nick did very well with feeding himself yogurt. He was doing so well at using his right hand and keeping the spoon right side up(he still flipped it over upside down when he started). Then, all of a sudden he switched hands and started using his left hand. We were perplexed. Why would he switch?? A few minutes later; we found out. He had eaten all the yogurt on the right side of the bowl--so it made sense to him to switch hands and eat the yogurt on the left side of the bowl with his left hand. After his behavioral session with Courtney, we went straight to the speech and OT. Nick saw Tam in the hallway, and began saying "GO,GO,GO". He assumed she would follow him into the room as always, but this day was different. He clammed right up when he realized Tam was not in the room; and was a little irritable. To him; this room was to be only used by Tam and no one else. So, we decided to REALLY rock his world and change rooms---yeah, that went over REAL well!! At this point, he was stimming like crazy and was clearly dissheveled. They waited for him to calm down and offered him some fave toys to help. They got him to play with Play-doh(although, he never actually touched the stuff, he did use a toy to pound in it). One of the highlights was when Nick found himself in the mirror-he perked right up and screamed "BOBBY!!!" Just so you know, BUBBY is my little nickname for him, so he refers to himself this way. Our last piece to this therapy puzzle is the in-home therapies. I called our case manager this week, and she is working on this final piece of the puzzle. We have been at this since that appointment with Nicks pediatrician back in January. We have learned so much since then, and I often reflect on how much our lives have changed in the last year. I believe all of this has changed us for the better. I know what I want Nick to recieve. I know I want therapists and teachers who will push him beyond his limitations. I want Nick to be in a pre-school that specializes in autistic kids--not one that has much more severely disabled kids than Nick. I dont want him to get stuck in a school that just teaches him to dress himself,feed himself,etc. I want him to learn academics-I want him to attend regular school. Even if he needs an aid, I dont care. That is our goal-and we will do whatever it takes to get him there. I do not consider him a "lost" cause. There is a little boy in there that is just the sweetest soul; and I will make sure that everyone knows that. Yes, our son has autism--and he is just perfect.

It's just so funny when we talk to other parents. To most of them, our lives seem so alien. They are simply impressed with all the "abnormal" things we have to do. This summer was the first time I felt more qualified to give Michael his vaccines than the nurses. "Just give me the needle" I thought to myself. I have lost count of how many injections I have given him-and this kid, who would need two people to hold him down for mere Tylenol, takes these injections without much fan fare. We get excited over every inch Michael grows, and every pound he puts on. We make a celebration out of all the small accomplishments Nick does. We are in constant awe of our sons.

Not so amazing is the relationship Michael and Nicholas share. It was Nicholas who cried when Michael went off to school the first day. Their bond has no boundaries. I have walked in their bedroom countless times to see them sleeping together. They will crawl into each others bed at night and sleep next to one another. Nicholas gets visably upset if Michael cries. Nick will imitate what Michael does, and Michael loves to play "ring around the rosie" or chase with Nicholas. He kisses Nick all the time. Theirs is the unspeakable bond of brotherhood.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Just an update

Sorry it has been so long since my last update! We have been busy with soccer and school. School is going good for Michael so far. We have had an incident so far where his thermos leaked in his lunchbox. It was caught early in the morning before he even left for school and his lunch was spared. However, he decided that once he got to school, his lunch would not do and he bought school lunch on "credit". UGH! We were not happy when we heard this news, and we told him that if I give him a lunch he is to eat it and not buy school lunch.

Friday night I had a couple of my friends over for a Mary Kay party. We all got facials, and did our make-up and had some "girl talk". Nick decided he would flash everyone his family jewels and took off his diaper two times! I ended that by putting some sweat pants on him. Although, he unsnapped his onesie this morning and took his diaper off and peed on the floor. He was nearly undressed by the time I found him this morning. This is a new development, and I must admit, not one that I am fond of. Maybe he is ready for potty training?? We will have to find the sign for "potty"-as his vocabulary useage is still pretty much non-existant. Luckily, all the ladies that were over thought it was funny.

Saturday was Michael's first soccer game of the season. His team won 3-1!! He came very close to scoring a goal twice. He still gets his shots everynight, and so far has not had any side effects.

I put a new video on the links section of the blog. This is pretty much the extent of Nick's talking right now. He echoes certain words. Yesterday we played a little game to teach him to respond to his name. We employed big brother to help for this one. Michael first demonstrated so Nick would know what to expect. Michael went out of sight into the hallway, and I had Nick on my lap. I then called out "Michael" and Michael came to me. Then, it was Nick's turn. Michael held his hand and took him to the hallway. I then called "Nicholas" and Michael brought him to me. We did this for about 20 min and Nick was having a blast with this "game". The last time Nick actually walked to the hallway by himself and I called out "Nicholas"...and low and behold, he came running to me; laughing and giggling the whole way!

