Saturday, December 8, 2007

Bethany's Birthday Party

Today was Bethany's Birthday party! It was a lot of fun. Her friends Connor and Logan were there. Her friend Jacob was unable to attend at the last minute due to a collision with the coffee table that left him not in the partying mood. But his Mom and brother came anyway. Shea had Jacob's brother Xavier and Connors sister Allie to play with, and I had 3 other moms to chat with! Fun for everyone! Bethany loves that Winnie the Pooh Super Sleuths show on Disney channel, so that was her theme. She got some nice gifts. A look and find book from Jacob, "Toodles" ears (from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show) that play music and talk, and a set of wooden over sized beads and shoelaces to thread them on. It's really pretty neat. She was really into it. We only had a few meltdowns. It was a really nice afternoon.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Shea's Blessing

Today Shea was blessed at church. She is 9 months old today as well. It was great to have my Dad who is visiting from California perform the blessing, and the spirit was strong. I really love the people in my ward too. One sister wrote down the blessing and gave it to me so we can look back on what was said. That is so special to me. Here are some pictures from today. Unfortunately my camera is not the greatest, nor are my picture taking skills, but I still got some sweet moments.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Not Always Miss Sunshine

I have a child on the autism spectrum. I am always working to get her better services and help. I am always looking for the different treatments people swear by. I am always finding new activities to do with her that are aimed at improving her skills. I work on the skills her therapists assign us to work on at ho me. I look for support groups and play dates. I research the school system here and in all the other places we may end up. I try to be an activist and participate in fund raising walks, I have the autism awareness decal on my car to help spread the word that this is a problem that is growing and we need to educate people, keep searching for a cure and make it a priority. When 1 in 150 kids is diagnosed with autism, I believe its time to put this problem up top on the list with the other big issues.

However, I am not perfect. I don't always know the right thing to do. I lose my patience. I get frustrated and mad. And yes, I have pity parties. And when I am feeling so down, I do not want to hear how highly God thinks of me for giving me this special child. I don't want to hear how much worse others have it. I know that already. I see kids with awful disabilities at her school everyday, and thank God that Bethany can run, and laugh, and play. That doesn't mean that I am able too see things that way 100 % of the time though.

Just as I don't want to hear all of the optimists take on life when I'm down, I also hate hearing things like, "Oh but when kids do start to talk you just wish they would shut up" My child doesn't answer yes or no to questions. she doesn't tell me what she wants or needs or whats wrong when she is crying. she has never said, "I love you." She only recently has started speaking a little, mostly labeling things, and now singing songs, and believe me, the idea of wishing she would shut up has never entered my mind. We have worked hard for the speech she does have.

That said, you may wonder, "Well geez! What the heck is safe to say around this lady?" lol. Anything that doesn't involve invalidating my feelings when I am feeling down, and anything that doesn't try to show me how even typical children drive you nuts. I know all kids can be tiresome. I know even if she was typical, I would have my issues. But be sensitive people! I wouldn't go up to a paraplegic and say, oh you are lucky you get to sit all day. My legs get tired."

Just be our friend. Just don't judge, my child, me or my parenting when she is freaking out and having a meltdown. Don't try to insist that there is nothing wrong with her because she makes eye contact. We worked hard for that too! Don't judge me for making parental decisions that you would never do. Maybe there is a reason. And rest assured, I research everything to death. Don't act so shocked if Bethany seems to ignore you, but don't ignore her. She hears you. She knows you are there. She just doesn't know how to interact with you and socialize.

This is not directed at anyone specifically, and I know people mean well. Well, most of them. Don't take this harshly. This is just the way I feel.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Long distance love

Lately life has been crazy. For me and for Aaron. He has a lot going on, and he has been stressed out, and busy, and taking on more leadership duties. I am very stressed dealing with post partum depression, a child just being diagnosed on the autism spectrum, 2 young kids to take care of alone here. You get the idea. It seems all of our conversations lately, are all business. "How are you?" "Fine. How are you?" "How are the kids?" yada yada yada. When Aaron was deployed to Iraq before, we always managed to keep things interesting. But not this time. No worries. There is not trouble in paradise, lol. It's just one of those times. We are very much in love, and happy with each other. I never thought you could have a relationship like this where things are dull and mundane, but the relationship is still strong. I guess that's what makes a good marriage is that we can move through the times like this and know everything will be fine. Nevertheless, I wish I could think of a way to spice up things so put that spark back into our days. With the 13 hour time difference, his best time to call is before he goes to bed, which for me is in the morning when I am rushing around to feed, and dress the kids. I can barely put words into sentences during the madness of morning time around here. I'm sure I will think of something.

