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I am the crazy mom of five boys.  Four of my five boys are on the autism spectrum. Neuro-Diversity rocks!!!  I cook, I clean, I blog, I breathe.  Yup that is about it.  If you want to catch a glimpse of our crazy world you are more than welcome but don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Top Ten Tips for aspiring Super Mom's

I don't know about you, but when I brought home my first little bundle of joy from the hospital I was determined that I was going to be the worlds best mother.  My child would be the healthiest, the brightest, the fastest, the wittiest.  Actually, I'm almost positive that I caught glimpse of  my child  wearing red cape with Super Baby emblazoned upon the back as he was delivered  (No that is NOT the 20 hours of labor or the Demerol talking.).  Yup that's me, super baby's mom!!  Now where is my preferred parking spot?

Five kids and nearly twelve years later, I have long since relinquished my Super Mom title.  My exalted reign lasted exactly one hour after leaving the hospital.  I clearly remember the moment I unswaddled my little bundle to change his diaper and he turned completely blue.  I checked to make sure he was breathing, ran to the phone and placed a frantic call to our pediatrician.  It turned out my perfect little bundle was born with so little body fat that even on a 90 degree day, with no air conditioning, he had to stay bundled.  My Super Mom reign was over almost before it began.  Things did not improve from there.  By the time I had my second child, 17 months later, I was in a constant state of complete guilt.  Now I was splitting myself between two babies, a husband and the house.  Needless to say, nobody received enough of my attention.  I was overwhelmed by feeling like a complete failure as a mother and wife.  Once the twins came along there was no time for guilt.  I was running so hard just to keep up with four kids, all under the age of 3, that I was just on auto pilot, doing the things that had to be done just to make it through the day.
Today, I felt a bit overwhelmed.   I have a lot going on as I get ready for my trip back home.  As I was rushing around, trying to get everything checked off my to do list, I thought about the time all those years ago when I aspired to be Super Mom.  So tonight, I have made my own top ten list.  My top ten pieces of advice to any aspiring Super Mom's....hey my reign may have been short lived but I still held the title.

