You are safe, I am here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

As my husband walked in after a long day of work. I saw his face, his body stiff like it gets when he is too over stimulated. The stress starts to buckle up and snap all his limbs into one stiff position. That the only way for him to loosen them is too collapse on the floor in the fetal position.

I’ve been here with him like this, more times than I can count. Before, I would beg to find the answer. Why? I always asked him. Why? What's wrong, what happened? Then I’d get mad and scream, Snap out it! Everything is fine! Pull yourself together.

Now, it's different. I might not understand why or even have an answer to why it happens but now, now I get it that he can’t control it. Its funny to me that, it took me having a son with autism the same issues undiagnosed I’ve dealt with from my husband to realized that of course Cody as autism too.

As he walked in the house, the dogs, kids rushed up and screamed, laughed and wanted to celebrate his arrival but they were meet with hostility. He stiffened and held his hands to his ears.That was my first sign, I quickly jumped up and shuttled them all away knowing that this was indeed a “red” moment. We learned with going to therapy for Gunner’s autism that to help him understand where he's at emotionally we use a scale. Yellow for “just fine” Green for “starting to go” Red for “Extreme uncontrollable emotions.”

I now use this with Cody. It helps me to understand where he is at and it helps him to have something to focus on and know that he might not be in control now, but he could be.

As I shuttled the kids away and put the dogs outside. I told Wyatt the oldest. “Dad’s at a red. I need you to distracted the littles.” He jumps up just like I did. (I wish that I wouldn't have to have him help me when we get into these moments but I believe strongly that it helps him understand his brother more as well as his dad.) Wyatt rounds up the littles and heads to the other room distracting them with play. I walk into my bedroom to see him already naked on the floor, rocking back and forth. I worry that I am too late.

I sit down next to him. Quite. I wrapped my arms tightly around his stiff naked body and breath. Careful, to not breathe to fast or too slow. I let him rock me as he rocks himself and I repeat slowly, “You are safe. I got you.” “You’re in a safe place. I’m not letting you go.” Over and over I say these words. Trying so hard to keep my emotions out of it. I swallow my tears and push my fears away because this is not the time for them.

Minutes pass as we rock back and forth on the floor. Sometimes he’d hit himself in the face and I’d have to hold on tighter and say louder “You are safe, you are safe. I am here…” over and over. I grabbed his thick blanket I made him and throw it over his now cold naked body. Pressing my body up against his so he could feel that I was there with him.

The rocking finally starts to slow. I can hear the kids running around destroying the house and I can imagine the pleas Wyatt is thinking as he is the one in charge. But I can’t let that stop me from being here with Cody. I use too. I use to leave Cody alone, frighten. Unable to control himself. I can’t do that anymore.

Abruptly, he stops. Throws the blanket off him and heads into our master bath and gets into the shower. I leave without saying anything, shut the door behind me. Wyatt and I scramble to pick up the house that the littles destroyed in the last half hour because we know that anything right now could put him back into a red again and we don’t want that to happen.

He finishes his shower, heads out in the living room, picks up the littles, throws them in the air. Just as he would, if it was not a red day. Together, we put the kids into the bath, and put them in their jammies. He tucks them in, like any other night. I don’t mention his episode. If this was a few years ago I would have. I would have demanded to know the Why and not let it go until I had some reason for it. But tonight, as I see him tucking in the kids and as he kisses Gunner our autistic son goodnight. Gunner squirms away from his touch.

We look at each other with the understand that although tonight was a red night we actually both were able to let it go. I sigh, kiss him, he squirms just like Gunner and I think, well that went well.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling

(Cody and Gunner taking his motocylce out of our garage for the spring.)

Its been a minute

Monday, February 27, 2017

Hey.

It’s been a minute. Or months, almost a year that this space has sat, waiting for me to come and fill it with all the joy, sorrow and everything in between that we’ve experienced. But instead it just sits and collects dust. It’s not that I don’t want to fill its screen with all the thoughts and pain and joy that we’ve lived it just gets forgotten.

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The same goes for my camera. It sits dusty on a forgotten shelve next to book I one day will read. All the while our lives keep moving with no stop in sight.

Andalyn or Annie as we call her, is now one. She is a feisty little thing. She has a demanding voice that carries. She can hold a room’s attention with just one look into her eyes and she knows it. She is powerful, intense sweet and so damn smart.

