New Addition to the Family

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This is Hamilton. He’s part pointer, part boxer. He’s two years old and he joined our family in February. We think he kind of looks like a mini great dane. He’s a pretty big guy, more than 60 pounds, and he is STRONG. I think he bruised my rib last week, or cracked it. Seriously.

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Dylan doesn’t LOVE him, but they’re fond of each other. He thinks he’s funny, but he gets frustrated with him sometimes.

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He LOVES his momma. His momma loves him too! We’re so happy to have him in our family now! He fits right in and is was like he was always here after a week.

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We’re In!

We moved into the house about two weeks ago and we’re so happy! We got it painted, except for some trim, the night we closed. Jon’s family was such a big help! My brother helped too, but he’d worked all day, so he left a earlier. My only dissapointment was the master bedroom color. Due to some misscommunication through texting, it wound up the same color as the living/dining room and the spare bedroom. We can repaint it in a year or two though and it’s not ugly, obviously, I chose the color.

Dylan’s room got painted an orange with a deep teal ceiling. I love the color of his ceiling. The bathroom is mostly tile, but there are a few wall areas that I’m going to paint, along with the cabinet with the leftover paint from Dylan’s ceiling. There was a lot of leftover paint. We got Sherwin-Williams and that’s some high quailty paint. I painted the entire ceiling with one tray of paint. It’s not a huge ceiling maybe 8 x 8 feet, but still.

We got new dark gray living room furniture and it’s impossible to arrange because it’s bigger than I thought. Ashley Furniture was having a promotion so we got a couch and loveseat, two black end tables, a black coffee table, two lamps and a small black dining set. I didn’t originally want black, I prefer wood, it seems warmer and cozier to me. It was a great deal though and it looks good with the couch material.

We painted the living room, front room, dining room and spare room the same color as the master bedroom which is cameo creme. The brand I chose was Sherwin-Williams but they got a different brand for that one, but somehow the same color?

We still have a lot of work to do though. My kitchen, for instance, the color it is now isn’t bad, but I’ve chosen sort of a bold color scheme. I want to do yellow, navy blue and kelly green with some white to tone it down. I’m going to paint my bottom cabinets navy blue and get some silver drawer and cabinet pulls. I wanted to take off my upper cabinet doors so I’d have some open shelving, but now I’m not sure if I will. I don’t know how to organize my food so it doesn’t look bad. The walls in the kitchen are paneled, and it looks sort of like bead board. It’s a light green now, but I’m going to paint it white. I really wish I could get some wood butcher block counters.

Next year, with our tax return I want to put some wood floors through the house. My parents have pergo and I think it looks really nice. I just think wood looks so much nicer and cleaner.  It’s supposed to be easy to put down too. I asked my dad if he’d tell me what to do. We have real wood floors under the carpet, but I’m afraid to pull the carpet up in case it has giant water stains or something. The exposed wood in the dining room and master bedroom isn’t in the best shape, but I think it looks better than our ratty carpeting.

Our spare bedroom that we’ll be using as an office/craft room has two closets and they put a toilet and sink in one of them. A toilet and sink that don’t work. So we just use them to keep plastic totes of stuff in. I have so much craft stuff and nowhere to keep it except those totes. Dylan’s room has two closets too, which is perfect because I wanted to make him a little reading nook anyway. So we took one of the doors off and I’m going to make some cushions and put up a curtain and figure out some more cool stuff. I found a way on pinterest to make a little loft-type thing and it looked pretty easy, except I don’t have any power tools.😦 I need power tools.

Here’s a list of some of the things I want to get to eventually:

  1. Put wood flooring down
  2. New kitchen counters
  3. Repaint master bedroom
  4. Redo bathroom
  5. Paint kitchen cabinets
  6. Paint or get new front door
  7. Get new hardware (Door knobs, drawer and cabinet pulls…)
  8. Paint the brown trim out front
  9. Paint the brick to match the siding
  10. Get cute shudders to compliment front door
  11. Get a bolt near the top of the front door and the patio door, extra security for Dylan
  12. Maybe take the doors off the cabinets if I can get a little pantry
  13. Paint and touch-up all trim in the house
  14. Paint ugly shed out back
  15. Get a cement front porch and some kind of pergola/roof over it
  16. Pergola over back deck too
  17. Get decorative house numbers
  18. Get new vents, or paint the old ones
  19. Get a headboard for master bedroom
  20. Get Dylan a bed he can’t break
  21. Add decorations
  22. Get furniture for our reading room
  23. Get litterbox hiding furniture
  24. Get a entryway bench thing with coat hangers

So, some of that stuff is next couple of days stuff, some of it’s next couple of years stuff.

