Partying for Partying’s Sake

Nicky has been wanting to have a party since this past summer when he read the book “Monster Party”. When I’m in the office he comes in and starts drawing on paper saying he’s making invitations.

Finally, a few days after Christmas he mentioned a party and I thought, “why not?” We have ready made party guests in the form of a bazillion cousins so not a lot of work has to go into preparation and they don’t need a lot of notice. So I decided to invite my sisters and their kids over for a pizza party.

I just made a ton of pizza dough and kept churning them out (kids can eat A LOT of pizza).

The only real work was the cake, and I took that on because I wanted to, not because I felt I needed to. I want to practice making fun cakes. After Christmas and this party I’m going on a sugar fast….starting Monday. J

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Reading, Writing, Resolutions

Welcome, 2019.

2018 wasn’t a bad year for me, we moved to a bigger house, nicer neighborhood; we got a minivan, I enjoy my calling at church, my relationship with my family is good. Nothing catastrophic happened. It had its ups and downs and self pity moments but I think every year will have that sprinkled throughout. So I’m not running away from 2018 and slamming the door shut behind me – but I do love fresh starts even if there’s nothing I’m trying to erase and forget.

That being said, here are my 2019 goals. I have to point out that yes, there are ten goals again (I didn’t do that last year) but that wasn’t completely on purpose, though I did scratch out a goal because 11 seemed weird.

  1. Read 30 books (3 on writing; 3 church)
  2. Query 5 agents by the end of the year
    • Edit first draft
    • Write query letter
    • BETA readers
  3. Journal once a week
  4. Keep up with the new church curriculum
    • Hold Family Home Evening once a week
    • Share my testimony more
  5. Send birthday cards to family
  6. 12 dates with Matt
  7. Go to the temple at least once
  8. Budget better
    • Stick to the shopping list and come in under budget
    • Re-evaluate wants vs needs
  9. Get fit/eat better/stretch
  10. Organize the house (we have more space but feel just as cramped sometimes…it’s all in how we use the space).

Things I never thought I’d say -Part 2

Since the year is almost over I figured I would go ahead and publish this post I’ve been randomly adding things to. I’ll be honest, I forgot this list most of the year so it’s a little shorter than the real life things that have come out of my mouth since becoming a mom. But here is the list of things I remembered to write down.

  • I’m so sorry my child’s poo got on you.
  • I really just want to be able to stay in Sunday school the whole time.
  • You cannot squish people with the door.
  • Deodorant’s not for eating
  • Here, you can play with the gun. (Toy gun)
  • Don’t blow your nose on my pants.
  • You can’t knock on the baby’s head!
  • Get that out of your butt crack!
  • I can’t wait until we get a minivan
  • You can’t take other people’s moms, we’ve talked about this
  • You can’t drag your sister!
  • Don’t kiss the cat’s butt
  • Just use your shirt to wipe it
  • Don’t lick the floor

Hearing 101

Nicky had his first test today – hearing. We had his hearing tested when he was about 18 months because while he said a handful of words he wasn’t really where he should have been, also, he didn’t always seem to hear me. The test then indicated he had perfect hearing – meaning he was choosing not to hear me. And as he’s gotten older I’ve come to see that he really does choose wether or not he wants to hear me. Well–sometimes it’s because he gets hyper focused on things.

This morning we dropped off Izzy with grandma and then Nicky and I headed off on our abenchure (adventure). I thought it would be mostly fun for him. Sitting in a booth and looking for sounds but he was really nervous when we got there. Then the lady started sticking things in his ears and he was crying and I almost started crying because I told him we were going on an adventure and now he was never going to believe me again (I know he will I’m just dramatic). But then we went into the booth – which scared him at first but then she had two stuffed animals set up in opposite corners and when she hit a button one or the other would beat the drums. He excelled at this portion because he loved having the animals play the drums, which they did every time he got it right (it being looking in the direction of the sound or pointing at the card she asked him to). In fact, he was almost better behaved than me because I was the buffer between child and chair and his hair is a bit long at the moment so every time he excitedly looked this way or that his hair tickled my nose but the women told me not to react to anything so as not to affect the testing…but it tickled! I kept it together though and didn’t laugh.

The lady said that he has exceptional hearing…so it’s still true that he’s capable of hearing me – but doesn’t always listen. Oh gosh–I sound like my parents now.

When we left Nicky asked if we could come back tomorrow. That’s the true sign that he warmed up to everything.