Gotta go for now. Lunch is to be served!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ready for school

Tomorrow is the big day! I am so ready for school to start. Michael is excited as well. I think he was getting bored these last few weeks...he kept asking when does school start?? We went to the school today after soccer practice to see what room he will be in, and who his teacher is. We found out his teacher is Mr. Harmon--which I was happy with and we have heard nothing but good things about him. Even Mike was happy. He is in room 11, which is right across from the basketball courts. He knows almost everyone in his class, and in that respect, I am glad that we have been here so long that he is actually growing up with most of these kids.

Nick started back with his therapy today, and Tam was enthusiastic about his "readiness to work". He walks right into the room and plops his little bum right into the chair! Next Monday they will be doing a lengthy speech evaluation on him(from the last time I talked 3 weeks ago, I got the impression they will be checking out the muscles in his mouth to see how developed they are) and they have asked that I be there as well as Mike. That means I will be asking for another day off from work--which they probably will not like, but this is not going away anytime soon, and I want to know what they will be doing with my son. That evaluation will determine if he needs more than the 1 hour or so per week of speech that his Dr has already prescribed. They want Nick to be ready for pre-school when he turns three. He will still get therapy, he will just be a part of the school system then. We got to talking to some of the parents on the soccer team today and it turns out that one of the fathers works with school aged kids on the Army base here. He was wondering how we got Nick diagnosed so early, as he said most kids cannot be truly diagnosed until they are in school. We explained that Nick is rigid about routines, how he twirls and spins things constantly, he flaps his hands, does not speak..etc. We spent a good 15 min talking about autism. When alone, Nick looks like any other two yr old (a bit eccentric though), around kids his own age though he is about a year or so behind socially, get him in a restroom and he goes berserk, he has meltdowns when we have to take him places suddenly and without warning. We explained this was part of the reason that we really only bring Nick out of the carseat after practice is over and the majority of people have left. He does not do well with chaos! Anyway, we got the chance to educate people a little bit about our guy. We also do the same with Michael. People think he is 5-6 yrs old, and then Mike will say "No, he is 7, and he takes hormone shots every night to grow", and then it usually falls into "And this is Nick, he is autistic...he goes to therapy everyday". Funny, a few months ago he could not even say "Autistic" and now he is holding conversations about it! Our children are quite unique,but life is always interesting around here, and we keep a sense of humor about it. I mean, it is hard NOT to laugh when your kid is rubbing his head on the pretty yellow line, or dancing with his arms in the air because the wind is blowing, or is trying to jump but only gets one foot in the air at a time. I am also proud to say that Michael is now an old pro at taking shots. I tell him he is the bravest kid I know, and I am so proud of him. We had a good day today--we will see what tomorrow brings.

Here are some pics of Nick and his new fave toy:

We got a spinny top from Burger's a BIG HIT!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The End of Summer

It is officially the last weekend of summer. We have done all of our school shopping, and are ready for the onslought of next week. We have enjoyed these past three weeks when we had not a single thing going on. Reality sets in full mode on Wednesday--Michael starts back to school(2nd grade...I cannot believe how time has flown!) and Nick starts therapy again on Tuesday.

Today I took the boys to the Tacoma Mall where I went and got both of them haircuts. I don't take them to the BX when I am alone because Nick freaks out even going NEAR the barber shop. I also tried to remember if any place has an oscillating fan-he hates those as well. I fully expected him to scream the entire time. The lady asked me if it would be the clippers that bugged him--I just said "No, it could be the lights, the sounds, the feel of the place". Luckily, they were not very busy, had only one oscillating fan(which we were not near), and the lights were ok. I also came prepared-with a trusty spinny toy. All in all, it went very well and I actually ENJOYED both of them!!

I took some "before and after" pics of their DO's:




Nick....After(Yes, I will be sending Jennifer this outfit too; I just wanted him to wear it ONE more time)

We had Friday off for a "Family Day" and Michael and I went to see "How to Eat Fried Worms"--Yes, it IS an actual movie, and Yes, it can be disgusting. I have learned that the more disgusting something is, the more Michael wants to see it. A ride is only cool if it makes you want to puke; kiddy rides are now pretty "lame" and he wants to go on the fast rides. He truly is counting the days until he is 48" tall-then it's open season for him! I just cringe at the thought of my "baby" going on all those scary rides where there is not a seat belt tight enough in my opinion. Don't mind me; I am just a neurotic mother!

I am adding some more pics to the picture album page. Hope you enjoy them!

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Golden Dragons

That is the name of Michael's soccer team this season. In fact,soccer is one of the reasons we have been MIA for a few days. Last week, we had some issues with the fact that there were only two coaches for the 7-8yr old teams. That meant we had about 16-17 kids per team--way too many. So, Mike decided to be a coach. Last Thursday was our first practice, and we only had three kids show was not looking very promising. So,after the first practice we decided Mike did not look very much like a coach with no real equipment and we went out to the Sports Authority last Sunday to get him some cleats,shin guards,clip board, and we outfitted everyone except Nicholas with new shoes. Michael was in desperate need of new shoes--he outgrew his old sneakers,and has moved up to a 13. We spent a small fortune,but we had fun-and now Mike looks official.