Top 10 Tips for aspiring Super Mom
10. Good baby swag does not a super mom make.  You will regret your designer diaper bag the minute your perfect little one has an exploding diaper in his back-up, back-up outfit.  At that point, all you can do is rinse it out in the bathroom and stick it in (you guessed it) your super expensive, designer diaper bag.
9.  Embrace the banana clip, stained t-shirt ( yes every shirt you own will have a stain on it within a few months), and yoga pant look.  I know you swore to your bestie back in the day that you would NEVER be THAT mom (most of us made the same solemn oath).  But you will, so stock up on banana clips before your bundle of perfection arrives.  It will save you from scrounging under the sofa cushions looking for one when you realize you have to run to the store for diapers NOW and you haven't showered in two days (okay lets be honest here, you're actually on your third day without a shower).
8.  Speaking of showers, as Super Mom these are a luxury to be prized above all things....except sleep.  Inferior moms will put their  babies into their cribs for five minutes to grab a slice of heaven (they may even let their baby cry....gasp).  But not you, as Super Mom you are required to either forgo the luxury completely until another, approved adult can hold your angel or you will bring the baby seat into the bathroom with you and leave the shower curtain open enough so that your angel never loses sight of you, in all your Super Mom Perfection.  It's a sacrifice, but being Super Mom isn't for the faint of heart.
7.  Sleep is for the weak!!  You thought you were something when you stayed up 48 hours straight to cram for finals in college. Ha! That's nothing.  Girlfriend, you will never see 8 straight hours of uninterrupted sleep again!  You will do a song and dance when you get three hours of interrupted sleep! Buy good concealer to cover the dark circles on the rare occasions you leave the house.  Super Mom's do not frighten toddlers with their raccoon eyes.
6.  Learn to eat, brush your teeth, brush your hair, talk on the phone and write a message down all with one hand.  This will save you many awkward moments as you adjust to the fact you have lost an arm.  No, they don't chop it off in the hospital after you give birth!  Nope, from now on your cutie patootie will have permanent residence in one arm.  Slings are quite in fashion now, they come in a variety of colorful patterns that cover your stained tee shirts.  If you are planning to go this route contact your friendly, neighborhood sling expert mom.  She will show you more ways to wear that sucker than ways Bubba Gump knows to cook shrimp.
5. All other moms ,who have babies within six months of your little dumpling's age, will feel the need to prove that their child is superior to yours in every way.  Being Super Mom, you know that this is untrue.  This scenario requires great delicacy because you are by now feeling the deep need for understanding, adult conversation.  I suggest that you compliment the other child's progress nicely.  Then as you are leaving your play date (every two month old NEEDS a play date.  This is imperative to proper social development.  REALLY, this is Super MOM 101 stuff.  Refer back to the chapter in your Super Mom manual the covers Baby Einstein, playing classical music in utero and teaching sign language to your little genius)....as I was saying, as you are leaving your play date just casually mention how your three month old now knows how to sign please and thank you.  This will allow the other mother to know who really has the smartest child, while avoiding the momma throw downs that sometimes occur at play dates.
4.  Cloth diapers and making your own baby food are all the rage right now.  However, from one Super Mom to another, your child will not suffer permanent emotional scarring should you choose to go the Pamper  and Gerber route.  You will have a few points deducted from your Super Mom score but the time and energy that you save ,on these things, can be used to teach your child more words in sign language, which will boost your score once more.
3. Amazon is your friend and Amazon Prime is your new BFF.  Every outing, whether to Target ( it is where all the Super Mom's shop), church, or a two week vacation, require almost the same amount of packing, gear and preparation.  To save yourself the hassle, order what you can online!!  Also, the "feels like a cross country move when I run to the store to buy diapers" phase only lasts a few years.  There is light at the end of this tunnel.  Then the "I am your personal chauffeur" phase starts.
2.  On a serious note, you will at times feel isolated and alone.  This is the hardest part of being being a mom of young kids.  This stage passes and you will again have friends and a social life.  In the meantime, have someone watch your special little bugaboo and have a girls night with your old girlfriends once in a while.  It won't be the same but those few hours of laughing will be a lifeline to you in your lonely days.
1.  There is no such thing as a Super Mom!!  That's the big secret that everyone has been keeping from you. We are all struggling, right along side you, trying to do our best and still feeling like we aren't enough.  Give your child grace to make mistakes and room to be a kid, give your friends grace as they struggle to be the best mom they can to their children and most importantly give yourself grace.  You aren't perfect.  Just take it one day at a time, friend.   I'm still taking it day by day.  Lot's of love, Kristine

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Glimpse of Auditory Sensitivities

Music has always been very important to both my husband and I.  Hubby was raised in a very musical family and was picking out songs on the piano almost before he could walk.  The same is true for me.  I am not sure how old I was when I sang my first solo in church.  It was definitely sometime in early elementary school.   it was only natural that one of the things that attracted me to my husband was his heart for worship and his musical talent.

