Dyer Family Happenings

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

The Love Purpose — May 4, 2015

The Love Purpose

Something I’ve noticed with the “quirks” of Leo’s autism, is that there is always a purpose behind his words or actions. If he has ugly words or slaps or screams- he’s (most of the time) on sensory overload. He’s answers to questions are thought out. If he doesn’t understands he repeats the question. His toy playing is always precise and focused. There isn’t any “tra-la-la” about him. (Max, that kid is a whole different ballgame đŸ™‚ )

A couple of months ago I shifted my thoughts and actions to have purpose. To try to cut fanciful thoughts of this and that and to put things into action- in a very intentional way. Sounds pretty boring right? Well, I’m not a frills and glitz gal (anymore). I’m just trying to figure out how to make it through each day:

1. without flying off the handle
2. without feeling like the weight of the world is on my shoulders
3. without crying
4. without yelling
5. without understanding what our short term and long term goals are as people

It started with walking. I have now walked- with purpose (for exercise) at least a mile a day for 50 days straight (today will be 51). The purpose- making me healthy. The changes I’ve made in health have ridded me of blood pressure medication, migraine medication and mood elevators. I take a multi vitamin. That. is. it. I need to be physically healthy to run after my kids, to be able to process all of the information that is consistently being thrown my direction and to rid myself of anger. I am the healthiest- not just weight wise- I’ve pretty much ever been. And I love my new body.

My purpose with people has always been to love and accept, even when its hard, even when I’d rather walk away. Why? Because there isn’t enough “just because” love in this world. Some things don’t need a “because”. They just need love. I’ve always been of the frame of mind that you love, love until it hurts, love because it hurts, love when it hurts, love when its awesome, to make sure the people around you know that they are loved.

I was shown so very much love this past week by having an amazing woman go above and beyond for my family. She secured Leo’s spot in the school he needs to be in next year. She didn’t have to, but her heart and the way she loves is something so rare. Thank you isn’t a big enough pair of words, but it’s all I have for her. That and to continue to learn and to advocate for my children to ensure their success in life. And to love, to love my kids, their teachers, even the people that make decisions that might not be the best for our needs. I’m gonna love them all- until it hurts. Until they understand my heart and that I am not a quitter.

On the flip side I was shown some very ugly this past week too. Our family are W.I.C. recipients. It’s something I am so very grateful for, and again when I thank our case worker we see every 3 months those words don’t feel like they are big enough. It’s hard having to ask for help. It’s harder having to present coupons for food at a store. But I would do anything I needed to for my children. I was publically shamed by a cashier at Target Friday. She questioned if the coupons were actually mine- twice. I answered yes and then asked if she needed to see my drivers license. She huffed and puffed when I had coupons for my WIC items (which the WIC office supports, if couponing is your thing), she had a horrible attitude toward me the entire transaction. I kept my attitude in check. I was polite- I even offered her my pen when she didn’t have one to fill out the totals on my WIC checks. Why? Because she needs to know that that kind of behavior is unacceptable. Because if I show love, and live love hopefully it will catch on like wildfire.

So my purpose, good bad or otherwise will always be to love. Love people and changes, and situations. And to remember that I too am loved not only for my purpose but for who I am becoming.

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.

wall-quotes-ten-commandments-22

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

11164822_10153236045558529_3944956201503997192_n

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.

1546045_10153005042103529_1699232286190627953_n10906039_10153006472033529_7697263910434250945_n

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.

10373508_10153008863698529_870106415418567843_n
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.

10458726_10153023653838529_7303224971040025995_n10931283_10153023652558529_2183405944689176426_n

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.

10933766_10153022275218529_1655306056005899362_n

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.