All this week we have had kids join up at the last minute, and we have gone from having 10 kids(just enough for a team without subs), to now having 12. Mike has found that he loves coaching, and so far is being pretty good at whipping them into shape(running laps,sprints,and races, and scrimmages). They are pretty pooped by the end of practice. We have recieved good feedback from the parents so far, and they like his style of coaching. I have volunteered as a Team Parent, and have my own duties such as making up snack lists, getting trophies, and helping the coaches remember names(LOL!). Their colors are gold and black, and today they named their team "The GOlden Dragons".

Nick has FINALLY ended his pop-tart eating binge and has moved on to more "normal" fare. We figured out why he would not eat with the dining room light on recently--one of the lights went out a while back and apparently it bugged him so much he refused to eat when we turned it on. I am not kidding, when we turned it on he covered his face and would not move a muscle. Today,Mike fixed the light,turned it on, and Nick looked at it and was eating again!! Who knew??!! He resumes therapy again next week after a three week break, and boy does he need it. He seemed to take a few steps slightly backward, and we need him to move forward. His sleeping has gotten better the past few days (thank the Lord...I was about out of my mind),although we still have nights where it is 10pm before he sleeps, it has not been AS many. Mike and him have a new nap routine now, and I think that has helped. Mike lays down with him in our room and strokes his forehead while Nick is watching the ceiling fan spin. That puts him to sleep in no time. We found some old home videos of Nick when he was just a tiny thing--and he acted so normal. We were staring at the videos searching for the slightest hint that we missed--Mike just kept repeating "I don't see it--I don't see the Autism; he looked at us,interacted, and was smiley...I just don't see it". Somewhere between one and two he just did not progress. We look at him now, and it is such a change between the two. Even before he was diagnosed, we had an inkling that something was different about him. I think one of the real defining moments came last Christmas when he was 22 mos old. He had ZERO interest in the packages under the tree...did not even notice they were there. I just kept thinking "He SHOULD be getting into these...but he is not?!" Something else had also crept up on us--he did not respond to his name; heck; I could sit right behind him, snap my fingers,clap, and do all kinds of things, and he would not even look-or even turn his head. He had also lost the only word he ever said until this point...he had started saying "ma-ma",but by 2yrs old,he had stopped saying anything all together. He had simply failed to progress. It just kind of hurts a bit to see him being such a normal little baby, and thinking about how he might be now if things had taken a different path. But then again, I have fallen in love with all his little quirks, and in a weird way it is his autism that makes him who he is.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


I Love Fridays! They are usually the best days at the shop. Today Michael had his school physical. He is 3'7" tall, and 42lbs. He had to get two shots;HEP A and Chicken pox booster. The shots did not phase him a bit--I guess it is one of the drawbacks to taking shots every day. He was an old pro! Other than that, not much going on here. We are heading into the last couple weeks of summer--I am already seeing leaves drop from some of the trees. I love the fall. Now, we get to start planning for Halloween, and all the festivities and sugar.

Nick is doing good. He was easier to get to sleep tonight. HOORAY!! Dont know what our plans are for the weekend yet,but Mike has hinted that he wants to do something. Boys are doing well and enjoying the last few days of summer vacation.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Busy little bees

We have been a bunch of busy little bees this week! Nick has been better about practices since the last post. He is handling them better,and boy it makes our lives easier. The soccer season has gotten off to a rough start. First of all, there were only two 7-8yr old teams, so both the teams had like 17 kids. Way too many!! After some deliberation(and some bribing),Mike has decided to coach a team. He got the roster today,and low and behold,he is coaching MICHAEL. UGH! I did not want Michael to switch teams--not because Mike cannot coach; he can. But for the simple reason that Michael would not do what Mike asks,thinking he can get special treatment. Well,today was the first practice for the new team, and you guessed it,Michael did not want to do some of the drills-just to see if daddy would let him get away with it. He ended up getting a little attitude adjustment from you know who. We will see how the next practice goes, and if his little attitude does not improve, he will switch teams. I made him very aware of this, and I also told him he could not play at all if he does not do what his coach says. Swimming will have to come later, as the practices are on his swim days. We can always start them back up after the season is over.

