Dyer Family Happenings

A.K.A. Mommy needs a place to write!

Seasons of change, not just summer to fall — October 26, 2015

Seasons of change, not just summer to fall

California is finally getting the memo that it is in fact autumn. It’s still a smidge confused but the brisk mornings are a nice way to start days. But weather and month changes aren’t the only things that are changing around here. Surprise surprise. (One day all I’ll write is- everyone is alive and nothing has changed and that might come in about 35 years….)

Leo is still majorly rocking preschool. His questions, conversations and general talking is loud and never ending but I love it. Even when it’s 5am and I don’t feel well. He tells us when he’s excited and happy and angry and sad, but never when he’s tired. 🙂 admitting that at 4 would for sure be the end of the world. Wednesday we have his first Parent Teacher conference. I can’t wait to hear all about how he’s doing. With all of the advances he’s making, regulating (stimming) has become more pronounced. You can tell it’s totally involuntary movements and it’s amazing how it helps him get his words out when he’s excited or calm him when he’s upset. I’m proud of him. He’s understanding his own body and that is HUGE.

Max is talking up a storm. His fits are more appropriate to being 2 or tired or a boy that just wants to throw pumpkins. His therapy is changing totally. We are actually backing out of ABA and he will be having more focused therapy to work more on speech and O.T. for some super testy sensory issues. I get one on one time with him to talk and read and sing and play with playdough. I love it. I’m proud of how he wants to be a big boy. He wants to go to school with Leo. Wednesdays are library day and he just loves it. It’s slowly coming together for our boys.

Last Wednesday was a hard day. Max spiked a fever and had a seizure. It was definitely the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. He was purple from not breathing, he was unconscious for way too long and when he finally came too, he wasn’t Max. It was like the sparkle in his eyes was gone. It freaked me out. I just wanted, no I needed him to say “momma”. If he said that somehow I thought it would all be okay. He slept most of Wednesday after we got home from the hospital. And Thursday morning it was like watching a miracle unfold.

He woke up, happy camper style, walked into the living room and started talking. 2-3 word sentences. Words he’d never said before. Rewind to Wednesday night when my husband asked me very honestly “when enough is enough for our boys”. They have had so many hurdles already and we just need them to be able to be. I feel like God hear him. This was his way of saying, lemme show you that things are going to be okay.

We had already made the decision to pull him from ABA, but his communication becoming so much better since Thursday made it easier for me to confidently remove him from ABA services this morning. Because I felt God saying, you’ve got this because I’ve got you. And I am so thankful. I am thankful for what ABA did to help our boys, I am thankful for my husbands teamwork with raising our children, I am thankful for the tutors that are more like family and I am thankful that when it feels like we can’t handle another thing that God tells me, I got this. Because you put your faith in me.

I know there are lots of people that don’t believe or are skeptics about faith, but I’ve gotta tell you in my shoes it’s a real deal.

Now I’m looking forward to the next season and what it will bring to my family.

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Lets talk regression — September 14, 2015

Lets talk regression

Hindsight is 20/20 right. Totally is when you’re oldest child is diagnosed ASD and when you are asked if you saw a regression, you rack your brain and yup- at 2 1/2 years old there it was. Sensory overload constantly, not gaining words and phrases, saying the same phrases over and over and over and over, only knowing how to communicate via labeling.(dog, cat, momma, milk)
I keep being given weird looks and told basically that I’m off my rocker that it is again happening, at the exact same age, with Max. But today it all became very very clear at an in home ABA session. He became totally overloaded, he shut down, he started screaming and crying and shaking. If you touch him he says ouch over and over and over. This just started. He is 3 days away from being 2 1/2. He is very very slowly gaining words but it’s a fight.
And I get it. I’d be super pissed off too if I couldn’t tell you what my brain is saying. He’s smart, we are so very fortunate that both of our boys are, but he can’t get what is in his head to come out. He can’t tell me what he needs. He can’t say that he’s tired, or that his teeth hurt, or that his tummy hurts. That he can’t focus, or that he just needs a break. And at this exact age, neither could Leo.
Leo would yell. He would cry, he would ball up and rock, he would cover his ears, he would run to a safe place.
Max screams and cries, he throws things and shakes. He answers no to every question and then he burritos himself in a blanket and depending on the amount of time this has all taken he passes out.
His tutor gave me some things to try to calm him down, but we both agree that the “ouch” screaming comes because he flies into sensory overload, so even the lightest touch hurts. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must be like. To not be able to appropriately vocalize what you need, then to get so frustrated all you can do is scream, then not be able to be consoled because it physically hurts. I can’t imagine. And this is happening multiple times a day just about every day.
So I have to check myself. Remind myself that he can’t help it. That he can’t regulate, that I’m going to have to sit and rock him and sing to him and tell him it’s all okay just like I did with his brother. That we are going to have to push everyone to be more patient and take his therapy that much more seriously because I am terrified that he’s not just the super cute kid with a major speech delay. Because I don’t want this to be his normal or forever or even right now.
So here I am again praying for the strength to push through this, for the patience to open my mind and my heart to whatever God has in store for Max and our family. That Max knows that I love him and it doesn’t matter what he needs I’m going to try my hardest to give it to him.
But I’m not crazy. For better or for worse I am so very in tune to my children.

