Friday, October 31, 2008

Flashback Friday-Happy Halloween!!

Excitement fills the air this Halloween morning! Kaylen is so excited about Halloween this year that she is about to burst!! I don't remember her being this excited last year, but maybe I've just forgotten. Last year Kaylen wore an adorable witch costume hand made by Grandma, and Avery went as her lucky black cat! (A costume I threw together at the last minute, literally, because Avery had outgrown the Ladybug costume she was supposed to wear!)

When Kaylen first saw Avery in "costume" last year, she exclaimed, "I'm being a cat next year!!" I assumed she would forget, but when we started talking about costumes this fall, sure enough, a black cat was still on the list. Well. . . right behind Hannah Montanna and Sharpay (from High School Musical), I nixed those ideas, and we came up with an adorable girly black cat costume on our own! (A little more involved than Avery's drawn on whiskers and felt ears glued to a headband at 5:00 p.m. on Halloween night!)

Here they are last year!

This afternoon I get to help out with Kaylen's First Grade fall party which I always look forward to! I have Poltergeist Pins (two liter bottles made to look like ghosts for bowling), Halloween Twister, Witches Brew and Cauldron Stew Relay Race (picking up "ingredients" i.e., construction paper cut outs of bats, witches, ghosts, etc. with a straw and blowing them into a witches cauldron), Spider Ring Toss, and Ring around the Pumpkin planned. If we have extra time I also whipped up some Halloween Bingo cards, and have a really fun guessing game called Boo Who? planned. We should be busy, busy, busy, and I know it will be a blast!

As a teacher, I used to dread "party days" because the kids show up in the morning wound for sound, and you have to try to keep them focused until the party at the end of the day. As a mom, I love these days!

Stay tuned for party pics, and this year's costumes!

Have fun tonight and BE SAFE!
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Priceless. . .

An inflatable swimming pool from the clearance aisle at Walmart . . . $1.00 (Seriously. $1.00!)

A bag of one hundred brightly colored balls. . . $9.99

This expression. . .

Priceless. . .

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Friday, October 17, 2008

33 about Me

Here are 33 random bits of Lisa Trivia. Why 33? Keep reading. . .

1. Sometimes I get up in the middle of the night and eat chocolate!
2. I am a true bargain shopper.
3. I love my girls more than life itself.
4. I don't mind being alone (for short periods of time.)
5. I love my whirpool tub but don't get to take long baths nearly as often as I would like.
6. I am a good mother.
7. When I'm upset I call a friend to vent!
8. I am sentimental and cry easy and often over the silliest things, (t.v. shows, magazines, blogs)
9. I am an advocate for my daughter and have sat face to face with each and every one of my United States Congressmen/women and asked for large sums of money for research.
(not an easy thing to do)
10. I am shy.
11. Reading is one of my favorite pastimes, although I don't make time for it very often.
12. I have amazing girlfriends!
13. When I grow up I want to write a children's book.
14. I can be a hoarder and have a hard time throwing stuff away-depending on what it is.
15. I am a CNN junkie.
16. I love Christmas.
17. Snow days make me giddy like a child!
18. I am an animal lover but don't have any pets.
19. I am a writer.
20. Motherhood is the hardest job I've ever had.
21. Motherhood is the most rewarding job I've ever had.
22. Someday, I hope to travel to Italy and see the street named after my grandparents.
23. I have never dyed my hair.
24. I hardly wear any makeup, even to work!
26. Avery loves me.
27. Kaylen loves me.
28. Britton loves me. My husband is truly my best friend and we've been in love for over half our lives now! (sixteen years)
29. One of my proudest accomplishments is delivering a 10 pound 3 ounce baby, naturally!
30. I was a gymnast for a long time!
31. I have chronic back pain. (See 30.)
32. I am one year wiser!
33. I am blessed.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

No Different

I guess I always imagined that when a doctor delivered the worst news a parent could possibly imagine it would be like a bomb going off in the room. The few times I allowed my mommy brain to “go there”, dreaming up worst case scenarios long before Avery was even born, I pictured a long conference table, a pastor with a gentle, reassuring hand resting on my shoulder, several doctors in white coats, and then myself curled in a little ball on the floor, unable to absorb “the news,” whatever that might be. So when a doctor actually did deliver horrifying news and I found myself still sitting, in ‘the chair’, the outside world seemingly unchanged, it was nothing like I had imagined. It didn’t feel real. Later that evening, as I began making the phone calls to our family and closest friends, I still felt detached as I repeated the unbelievable news over and over.