Nick is still having issues with sleeping. He did not go to sleep last night until 10pm again. It is common for kids with autism I hear to have sleep problems, and a lot end up needing medication. We hope that Nick is not one of them,but chances are he will eventually be given some sort of medication to help him sleep. Maybe it is just a phase,I really dont know right now. All I do know is it drives us crazy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sometimes Autism just sucks

This is just one of those evenings where I just need to write. Sometimes Autism just plain sucks. Soccer practice was just such an event. Nicholas was happy for about 10 min-until the parents of about 15 kids showed up,and all the commotion that brings. Even outdoors it is too much for him. He spent the entire hour and 5 minutes of practice screaming. I tried everything-his cup,some snacks,his spinny toy,letting him out of the stroller,letting him BACK in the stroller,holding him,bouncing him,finally I had had enough and the last straw was strapping him in his carseat and just shutting the doors. There is only so much screaming a person can take. It continued when we got home-he wanted nothing to do with dinner,or anybody else. He just continued to scream. I honestly felt like an outcast today among all the other moms on the field. There they were, able to talk among themselves,their children sat quietly and colored with each other,they were all so "normal". Here I had strapped my child down in his carseat because he could not contain himself. None of the other moms would even come near us. Their kids were all playing with one another so peacefully,mine could not stand anyone coming near him. Another thing is SLEEP. This is something Nick finds hard to do recently. He has always been such a good sleeper,but recently he is horrible. He gets up frequently, and it takes him hours to go to sleep. He was up last night at 10pm spinning his shoes;in the dark. The thought of drugging him has crossed my mind I must say. He does not nap during the day,so I know he is tired. He cannot ignore his obsessions and just sleep. I love him to death,but days like these are very hard.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Leave your expectations at the door please!

Nicholas said "Mommy" today. I went in his room today at lunch, and said "Hi Bubby!". A minute later he shrieked "MommiEEE!"

Michael did great at soccer practice today. I would have to say that game is his true love. He has come so far with his growth shots. Everytime I see him out there on the field, I think to myself "This would not be possible without his shots". He simply would have been too small. He is pretty much even with the other kids as far as skills go(even a little ahead of some taller ones). Size wise, there are two other kids who are pretty much his height(maybe an inch taller). My kids amaze and inspire me. My life is brilliant.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Top Ten Terrific Traits of Autistic People

I found this online and thought I would share.

Top 10 Terrific Traits of Autistic People
From Lisa Jo Rudy,

If you're sick of hearing about all the "deficits" challenging people on the autism spectrum, join the club! But for every down side to autism, there seems to be a positive -- an unusual trait that rarely appears among the "typical" community, but shines out among autistic folk. These plusses are well worth celebrating.

1) Autistic People Rarely Lie
We all claim to value the truth, but almost all of us tell little white lies. All, that is, except people on the autism spectrum. To them, truth is truth -- and a good word from a person on the spectrum is the real deal.

2) People on the Autism Spectrum Live in the Moment
How often do typical people fail to notice what's in front of their eyes because they're distracted by social cues or random chitchat? People on the autism spectrum truely attend to the sensory input that surrounds them. Many have achieved the ideal of mindfulness.

3) People with Autism Rarely Judge Others
Who's fatter? Richer? Smarter? For people on the autism spectrum, these distinctions hold much less importance than for typical folks. In fact, people on the spectrum often see through such surface appearances to discover the real person.

4) Autistic People are Passionate
Of course, not all autistic people are alike. But many are truly passionate about the things, ideas and people in their lives. How many "typical" people can say the same?

5) People with Autism Are Not Tied to Social Expectations
If you've ever bought a car, played a game or joined a club to fit in, you know how hard it is to be true to yourself. But for people with autism, social expectations can be honestly irrelevant. What matters is true liking, interest and passion -- not keeping up with the Joneses.

6) People with Autism Have Terrific Memories
How often do typical people forget directions, or fail to take note of colors, names, and other details? People on the autism spectrum are often much more tuned in to details. They may have a much better memory than their typical peers for all kind of critical details.

7) Autistic People Are Less Materialistic
Of course, this is not universally true -- but in general, people with autism are far less concerned with outward appearance than their typical peers. As a result, they worry less about brand names, hairstyles and other expensive but unimportant externals than most people do.

8) Autistic People Play Fewer Head Games
Who was that woman, and why were you looking at her? I know I TOLD you I didn't mind if you went out, but why did you believe me? Most autistic people don't play games like these -- and they assume that you won't either. It's a refreshing and wonderful change from the Peyton Place emotional roller coaster that mars too many typical relationships!

9) Autistic People Have Fewer Hidden Agendas
Most of the time, if a person on the autism spectrum tells you what he wants -- he is telling you what he wants. No need to beat around the bush, second guess, and hope you're reading between the lines!

10) People with Autism Open New Doors for Neurotypicals
For some of us neurotypicals, having an autistic person in our lives has had a profound positive impact on our perceptions, beliefs and expectations. For me, at least, being the mom of a son on the autism spectrum has released me from a lifetime of "should" -- and offered me a new world of "is."

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Updated: August 15, 2006
Lisa Jo Rudy is a veteran science writer and author of dozens of articles and educational materials for organizations including the National Geographic Society and the National Science Foundation. As the mother of a boy with autism, she is also an active member of the autism community.