Faith, love and lowering expectations — July 11, 2015

Faith, love and lowering expectations

Every morning the boys and I say a prayer out loud together:

“Heavenly Father thank you for this beautiful day for learning and for love. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

That’s it. My hope is that the boys will realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them. That there are other hands that make things happen and that we need to not just BE thankful for those hands but we need to TELL those hands we are thankful for them. In toddler world I have no clue if it resonates but we are gonna keep saying it every day.

There have been giant leaps in our household- Leo swimming without a vest or floaties, Max using 2 word sentences more and more, Leo can (in his own almost legible way) write his name without hand over hand help or a drawn guide, Max is growing (I’m pretty sure his feet grew two sizes over night), Leo is mastering sight words (reading here we come!!!!) and Max is conquering his fear of swimming pools.

At the same time we have had some ugly stuff- Leo overhead throwing a chair at school, Max having a full blown screaming/ stiff body meltdown because he needed to finish a task before he got his blanket back, not eating, throwing, hitting, screaming, pinching, ugly words.

My guess is that all parents have these issues with their toddlers. Always pushing boundaries, my hope is that they don’t have them to the extreme we have them here, I don’t wish that on anyone.

I joke(but I’m really serious) that I could do physical labor all day everyday and I’d be tired but Id pull through it, but the emotional drain of dealing with behaviors from my kids wipes me out. It drains every bit of strength, every bit of positivity, every bit of patience I have. And I really need to work on that.

The good days make me excited for the possibility of new growth and learning and the horrific moments knock me down. I feel like I start to expect too much from my kids and then I am let down when they aren’t up to my expectations and that is so wrong on my part. Yes, I need to have expectations of them, and yes they should be just outside of their reach and comfort zone, but I should not be placing 7 year old expectations on my 4 year old and I feel like that’s what I do when he fails. And when he fails he is crushed and his world ends. You can see it across his face. He is just like his mommy with wearing his emotions out in the open so everyone knows.

In these moments I am learning to back off, to lower my expectations to attainable things and to love my children. More importantly to make sure I TELL them I love them. They need to hear those words out of my mouth more. They need to know that I love them, even after awful behavior, they need to hear that I love them even when they act out in ways that embarrass me and break me down, and hurt my heart. They need to know that I will love them as I teach them these things are not okay, that they will happen but that we can find a better way to tackle the situation. That it doesn’t matter what happens my love for them is for always.

And I don’t TELL them this enough. Because I’m embarrassed. Because my heart hurts. Because I am emotionally drained. Because …. because nothing.

1Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply,1 because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

“Heavenly Father thank you for this beautiful day for learning and for love. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

Faith and Love- to everyone, always — April 28, 2015

Faith and Love- to everyone, always

I don’t often talk in public forum about political issues, but once in a while something tugs or punches at my heart and I feel like I need to write it out.
So here goes.

Negative labels of groups of people disgust me.
Denying a right to a person because of who they love infuriates me.

One of my best friends in the world has a fire for Jesus, a passion for the gospel and lots and lots of love in his heart. God made him. God guides him. And he is a homosexual.

He and I talked at length about civil rights, about legislative dealings in Indiana, about Jesus and about our hearts with it all. I told him that I have such a hard time with these things. I can’t imagine having hate in my heart for a group of people, first and second if I was part of that hated group, the last thing I would want is to force the hand of someone who hates my lifestyle to participate in something as special as a union with my partner.

