Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Busy Mom Contest

Thanks to a previous commenter we found out about The Busy Mom Contest. I have entered my hardworking wife, Robin. Here is my entry:

"My wife, Robin, is definitely the busiest Mom. Why? She insures that our lives are as 'normal' as possible. You see, she is not only the Mom of six children, but they are all Autistic. We have three boys (aged 13, 8, 3) and three girls (aged 9, 5, 2).

She doesn’t have a typical week. Our home life is a constant ever changing swirling combination of meals, diaper changes, laundry, housework, mopping, wiping, crying, comforting, appointments and so MUCH more.

This past year was an especially busy one. We were just discovering and dealing with the emotions of finding out about our children’s Autism. Then a heavy blow hit our family. When commenting to a social worker about her frustrations and needing a break from the daily disasters in our home, our children were taken from us. At first the state Child Protective Services thought how we dealt with maintaining our home and children was unsafe. When the court realized exactly what we were dealing with, within two weeks the children were returned. The judge ordered my wife to be evaluated. She is borderline clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder (not surprising). She is taking Zoloft to help her through each day. She maintains a detailed daily journal of people seen, visitors, phone calls and appointments. This takes one to two hours each day.

The three youngest are still in diapers and the 3 and 5 year old are completely non-verbal. We have to put them in backward one piece outfits to keep them from stripping and smearing their poop everywhere. Our 3 year old climbs on, breaks and rips EVERYTHING. We call him “The Destroyer” (like Conan the Destroyer). The two year old has now discovered the ‘joys’ of poop smearing.

I often hear the dryer’s buzz at 3am. The washing machine runs nearly 20 hours a day. After the children are in bed, she’ll dash to the gym.

On top of everything else she has fibromyalgia and is exhausted most of the time. If any Mom NEEDS a break from her busy life, it’s my wife Robin."


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sarah "The Destroyer"?

Today Sarah (5) was messing around on Mom's kitchen table chair. She knocked it over and broke off the top of the back piece. We already have 3 different styles of chairs for the table.

Anyone got a hot deal on an 8 piece dining room table and chair set?


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Got Gas?

We do now!

The notice saying it was turned back on, said we needed someone who is "qualified" to turn the valve on the meter. I can turn a wrench 90 degrees to the left. I'm qualified.

I turned the valve sloooowly (as suggested). No big WOOOOSSSSSH... the house was still there.

I AM qualified, by golly!

What else happened TODAY? Ammon stripped out of his overalls, Mom found him butt-nekked in his playpen with 3-4 blankets over himself. NO POOP! Dodged that nugget...whew. Gretchen, who the state pays to come over twice a week to help out, found his diaper among the toys strewn all over the bedroom.

Mom had to do some running around and dropped off Nephi (8) and Emma (9) at the Boys and Girls club. Emma got 'bored' and called soon after to be picked up. Nephi wanted to stay. Later when it was time to pick him up he was in the office. He had been playing Air Hockey and lost the game and his noodles (a meltdown).

Mom was invited to go to dinner with a friend she hadn't spent time with for quite awhile. I said yes, go have fun. I'll just stay home (sniff) and feed all the kids, by myself, while I light the pilot light of the water heater. And get a hot shower since two days ago (phew!).

There's more, but I got other things to do, see ya...


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Another, another Day In Paradise

My profile mentions that around here something happens everyday, I'm just too tired, depressed, forgetful, busy to write EVERY day.

But I want more ego strokes from the blogging world, so I told myself today, "Self, you need to blog more often, be more fun (boring blogs bite) and more people will read your great and wonderful words of wisdom and insight".

"Huh?, did someone say something?" Can't even pay attention to myself...

Anyway... the day started early. Bzzzzz, its 5:30am, get your butt out of bed. I did last minute paper work and Mom got the girls ready. Today Mary and Sarah were to be evaluated to see if they could be accepted for pre-school at the Carmen B. Pingree school for Autistic children. Its just for 3 days a week for half days. But, it's the best we have here in Utah.

They were accepted for this fall!

What else happened? The gas was turned off per the notice on the door when Mom walked out. I mailed the payment late last week.

"Mom, did we get anything in the mail from the gas company?" "I think so... a couple of weeks I think." "Do you know where it is?" "I'm not sure." Hmmmmm...

Ammon's been perfecting his climbing skills.
And has been learning to scale the 4'x8' plywood sheet that blocks him from "Destroying" the kitchen. Today he saw, he scaled, he destroyed. An $8 bag of trail mix was in the middle of the floor along with the entire contents of the diaper bag. Remember he likes to shred? Got ALL the baby wipes. But, isn't he CUTE! He looks older, but he's just 3. Me? I'm somewhere between 50 and dead-on-my-feet.

Emma got a headache and barfed.

Mary "Goldilocks" has been imitating everybody and everything. This includes big brothers burp and fart sounds. Nice.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Call for AutismBites T-shirt Stories

Now that we have over 60 people who have bought a t-shirt or tote bag from our AutismBites t-shirt website, we'd like to hear your experiences with the shirts.

Since Ammon and Sarah have become our t-shirt models, life is a little bit more calm when we venture outside the home. The other day a t-shirt sure saved some embarrassment when we were at the local burger place. The children had finished eating and were wrecking havoc in the play area. Sarah, who is very stealthy and cunning, pounced upon a woman's drink two booths down from us. This unsuspecting woman's drink was right in front of her when Sarah did a quick 'grab and slurp'.