We had a typical day yesterday. Our big chore for the day was to get all the school supplies. So, we woke up around 10am(more on our nightmarish night later), Michael ate some cereal,Nicholas had his ever favorite strawberry Pop-tart for breakfast, and I had cereal. Mike got up shortly after and I informed him of our plan for the day. He said he wanted to come with us, and as I picked my jaw up off the floor, he got ready to go. Finally, around noon I had everyone dressed and primped up and we were out the door. Nick was giddy with excitement as he got to fully experience the bumpy,yellow,concrete safety ramp as we walked to the entrance. Hands flailed,he did his little "Happy Dance" and shouted "Bobbiiieeee!!!" He could not resist bending down to touch the bumps. We entered the store, and Nick was having a great time going between the carpeted jewelry section,to the smooth tile floor. We thought all would be hunky-dory, and then we got to the school section. We went to the main school display in the back of the store, and the screaming began! We tried in vain to calm him,but nothing worked...he was absolutely terrified. I followed his terrified look to the display ads. They were mounted on cardboard bins and were turning in circles. There were about 4 of these displays, and poor Nicholas was absolutely petrified. He was shrieking with fear. I began a desperate search for anything he could twirl....pencil,marker,ANYTHING. Damn it if they were not all in packages!! My efforts failing and Nick shrieking louder and louder, I did the only thing I could do; I got the heck out of there and quickly went into one of the aisles! With our school shopping accomplished,(plus some extra stuff),we made our way to the checkout where Michael screamed "I GOTTA go PEE!!" Mike agreed to take both boys to the restroom, and you can guess where this is going! Mike came out and his first words were "Did you hear that??" I said "No, hear what??" "Nick screaming the entire time we were in there!" We had both forgotten that Nick hates public restrooms--and he kindly reminded us. After our Target fiasco, we went to the grocery store, and then to get my tire fixed on my car. It was a very productive day.

As I was saying earlier,Friday night was not our best. Nick stayed up until 1am. No matter how tired he was,he could not help himself but to turn lights off and on,and peel stickers. I am not kidding when I say I have woken up at 4am and found him doing this in their bedroom. Michael has moved to the couch on some nights because it wakes him up. As a last resort(short of drugging him with Tylenol),I taped the switch in their room down. Almost immediately he went to bed and fell asleep. It was like he could not ignore the urge to flick the switch or peel any sticker that remains in their room. We had a better night last night. He only stayed up until 10pm-and that was with NO nap. We will see how it goes today. Michael starts soccer tomorrow. We found out his practices will be on Mondays and Wed. from 5pm-6:15. I am glad that it is not on Tues. and Thurs. because he has swimming on those days. Life is about to get even more insane around here! Stay tuned!

Friday, August 18, 2006

prayers needed....

Please say a little prayer for our friend Nathan. I was talking to Dana last night on the computer and it seems that Nathan had what they think was a seizure the other night. He used to have small seizures when he was a baby/toddler, but he had not had any for a while now. They are going to do some tests on him to determine what is going on and we are praying that everything goes well for them. Nathan is such a sweet little boy and we hate that this is happening to him. He has made huge progress, and then this happens. It's just not fair!

Monday I started back at work. Nothing much to tell there, except that I miss being home with my guys. I could truly be a housewife and be perfectly happy. My boys are my life, and seeing them become little men brings me such joy. Tuesday I had my PT test and I passed once again (Hooray!!). I was not too happy with my waist size,but everything else went ok. I did my run in 15:10(not too too happy with that either,but it will do), did 30 sit-ups and 40 push-ups. Not too shabby. I am still going to keep up with my Slimfast shakes, and going to the gym, so it should not be a problem for me to pass future tests. Tuesday I also noticed my left front tire has a nail stuck in it, and needs patching--so that is on my "To-DO" list for this weekend. The boys have all had colds this week, so I am once again up to my ears in snotty noses. Nick's seems to be the worst...his is like a much crap comes out of his nose that when he sleeps he literally gets it all over him, his clothes, and his sheets. Michael had swimming today and he is doing so well!! He goes under water with no problems now, and is getting more comfortable in the water. Today they had the kids go all the way down a pole in the pool and come all the way back up. They did this for a little while, and then they went and jumped off the diving board. Michael absolutely LOVES swimming, so we plan on keeping it up for now.Michael starts school on the 6th of September! He will be in the second grade!!! I am going to stop by the school tomorrow and get a list of supplies that he will need and then go school shopping this weekend.