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Gunner, is three. Officially diagnosed with Autism, sensory processing disorder and Speech Apraxia. But regardless of those titles he is one smart kid, the light in the room. He is so damn funny that you cannot help but smile when you are around him. He can move like a real life gorilla. Knuckles to the floor and all. It’s amazing! That if he ever does stop, I will be very sad to see the gorilla go.

He is starting to speak a whole lot better and now just doesn’t shut up. He can now be without headphones in loud settings. Which is amazing. We still struggle with understanding how to handle his Autism but I think we are way further ahead than we use to be. So that in its self is an accomplishment.

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Wyatt, is eight now. He is so creative. He will spend hours on end creating something out of nothing. I find more paper drawn on, more things cut up and more dried out glue sticks in his room then I’d like to admit. He taught himself how to finger knit yesterday. He weaves like a pro and is just such an artist.

He is crazy smart too. Reading on a fourth grade level and high level in math. He loves to be in the known. Including with what is going on in the world. He takes everything to heart and we’ve learned that he has bad anxiety. So we are working on that with him. But he is just the sweetest, quietest boy I know. We call him quiet Wyatt because he doesn’t speak louder than a whisper.

Cody and I, well, we are still hanging in there. Cody, we’ve discovered also has autism like Gunner. So that has been helpful for me. It’s not really help Cody to know that quite yet he still struggles. But I am learning to me more open minded on things that I always questioned. Which has helped out relationship a bit. We still struggle though. But we struggle deep in love with each other.

It makes me hopeful to how Gunner will be in life. That he too, will be able to find someone to love and have a family if he so wishes.

Me, I love my job and the students I teach. I would say, that I no longer stress like I use too about work. I have more time to focus my energy on myself more than I ever did before. Because of this I have discovered a new love which is sewing, dolls to be exact. And actually I am going to be launching my first ever Esty shop in the next couple of weeks. Which is exciting and scary.

I hope to come back to this space more because everytime I do, I thoroughly enjoy myself.

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It was bad. Bath worthy bad.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Last night took forever for it to change into morning. Cody and I found ourselves waking up every hour last night and both being surprised that it has yet to move on to another hour. But before we get into that let me back up here for a moment so that you can see why the night needed to quickly move on.

 We spent the evening at a restaurant with the kids. We ate the delicious food, tasting what each one order, talked quietly about nothing and just plain adore each other’s company.
We then drove to target, tossed the kids into the shopping cart, threw in the cart some amazing light up bouncing balls that we just had to have, found in dollar bin area all the while shopping for our upcoming family vacation to Zions.

We get home, to only discovered that Annie had the biggest poop blow out that you ever did see. It was everywhere, all over her flower leggings, all over her car seat, dripping down her legs when I picked her up.

It was bad. Bath worthy bad.

Of course we get home right at bedtime. So we all are rushing to brush teeth, getting Wyatt’s backpack ready for school the next day, put jammies on, find blankets, teddy bears and getting the millionth drink of water before daddy flies the boys like airplanes to bed for the night.

I of course am still dealing with the bath worthy poop of Annie’s. I finally get her cleaned, dressed and I throw her dirty clothes on top of the washer telling myself that I will put them in when I am done. (Which I still have yet to do.) By this time, she is so tired mad that she won’t even latch on to feed. She’s screaming her lungs out and I can’t get her settled.

At this point Cody and I have to take turns bouncing her. An hour later, she finally settles. Now at the same time she’s fussy Bella the dog is whining because earlier in the day she thought it would be a fantastic idea to eat my shoe laces. Now her tummy hurts.

So we are letting her in and out and then in and then out. We are hoping, crossing our fingers that the boys don’t wake up with all this commotion.

It turns midnight, finally. Bella is still outside, Annie is finally asleep and it’s our bedtime. I softly lay Annie in her basinet as Cody let’s Bella back in. We finally lay down and are quickly asleep.

Annie wakes up which is unlike her to feed. I look at the clock its only 1am. I feed her and fall back asleep. Then Bella starts to whine again, Cody gets up and takes her out. Its only 1:15am. We fall back asleep. Bella whines to come in, we wake up, I put Annie in her basinet and Cody lets Bella back in. Its 1:30am. We say to each other how is it is still 1 in the morning? We fall back asleep.

Bella whines wakes Annie. We decide to leave Bella outside for a few hours (we set an alarm.) I get Annie and feed her again. It’s now 2am. We fall back asleep.

3am rolls around, I get a tap tap tap on my knee. I wake up its Wyatt he has had a bad dream and I realize that I am somehow still feed Annie.He climbs into our bed. We fall asleep again.