We offered quick apologies and got her a replacement drink. We're quite sure had Sarah not had on her AutismBites t-shirt the lady would have said more. We had noticed earlier that she had read Sarah's t-shirt when she 'Tigger' bounced past her table a few times.

That's a recent story from us, what's yours? Thanks!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Our Day in Court, Part 2

We are now free from all state intervention!

The state attorney generals office lawyer stated that they were satisfied that we have come very far and have completed all requirements. Their recommendation: close the case.

The children's lawyer agreed. My lawyer concurred. And Robin's lawyer suggested that the case against us be closed as well.

I admit that I was on pins and needles waiting for the judge to rule. Her comments were that we have all learned a lot in dealing with a family with so many Autistic children (we found out about all the children during all this). What sources of help are available and confessed that the court has learned a lot as well.

Now we are free from people coming to the house checking up on us, in the beginning it was twice a day from the state and we had people that were required to stay with Robin while I was at work.

It's been a long hard journey, but this is not the end. Really it's just the beginning for us as average Joe's, with six Autistic children that is!


Our Day in Court, Part 1

Today is what we hope is the last appearance we have to make since we started our run in with the State of Utah. Since we had our children taken away for 2 weeks last fall we have had to do many things and have accomplished a lot.

Since that time we have: 1) Found out that ALL six of our children have some level of Autism -from classic to moderate Aspergers. 2) Had to make changes to our home to make it 'safe'. 3) Learn A LOT about what Autism is. 4) Created this blog to help us and hopefully other Autistic parents. 5) Start using Autism t-shirts on Sarah and Ammon whenever we go out of the house. 6) Be on a local 10:00pm news program. 7) Appear on the Sunday front page of our local paper. 8) Have two national magazines want to do our story, the one we decided on is here this week. 9) Get to know a lot of good folks.

There's a bunch more, but we've got things to do to get ready for court this afternoon...


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Our Flag

Standing here so close to you,
It seems that I am seeing you
For the first time.
Yet, I cannot remember
The first time I ever saw you,
Though I remember quite well
The first time I ever touched you.
It was the Fourth of July.
I paid a dime for you.
I did not know then
That you could not be bought
But that men would give for you
All that they had—Even their lives.
I did not know
That what I held in my hand
Was not you;
No one told me.
But, of course,
Those things can’t be told;
Each person must learn them
For himself.
I did not know that you had
A heart that could feel,
A mind that could think,
And a body that could work;

But I know you now
For what you are
I’ve learned my lesson.

You are a mother
Waiting for a word from her son,
And the word never comes.
You are a father
Working patiently,
Hoping for a better day,
A better world—Tomorrow.
You are proud young men
With light and laughter
In their voices.
You are the hands of young women
Roughened and hardened by work.
You are a mother
Holding her first born
Tenderly close to her breast,
And wearing a Distinguished Service Cross
And a Purple Heart
Pinned on her dress.
You are the boys and girls
Offering their pledge to you
In the school houses of America.
You are men and women
Of every language, of every color,
Of every creed.
Going to the church of their choice
On Sunday morning.
You are the noise of the busy city;
The peace of the country side
At the twilight hour,
You are all of these
And something more:
You are Truth,
And Truth is Freedom;
“You shall know the Truth,” he said,
“And the Truth shall make you free.”

Yes, I know you now;
I can see you clearly;
You have changed.
You are not new and stiff and shiny
As you were on that summer day
So long ago.

You are stained with tears;
You are dirty with sweat;
You are torn and bleeding,
But you have wept before;
You have toiled before;
You have bled before,
And I know in my heart
That when this that is upon us
Shall have passed away
You will still in Freedom be flying
Over a people born to be free.

* Historical Information*

On a misty, foggy, Sunday afternoon, in the month of January, 1944, the late U.S. Senator, Robert S. Kerr, at that time Governor of Oklahoma, members of the American Legion, and I were seated on the Atoka, Oklahoma High School stage waiting to begin the memorial service honoring the young men of Atoka County who had given, in the Second World War, “...even their lives.”

It was 2:30 o’clock p.m.…time to start the service; still we waited. I was neither anxious nor impatient; I had been asked by the Commander of the American Legion to say something about the Flag, and I knew what I wanted to say, so I had not bothered to make a copy of it. A little later, the audience became quiet; when I looked toward the entrance of the auditorium, I understood why. Walking down the aisle toward the front were the families of the young men for whom the service had been planned. Suddenly, I felt that I could not stand, face those people, and say what I had decided to say. At that moment, with a shock, I realized that I did not remember a thing I had intended to say; I thought of leaving the building by the stage exit, but I could not do that when I remembered the young men and their families who had no avenue of escape.

When my name was called, I walked to the front of the stage, and for a long moment looked at the Flag standing close by...Then I heard myself saying, for the first time, the lines of “Our Flag” that have been repeated countless times since that misty, foggy Sunday afternoon in the month of January 1944.

I wondered—could Governor Kerr have been right when he said to the audience, “I came here from Oklahoma City to give the memorial services, but there is nothing left to say; the few lines you have just heard have said it all…for all time…for all people…

—Grace R. Stewart