If you are looking for interesting TV, there was a show on this week called "Musical Savants" or something like that. It was on the Discovery Health Channel, and from what Dana said it is very good. I am hoping to catch it on this weekend.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A kid named Andrew, and a Kiddie Cookbook

I had the pleasure of meeting another wonderful kid with Autism today! Shannon and I have been e-mailing each other recently and decided to meet face-to-face today. She has Andrew, who is 13. Andrew is simply adoreable, and he was wonderful with Michael and Nicholas. I asked Michael on the way home if he had fun and he said "YES". Shannon, thank you so much for stopping to meet with us--it was great talking with you and your mom! After spending lunch at McD's, Nicholas was simply exhausted; so he is passed out right now in his bed! It is so nice to be able to see how well Andrew is doing, and that just fuels us even more. I cannot WAIT to see Dana,Troy,Nathan, and Ericka at our WALK in Sept!! It is always wonderful to get together with them and catch up on events that have gone on--of course I read their blog every week,but its more fun in person!! They have become family to us.

This morning I got the Kinder Krunchies Too! cookbook that I ordered from Discovery toys ( It has TONS of kid friendly recipes. We have already tried one of them and it was a success! It was a milk shake (naturally!) and here it goes:

POUR 3/4 Cup Milk into a deep bowl
ADD 1 scoop of ice-cream
Pour into glasses.

Michael LOVED it, and said it tasted real good!

Thats all that is going on out our way! Have a good week!!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Thank you!

Nick and his friend Denver playing with bubbles.
I just wanted to post and say a special thank you to Nana for donating! Any amount is greatly appreciated!!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pieces of the puzzle

I took Nick to his last day of therapy today. They have a three week break before the end of summer, and he starts up again in Sept. We got to meet with his OT,Liz,and she worked with Nick a little bit. Nick was wary of this "stranger" and did not like her interrupting such fun activities such as spinning wheels on a truck! Here is the list of therapies that Nick is recieving at Birth to Three:

2 hours of Speech
2 hours of OT
4.5 hours of Play group
3 hours of Special Instruction
Total: 11.5 hours per week at the center

We are also working on getting him 2 hours of Private Speech, and 2 hours of Private OT a week.

We did not do too much today. I was very sad that this was my last time of taking Nick to class for a while. The kids are all so very sweet, and one of them called me "ma-ma"! I found it funny that my own kid does not call me "ma-ma" and here I had another kid calling me that! After we got done with class, I drove back home for a while and then had to get Michael a new Sharps container for his needles. I took the filled one back to the hospital(where I was told I could dump it in our own trash). I was also informed that I could use a Coke container from now on and just throw it out with the regular trash. I am all about making my life a little easier! Once I got home, I did the usual of starting dinner,and seeing what Nick was up to. He grabbed a puzzle from his drawer,so I sat on the floor with him and helped him do it. Only he does not need much help. At least not with the shape puzzle. He can put that one together in no time flat. He LOVES shapes. He LOVES puzzles. I mean, he LOVES them! At the center they had to cover up all the puzzles because thats all he wanted to do. I got some pictures today of him doing his puzzle.

He knows where all the pieces go, and I even asked him "Where's the oval?" and then he picked it up and put it in the right spot!! I went through all the shapes with him and when I said "Circle" Nick repeated "Dircle". He never looked at me, just at the puzzle. He gets into his repetitive actions though after about two pieces-and then you have to hold down the other pieces to prevent him from taking them in and out constantly. You have to keep him focused. When he gets focused though,watch out, he can do things fairly quickly. His new fave toys are anything that is squishy in his hands. He loves the feel of them, and that extra sensory input just seems to awaken him. He is more verbal, and will babble tons while holding these items, and he just seems to be more "here" overall. Nick is like a 30lb puzzle, you have to find the right pieces to make it complete.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A little bit of everything!

