How to be Overwhelmed.

I haven’t been on here in a while because I’m the victim of an overwhelming life.

I’ve gone back to school to get my Bachelor’s of English. It’s online school and it’s consuming all my time, that is all my time that isn’t taken up with two part-time jobs, the usual housework, and then there’s autism….

My son is 13 now. He’s been getting steadily more aggressive the older he gets, not out of malice, but because of the normal teenager stuff. Mood swings, rages, defiance, it’s all there. Unfortunately it gets dangerous. I am at my wits end trying to figure out what to do. My husband is home now, but he’s only here when he’s off work. Lately the situation with our son has started interfering with his job and mine.

So until life is somehow brought under control….I don’t know when I’ll be able to post.

Keep praying..hoping…anything… We need all the help we can get.

Absence and Changes

I apologize for the long absence. Life has been difficult lately.

Still can’t seem to get school under control. My senior is still struggling to get sorted with Personalized Learning. The constant changes and rearranges the school has been implementing has put her in a state of mind where she couldn’t care less if she goes to school any more. That is a terrible place to be especially for a senior, they tend to be biting at the bit to get out of school anyway. Some of her classmates are doing alright, but there have been quite a few kids who have transferred to other schools and a couple that have dropped out. It’s a sad state for education.

My son isn’t having  a much better time either. They finally found an aide, but because of things being unsettled he had a couple of dangerous meltdowns. So now he has two aides. However, things remain unsettled. The school can’t decide what they are doing and hovering around the whole mess is this sense of secrecy. No one is communicating. I keep hearing, “there are going to be changes, but no one is telling us” and “we’re not allowed to talk to you.” That is the part I really don’t get. Why can’t anyone talk to me? I’m his freaking parent! He doesn’t communicate well because of his autism, the only way I know what is going on with him is if someone tells me. Why make a hard situation harder?

It breaks my heart that my son can be in a perfectly good mood all morning, walk to school happily, then walk through the door of the school and immediately start hitting himself in the head and poking himself in they eye. Nothing happened. No trigger besides walking through the door. What does that tell you about the environment at school?

However there is a light in this dark tunnel.

Because of the big heart of one of our neighbors, my husband has been hooked up with a local job.  It’s one of those “I know a guy who knows a guy” situations. Long story short. My husband is home! He starts at his new job this coming week. It’s going to be different. He’s been working in the wind industry for nearly a decade and he’s going to miss it, but as he keeps saying “family first.” Autism, puberty, and stress at home make it necessary to change.

I am stupidly excited about him being home, but I’m also apprehensive. He’s been on the road for nearly 5 years and we’ve only seen each other 8 times a year in all that time. We’re going to have to learn to live together all over again. I almost want to put out my hand and say, “hi nice to meet you.” Routines are going to have to adjust and space with have to be shared.  I know that I’m going to have to learn to give up a lot of control. I’ve been mom and dad for quite a while now. It’s going to be quite an adjustment for all of us.

Hopefully with someone to share the stress with I’ll be able to get back to writing and maybe start feeling like a human again.

Happy Birthday to my Son!

He’s 12 years old now. It seems hard to believe. 12 years of struggling and fighting to get to this point. It seems longer and yet it doesn’t seem that long at all.  I guess that’s normal. Most parents feel that way. I guess it’s different because it’s been 12 years of Autism.

Life is not easy when you have Autism in your life. Whether you are a parent of or are the autistic person, challenges abound. Let me give you an idea.

It’s been 12 years of communication issues. Sometimes he’s been unable to communicate at all, sometimes he can get across what he wants after a lot of effort. Sometimes it causes so much frustration that he becomes violent.  Sometime we have the same conversation hundreds of times a day.

It’s been 12 years of health issues.  RSV virus, Jaundice, ear infections every few months, dental problems, bruises and bite marks, behavioral issues, attention problems, sleep disturbances and allergies.

It’s been 12 years of sleeping issues. The first six years of sleeping in our bed because of night terrors, then the next six years of sleeping in his own bed but getting up multiple times every night, which means that I’ve slept on his floor more hours than I can count.

It’s been years of violent outburst and broken things. We’ve had to replace a TV, several chairs, and now a window. There are holes in the walls, a lot of broken toys, and quite a few rips in our clothes.

And yet through all this, he has grown and started to thrive. He has friends who adore him. Everyone in town seems to know his name and they always say hi to him. He reads, he writes albeit both really slowly and with difficulty. He loves to tell jokes. He laughs and plays. He knows what he likes and isn’t afraid to tell you. He loves to help around the house and help in the yard.  Although he is usually terrified of new things, he loves an adventure. He’s terrified of storms but can’t wait for them either. He loves amusement park rides even though the surroundings overwhelm him. Animals love him although he is usually scared of them. He’s growing into a relatively well rounded young man.