When I discovered I was pregnant with our first child, it was only natural that he was surrounded with music from the moment of conception on.  Daddy playing keyboard, me singing, CD's playing, music at church....music, music everywhere.  Once Paul was born he was sickly. He had to nurse every twenty minutes for the first three months of his life.  He would spit up all the contents of his stomach if you fed him any quantity at once and he had a hard time maintaining weight.  So he spent most of his days in my arms being rocked and sang to. as I sang my way past the point of exhaustion and marched straight into delirium.  At three months, Paul could finally stretch his feedings out to every two hours.  Yet, still when I held him he became agitated (If I was rocking him, I was singing....singing was just that much a part of who I was.  I even sang in my sleep as a child.  It drove my sisters CRAZY!!!  My mom said when I moved out of the house I took the music with me).  Then,  I began to notice he would become worked up when I played CD's or had the TV on or when were in church or in the mall.  In fact anywhere there was any amount of noise Paul became completely inconsolable.  The music ,that was such a part of our family, disappeared almost completely.  I felt like someone had cut out a large part of my heart.   We tried to find a church that would work for Paul.  But it never failed the noise would drive Paul to meltdown and we would be forced to walk around with him outside.  We stopped going to church.  We stopped going shopping with him.  The older he got the worse it became.
Enter Jamie. As much as Paul melted down to music, Jamie craved music.  The only way to get Jamie to calm down was for me to sing to him for HOURS.  Now I had one child who melted down when there was any music and one who would only stop melting down with complete immersion in  music.  Our family became split.  I would put Paul in the playroom  while I calmed Jamie down on the other side of the house in his bedroom.  Paul resented Jamie because everything Jamie needed was the opposite of what Paul needed.  Jamie is hypo-sensitive so he craves CONSTANT sensory stimulation.  Paul is hyper sensitive to EVERYTHING (light, texture, commotion, etc) but noise most of all.  
Then Paul started Kindergarten and everything just got worse.  He could not attend assemblies (they were too loud), could not eat in the lunchroom ( too loud), could not attend music class (too loud), could not be in a classroom that was loud.........and the list goes on and on.  You have to understand this is before Paul had been diagnosed with anything.  We were in the beginning stages of having Jamie diagnosed.  We really had no idea what was going on.  As I write this blog, I write with the knowledge of hindsight  but at the time I had no idea about hyper sensory sensitivity or hypo sensory sensitivity.  All I knew, was that my house was being torn apart at the seams.
We were super blessed that Paul was placed (by coincidence) with a teacher who had spent 20 years working in special ed and had won national awards for her work with autistic kids.  She had only that year returned to the general classroom.  She recognized the signs of Asperger's in Paul (side note: sensory sensitivities were not the only things going on with Paul.  You can not diagnose autism or Asperger's only through sensory integration difficulties) and encouraged us to start the process of getting him diagnosed.  I had come across information on Asperger's through my research on autism for Jamie and had begun to suspect both Paul and my husband were on the spectrum.  To make a long story short, they both are indeed on the spectrum.  Their specific diagnosis is gifted Asperger's.  One of these blog posts I will get around to the difficulties, failures and successes we have had in educating a child with these two diagnosis at once (often referred to as twice gifted).  however, that is not the point of this blog post........so back to the story.
Our house has continued in this manner for years, Paul needing one thing, Jamie needing another.  It led to deep resentments in both of them.
Today, as I was in the living room, I over heard Paul SINGING along with Rich Mullins in the office and I teared up.  I could only think of the fact a year ago this NEVER would have happened.  This past year, Paul has begun to really expand his borders and his sensory sensitivities have lessened dramatically.  I'm not sure whether it is just his age, or the fact we removed him from the completely overstimulating environment of public school to home school him, or the fact he has made new friends, or a combination of all three but now my son TURNS ON MUSIC!!  He "sings" (at least attempts something that kind of sounds like singing and a cat caterwauling mixed together. Pavarotti he is not;) and his frustration with  Jamie has lessened greatly.
I have been given back music.  I feel like someone has restored a large part of the heart of our family.  I cannot tell you what a blessing this is.
Friends, I don't know if any of you has faced this particular situation or not.  But I am willing to bet many of you have had to give up something that is a part of the fabric of your soul for one reason for another ( you love to run but a bum knee prevents you, you love to paint but paying the bills is preventing you from pursuing your passion. The list is endless)  Let me encourage you that in time God can restore it to you the same way he has restored music to my home.  Lots of love-Kristine

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Glimpse of the Bible

This blog provides glimpses of our lives, my thoughts and feelings.  This past week I have been struggling with what to write about for two reasons.  The first ,quite honestly, is my brain is spinning in a million and one different directions, none of  which are of an interesting enough nature to bore you, my friends, with.  Indeed, this is average every day life stuff: party planning, book club reading, trip planning, house cleaning, kid raising, BBQ attending, pool splashing, every day, summer life stuff.
The second reason is a bit more involved, and to be honest controversial.  And though I am no stranger to controversy on this blog, in general I try to stick to our lives and the things that are going on within me.  But no matter how many hours I have stared at this computer screen this week (and it has been MANY)  trying to write something, anything, other than this topic, nothing has come.  I feel like Jonah and writer's block has been my belly of the big, stinky fish.   What could possibly be so daunting that you would rather sit in the fish's belly than to write about it?, you may ask.  What topic could possibly have you tied up in so many knots?, you inquire.   Well, I'll tell you but first I am going to give you a bit of background on me.