Nick working with Tam

This post might just be a little crazy and all over the place, so bear with me. The photo to the left is from today's session. On Tuesdays and Thursdays Nick works with Tam in a one-on-one social/play skills session. She concentrates on getting Nick to make eye-contact, to imitate, and to play with toys properly. The group session he has also works on these skills, but they work on them in a group setting with 4-5 other toddlers so Nick gets used to having to share and take turns. When he first started with Tam (back in March!) just getting him to sit in a chair was a big step. Now, he goes in the room and readily sits in the chair! He also would get very upset when she took a toy away that he wanted and tried to get him to "work" to get it back. Now, she has him matching items like bowls, and imitating her before he gets rewarded with his fave toy. He has also made huge progress with giving the toy back to her when she requests. He does this now with no fuss at all!! The smallest steps he makes are duly using utensils correctly(instead of twirling) or even smelling a raisin(last week he just threw it on the floor,this week he at least brought it to his face)...these are all big steps forward for him. Today I also met with his Speech therapist to discuss our goals for him as far as that goes. He still does not gesture to show us what he wants or bring anything to us--so that is one goal we set. We also talked about his eating. He only eats foods with certain textures(mashed, or soft like noodles, or crackers). She will help us to get him to develop his muscles in his mouth more,and that could maybe lead to trying more foods. Since he is doing so well with the hour long sessions,they want to increase it by 30 minutes on Tues and Thurs. We are wanting to get his Speech and OT to be in conjuction with his other sessions so we dont have to travel so much. It could mean half of his days are spent in therapy,but I think it would be best this way. With all this going on with Nick, it is easy for Michael to get "lost" in the shuffle. Yesterday him and I just took a day to spend together. We went to see a couple of movies, and just had some nice "mommy and me" time. It was nice to get to re-connect with him, as I dont want him to feel like he is forgotten or unloved. He is a huge part of this family and he was our first born, so he will always be special.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I am excited to say that we have reached a couple of milestones today!! Michael came to me while I was preparing dinner in the kitchen and said that one of his teeth hurt(it hurt like it was loose) he said. So I had him open his mouth, and sure enough, we have our first loose tooth! It is not exactly hanging by a thread yet, but it is slightly loose. Needless to say we are all very excited! We were not sure when Michael was going to start loosing his teeth, his Dr said it could be a while at the last check up. So we are pleased that this is a milestone that is getting closer and closer. Out of all of his friends, he is the only one who has not lost a tooth yet. He asked me "What do we do with a lost tooth mommy?" and I explained that we put it under our pillow at night and the toothfairy will give you money for it...provided said toothfairy is not broke. Another equally exciting milestone belonged to Nicholas today. I was sitting on the kitchen floor playing with him and he put his hands on my cheeks and said "Ga-Ga". We are not sure if he was trying to say "Ma-Ma" yet, but I dont care....he is trying to say SOMETHING, and he looked me square in the eye when he said it. I am elated that he is making such wonderful attempts to speak. He is also trying to copy what we say at least once a day now. Today he came up to me and said "Go". I asked him "Go where?", and he repeated "Go ere?" We also got the call that we have been waiting for this afternoon...all the paperwork was completed and Nicholas is ready to start Speech and OT therapy!! They want to sit in on two of our sessions this week so that they can get a feel for what we have already been doing with him. Tam has started using the PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) with Nicholas and he seems to be getting it. She is going to give us the materials and the knowledge to do the same with him at home. I have already been taught on how to do this during our last session, but Mike will need to learn. We probably wont get those until a couple of weeks from now. Just thought I would inform everyone on the good news!!!! I am so happy my baby is talking!!!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Will he live to see 8??!!!

Michael has been a real pain today! It all started last night when we found him hiding in our bedroom watching tv at 10pm!! Then, he ALWAYS gets up at the crack of dawn no matter what time he went to bed, and was just downright incorrigible this afternoon. He was good this morning when we were at a picnic, but since coming home we have had to yell at him a number of times to "get down""stop that""give that back to Nick!". He hit dh in the head today when he jumped up on the sofa (how many times have I told him NOT to do that???!!), and tonight just took the cake..I told him dinner was ready and he just said "ok, in a minute". Well, minutes ticked by and soon it was time for bed. He had not said a thing about eating until he put his PJ's on and all of a sudden he said "But I am hungry...I did not eat"...heh heh heh...well, "TOO BAD!!" Neither of them took a nap, so by 7pm my patience had been well worn through, so it was BEDTIME!! Nick is going through a phase where he ONLY eats about 5 foods; and has been living on Pop-tarts and Pediasure. UGH!

Summer time picnic

Picturesque Mt. Rainier on a beautiful August day

Today was Mike's annual Guard Picnic. It was held out at American Lake on Ft. Lewis. They had all kinds of stuff for the kids to do out there. One of the guys brought his boat and had some spare life preservers, so Mike and Michael took a ride on it. I stayed with Nicholas at the playground. He was having fun going down the slides. They also had a jump castle-which we went in. Myself,Michael and Nicholas all went in there. Nick does not have the greatest motor coordination,so I went in there to make sure he did not get hurt. He loved watching the other kids jump. We got there around 11am and stayed there until 1:30. By 1:30 Nick had just had it with the socializing. He was starting to get upset quite a bit,so we headed home. I took some pics of the boys while we were there. We took the boys down by the lake and Michael loved it as always,but Nick was terrified of the waves,or the sounds they made-cant figure out which one it is just yet. He screamed while he was in the water,but he also screamed while he was out of the water-he loves the water;just not the noise.