I know that we have a really long way to go and not all of it is going to be positive. Sometimes every day is a struggle, but I look at how far we’ve come and I couldn’t be more proud of my son. He’s overcome so much to be the wonderful 12 year old that he is today.

Happy Birthday, Bubba!

Lost My Way

I want to apologize for my absence. Life has attacked from all directions lately and I was overwhelmed.

We had a bad bout of troubles around here including unemployment, legal issues, financial problems and hospital stays. The stress consumed us and I pretty much went into emergency mode where I only focused on survival.

Things seem to be leveling out, not quite sorted out, but at least manageable. I hope to get back on track here soon. Thankfully, a reader on Wattpad contacted me and let me know how much they loved my novels on there and it really helped pull me out of the mire. I feel like I’ve taken my first breath in months.

I will try and get my act together and get sorted out, please be patient with me.

Thanks,

Adriana

Autism and Wandering

One of the things about having a child with Autism is that they have a tendency to wander. It may be because they don’t realized they shouldn’t and they are in their own little world or it may be that they run from something they are scared of. What ever the reason, it scares the crap out of us parents.

My son has disappeared a couple of times on us while out in public and he has wandered off from grandma’s house and home. I can’t tell you how terrified we were. I live in constant fear that one day he will slip out and we won’t find him. Luckily we live in a town where almost everyone knows my son, but what if….

The lovely people from Quality Life Concepts, our family support, turned me onto the BIG RED SAFETY BOX.

It is put out by the National Autism Association. Which is great resource by the way.

I signed up and donated $10 and they sent me the Big Red Safety Box. In it there was  lots of handy stuff.

NAA’s Big Red Safety Box includes the following resources:
1) Our Be REDy Booklet containing the following educational materials and tools:
A caregiver checklist
A Family Wandering Emergency Plan
A first-responder profile form
A wandering-prevention brochure
A sample IEP Letter
A Student Profile Form
Emotion Identification Cards
Wandering Quick Tips
2) Two (2) GE Wireless Door/Window Alarms with batteries
3) One (1) MedicAlert Bracelet or Pendant, and One (1) Shoe ID tag*
4) Five (5) Adhesive Stop Sign Visual Prompts for doors and windows
5) Two (2) Safety Alert Window Clings for car or home windows
6) One (1) Red Safety Alert Wristband
7) One (1) Child ID Kit from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Sometimes help is actually available. You just need to know where to look.

A little landscaping can go a long way

My front flower bed looks like this. Lots of weeds. Some wild daisies. A clematis with a fear of heights. And lost of cat poop.

Let’s face it, I suck at gardening. My attempt at landscaping was a little plastic fence, shoveling out the cat poop, and digging up the dandelions when they showed up. Not a pretty sight.

Enter my wonderful husband.

He came home for R&R from work and decided to sort it out. He worked all day in the sun, happily I might add. (I die in the sun, but he loves it. ) He dug up all the weeds. Removed all the cat poop. Found a trellis for my poor clematis and tamed the crazy daisies. We had a bunch of stepping stones buried all over the back yard from the previous owner’s garden design. He dug them up and hauled them to the front of the house. He arranged them and then went and got some of those lava rocks and the white sparkly rocks.  After some artful scattering and a bit of rearrangement of some driftwood that was laying around.

POOF!

 I have a very pretty front flower bed.

I don’t know what I’d do without my wonderful husband.

Taco Pizza Pocket Recipe

I wanted tacos but I didn’t want the tortilla. I wanted bready stuff. One of those weird cravings, you know. So, I made up a weird version of tacos.

Ingredients:

Chopped tomato                     ground beef

                chopped bell pepper              taco seasoning

       chopped onion                        shredded cheese

pizza dough

Cook up the ground beef until brown, throw in the onions, let them cook for a bit, then add the bell pepper.Cook just a little longer then add the tomatoes. Add taco seasoning until it tastes right. (I used a big can and kept shaking, but I’m sure a packet would be about the right amount. I didn’t really measure anything, was in a ‘seat of my pants’ mood.)

Grease a cookie sheet, spread out the pizza dough. (I used the Pillsbury pizza dough in a tube.) Spread out the above mixture in the center of the dough.

Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Fold it over and press the seams closed. Bake at 375 degrees until it’s browned. 

Sprinkle with cheese again and put it back in until it’s melted. 

And wallah! Taco Pizza Pocket. Good hot and cold! 

I was thinking that next time I might try and add some refried beans under the meat mixture to make it a little more like a burrito. We’ll see.

Pull Apart Bread Baking Fail

Pull Apart Bread or as some call it Monkey Bread or as we call it in my family Coffee Cake.

It is basically flavored bread that comes apart in chunks. There are a million versions of pull apart bread. Some are savory and some are sweet. In my family it is always sweet. As a child I never understood why we called it Coffee Cake because there was no coffee in it, but now I understand that it is because you have it with your coffee.