I have shared on this blog that my husband and I met at Bible school.  My whole life had been spent within the ministry.  By the time I went to Bible school there were very few ministries within the church that I was not intimately familiar with.  I am 35 years old and I am blessed to have known Jesus as my personal savior for more than 30 of those years.  I know some of you will dispute that but I very clearly remember making the decision to follow Christ and my life since that point has been dedicated to doing just that.  That is not to say that I have not walked through hard times in my faith, that is not to say it has always been easy, that is not to say that there haven't been times where I have been so angry at God that I wished, for a moment, I could just walk away.  But once you have tasted the all encompassing grace and love of God there is just no going back.
I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly in the church.  I have seen the extremes.  I have been discipled by great men and women of God.  I have been hurt deeply by others ,claiming to be women and men of God, who used their influence to lead people astray.  A friend of mine says she has an unreasonable love for the church because only an unreasonable love could withstand all that she has seen.  I can't say it any better myself, so I will steal her quote: I have an unreasonable love for the church. Because of all I have seen and experienced, within my Christian walk, I also have a deep love for sound doctrine.  I believe the Bible, ALL OF IT, is the inspired, infallible Word of God.  Though I ,by no means, claim a full and complete understanding of it, I do believe that best way to deepen your relationship and understanding of God , is by reading and studying what He has to say.  And this leads me to the topic of the day.
 I am very concerned, actually beyond concerned, by a trend that is prevalent within Christians today.  This is not a commentary on any one particular church.  There are many sound Biblically sound churches out there.  This refers to the over arching Church.  The Big C church if you will.
II Timothy 4:3 says this "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;but wanting to have their ears tickled they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires." NASB
Over that past few weeks, my heart has been broken.  I have had several discussions in which people refuted Scripture using the words of their favorite author or speaker.  When asked to back up their stance Biblically, I am again given more pop theology with no Biblical reference. I have been told flat out that we don't need to know doctrine or even to know the Scripture because the love of Christ is ALL that matters.  Let me be clear right here and now.  Christ love, mercy and grace are the lynch pins of my soul.  They have saved my soul, surrounded me as the storms of life beat against me.  God's love is deeper than I can comprehend or imagine.  I am NOTHING save for the grace of God.
That being said it is imperative as Christian's that we know Scripture. The God of the entire universe, the God beyond time, The Almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth, took the time to give us His inspired words on everything from how the earth came into being to how we should discipline our children.  Any question that we have about our lives is answered between Genesis and Revelation.  The Bible is more than a book.  It is the Word of God.  It will speak to you where you are at.  It will bring peace, healing, understanding, and yes, even conviction.
Hebrews 4:12 says " For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword.  It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and the attitudes of the heart." NIV
  The scripture is also called the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:14-17).  A sword is a weapon that takes training and practice to learn to use.  You don't go to sleep one night having never used a sword but thinking "Hmm I think I would like to be a master swordsman" and wake up the next day ready to cross swords with The Dread Pirate Roberts (sorry a nod to the Princess Bride was inevitable at some point of the blog...I can promise there will be others;)  The same is true of Scripture.  We have to take the time to study it, to meditate on it, to memorize it.  The Word of God is referred to as a  fire in the bones (Jeremiah 20:9), a seed (Mathew 13:3-8), and a mirror (James 1:22-25)....and these are just a few of the references to the way Scripture interacts with our daily lives!!
I want to close with one of my favorite passages of Scripture.
Isaiah 55:10-11
For as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth 
and make it bring forth and bud,
that it may give seed to the sower
and bread to the eater,
So Shall My Word that goes forth from My mouth; 
It shall not return to Me void
But it shall accomplish what I please,
 and it shall prosper the thing for which I sent it
Dear friends, it is not my intention to use this blog to be preachy or be judgmental but this has been burning like a fire within me for weeks.  You don't have to agree  with my interpretation of scripture but PLEASE find out for yourself why you don't.  Dig into the word.   Five minute devotionals, the book from your favorite Christian author or that quote from your favorite speaker can not replace the deepening of your relationship with God by studying His Words for yourself!!!  This is my prayer for all of us.  This is my hearts cry.  Thanks for reading through.  I love each and everyone of you.-Kristine

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