Friday night I held a small party for Discovery Toys. A couple months ago I bought Nick's giant peg board from one of the parties I went to,so this time I decided to host one. This time I bought Nick one of those sensory balls that squeek, and I got a kiddie cookbook for Michael. This week, I need to get both Michael and Nicholas enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). Through this program I will not be able to move to any base that does not have the facilities for my boys to get the care they need. It basically limits my assignments to just a few big bases. Also, this program will make it possible for Nick to be enrolled in the ECHO program-which will enable him to start recieving ABA therapy through the University of Washingtons Autism program. Don't forget that we are also doing the WALK NOW for autism research at the end of Sept. If you would like to donate just click on Nick's WALK NOW link to the right of this blog. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I cannot tell you how much Nick has progressed with therapy. He is making more eye contact, learning how to play with toys, and so much more. Without these programs there is no telling where he would be. Before therapy, he was not pointing,not signing, and we had no clue on how to get him "out" of his own world. His therapists are literally angels. We have learned so much from them and incorporate what we learn at home. Nick has made huge progress. He now says a few words like "hi,baby, and goalie" regularly. I cannot say how important these programs are for kids like Nick. There is also a bill that has just been passed, and it is about to go to the Senate. It is for funding of autism programs. You can read about it here:

Friday, August 04, 2006

Last day of soccer camp :( :(

Michael has thoroughly enjoyed soccer camp this week, and I am sad to see it come to an end. I love watching him play...he loves it sooo much. But, we only have a couple more weeks until the start of next season, so it will not be too long. Nicholas seems to like going to the games as well. He has said "Goalie" several times! He LOVES to stand in the goal and catch the ball and then throw it. We joked about him being in the World Cup in twenty years and how we think his interview would go...

Reporter: So, Nicholas Weger, what was your favorite moment of todays game?

Nick: "Goalie!!"

Reporter: What do those hand signals mean?

Nick: Goalie!!

Anyway, Michael played for England, and yes, they won their Jr. World Cup. England was a tough team. 90% of their team consisted of kids we had coached for the last two years, and the British coach could tell which kids were coached by Mike and Santos. Everytime one of them got a breakaway I could hear "There's another goal for England" out of the stands. Michael scored 2 goals. The last one he scored was the only one scored against Brazil and he tied the game 1-1. Today, he did not score any, but he got an assist, so that was just as good. Well, I am going to head back out to the soccer fields where Michael is watching his friend Nick's team. Will update more later!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

It's offical...I am a Taxi!!!

With the boys' activities going on this week, that's exactly what it feels like. I drop Michael off at soccer, and then I head immediately over to Federal Way for Nicks therapy, after that I head back to the soccer field for the last hour or so of games, then we finally get home around noon. Michael is enjoying soccer camp and we are pleased to say that England is in first place so far!! Michael also had his first swim lesson tonight. I took pictures but they came out too dark to really see anything. He did well. The only complaint I could see was that when they were blowing bubbles in the water, he got some water in his nose.We got out of class around 7pm and headed to BK to grab some dinner. I think I am going to lodge a complaint with Burger King. They changed the shape of their nuggets to the little crowns, and now I have a two year old who refuses to eat them! Dont they realize these were the only meat product he ate??!! And now, they go and change on him!! Now, he looks at them strangely chucks them to the floor in disgust! I think I will write a strongly worded letter to the head honchos on behalf of all the kids on the ASD spectrum!! LOL!

In Your Face Autism!

Monday, July 31, 2006

busy day!!

What a busy day we have had today! I am pooped;but I have loved every single minute of it. This morning started bright and early at 7am. We had to be at the soccer field by 9am, so we had to get everyone up, fed, and dressed all before 8am. Nick was fine throughout breakfast, but once that was over all hell seemed to break loose with him. It was another schedule change for him, so instead of getting frustrated with him,I just let him cry it out. There really is no comforting him, he has to adjust himself. Michael was excited last night when he went to bed, but took a little prodding to get up this morning. I took a couple of pictures this morning. One is of Michael in his British soccer camp uniform, and the other is of Nick picking a sticker off the closet. We were out the door by 8:20, and Michael was at the field by 8:40. I dropped him off with a little bag full of bottled water and some snacks and gave him a hug and kiss goodbye. Two of his friends were there already along with his coaches, so he was not by himself. I was then off onto I-5 to take Nick to therapy. He was calmed down by that point and was just a sweet, quiet little fellow for the 20 min. drive. We arrived at 9am and were greeted by his therapists. The first part of the day was spent on the little playground where Nick went down the slides, and played in a little car. He really likes the plastic tunnel they have. He likes to walk through it and scream as loud as he can to hear his voice echo! After that, we headed inside to the classroom for snack time. Nick made the sign for "more" about four times on his own! He also will only eat the yellow goldfish! The colored ones look too strange for him. We also think he tried to say "thirsty", because one of the little kids there said "thirsty" and then I heard Nick say something like "Isty". He was rewarded with some juice in a sippy cup. After snack he did some puzzles. This was Nicks favorite part...he LOVES puzzles! He was pretty fast completing the ones at the center. At the end of the hour, all the kids gathered in a circle and they sang songs with sign language. Nick also seemed to like this part because of all the movement by the teachers made him smile. We got back to the soccer field around 11am and watched the last hour of camp. Come to find out Michael IS going to participate in the little World Cup, and he is playing for England!! He had a great time playing with his friends and seemed to really like his coach. He even got a new shirt and soccer ball! I am posting some pictures on the picture site for you all to see. We had a great time today!