The recipe is simple.

Frozen bread dough, thawed.

Melted butter

Cinnamon and Sugar

Cut dough into small pieces. Dip in melted butter. Roll in cinnamon and sugar. Layer pieces in pan, let rise. Cook at 325 degrees.

Seems like an easy thing to make, and it is. Unless you’re me.

I thought it would be nice to make it and have it ready for breakfast in the morning, but I didn’t take into account that I was tired and my day had gone badly already. (By the way this combination always curses any attempt at baking.) I had already thawed out the bread dough and was committed to making it regardless of the imminent doom I knew was coming.

I started it after dinner. I cut the dough into chunks and melted the butter. Normally we use a fluted pan but I have had success with just using small 8 x 8 pans. So I used the small pans. I was zipping through the pile of dough filling the pans easily. No problems so far. I had divided the dough between two pans. Once they were full, I set them aside and covered them so they could rise.

In the meantime, I started my son on his nighttime routine. While he was in the bath I checked the pans and they looked ready for baking. I slid them in the oven and went back to check on my son. I had it all timed so that the bread would be done before he was ready for bed. Or so I thought.

For some reason the bread dough went through a growth spurt while in the oven, but only the outside edges. The middle stayed where it was but the outside overflowed and started dropping like doughy rain onto the bottom of the oven. Smoke started to fill the house as the sugar coating caught fire.

I turned on the extractor fan above the stove and opened the oven. Using a silicon ended tongs I removed the charred chunks of bread. They were like black rocks. I could have used them as sling shot ammo. I checked the bread and the outside was done. Nice hollow sound when I tapped on it. I thought they were done. Hahahaha, no.

The inside was completely doughy. This had never happened before. I wasn’t sure what to do. I couldn’t very well tear it apart and cook the inside as the outside. I took a cookie sheet and flipped the pans upside down on the trays. I figured it they were going to cook weird then I might as well go all out. Another 20 minutes and another round of smoke from the bits of butter and sugar that had already fallen filled the house. I opened the window too this time although that is not the greatest idea during winter in Montana. However, the bread was finally not raw on the inside.

It wasn’t pretty but it was edible. It actually tasted amazing. So even though I totally failed, I succeeded because it’s not the looks its the taste that’s important.

What Happens When Mom Gets Sick?

super_mom_019

What happens when Mom gets sick? Same thing as everyday. She gets up and takes care of the same things she always does. There are no sick days or breaks. There is only the normal routine but doing it feeling terrible.

But what happens when it’s more than just sick? What happens when you really need to be out for the count?

I recently broke a tooth. It had a crack and I knew that it was going to go someday, but I chose to ignore it. Not just because I am Mom, but because I am terrified of Dentists. I don’t just mean kind of nervous. I mean full blown shaking and hyperventilating, with crying and throwing up kind of terrified. I don’t know why exactly. Something in my childhood probably. I have blanked out every visit to the dentist I’ve ever had. I used to be able to handle going. I was scared but not too bad. Then as the years progressed it’s gotten worse. Last time I went, I had to take a Valium before going and one again while I was there. But this time, it was the worst.

I went in to have them see what was going on with my tooth. I almost ran out of the waiting room. When I did get back to the actual room, I started to shake. I made it almost through the X-ray before starting to cry and hyperventilate. I never made it to the actual examination. I freaked out completely and they told me they would have to sedate me to do anything. That involved a “trial run” of the sedation because I react strangely to drugs.

For most people this wouldn’t be a big thing. They just get a family member to help and all is good. I, however, have a complicated life. First of all the only family that is around here is my kids. Granted my daughter is 17 and she could help me but I didn’t want to put the whole thing on her shoulders. Not only watching me but having to take care of her autistic brother at the same time.  My husband would be the logical choice. I would have to make the appointment for when he was going to be home,  but he works away from home for 6 weeks at a time. That kind of made it hard to schedule.

Eventually, I got the appointment and we went in for the work. I was praying for them to do the work if the sedation worked so I didn’t have to wait another six weeks for the next appointment. Thank God they did. My face is sore but the work is done. I’m not really sure what they did. I guess I have a crown, whatever that means. (Like I said I blank out any dentist appointments. )

Good thing my husband was there. I was at the dentist from 7 am until 2:30 pm then went home and slept until 5:30 pm. How could I have done it without him? By the evening, everyone’s tempers were getting short because my son was being difficult. He didn’t understand why mom wasn’t there. Mom is the one constant in his life. Mom is never gone or sick. He wasn’t completely awful, but he didn’t handle it well either.

No one really realized how important Mom is until Mom goes down. I’m not saying that Dad isn’t important because he is. I’m just saying that families rely heavily on Mom always being there and always being functional. It is hard on everyone when Mom goes down. SO go and hug your mom and tell her you appreciate her then give her a day off. You will all be better for it. Kind of like an emergency preparedness drill.