10434052_10152985243123529_4460287435945861390_n
Feeding the Giraffe! 1/7/2015

10897080_10152985299088529_6704410505578990452_n

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 đŸ˜‰ ) 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

Sleep, spiderman, veggies and referrals. AKA life — December 4, 2014

Sleep, spiderman, veggies and referrals. AKA life

Life has been busy. I thought having 5 days off of all therapy and being able to “fly by the seat of our pants” would be awesome. Then my thoughts came crashing down realizing I have an austic child that needs a schedule to function. So our Thanksgiving weekend was a little rough but we made it.

Spiderman (also known as my mom) has been called a few times to convince Leo veggies are good to eat and that they make Spiderman big and strong. This morning was a flip situation that had me holding in a laugh so very hard. Scrambled eggs have been another “please just eat it” food. This morning he scooped up a giant fork full, put it in his mouth, chewed it up looked at me and said (very proudly I might add)

“Momma, call Spiderman” so we did. It was awesome.

Our next goal is to get him to try new foods without gagging himself as they go into his mouth.

Last night everyone slept in their appropriate beds. This hasn’t happened in months. No one woke up in the middle of the night, no cries, nothing. It was fantastic. I don’t want to get excited but here’s hoping and praying for another sleep night like that.

As excited as the boys were for Halloween, the Christmas excitement isoff the charts here. Including Leo explaining to everyone that Santa comes on Christmas, which is Jesus’ birthday and that Spiderman will be making an apperance at his birthday party as well.

In between all of this I am trying to continue my quest of strength training and losing more weight while giving myself shin splints. My beloved and totally evil (God I love her) Physical Therapist basically threatened to remove my legs if I don’t let them heal. gah. So the bike it is.

Now we are waiting for more fun seasonal things, cookie making, kuga making, Christmas Tree Lane and referrals to specialists for both boys. Tummy issues, possible seizures for Leo and making sure Max can hear because he too will be starting speech therapy soon.

So heres to life. And embarking on a season to love a little more and a little harder, and to celebrate Jesus, family and love.

If I could give advice to mommys-to-be… — November 19, 2014

If I could give advice to mommys-to-be…

I’d say to follow your heart and your mind. They know you better than anyone, any book, any class, anything you can read online. There are things I joke about- but I’m kinda serious (lol) about having a brand new baby, but we all fall into a rhythm, find our stride, fall flat on our face and pick right back up because that’s what we do.

I have to follow my heart more often than not with the boys. All of the charts that tell me how big they are suppose to be were thrown out the window they were born- at 9lb 7oz and 8lb 12oz respectively. The charts that tell me what milestones they should be hitting based on age I had to throw out when they reached certain ones super early and still haven’t met others. But my heart has always known if we were “on track” or not.

With that being said, we are headed back to the Regional Center today, but for Max. I’m pulled in two different directions about this. I know he’s having speech problems- again a child of ours can’t mother freaking talk, but boy oh boy can Joel and I. There are other concerns we are having with him that lead to a talk with our Pediatrician and scheduling with the center. If he needs help and they can start it now, it will be wonderful because I know he will progress so fast. We have very very smart boys. But if he does need help, we have another child that is going to take extra time and patience and I am afraid of how I am going to handle all of this.

I do not believe “God never gives us more than we can handle”, I believe he gives us opportunities to ask him for help, for grace, for love and for the chance to learn. And that  there are totally days where we can’t handle it and those are the days we have to pray and make choices and ask for help- and I know that is one thing I totally need to do more of.

I texted Joel this morning and said if we can make it through this season of life alive, still talking and in one piece I think we will be okay forever. Having two toddlers- to my amazing friend with triplet 2 year olds- you are amazing, and I know you are just living life and walking in the path God placed you but woman I applaud the grace you have with even the toughest days- is hard. Having two toddlers that need extra help with communication is enough to make you want to run away at times.

So to all of my beautiful girlfriends that are in all stages of mommydom, know that your heart is your best guide, but that other mommies are always here with hugs, coffee, shoulders to cry on, high fives, happy dances and listening ears. Know that you are loved, even in your worst moments, that you are so much more than you think you are on a daily basis and that you are doing the best for your family.