His response to me: “I wouldn’t want to compromise someone’s beliefs with my lifestyle.”

Wow. WOW. He puts YOUR faith first. It made my heart both happy and sad. It made my heart happy that he is strong enough in who he is as a HUMAN to let roll the hatred that some preach and that his faith in God is strong enough to know that he is loved. It makes me so sad that some cannot see him as a God fearing man because of who he loves.

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Lemme just leave this here for a minute….

and in case you’re confused by the words- lets simplify this even further:

kidstencommandments

So I go on a search to find out how many times the word “hate” is used in the Bible. And I stumble on this gem:

http://christianbiblestudyblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/hate-or-love.html

This post is amazing. And the answer is 85 times. And NOT ONCE in those 85 times is the word used in reference to people or a person. NOT ONCE. Why? Because God loves each and every one of us. He made us. He made each and every one of us. And He loves each and every one of us.

So I have a challenge for the Christian community. Instead of focusing on hate. Instead of judging and pushing away those who are different, lets open our arms and love. Lets love so hard that every person wants to know Jesus the way we do. Lets teach the way Jesus taught and the way we are asked to. It is not our job to place judgment on others, but it is our job to show grace and love to those around us. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if when this life is over you’re able to tell God that you loved. That your greatest accomplishment was love- to everyone in everyway. Even when they were different.

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” – Luke 6:35

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” – 1Peter 4:8

“Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.” -Proverbs 10:12

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Unreasonable expectations — February 20, 2015

Unreasonable expectations

I have them.
Daily.
I have them for myself, for my husband, for my children and even for my dog.
The funny thing is that I know in my brain that what I think should happen is ridiculous but for some reason my heart still wants them.
Logically:

the dog is going to bark at our mail lady- even though it’s been (just about) the same person, at just about the same time 6 days a week for 3 1/2 years.

Joel is going to be exhausted after work and I try to keep his “to do” list short, and focus on family time but there are days I feel like it’s not enough.

There will daily be at LEAST 2 loads of laundry. And if I slack on it for a couple of days there are then 100. So I should do it daily right?

The boys are going to want to play until they are so tired they fall over, I know this, I try to intercede and head off the massive screaming melt down of exhaustion by requesting “quiet time” in the hope of them settling down to rest. They are 4 and almost 2, they don’t care about sleep, they don’t want to sleep- they are sure they are going to miss something.

I should be further along in my weight loss. I should be able to run a 5k by now, I’ve been working at this for so long- why am I still in size 14 pant?

WHY do I keep getting myself worked up about these things. Why. because I feel the need to traffic direct anything I can. Because I feel like I can’t control so many things (ASD, Sensory freak outs, lack of words, screaming because we can’t talk, health issues, when the sun sets, what time Costco opens, how many people are going to cut me off taking Leo to school) that I feel like I have to have a choke hold on a few things to balance it out. And all I am doing is choking myself.

I pray daily that God calms my heart, softens me to the things that make me rigid, that he will help relax the control issues I have. Somedays he does, others he lets me fight it out.

Leo had to have an EEG Tuesday, it sucked. And I am having a hard time getting passed it.
Logic: He made it through, he did what they needed, we should have the results soon.
Emotion: I have to fully physically restrain him for the first time in a year, The tech was so gruff and told him over and over and over “he couldn’t cry and scream because of other kids at the clinic” (my thought- f the other kids dude, how about you focus on my freaked out one), I wasn’t prepared for the setting or the testing they way I wish I could have been to talk to Leo about it more, I feel like I failed him because we took 300 steps backward for a few days after having the test done.

Max has been saying more single words, and having worse and worse melt downs and tantrums when the words don’t come out. He’s also having worse gas issues. So we are trying lactaid again, tried coconut milk and he looked at me like I had lost my ever loving mind calling it “milk”. I read to him all of the time. We sit and look at one another trying to make words sounds, and it’s all just stuck, and hes mad, and I feel like I am failing him.

And none of this is logical, because we are all alive, working toward goals of understanding, breathing through uncomfortable stuffs and learning, but when the boys struggle I feel like it’s a personal reflection on me. The person that is with them just about 24 hours a day, the person that should be guiding them to daily success

UNREASONABLE EXPECTATIONS

How do I pull myself away from them? I celebrate successes, but why are the set backs like a gut punch?
Gotta figure this out.

