And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Monday, February 28, 2011

YES.....My Plan Worked!!!!!

I knew I could get you to smile.

Hope your day is happy.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nate...Looking Back and Moving Forward......

The purpose of my blog is to connect with others. I have never intended for my blog to revolve around Nate's autism and the daily struggles and triumphs that we face together as a family. 

Having said that...I do have a child with autism...a sweet beautiful child might I add...and perhaps there are friends or family who are wondering how Nate is doing. And maybe...just maybe there is a mom out there reading my blog who can relate.

I don't know what it is, but there is an instant connection I have to another mom who has a child with special needs and I don't mean just autism. We don't need each other to feel sorry for one another, that's not what I am talking about. I mean looking someone in the eye and just knowing that they get it.

Ok, I'm rambling..sorry, back to Nate. In this first picture, (isn't he a doll), he was 21/2 and basically non-verbal. He had a few words in his vocabulary, but not quite there on the whole communicating with words thing. In this picture he is using sign language....he is signing the word for water. Nate loves water and we stopped along a riverbank during a bike ride one afternoon. He was so excited and so happy to be there at that very moment. He loved throwing rocks in any body of water. Back then rocks and water were his thing...and we didn't quite know why.


Jared and I were so excited that he was signing....tears would come to my eyes when he would say something with his hands. He would get so frustrated and we related it to his lack of communication skills. He was seeing a speech and language pathologist at the time. It was a slow but rewarding process and Nate began to say words. Right now at age 5 he can talk in sentences and is on the verge of being able to carry on a short conversation.

Nate has always been very hard to describe. Jared and I would tell people that you just have to experience Nate...and you would never forget him.  We went through years of major behavior concerns...from screaming fits of rage, throwing things, spitting, hitting and biting.....over the most trivial things and we had no clue why. We just knew there was something going on with our son. 

I would cry.....all the time....I just didn't know how to help him. My heart was sick for my son...I physically ached when I watched his struggles. (To this day it is still one of the saddest things for me to experience Nate losing self control) I prayed fervently to God everyday....some days in desperation..."Lord please help us...please help my son."

God is so good....let me just say that again....God is so good. Not because we were able to get some answers to why Nate was going through what he was.....but realizing that through it all God was at work during every moment.  And let me just say that I not implying in any way that every moment was difficult and a struggle. We have a multitude of beautiful memories of these beginning years as well.

As Nate matured so did his communication skills, and we were always working on coping methods for his emotions and how to have self control....(we still are). But something amazing was like God flicked on a switch in me. I stopped focusing on Nate's struggles and really started to pay attention to what made Nate tick and really tried to get in tune with him. I focused on his strengths as a person and was blown away.

Just to name a few of Nate's strengths....he is very funny, a whiz at puzzles, is on the verge of reading independently, loves to draw, loves music and has amazing rhythm, is an architect when it comes to lincoln logs, computer savvy,  loves to exercise and is a great brother to Noah, Lauren and Luke, is very affectionate and loving....I could go on.
 This post was way longer than I ever intended....sorry.  And there is so much more to say...but I will end with this. I love my son more than words can describe. I will be his encourager, his prayer warrior, his tear wiper, his exercise partner.....I will never give up on him.

I love all 4 of my lovies deeply and feel abundantly blessed. I am forever grateful for my amazing best friend...the person God chose for me to travel along side on this journey of life. There will be many challenges on the road ahead I am sure.....and because of God and His amazing grace and love....I am up for the challenge.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Lauren.....

 Two years ago on this very day God blessed our family with a very special little girl.  Lauren, you have brought our family more joy than words could express. I want to take this moment to share some things about you......things that make mama smile..... wear a bow in your hair everyday, (we call it a hair pretty) are a total Daddy's girl (and he rubs it in all of the time) love for us to compliment you after you get dressed love to dance and lately I have been hearing your sweet voice singing like to wear everyone else's shoes love to be read to and love books in general prefer milk as your drink of choice say, "it's soooo good" while making the most adorable face love to "do school" just like your big brothers sleep in a toddler bed that is pushed up against your Daddy's side of the bed are a combination of sweet and sassy remind us to pray like to talk on the phone call your baby brother Luke "Wookie" love to help mama clean (folding laundry and sweeping the kitchen) love to wear necklaces have a little pink silky bear that you call "Bo", and a fluffy brown dog that you call "Woof" and you never go to bed without either of them still use a nucki and we are always losing them love to play with your baby dolls have recently started watching Care Bear movies and also Toy Story 3 love your big brothers and like to cuddle with them love to draw (mostly different size circles) call your Aunt Nikki "Picky Nicky" after your favorite book have to have your "own" Bible during our family devotions have the biggest blue eyes have the cutest giggle and are very ticklish make us laugh everyday remind us of God's blessings every time we look at your sweet face

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Luke is........