The alarm goes off to let Bella back in. It’s now 4am. Cody goes and gets her, I wake Wyatt and tell him that Dad will tuck him back into his bed. I still am somehow nursing Annie.
Wyatt gets out of our bed goes with Cody. I unattached Annie from my breast and put her back into her bed. Its 4:30am.

Cody comes back to bed, Bella too. We fall asleep again. It’s now 5am.
6am rolls around, Annie cries to feed again which is unlike her. I get up, get her again somehow and nurse her while I fall back to sleep.

My alarm goes off its 7am. Time to officially wake up. I hand Annie who’s still asleep to Cody to have him hold her in our bed, get up and make breakfast, tired.

Sometimes, parenthood is full of nights that move too slowly only to leave you feeling unrested but I know that one day I will miss the middle of the nights nursing a little baby. And the times, that the only way my kids will feel better after a bad dream is to come cuddle with me in my bed. So I’ll take these long tired nights over any well-rested night, every time.


And they called her Shamrock

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I never use to be a dog person. We had a ton of different dogs when I was growing up and they always bugged me. So needy, always at your feet. You had to walk them and feed them all the time. They were never not hungry. They’d sleep on your pillows and chew up your stuff.  I never use to be a dog person, until I saw a picture of Isabella online.

There she was. A Red Healer So small with cute red freckles all over her white fur and that curly tail. I was in love. She was rescued off the side of the road in Arizona as a puppy and brought to a no kill shelter there. I stumble over her picture random on the interwebs and emailed the shelter about her without telling my husband.

I didn’t tell him because we already took a little rat (Chihuahua shih tzu mix) dog from my sister who barked all the time. He really did not make me become a dog person but there was just something about this little puppy staring back at me from the screen. I just felt like she was supposed to be in my family.

I received an email back from the shelter stating that she was available and that they had someone who was willing to drive from Arizona to Salt Lake City to bring her to us.

I don’t know how I convinced my husband that we needed her but I did. We drove to Salt Lake the following week to meet the people who brought her to us. And they called her Shamrock. I guess because in part she was lucky to be found on the side of road as a tiny puppy and was nursed back to health.

We drove her home that night and laughed as she chased the cats and ran through our whole house excited to be in her forever home. Then we named her Isabella. Or Belly button as I like to call her.

Years later, she’s still excited to be with us. She is still needy, always at my feet. I take her on walks all the time and feed her all the time. She’s never not hungry, always sneaks food off the table. Sleep on my pillows and chews up our stuff. But she made me a dog person. Because she is my dog.
So If I was reborn as a dog it would be her. She is strong, funny, caring and protects my kids like they are her own. So cuddly and has never ending love for me and my family.

And even though I had that dog bite me on Easter, I still love dogs because of my Bella.






Yesterday I forgot.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Yesterday I forgot to do the dishes, run and tidy up the house according to the productive app on my phone. But what I didn’t forget to do was be fully there with my oldest.  

After Gunner’s behavioral therapist appointment, Gunner gathered all his trucks and buses, made a parking lot on the couch and played quietly, Annie nursed and Wyatt and I talked.

Wyatt, he tends to get lost in the shuffle of the younger kids who demand more attention from Cody and I. We haven’t really been able to have a real solid conversation with each other for a really long time and few weeks ago I thought about how honestly I could not remember when we ever did. That really bothered me. So I have been more diligent about making sure to have a real one on one time set aside just for him.

I invited him to join me and my sister in our 52 week hiking challenge. Where each week we take to the mountains and hike our butts off.  Which at first he didn’t want to do but after the first hike he was hooked.



The funny about hiking is that no matter what, you have to have conversations. There is no way around it. I have learned more about him and my sister in the last three weeks than ever before.
I also see how strong he is. Sometimes while my sister and I are talking, he’ll run up ahead of us and have us time him to see how long it’ll take him to run up to a tree. I can say that I can’t do that quite yet. But I do plan on it. (He’s challenged me.)

What I have learned through hiking with him, is that he is goal orientated and way driven. He likes to be challenged. To have a goal that may not be very accessible to others but to him it is.
The other day when I was marking off tasks on my productive app he leaned over and stated that he wanted that app on his iPad because he liked that it showed how many days in a row you accomplish something and that is what he needs in his life.

So yesterday as Gunner played parking lot we loaded a task app called Swipe (since the “productive” one I used isn’t available on the iPad) entered in all the tasks that he wanted to accomplish in a day and he beamed. This is what he needed.