For my family

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Because they deserve more than I give them. Because God saw in his plan for these amazing creatures to be part of my world, and I need to remember that my need for order doesn’t matter when it comes to the happiness of my boys.

I never wanted to be a stay at home mom. — January 25, 2015

I never wanted to be a stay at home mom.

Yup, you heard me. But I guess before I can expand on that statement I should make a few more- that one of my bestest buddies NEVER LETS ME LIVE DOWN SAYING…
I never wanted to get married or have children. I was always good to go with being Auntie Katie drinking her cocktail and smoking her cigarette and loving and spoiling kiddos.

Then I met Joel, and fell hard, then got to know him and realized this guy made me rethink the whole wanting to get married thing. Like I could actually see myself living with him forever- say what?!?! I missed him if we were apart, he didn’t disgust me when he brushed his teeth, he was (and still is) pretty easy going, and up for adventures. I was like yeah, this guy. I asked him to marry me, and a few days later he said yes LOL. I know I know.

So we were content, started a journey moved to Spokane and one day my body told me it was time to have babies. I was like- yo uterus, check yo self. I DONT WANT KIDS. But, I totally did. So we took a leap of faith and poof Leo. And then a couple of years and a miscarriage later, poof we ended up with Max.

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When we moved back to California Leo was about 3 months old. We had to get settled in a house and get Joel back to work, and when he was 7 months old I went back to work part time. It was a nice mix- I got to hang out with my lil monkey guy and be productive in a grown up world. Then I changed jobs and went to work full time. I’m not going to lie, I was JAZZED about Leo getting to go to daycare. He’d have friends, and make crafts, he’d have holiday parties and learn songs. How exciting, and selfishly I was so excited to be bringing home a paycheck, having a reason to get schnazzed up every day and forming relationships with grown ups that I had very recently been mourning the loss of.

I lost that job about a month before Max came into the world- our company sold and I was tossed into being a full time mommy. We kept Leo in daycare for a while- he was doing so well….. and then his slide started and things changed. Max was about 3 months old when financially we had to pull Leo out of daycare. Shortly thereafter all of the testing started and we started on his journey to new ways of hearing and learning. It was a lot- a newborn and trying to shuffle him around. But I still had the desire to work. I always thought, we can get through the testing and get him into a class or school that will help him grow, I can find a job put Max in daycare and it’ll all be good.

I was dreaming.
I still dream.

I’m not going to lie. I’m 2 years into this stay at home mom job and I still don’t get it. I’m not sure if it’s different when you’re not shuttling your kids to therapies, and preparing the house daily for at home therapy, but I just don’t get it.

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Backyard fun

Don’t get me wrong- I have been BLESSED to see my kids take their first steps, say their first words, eat everything under the sun, put clothes on for the first time, blow bubbles in the bath for the first time. I am watching them grow and change. But I do feel like the world is passing me by. Like I have no way to connect to people who aren’t mommies.

I also can’t even seem to get a call back when applying for jobs. So I guess that’s a sign from God that I’m where I am suppose to be. But I still don’t totally get it.

This is not a job for the faint of heart, for the unsure, for the tenderhearted, for the tired, for the grumpy, for the perfectionist, for the holder of the O.C.D., for the foul mouthed, for the determined… or maybe it is.

It’s thankless, it is 24/7, it is all encompassing, it is repetitive, it drains everything you have in your reserves, and people choose it. CHOOSE IT. I still don’t get it. But it has chosen me. I do not believe “God never gives you more than you can handle” I believe he pushes your boundaries of comfort until you have no choice but to ask for his leadership. That struggle even in its darkest hours, when you want to throw your hands up and walk away a little something creeps in and softens that anger/hatred/mad you have at that moment. That not choosing this path but being placed on it is not happenstance, it’s not by mistake it’s because you have a gift you are not yet aware of. That you are going to meet people also on this path that are going to enrich your life, challenge your thinking, expand your heart and show you love and compassion you aren’t accustomed to being shown. It’s because it’s not about you, or me. It’s about a journey.

And while I’m on it, and I hear that women choose this I want to ask them why. Why with everything there is in this world to try to do, why would you choose this?!?!?!? And I look at my children and I know, because they are so very worth everything I could possibly offer to another human.

