Giving My Kids More

Like many parents, I’ve wanted to give my kids ‘more than I had’ – to the point where I sometimes worry that I’m giving them too much or things are too easy for them. I also struggled with this when I quit my job in January. Our family’s discretionary income certainly dropped without my civil service job.  But – I felt having more time with them, and not feeling the stress of getting everything done when I was home was more important than ‘the stuff’.

On a recent backpacking trip, I came to realize how much more I was actually giving my kids.  I definitely felt better about these experiences than any of the material things I could ever give them.

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  1. Lake Swimming – We live solidly ‘in town’ – there are no lakes, ponds or creeks for them to play in, so this is not a regular occurrence. I grew up with a creek (we pronounce it ‘crick’). We would damn it up, look for crayfish or just tromp through it. So when we went to the Uinta Mountains,the boys got to play in a cold clear mountain lake  – with a log. No goggles, no diving toys, no diving boards – just nature.IMG_3508
  2. Starry, Starry Nights! I grew up in rural Pennsylvania. It was normal to see the stars. We don’t always get to see the stars where we live because of all the light pollution plus the fact that it stays light for so long in the summer! When we head to the mountains – there are lots of stars to see – if we can stay awake long enough (that’s the great thing about backpacking – it definitely wears these to boys out!) – yea, I know – this picture doesn’t actually have stars – but the moon was pretty!IMG_3515
  3. GOATS! Growing up I saw lots of white tail deer, red tail hawks and even an occasional bear. But the first time I saw a mountain goat, I was in my 30’s or maybe even 40’s. But, my boys had the privilege of seeing this beautiful mom & her baby. They came right by our camp (we were really surprised that they came so close!). Then they even heard the mama & baby calling for each other – it was an odd squeaking, almost crying noise.

So – I still want to give my kids more than I had. But, at least now I don’t feel guilty about giving them too many material things. I love being able to show them the beauty that God has surrounded us with in nature!

Enjoy!

~Gerri

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The Non-Sucky Parts of Autism (for my family, anyway)

I thought since I did a post a bit ago about how the effects of Autism can really be a downer (Autism Sucks) – I should also touch on those ‘non-sucky’ parts.  Since Autism is a spectrum with varying ranges of function and ability, this list applies to my family – particularly my son.  I hope that if you are a care giver or know someone on the Autism spectrum – that you too can take a moment and think about those things that are special

Passion – my son is so passionate about the things that really catch his attention. He throws himself into those things with all his heart. He will spend hours researching and planning to make something happen.

Intelligence – God gave this child an amazing brain! He gets concepts quickly and can apply those concepts and implement ideas.

A Thirst For Knowledge – This boy (both of my boys really) has always been a knowledge seeker! He wants to know what, how, why…. He reads, researches things on the internet … He’s even gone so far as to call NASA and Lego to ask questions! (I never would have thought to do something like that at his age – let alone have the courage to do it!)

Open Book (kind of) – you know exactly what he thinks. He wears his emotions on his sleeve. If you can’t figure it out – he’ll tell you – without beating around the bush.

He’s Great With Little Kids – If I’m volunteering in the nursery at church, I can count on my son to help out and entertain the little kids that are there. He loves to play with them and they all have a blast playing with cars or Legos or on the playground.

I Can Help – Based on my experiences with my sons – I’m sometimes able to help other moms who have questions about how to get help, what’s working (or not), how to handle situations. Obviously – all kids are different, but sometimes just an ear to listen can help another mom with the day to day struggles.

I realize I’m probably missing some positive traits, and this post isn’t near as long as the negative one – mainly because I had so many recent and strong emotions involved when I was writing the other post. Sometimes it seems harder to identify these positive things because they’re frequently overshadowed by the rough patches. But, I know that while the negative affects often tend to stand out – these positive attributes will be the ones that bring my son success.  I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with his future!

Find the Positive & Enjoy!!

~Gerri

 

Family -Little Things Mean the Most 

I’m enjoying the crisp fall mornings these days – not so much the shorter days.  This month’s Basic Scrapbook class layout is great for pictures of family – and uses the ‘With You’ stamp set.


The sample shows placement for 3 pictures (a 5×7 and two 3×4’s) – you could easily add more pictures using Flip Flaps or additional mattes.