The day before we moved in, at the final walk-through

The day before we moved in, at the final walk-through

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At the walk-through. I think he likes it!

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Exhausted-looking, but happy Momma and her boy.

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First time in his new house. He spent the night with grandma and got a hair cut.

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Poor little guy, he got overstimulated.

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And first time playing in the backyard!

Here it is. Like I said, the front needs some work, but we love it. It's our house.

Here it is. Like I said, the front needs some work, but we love it. It’s our house.

I’ll add some pictures of the new paint and more of the inside later.

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It’s Really Hard Sometimes..

Sometimes, my own naivite’ astounds me. I think, “well, that’s it, that’s the last of it, there is no way I can be more naive than that.” Inevitably, I will prove myself wrong.. Looking at some of my earlier posts, I almost cringe. I wish I could be that carefree and happy again.

When Dylan was diagnosed with autism, we caught it early and he was diagnosed as early as it’s possbile to diagnose autism, 18 months. This wasn’t even a conscious thought. I just knew, “okay, he has autism, we know this now. We’ll get him speech he’ll start talking and everything will be fine.” I didn’t even consider that things could get harder. It can. It does. Feeding him, bathing him, brushing his teeth, he doesn’t listen to me like he used to, NOW it’s getting hard to keep his damn clothes on him, potty training. Everything is hard. It makes me feel like I’m failing him.

I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world. I don’t think he’s broken, he doesn’t need a “cure”. I just can’t help thinking “it’s not fair.” when I see all my friends much younger children surpassing him in milestones. I know life is not fair, I just can’t help asking that sometimes.

I have to remind myself, things being harder makes his triumphs mean even more. The first time he picked up a small piece of cereal using the pincer grasp. The first time he said “night night”, oh my gosh… When he actually tries a bite of something new. Now that he’s differentiating between words on his Words for Life app. Those are small things that most parents take for granted because they can take them for granted. They mean so much to Jon and me.

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House Hunting

Before Jon and I started house hunting people told us how stressful and difficult and disappointing it can be. Well, we got all cocky when we wound up LOVING the first one we saw. We were new at it, and we didn’t realize how fast you have move and we wound up losing it to someone who made an offer before us. The bedrooms were small, but that was okay and was perfect. It had no definitive architectural style, it was sort of a hodge-podge of additions through the years. It looked like a little country house and had a huge yard.

The next house we fell in love with was a brick ranch style (ranch style seems to be the most prevalent in Derby, Kansas) it was built in the ’60’s, but it was all updated and beautiful. We put in our offer and they responded quickly but their counter-offer was unreasonable. They were pretty much try to get every cent they could out of us even though we offered their asking price. The house wasn’t even going to appraise for what they were counter-offering, and even if we wanted to buy a house for more than it was worth, which we didn’t, VA loans don’t let you do that. Maybe all home loans don’t, I don’t know.

After that we found THE perfect house. Light, airy, big windows, laundry room, some beautiful built-in cabinets, PERFECT! Then we went out in the back yard and there was….no backyard. It was cement small slab of concrete and a garage. Behind the garage and little fish pond with a waterfall and a patio area, it was actually awesome but not for an autistic four-year old. Not having a yard is a deal-breaker, that’s one of the worst things about this apartment we’re currently in is nowhere to let him play. We need a yard.

We put in an offer on another one a few weeks ago and they accepted. We’re already pre approved so all we’re waiting on is the inspection.

This house is kind of different. Ranch style, I think. It’s yellow brick, but there is this strange added on part that looks really out of place on the front. They expanded over the front porch, so it’s this weird room at the front of the house separated from the living room by a banister. The outside is cream-colored siding which looks really weird with the yellow brick. I have an idea how to make it look better though. The kitchen is big and has plenty of cabinets. The backyard is big and Dylan will love it.