Crazy day!

My daughter is obsessed with dumping rice in the carpet. Everytime I buy more I hide it somewhere else. On a higher shelf, behind the cereal, etc. But Bethany always finds it and gets to it with her handy foot stool she pushes around the house. At least rice is somewhat cheap. Nevertheless a waste of food and more work for me to clean up. That is how my day began. Bethany dumping rice out. We had been up for maybe 7 minutes. But I did get Bwthany to school on time. Shea and I came home and got a little cleaning done, then went upstairs to my neighbors and tried on her daughters outfits on Shea for Shea's portrait session. Other peoples clothes are always better. Then we went for Shea's portrait session, followed by picking up Bethany and rushing off to a dental appointment for me, then rushing home for Bethany's speech therapy session. After that we hurried to get cleaned up to go to the Olive Garden for my upstairs neighbor and friends birthday dinner. The kids did very wellin the restaurant. Shea was waving at people, and of course that made everyone gush. She is pretty cute if I do say so myself. Bethany made it almost through the meal before she started cycling. She has cycles where whe gets hyper and starts stimming, and has this thing about needing pressure on her, like she will want to squeeze into a small place, or have me hug her very tightly, or lay under something heavy. I know it sounds weird, but her therapist tells me it is very typical of kids on the spectrum, and taught me what I can do for her. So, when she started cycling I just held her on my lap tightly. I don't think anyone else noticed it was anything different than a kid sitting on her moms lap. Not that it matters what others think. When we got home Bethany was at her peak, so she jumped on her mini trampoline for a while to burn off energy. Finally got her in bed and now Shea is asleep! What a day. Somebody asked me something though, that has bothered me all day. When I told them that Bethany is on the autism spectrum, they said, "Well, you should get fixed before your husband comes home. You dont want any more kids like that, right?" I felt that was rude and invasive and none of her darn business! People are so dumb sometimes. Ok, vent over.

Monday, September 17, 2007

What a mess

I used to be the person who had it all together, and wondered what was wrong with everyone else. See, that's the problem with judging others. It usually comes back to bite you. And here I am. I am a mess. I have post partum depression, and it is not getting better. I take medicine. I see a counselor. I have no trouble admitting this because I feel there is no shame in getting help if you have a problem. Nevertheless, I feel liek I am drowning here. It's not htat I can't handle Aaron being in Korea. We have been through 2 deployments. But for some reason this separation is really taking its toll on all of us. I have got to pull myself together and deal with things. It will be wonderful when Aaron comes home. He is so helpful with everything, and he is my best friend. Just him being here, helps. But, I can't rely on him as a cure for depression. I was depressed during my pregnancy, and he was here! It is said that exercise is supposed to be very helpful in dealing with depression. I just joined a gym, and so hopefully the exercise, and fact that I am finally doing something for myself will help. and if I start to look good, that can only help me to feel better about myself!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Our next post

I can't stop thinking about this, so maybe writing out what's on my mind will help me. Aaron is in Korea until next summer. We know we will be PCS'ing (moving) upon his return because this base does not have his new MOS. He will need to put in requests in a few months for where we would like to go if there is availability. We thought we knew what we wanted, but now... not so much. It seems these are our possibilities: Fort Hood in TX; Fort Riley in KS; Fort Campbell in TN; Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, GA; Fort Bragg in NC; and Fort Drum in Northern NY. We know we do not want to request Fort Riley in KS. Since receiving Bethany's diagnosis of PDD-NOS, I have been looking into the school systems and programs at each location. It is very important to us to get the best for her that we can. We thought we wanted Hunter in Savannah, but have discovered it is one of the worst places for school and special ed. Campbell is considered just as bad. So that leaves Bragg in NC; Drum in N. NY; and Hood in TX. I am stilll looking into NC, but it seems that NY is the best for special ed by far. Seriously it is way ahead of anywhere else. But the part of NY that Fort Drum is at, is known for having very harsh winters. Can we handle that? Aaron is from Florida and I am from So. Cal. So we have no snow experience. Well, ok, I lived in Queens, NY for 3 years, but I was always away, never had to drive in the snow, shovel snow, or deal with kids in snow. Aaron says it would only be for 2 years, one of which he will probably be deployed anyway. If we hate it, I can go home to my family when he deploys. He gets out of the Army in 2010, so if we hate it, it's not like we are stuck there forever. Fort Hood is a very distant second best for school. But we know the weather better and I know a few people there and it would be closer to family. Aaron does not want to go to Hood though. He might change his mind. And I still need to do my homework on Bragg in NC. I really shouldn't let myself get so into this. The Army will send us wherever they need Aaron most. Bethany is in the Exceptional Family Member Program which might help a little. But I feel better just letting all of my thought out.