 .....happy most of the time
.....a bit curious about pretty much everything he sees
.....sometimes sensitive (especially when his mama leaves the room)
.....always interested in watching those around him
.....sometimes acts shy when you talk to him (which is super cute) a bit chubby and oh so squeezable

.....bringing joy to everyone he touches
.....melting every heart when he gives that smile (especially his mama's )

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A New Day......

I said goodbye to year 32.....and hello to year 33 a couple of days ago

My day was warmly celebrated with my lovies and my sweet husband....

Jared and my lovies took me out to dinner....which meant no cooking...which meant no dishes.....which made this mama a happy mama.
Nate waited all day to bake me a cake....then finally he and I whipped up a yummy yellow cake with chocolate favorite....Nate loves to bake...or he just loves to lick the spoon....maybe a little bit of both. {grin}
Noah got $23 out of his transformer wallet and insisted that I take it...a gift for me on my birthday. He was so sweet, and kept saying that I better not put it back in his wallet. 

Lauren repeated throughout the afternoon, "Happy Day Mama" Enough to melt this mama's heart.

Luke enjoyed licking the chocolate icing off of my fork...then I enjoyed licking the chocolate icing off of his face. 
In our family it is tradition that we sing Happy Birthday to the person who's birthday it is (obviously), but then we relight the candles and do it again 5 more times....singing and all. Everyone likes to have a turn blowing out the candles. Jared and I smile at each other the whole time....our kids always crack us up.
Since we will be moving to a completely new part of the country this summer....Jared got me the perfect gift....a Tom Tom. No more road adventures for me....let me just say that I am not known for a keen sense of direction.
I am very thankful for this past year. A lot of uncertainty surrounded us at times....but God completely provided abundantly for our family. Despite the moments of doubt and worry,  God's grace flowed over us and helped us to trust in Him. 

Life right now is slow paced....just the way I like it...and I am enjoying every precious moment. Being with my beautiful lovies and my sweet husband is such a gift....but a gift even  better than my family is the amazing gift God has given me in His Son. 


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Flour" Power

 So I read about using flour to help kids practice writing their letters....a fun and easy activity that they would enjoy. This is true.  However.....I did not completely take into consideration the ramifications of the outcome with my children. 

Not known for their neatness what-so-ever....ok they're messy I admit it.... I didn't fully think this through before letting them just go to town with the whole flour thing. I had in my mind that this would be a quiet, neat, educational activity.

Let's just say that mama's clean up time was just a little lengthy 45 min. job. Not just the kitchen but also tiny white foot prints all through the hardwood in the house. not one of my most genius moments.

I will say though that the kids really did have a great time. Lots of laughter....which I am all about activities that my lovies have a good time together. 

Although my clean up time was way more than I would have liked it to have was all in the name of fun....and what's wrong with a little bit of that! 

Oh and at least there was some letter writing going I can count this as part of our homeschool......right? {grin}

Monday, February 14, 2011

Granola Boy......

Homemade granola fresh out of the oven.  My handsome assistant Noah helped me make it. He even gave some ideas about what we should add. I absolutely love the aroma that fills the house.
The granola doesn't last long around here. Jared and Noah devour it rather quickly. Eating it in a bowl of milk as cereal is their favorite way to enjoy it. I prefer it loose as a snack or I sprinkle it in my each his own.
After a day or two, another batch needs to be made. Perhaps it may have something to do with the mini chocolate chips I add once it has cooled. Ah yes...we are chocolate lovers in this house....and proud of it. {grin}

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Beautiful Winter.....

Just the other morning we woke to this beautiful display of winter. The view was breathtaking wherever my eyes traveled. Pure white snow on really was a sight. These photos do not do God's handiwork justice. 

As I slowly walked around our house, just taking it all in, all this hit me that this would be our last winter living in New England. After that realization, I took my time breathing in the cool air. 

God has allowed my eyes to experience many beautiful moments, and this was one of them, and I am forever grateful to have captured good as I could have with my camera. So many memories of living up here flood my mind that I will never forget.

I am looking forward to the flowers in a few months....and I think I will take my time breathing in the Spring air. Of course I will have my camera around my neck capturing what will only be a memory of our lives here in New England.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Little Bruce.....

Jared and I were looking at photos of our sweet little girl and when we came to this one we both thought the same thing......she looks very much like her Pap Pap Bruce in this picture. I'm sure anyone who knows Bruce would totally agree. And Bruce I know you are reading this.....good thing you are cute!
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