The next testing is in January, and honestly I don’t know what to expect but they did well distracting him last time so hopefully they’ll do it again and hopefully Nicky will have fun.

It’s Official – I’m a Pageant Mom

So update on the pageant: Nicky participated! It may have helped that I said there would be a cookie feast for everyone who sings. It could also be because, even though he doesn’t sing, he’s had preparation and is fine to stand there.

He was the cutest little sheep. And I liked that he didn’t sing, made it humorous and entertaining. After the pageant they had the reception which was basically a cookie feast as I described. I even gave Nicky some punch but he said it was “too hot”. I took a sip, I think it was the bubbliness of the soda. Which I get – it’s why I don’t drink soda. They had Santa there and Nicky even sat on his lap and didn’t cry! In fact, as he was being helped on to Santa’s lap he already started to tell him what he wanted for Christmas (a puzzle like mommy’s). All-in-all it was a very good day.

To be or not to be

About a month ago I received an ominous email from Nicky’s preschool teacher requesting a meeting between her, the preschool director and me. My anxiety kicked in immediately, it was about 9 o’clock at night and the butterflies went crazy and something invisible squeezed my heart. I’ve always been the rule follower, doing my best to do things exactly as I’m expected to do. So this meeting, doubtless about something my son had done, left me feeling like I failed in some way. And its ambiguity was worse. Something wasn’t done right and they weren’t even going to give me a heads up so I could prepare myself.

Even when I got a little more detail (they’ve noticed some red flags, one being his anger) the following week my mind was filled with worse case scenarios.

The morning of my meeting, I was getting Nicky ready for school and he was fighting with me as I tried to get him dressed. He grabbed my arm and bit me! I don’t really remember my exact reaction but I know there was some crying in there. I took him to school and waited for my meeting.

The director and his teacher sat with me in a room and they went through behavioral issues they’ve noticed and a few “red flags” they’ve also noticed. They never did say what the “red flags” indicated but I’m assuming being on the autism spectrum. They mentioned his anger and difficulty transitioning from one activity to the next and asked me if I noticed any of this at home. I don’t know if it’s because I actually had to say something or if that bite from the morning was still at the front of my mind but I told them I have noticed the anger and wondered if it was normal and then I just started crying. I had spent all morning telling myself not to cry and I made it through most of the meeting not doing it and then there I was. Because they were telling me that my son’s behavior isn’t typical and I don’t know if it upset me just at face value–my son isn’t normal; or if it upset me because I felt like it was my fault, I had somehow failed my son, or even that I failed to notice the red flags myself before this meeting.

My nephew has autism, very high functioning, but I looked for all the little telltale signs he displayed from birth through 3 years, I read every email and article on babycenter about early warning signs and if I noticed one or two I comforted myself with the fact that he didn’t have the minimum number they stated before you should worry. But it’s been at the back of my mind for his whole short life.

They wanted me to have him evaluated by the county and so I arranged for that to happen. The week of the evaluation things had been good, he hadn’t been fighting me about going to school, I couldn’t remember the last time I snapped at him. We ended up meeting with four ladies (I was under the impression it would be one person but it made sense to have the others there, speech and behavioral people). I sat at a small table and talked to them while Nicky played with a graduate student. So while we talked, these women also observed. Nicky was at the top of his game that morning, he seems to like girls who are between 13 and 22 so I think the graduate student was his kind of girl. He made eye contact with her, played calmly, told her stories, etc. so the women said they didn’t think he had any cognitive issues but they would like to observe him at school for the behavioral issues they weren’t able to observe.

When we went to leave, I realized how scared I was to tell him we had to go and to have him meltdown when honestly, that would have been the best place for it. These women are there to help but all I could think about was how embarrassing and difficult it would be if he melted down and whether they would observe and say, “well your approach is all wrong, no wonder your child behaves that way.” Because they just said the issue wasn’t anything cognitive so that must mean I’m doing something wrong, right?

They set up a time to observe him at school and afterwards called me to move forward with some testing. First they’ll test his hearing, and in January they’ll do the real testing. The lady said he’s a real puzzle so she wants to test to ensure he doesn’t fall through the cracks – which makes sense. But it’s still hard. And I really don’t know which I’d prefer, for this to be a phase he’s going through or for there to be an issue. Because if it’s an issue/disability it lasts a lifetime; if it’s a phase it’s probably because I’m doing something wrong.