Cat Sitting

We have been cat sitting my cousin in laws cat, Morris for a few days. He is in town for jump school, and his wife, Allison came to visit and brought Morris. She reserved a pet room, but the hotel gave it away, so he needed a place to stay. He is a sweetheart, and we have so enjoyed having him here. My girls are in love with him, and seeing them so happy makes me want to run out and buy them puppies and kittens! But I think another living creature in this house would push me over the edge. At least while Aaron is not here to help. Maybe when he comes home we can think about getting a pet. Am I crazy? We all know it's usually the mom who takes on the pet care too, and I really don't need any more to do. But whenever my girls are happy, so am I. I wish I could give them everything.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Me time

What I wouldn't give for just a tiny bit of time to take care of myself. Despite being here for almost 4 years, I still feel like I don't have any solid friends. All of my military wife friends have moved. For the few minutes each week I get in Relief Society before nursery has me come in to help them deal with Bethany, I get to hear about all of the activities I know I can't go to. Enrichment nights, moms night out, temple night, etc. I wish Aaron was home so I could go and feel like one of the girls once in a while. Make some friends, do something fun. Right now, I barely use baby sitters, because not too many people know what to do when Bethany has a meltdown, and I am still exclusively breastfeeding Shea so I can't be away from her for too long. But I trust Aaron and know he can handle Bethany. I think part of it is that I am lonely. Aaron is my best friend, and I miss him. I feel like there are often entire weekends that I don't say anything more intelligent than, "Bethany! Are you stinky?" During the week, I get slightly more interaction with adults. I do try to get involved in playgroups, and such. But those are not often. What I really want is to feel like a human being again. I want to feel pretty, and have friends, and do something for fun. I love my girls to pieces, but I don't feel like I exist anymore at all. Okay, I am done whining.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My girls, playing

Yesterday, I had so much fun watching Bethany and Shea play together. Shea is finally getting to be more interactive. She adores Bethany and Bethany loves making her laugh. Yesterday I had Shea in the exersaucer, and Bethany was on the outside playing with her. She kept offering her her drink and pulling it back and they were both laughing hysterically! Then later, I had Shea on the floor playing and Bethany took all of the diapers out and tossed them all over the living room. She was dropping them on top of Shea who thought it was hilarious. It's such a joy to see my two girls playing and laughing together!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Shea's 6 month well baby appt.

Today was Shea's 6 month well baby appointment. She is perfectly healthy! She was such a good girl the whole time too. What I didn't like about her appointment is that we found out upon our arrival that her regular Dr. had been snatched up to work with soldiers, and she was re assigned to Dr. M. Dr. M is the same Dr. who was on call in L&D the day I had her and he caught her. I can't stand him. He is very much a textbook and statistics kind of doctor, with no bedside manner. One of those Dr.'s who thinks they are God. Like since I am just her mom and not a Dr. I am too stupid to know anything. He looked at her vitals and told me she is too skinny, before he even looked at her. She is so not too skinny. The girl is a little chub! She has rolls! I think he was basing his opinion off the fact she is in the 25th percentile for weight, but that's on the scale that lumps formula fed and breastfed babies together. Formula fed babies do tend to be a little heavier than breastfed babies. Unless the child is unhealthy, who cares! And Shea is quite healthy. But anyway, I will be calling first thing tomorrow to have her doctor changed. I do not want to take my kids to this doctor.

Monday, August 6, 2007


I am totally baffled by our finances. The money just disappears. When we get paid, I write up a budget and it looks good, but it never works out the way I plan. Even looking at our transactions online, I still can't see how everything gets so messed up. I am irritated about this. But that's all I will say. We have a doctor appointment for me today. Today is the only day of the week Bethany does not have school, so I have to bring both kids with me. I need to have my thyroid checked. I have hypothyroidism, and every so often we check it to be sure the medicine is doing it's job. So, I will have to have blood drawn, and wait in the pharmacy with the kids. the pharmacy is the worst of it. You take a number and wait forever! Lately Bethany has been acting more defiant, so I am nervous to take her out with me very often. It is so hard to know what is normal 2 year old behaviour, and what is autism related. Anyway, I better get ready for my appointment...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The last swim lesson