He put things on his list like feed the dog, read 20 mins each night, then he put things on there that I didn’t think he really cared about. Like cook dinner with mom. That surprised me.
He run around the house seeing how many tasks he could complete. Practice karate. Check. Make your bed. Check.

Then we spent the mid evening in the kitchen cooking, laughing, talking with each other that spread out into the evening that when the dishes were left in the sink and the run I needed to do so badly beeped up on my phone for me to accomplish I didn’t hesitate to skip the task.

Because I was doing that one thing that shouldn’t have been on my list of things to accomplish, spending time with my oldest.

Update: I found an even better app for him. It is called Monster Chore. It gives him rewards points for each chore that he completes and then he can use those rewards to purchase things from his dad and I. Like a trip to a museum. Plus it will beep on my phone when he actually said he did the chores so I can approve that it was done or not. I really like it



Definitely not a vacation

Saturday, April 9, 2016

It was funny, the other day Cody and I were having one of those parenting days that just are so hard. Every whine, every look, every poopy diaper had us on edge. And when both of us are in the overwhelmed state we simply cannot function.

So I said in a huff “Ugh, we seriously need a vacation.” To which he replied “You will be getting one in a month” hinting to the fact that school will be out soon and my job ends until the next school year starts.

I corrected him because I actually have 2 months left and I also stated that it won’t be a vacation. It will be more work for me. I will be the only one 100% of the time responsible for all of our kids all day, all night, no breaks, it will be me. That’s it.

He just laughs and blows it off and said something to the point of how work is stressful and I said “well work for me is my break. It is not stressful it’s the chance for me to get a mom break.”

I knew he did get it though.

He doesn’t understand the demand that mothers have. He doesn’t understand that you literally have no space. That no matter what room you are in the kids will follow you there. Talking, crying, screaming, wanting always wanting.

That you’ve picked up the house way to many times that by the time the end of the day comes, you could give a flying fuck how your house looks.

He didn’t get that until I came home from work yesterday.
Now I only work 5 hours a day but when I got home I could see it in his eyes. That same look of defeat I get some days.

He was rocking Annie who seemed to not want to settle. I could hear Gunner crying through the monitor because he wanted nothing to do with a nap and Wyatt was in the other room playing video games.

And that’s when he told me. Wyatt and Gunner kept coming into every room I was in. I was trying to get Annie to sleep and right when I would, they would come running in here and start wrestling. And no matter how many times I tell them to stop and go play somewhere else they wouldn’t listen.
So she hasn’t slept all day.

Then I said “see, it’s no vacation huh?” as I snatch up Annie, who settled quickly. Walked out of the room so he could take it all in. Marinate in it.


The fact that parenthood is hard most days and most definitely not a vacation.

Alone with the baby

Friday, April 8, 2016

I was not allowed by any means to wallow in my misery after the dog bite incident. I get home after my 5 hour stay in the ER. I just received 10 stitches altogether in my arm and I chose to have no pain meds while I was in the hospital. Because one, I hate how they make me feel. Two, I could not really feel my arm/fingers anyway.

I get home, and there was my husband frazzled. Rocking the baby trying to settle her down. His mom there watching, who just got the older kids down to sleep finally. After a while she leaves and it is now him and I alone with the baby.

She’s hungry and waiting nothing more than to nurse after hours of being away from me. And he is so far beyond his stress level that he was nonfunctioning. I in a huff told him to just go to bed and hand me the crying baby.

That’s when I realized I was on my own.

There would not be anyone else that could be the mom in this family. No one else that could nurse Annie. No one else to calm down my husband. No one else to comfort the boys back to sleep the way I do. No one else that knows their special lullabies to help them feel better.

I was it.

So painfully and alone I figured out a way to hold Andalyn on my breast and pinch my nipple the certain way she likes with my nonworking fingers so she’d actually eat.
I rocked and cried, rocked and cried some more because I didn’t ask for this. I never wanted this.

An hour later, Gunner wandered down stairs crying and I call threw my tears still rocking and nursing Annie for my husband who rushes out into the living room in his half slept mind to snatch him up.

He wakes a little more to see me crying and asks what’s wrong. All I can think is I just got bit by a dog asshole and I am still up with the baby what do you think is wrong?
Instead I mumble through my tears, I just hurt.

He goes to the medicine cabinet and gets an ibuprofen and pops it into my mouth and gives me a drink of water.  

Picks up Gunner again who's still crying and starts to rock him.

I look over at him in his rocking chair and I in mine as we cuddle the kids and I knew at that moment that I am not really alone in this because he is a dad too.


The only dad this family has.