I’ve often heard the phrase ‘little things mean a lot’ – but I love that this stamp set says ‘the little things mean the MOST’.  Why is this?  For me it comes back to family. A few years ago, my son was diagnosed with Aspergers – a high functioning level of Autism that affects him mainly with social impairment – he doesn’t play well with others.  Most people just think he’s rude and don’t understand there’s an underlying issue.
This has been a struggle for our whole family, not just him.

The little things that mean so much are –

When he apologizes for an explosion – that means he’s starting to get the connection between his actions and others’ feelings (and more importantly – care about that connection).

When he can verbally express that he’s getting frustrated – and better yet – walk away and avoid an explosion.

When he can accept a compliment without getting angry (I still haven’t figured this one out – if I’m giving you a compliment – why get upset?)

When his brother doesn’t intentionally try to get him spun up.

When mom or dad can calmly engage – correct, redirect, compliment, reward.

I know for lots of families, these things are just second nature – but for us they’re little things that really do mean the most.  Because these little things are putting my son on the path to being able to function appropriately in society.  They also mean that our family is making little improvements – to be more understanding, to be better, to help each other.  These little things for you – mean the most for us.

Originally, I thought about having family pictures on this layout, maybe instead I’ll tell this story of how such little things do mean the most. 

Was it the Full Moon?

The MELTDOWN….

I’m sure those of you with calm, angelic children don’t have this problem.  Those of you without children can’t even comprehend it.  Sure, you’ve witnessed it at the store or restaurant – but until you’ve lived through it – well you probably won’t get it.

I had the pleasure of not just 1, but 3 or 4 meltdowns this weekend.  I’d like to blame it on the full moon (you know that super/blood moon that everyone was raving about and that was actually the cause for 1 of the said meltdowns?!)  But, no – that wasn’t the problem.  It might have been too much sugar, maybe even wheat, too much stimulation, not enough sleep?  I can only guess at the trigger – but the root cause goes back to ADHD, ODD, SPD, ASD – any number of letter combinations that my kids were tested for.  What those letters ultimately mean is life with kids isn’t anything like I had expected… That I pray for lots of patience & guidance – every day…That even though my kids look like every other kid, there are things going on in their brains that cause them to struggle.

One son had a meltdown Saturday night because I told him it was time for bed and he couldn’t have a snack (he’d been watching a movie so had plenty of time to get a snack before the movie ended).  He yelled and slammed things for an hour – yes an hour – all for the lack of a granola bar.  In the process he put a hole in the wall (which he’ll have to fix), lost electronics for a week and was grounded to his room for a day – but that didn’t matter.  Sunday it started all over again – he didn’t like the options I gave him for breakfast, he didn’t want to eat lunch, he didn’t want to have to stay in his room.

My other son is on the autism spectrum – you can’t tell it to look at him, he’s on the lower end.  But it effects his life in very real ways.  He’s very smart, but gets frustrated by things that don’t make sense – he has a low tolerance for many things.  So when he saw the moon rise & it was shrouded with clouds, it wasn’t red, and the shadow wasn’t going in a way that made sense to him – he lost it.  I’m talking crying, stomping, over the top – especially for his age.  It didn’t make sense and he couldn’t figure it out.

My heart breaks for my boys with each meltdown.  I did what I could this weekend – prayed – alot!!! Dealt out consequences where they were needed, ignored what I knew was said or done to try to push my buttons, and started taking things away (that finally stopped the fit – grounding and loss of electronics didn’t matter, but when I started to remove things from his room – I finally got his attention).  For my other son, I searched the internet and found a video to show him why the moon & the shadow didn’t look the way he thought they would – and he regained his composure.

I’m not really sure why I’m telling you all this.  I have some great friends that are my support group  – I can talk to them, they pray for me, I pray for them, some are in the same situation.  But, I guess I wanted to share a little piece of my life that isn’t so simple.  or easy.  or pretty.  Definitely no ‘Pinterest Perfection’ here!  I considered joining Periscope last week (for those of you just learning, like me, it’s an app that you can live stream video to your followers).  Could you imagine if I had Periscoped the meltdowns?  or my reactions? or life in general?  That’s the makings of another BAD reality show.  But life goes on.  Today is a new day – still no electronics, but no meltdowns this morning.  I’m thankful for the positive start to the day – hope it continues through their day at school – and will do my best to keep things calm this evening.

Wish me luck, better yet – Say a prayer… not just for me, but for all parents – it’s one tough job!  But I wouldn’t trade it for the world!!

~Gerri