I’m so excited to move out of this small, dark depressing apartment.

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Potty Training – Day One

Potty training didn’t start too well. First thing this morning I tried to put him on the toilet and he threw a fit. You’re not supposed to force it and it kind of just threw me off, so letting it go today. I’m going to print some visual aides and make him a loose schedule to follow, that and not starting the day with the toilet will help. Remembering to do something like that first thing in the morning is really hard for me anyway. It takes me so long to wake up.

The visual prompts might help if he would slow down and look at them. That will take him a little while. I think things are just going through his little head a mile a minute and it takes a lot for him to actually focus and look at something you’re showing him.

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Beginning to Potty Training my Nonverbal Child With Autism

Tomorrow is the day. We’re going to work on potty training. I have no idea how this is going to go. No idea. He’s definitely showing signs of readiness, which I thought would never happen. He comes to get me to change his diaper when he poops, receiving lavish praise if he comes to get me BEFORE sticking his hand down there. Sorry if that grosses anyone out. Other autism moms probably have had this problem on occasion. Yuck. He always brings me to his room when he feels too wet. He’s been tugging on his diapers like crazy, which he’s never done and leads me to believe they’re uncomfortable in this heat. He also wants to take his clothes off ALL THE TIME. This is new.

Here’s how I plan on starting:

First thing in the morning I will put him on the toilet and then put him in underwear. I thought about letting him just go bottomless, but I don’t want him to realize how much more comfortable that is and start removing his diaper too if he has to wear them again.

I’m going to set a timer and put him on the toilet every 15 minutes. I’m not sure how long I should make him sit though. I’ll probably just wing it. I have a recording device thingy, I have no idea what it’s called but it records a few seconds long message and repeats it when you push the button. I’ll put that outside the door.

I will also add a “go potty” option to his communication app. We may not use that right away. Learning that sort of slow going and I don’t want to add to many words too fast.

After meals I’ll put him on the toilet and about 20 minutes after he has something to drink. I’ll also put him on the toilet before I put his diaper back on him when we have to go somewhere. Tuesdays are speech days. We’ve been putting him on the toilet before bath time for about a year now. We’ll add toilet time to after brushing his teeth before bed.

I guess that’s probably good enough for now. I need to see if I have visual prompts for using the bathroom, those might help him.

swinging 5:15

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Posted in autism, Dylan, LAMP Words for Life, Nonverbal, potty training | 1 Comment

Trying to Feed My Resistant Eater

A couple times a year I realize how naive I am and I just can’t believe it. I look back on some of my earlier posts and cringe. When Dylan was diagnosed with autism for some reason I thought, not really even consciously, “Okay, well, he has it we know we can get him speech, he’ll start talking and this is bad as it will get.”

I had no idea how hard it could, and would get. The older he’s gotten, the harder it’s gotten. Sometimes is so unbelievably hard and I’m just lost. I’m having a hard time getting him to eat anything. He used to have a few go-to foods he would eat when all else failed. Now the only thing I know he’ll eat is chicken nuggets.

Although now that I’ve said that…. It’s just so hard. My son is nonverbal and autistic, so it’s harder to connect sometimes. It sounds silly but sometimes I don’t know if he likes me, or even loves me. So when I feel any sort of negativity toward him, usually frustration I just feel like he’s so far away from me. I know his eating issues aren’t his fault, so me being frustrated makes me more frustrated at myself.

He’s my sole focus. It’s probably not good for me, you know how you’re supposed to have some life outside of your kids but…

I stay home with him and when I can’t get him to eat I feel like I failed him. I read in a book about resistent eaters that parents aren’t responsible for making their children eat. They’re responsible for providing them nutrition, I’m really hard on myself though and I just can’t convince myself of that. I stress about it all day. I dread when he drags me to the kitchen because he doesn’t want anything I offer him.

I’m making an appointment with his doctor when the holiday weekend is over to get a referral to a speech or occupational therapist that specializes in feeding issues. He has a speech and an occupational therapist, but he needs one just for this eating thing. I just don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know when I should give in, when I should wait it out. I just know he’s not getting enough calories.

My handsome boy.

My handsome boy.

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