Today was Bethany's 8th and final swim lesson. I am not sorry to be done with it. But I know she had a lot of fun, so I am sorry to see it end for her. Bethany can light up a room when she is happy. She smiles so big, and squeals with delight. I love it! Everytime we got in the pool for a lesson she would squeal and giggle. But it breaks my heart too. I want her to grow up and have dreams and a career, and fall in love, and have babies of her own, and be happy. But I don't know what the future holds for her. I don't know what the future CAN hold for her. What kind of life is she going to have? I feel like I am not doing the right things, and there is this intense pressure to hurry up and treat her while she is so young. I hear over and over that the younger you start any treatment, the better chance of success. But what is the right treatment? What if I do the wrong one? We tried the DAN doctor approach, but I will admit, I think we got a crappy doctor, and we gave up fairly easily. Having her on a such a strict diet was so hard since she is so picky as it is. What do you feed a kid who can't have gluten, casein, sugar or yeast, but refuses to eat any meat or veggies no matter how hungry she is. She was living off of rice. People think I am a bad parent if my kid wont eat veggies. But it is not for lack of trying! I tried veggie juices, pureed veggies, steamed, blending them with other foods to disguise them. To the people who say if she gets hungry enough, she will eat them, I say, you try to do it if it's so easy. I about fell apart when she got so extremely excited over a banana display. I bought the darn bananas and she had 2 on the way home. She wasn't supposed to have fruit because of the sugar, so she had not had a banana in a while. She devoured those bananas, and watching her made me want to cry. Thinking about it now, still makes me want to cry. So we gave up the diet. But I still wonder if I couldn't have made it work somehow. Would it be worth it? Right now she is so young and so much still seems possible. I want to save her so bad. I can't bring myself to believe that I might not be able to make everything better. It makes me want to curl up in a ball on the floor and just bawl.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Rare Moment

Wow! Shea is sleeping in this morning! Amazing! Bethany is eating breakfast right now. I can type with two hands! It is so much faster. I even took a shower already. As usual when I turned off the water, I braced myself for the usual screaming I would hear, but everyone is content. Nobody was screaming. Well today is another school day for Bethany. I love school days. It is so nice to get thinggs done with one less kid. Plus it's great for her. She can go play and do crafts and dancing with other kids. Yesterday Shea and I had lunch with a new friend. She is a woman with two little girls almost the same age as my two. She feels the same as I do about being a mom. We both love our kids, but dont feel fulfilled by being a mom. It was so nice to talk with someone who doesn't go on and on about how they love every minute of being home with their kids. Not everyone feels that way, and I am slowly learning, that I don't need to feel guilty for the way I feel. Today I need to go to Sam's club for more diapers for Bethany. I have Shea in cloth diapers, and Bethany in paper diapers. I know it's weird. I keep hoping to get Bethany potty trained soon, so it seemed like a waste of money to stock up on cloth diapers for her. I realize I would be able to use them for Shea too. I don't know. It's just how we are doing things. Last night was Bethany's swim class. We have two more classes. Tonight and tomorrow. She hardly needs the instruction. She is a natural! She pushes away from me and goes dog paddling off toward the 10 foot deep end with the instructor and myself chasing after her. She is fearless. But I admire that very much about her. I hope I can teach her how to be cautious when necessary, without killing that special quality.

Would it be dumb if I start counting down the days until Aaron comes home for Korea? I don't actually know for sure when he will be home. I have just picked a date in my head that should be close to the real date. So, I am going to say, 348 days left. That is a lot of days. It's OK. The number will shrink. I miss Aaron. the good thing about kids is that they keep you really busy. I haven't had time to dwell on Aaron being away.

Well Shea is awake now, so my time is up.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Who I am

I am Amanda. I am a 28 year old mom of 2 little girls. A 2 year old who is being tested soon for autism, and an almost 6 month old. I am also an Army wife. A very un hooah army wife. Don't get me wrong. I support our troops. I am just overwhelmed, stressed, and missing my husband, and dont have the energy to be Miss Perfect Army Wife. Sometimes I really hate being an Army wife. Same goes for being a mom. there, I admitted it. I am dealing with some post partum depression as well. I have my good days where everything is great, and Bethany will show such great improvement and give me so much hope. I will feel empowered, and feel like being left alone again to raise our kids is no big deal. I get motivated to do great things like clean the house spotless, and take school classes, and art projects with Bethany. Then I have my bad days. I will yell at Bethany, and feel like the worst mom in the world. Like the day Shea would not stop crying and I had no sleep and Bethany dumped a container of Parmesan cheese in the couch. Overall though, I love my husband and my girls dearly. My husband is truly wonderful and when he is home, he is a very hands on Dad and supportive partner. My kids are sweet and precious, and although very spirited and mischievous, I have to remember they are only 2 and 6 months. That's what kids do right? But anyway, just remember this when I am posting about how bad they are driving me nuts.