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So I say a prayer and thank God that my heart changed when I met my now husband, that his love made me want to build a family with him and that our beautiful children need some extra time and hands and that their needs have put me in a place I will never be comfortable with, but I know I am fully needed.

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Stuff, so very much stuff — January 8, 2015

Stuff, so very much stuff

There is always “stuff” isn’t there!?!? The “stuff” happening here is all kind of awesome. At least I think it is.
Leo has been having at home ABA therapy since September- 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. In November he started 3 days a week at the clinic that also houses a preschool, so certain things- like circle time- he was able to be included in with other kiddos, and interacting one on one with kids like him. Starting Monday he is going to be 3 hours a day 5 days a week AT THE CLINIC (to start incorporating him more into the preschool setting and working more on his social behaviors with other munchkins) and 3 hours a day 3 days a week at home! I am so proud of his growth, his words, his working through loud noises and bright lights, his mimicking, his frustration. He has listened and learned and become conditioned to certain things so well that his therapy is progressing pretty quickly. He’s such a smart dude. He just makes my heart so happy.
(In case you aren’t familiar with ABA here’s a link to describe it :http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/applied-behavior-analysis-aba )

Mr. Max the Great (though he is small), starts his speech therapy next Friday. We are so very fortunate to have the same therapist that started Leo off. She is amazing and I feel like she gets me as a mom and a person. She seems to understand my worries, and for that I am grateful. She is also going to put a referral in to the O.T. (Occupational Therapy) services at his “school” to help with his sensory seeking behaviors. She thinks most of his head hitting, banging, biting are sensory seeking things and can be worked through with some O.T. help. His words are coming slowly and he still chooses to use grunts, yells, and “wassat”s for the majority of his communication, but I know he will pick up more and more words quickly.

Our van became uber unreliable when it just about took a dump on me Monday. So we sold it to someone who knows and has the ability to fix cars. We are very lucky that Joel is able to borrow a truck from work and I take over his car until we are able to purchase a new to us vehicle for me and the boys. I had been praying the van would hold out until our tax refund came in, but alas- I am not in control! (uh, duh!) This is teaching me flexibility, patience and understanding that it will all work out, its just not always when I think it should.

Today our therapy took us on an adventure with our Tutor Jordann. We took her to our favorite place- the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Our trip lasted two and a half hours (a new record for us) and included visiting “the elephant castle”, petting every animal in the petting zoo, watching otters eat breakfast with their handlers, Leo very proudly stating to Jordann “Welcome to my fafingos” (while standing in front of the flamingo exhibit), touching sting rays, and feeding the giraffes (which he ran screaming from two months ago and totally protested doing 4 days ago). I am so proud of both of the boys for listening, being excited and wanting to learn everything they could today. And Jordann- thank you. For your enthusiasm and love. You’re amazing and I think you’ve found the most perfect career path.

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Feeding the Giraffe! 1/7/2015

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It’s amazing how the gals that come to the house twice a week feel like they have become part of our family. They celebrate every victory- big or small, they are always so excited to dive into whatever we have going on here. They mourn losses with us (we had a dog either run away or be stolen from our house a few weeks ago), they accept challenges like when I somehow think making cookies for Christmas with my two crazy toddlers is a great idea (before we started of course 😉 ) and they listen. They listen to my worries and fears, to my excitement and they remind me when my heart is a little heavy that Leo is doing so very well. I can’t thank these gals enough for being such a huge part of our world, for becoming part of our family.

Joel is working tons of hours, as per usual and always finding new ways to keep the boys entertained outside to give me a little quiet time to putter.

Personally I am embarking on a big new adventure in March. I have been on a fitness journey pretty much my whole life, but last year I kicked it up to another level and Monday I registered to run my very first 5k. I created a team and will be running to raise money for autism research. My sister is going to run with me, and I am so very excited about it! On top of that I am in my 28th week of being part of a virtual fitness challenge and have met so many amazing women. We are all on a journey to being better than we were before the challenge. I am always learning from these ladies, and was voted “MVP” of my Nov-Dec group. That totally took me by surprise. I told Joel I guess I am too hard on myself. I never feel like I’m working hard enough or making big enough strides but I guess I am.
Here’s the link if you’d like to donate to our running team!

https://www.raceforautism.org/Team/View/5074/Super-Leo