The Christmas pageant is today and the other day the preschool director said Nicky may just sit with me during the pageant (I guess that will be decided at some point today) because he doesn’t seem to want to participate. And I know this is stupid or shallow or something but I’ve been looking forward to this all year- but I know what a disaster it will be because my kid isn’t the type to actually sing and follow directions in front of an audience and I always have these expectations that we’ll have these cute experiences, normal experiences, and I’m always sad when they don’t work out.

And then that gets the pity party started because I wonder if that’s the rest of my life. Will I always hope for these seemingly normal experiences only to be disappointed when they don’t happen?

I don’t mean to have the pity parties, but I’m trying to process and to figure out how I feel because really I only know that I’m sad and scared and I couldn’t definitely tell you why. And I think the worst part is waiting, waiting to know if there is or isn’t something. Waiting to know how I should proceed with how I teach and interact with him.

And another thing, because it’s on my mind…his teacher always brings him to the car at pick up after school and on some days she says he’s “overstimulated”, because he’s crying and doesn’t want to go home. I get really bothered by that – it’s like a super nice way to say, “there’s something wrong with your kid”. At least that’s how I take it. He’s my kid, I expect him to not want to go to school and then a few hours later to not want to leave, I know how he gets. You don’t have to explain to me why he’s upset. It just–it makes me angry. And I know I shouldn’t be because his teacher is the sweetest person but there’s a little voice in the back of mind that thinks, “they don’t want him here”. And I know that’s not true, I’ve seen them with him and I know they love him, but it pops up just the same.

Anyway, I just needed to vent because I don’t have any answers or any solutions or an action plan and I won’t until at least January and it’s driving me crazy. The worst is – what if there’s nothing and they got me all worked up over nothing?

Attitude of Gratitude

“It is difficult to develop a spirit of gratitude if our thankfulness is only proportional to the number of blessings we can count. True, it is important to frequently “count our blessings”–and anyone who has tried this knows there are many–but I don’t believe the Lord expects us to be less thankful in times of trial than in times of abundance and ease. In fact, most of the scriptural references do not speak of gratitude for things but rather suggest an overall spirit or attitude of gratitude.” President Uchtdorf, “Grateful in Any Circumstance“, April 2014)

I feel as though I already did a post about gratitude a few weeks ago when I decided I needed an attitude adjustment but I figure you can’t have too much gratitude and I wanted to share an experience that I had.

First off, something you should know about me. One of my favorite things in autumn is when leaves fall in a giant clump, like a little snow storm of leaves. Because they’re light, they slowly drift to the ground in yellows, reds, oranges, and even browns and for whatever reason it makes me heart happy.

Now to my story. We’ve been trying to get pregnant for several months now. Since we got pregnant the first two times almost as soon as we decided we were ready for a baby, we took for granted that the same thing wouldn’t happen this time around. Unfortunately, month after month we find we are not pregnant. It’s been frustrating and heartbreaking.

Tuesday was another one of those days where I’m not pregnant and I wonder if maybe it’s just not meant to be or maybe we’re just no longer able to have kids. And I get depressed but then I think of friends who have been trying longer to get pregnant with no success, or those who have miscarried, or those who don’t have any kids. And then I remind myself that it wasn’t that long ago that I didn’t even think I’d be married, much less have two kids. And then I reminded myself that I don’t know what’s in store for me and for my family and maybe there’s a reason we didn’t get pregnant on our schedule.

So I started praying, because I don’t want to just keep trying forever until I get pregnant (I’m not as young as I used to be) but I didn’t want to say, “God, I’ll give you until such and such date and it’d better happen by then or it’s not happening” because I wouldn’t have done that when I was single and praying about how I hoped I wouldn’t be alone the rest of my life.

Anyway – long story a little shorter, I prayed, I cried, prayed some more and felt peace. Then my husband came into the room and could tell I had been crying and he put his arms around me and let me cry some more because I’m not pregnant and not preparing to be sick all the time and gain a bunch of weight. Then he made me laugh…a lot.

Later I was headed to the library with the kiddos and the leaves rained down from the sky, the sun shining and the scene around me so quintessentially autumnal and a deep sense of gratitude replaced heartache. It was like God saying, “I’m sorry you’re sad, but here’s something I know you like. Hope it helps.”

And it did.

Although life isn’t exactly how I planned for it to be right now, I have so much to be grateful for and I’m indeed grateful to have my husband who lets me cry but also knows how to pull me out of it and get me laughing. And a Heavenly Father who makes the leaves fall just as I’m driving under them because it always makes me happy.