Category Archives: Education

Starting Over…Again

When this blog started it was about my son’s autism and how I attempted to deal with it all. We searched and searched for a diagnosis, then therapies, then breakthroughs. Years later, here we are. We have a six year old child who is amazingly bright, hilariously funny, and above all, happy. We have sacrificed a lot. We have given everything we could. Every single member of this family has given a lot to get to this point, and I think we can all agree that it was well worth it. Our life looks so different now, and maybe that is why I decided to start blogging again. I never imagined my life would look the way it does, and at the same time there is so much that I still need to change.

Who are we now?

We are a small town family who digs holes, hunt frogs, and seek out dirt like it’s air. We’ve added two dogs, two cats, 7 chickens, and 2 ducks to our family. My three boys all have their own unique gifts, which they use to support one another in whatever mischief they can find. We are also now homeschoolers! That’s right. We walked away from public school and started our homeschooling journey in October of last year.

And while this has been an awesome ride, I have learned a lot about my children and myself. The first thing I learned?

1. My weight is not my friend, and as I watch my boys grow, I am starting to worry about their health as well. I have struggled with my weight my entire life, and I want to empower my children to make healthy choices.

2.School is hard, but public school is nearly impossible. My children (8,6, and 4) had to deal with issues and struggles that I never would have expected them to be faced with at such a young age. Their self confidence, self worth, and creativity after just a few short years was gone. In light of those issues (and many others) we decided to homeschool. But you know what? Homeschooling is hard! Homeschooling is so hard that some days I cry in the shower because I feel like I am failing my children. But the truth of the matter is that they are happier, thriving, and growing in so many ways it is hard to track.

3. Autism is a struggle, but the payoff is amazing. We still have daily battles, but they don’t consume us like they used to. And while certain things may be harder than others, I thank God every day for this child and his gift. He sees the world in a way that no one else does, and I am lucky enough that he shares his insight with me.

4. My two other children need way more than love and attention that I thought. I’ve spent so much time over the past couple of years with therapies and drills to get Jo to progress that I sometimes forgot that I have two other children who need me just as much as he does. That’s hard. It is hard to admit that I gave one child more, but it is even harder to watch the other who fight for attention. We have come a long way with splitting up attention, but we still have so much further to go.

5. I am, and will always be, a work in progress. I am a hot mess. I’m the mom in gym shorts, a t-shirt, no make-up, and frizzy hair who spouts off dirty jokes in hushed whispers to other moms while the kids play at the playground. I read trashy romance novels just as much as I read Margaret Atwood. I will never have all my eggs in basket or row, and if I am going to be completely honest, most of my eggs are broken because my children drop them in the lawn after collecting them from the chicken coop. I’m awkward, overweight, and full of sarcasm. I am also so completely awesome. I know this to be true because my kids tell me every single day.

So, this is where we begin. This is my gift to you: our crazy homeschooling, autism, sensory seeking, weight loss, healthier lifestyle, boys will be crazy-mischief-maker journey! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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The Zoo and All Things Red

I can’t even thoroughly explain in words how good Jonah’s behavior was at the zoo yesterday. He walked holding hands. He listened. He was calm when walking, and excited when seeing the animals. He seemed very in control of his own movements and actions. The only mishap we had was when he was done seeing the giraffes and started to walk to the next exhibit. My husband went chasing after him, and brought him back with no tantrums. We explained that he couldn’t walk away like that, and Jonah said, “all done giraffe.” And we continued on. It was amazing.
Well, I should clarify, it was amazing until we stopped to get a snack. For the past week I’ve been slowly tweaking Jonah’s already dwindling food choices. I took out all the junk, all the processed food, all the sugar. Which left us with: fruit! Jonah absolutely loves fruit, so this was not an issue.
Since starting this, he has tried two new foods. Which is MASSIVE for Jonah.
So yesterday, my husband went into the zoo food area, and ordered the kids slushies, by the time I got up to the counter, my only reaction was “What the…” But it was too late. He had forgotten. The kids had already seen them. And the guy was asking for his money. I figured this couldn’t do too much damage.
Oh Lordy, I was wrong. Within fifteen minutes of drinking the red slushy, Jonah was more fidgety. Almost immediately after leaving the food place, Jonah took off running. The rest of the time at the zoo, he argued about holding hands, his speech wasn’t as intelligible, and he seemed to be all over the place.
Was it the red dye? The sugar? Both?
Whatever it was, it took Jonah 4.5 hours to go to sleep.
I think it is safe to say we will be sticking with our new diet.

Is a move in order?

Preschool is starting to become a word that I dread to hear. Our school district is wonderful, that’s what people told us when we bought this house. It is a wonderful, small district, if you have a child that doesn’t need help. There is no special education program, one speech therapist, and no help. But we have been assured that if Jonah needs more help than our district can offer, he will be bussed at no charge to us, to another district.

At no charge? Money. I don’t care about money. I don’t care that you can send him to a district almost thirty minutes away. That is not the school district we moved in to. That is not the school we chose. Maybe some of this is my need to control the situation because there is so much at this point that I can’t control, but it feels like more. Why should I have to send one of my three children to a different school? How will he make friends? Be involved in school activities?¬†How can I be at two schools at the same time? Why should I have to?

So now we are faced with the choice of leaving our house in search of a program that can help Jonah. I say there was a choice, but the reality of the matter is as soon as we found out about the lack of help Jonah would receive, our minds were already made up. How could I look Jonah in the eye and justify that our house is more important than him? I couldn’t. So this is something that is happening, whether we are ready or not.

After weeks of searching and researching districts, we finally have a list of four to choose from. The problem lies in the homes for sale. Our home now is a large, old farmhouse. We have four bedrooms and a huge yard. The houses in our price range barely make up half the size of our current house.

We have three children. All boys. Can I cut our house in half and still have room to raise these boys? Can I afford not to?