I experienced similar emotions two weeks ago, when Dr. Franz said as nonchalantly as we were discussing the weather, “Well, it wouldn’t be lying to say Avery is autistic.” No. It wouldn’t be lying.

And it wouldn’t come as a shock. In fact, it was really just confirmation of what I’ve suspected all along.

A friend recently asked me what I mean when I said that God is “no different” now than he was before Avery was diagnosed. I guess I hadn’t really ever thought about this, assuming it was obvious. Since I began writing about our journey with Avery, I have gotten the occasional email asking for advice about dealing with TSC (which I love!) but I’ve never gotten a question about the deep stuff I write about.

So, what do I mean when I say “My God is no different than he was before Avery was diagnosed?” I have to give credit where it’s due here because I think I first read the phrase “no different” on one of my favorite blogs Bring the Rain. When I first read the words, “He’s no different.” My heart just latched on to this idea because it’s so simple, and so true.

What I mean is this: If I believed that God was a good, loving, and faithful God before TSC, do I believe differently now? The answer is also simple. No.

He’s no different.

I don’t claim to know or understand, why bad things happen to good people, but I do know that every day I wake up and walk through the landscape of my worst nightmare, and you know what, it’s not nearly as bad I as I imagined. I can only believe that I am able to navigate the rough waters of our life because the Lord has been with me every step of the way, and carried me through the hardest times. This is probably the thing about faith and religion that people struggle with the most, and I am certainly not an “expert” when it comes to the answers, but for me remembering that God doesn’t change when the circumstances of our life get difficult, brings me such peace.

That’s not to say that we don’t have difficult days here. It’s not saying that everything is all roses and rainbows, or that we never feel broken and alone. It’s not saying that I don’t still cry myself to sleep sometimes, or wonder what life would be like if I woke up to find out that this was all just a bad dream- a really long bad dream. . .

But you see, the ‘no different’ belief is true about Miss Avery. She is no different two weeks after being officially diagnosed with autism, than she was before. When I look at Avery do I see a different child? Do I love her any less?

Of course not.

If you took all the quirky things that make Avery autistic away, well then, she wouldn’t be our Avery. The Avery that we know and love everything about.

She’s no different.

She’s still my Avery Elizabeth. She is still ornery, mischievous, loving, stubborn, strong, and simply adorable. She still has the biggest green eyes I’ve ever seen and I could stare into them forever. She has a special little “happy” dance she only when her sister comes home from school. She walks/marches with her hands behind her back like a colonel inspecting his troops. She loves Elmo. She loves White Cheddar Cheetos. She loves to go for long walks in her little pink car. She loves trains and cows. She loves when I sing and dance around the living room with her in my arms. She loves to snuggle and prefers being held and rocked in her rocking chair to sleeping in her bed. She loves touching people’s hair and is fascinated by their teeth. She loves it when Grandma wears “pretty” shirts with beads or embroidery. She loves her sissy and loves to be chased. She loves to be tickled. She loves to swing. She loves to spin and loves to be upside down.

She loves.

Call her autistic, call her disabled, call her “challenged.” It doesn’t matter. She’s so much more than her diagnosis. She’s our Avery.

And she’s no different.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Gotta Love KFC!

Avery was craving some extra crispy chicken and mashed potatoes today, so on our way home from school we swung through the drive through. We placed our order and waited a few minutes. When our order was ready the guy at the window handed me our bag and said,

"Your breasts are really big today so I had to put one in a box!"


Who knew KFC had franchised with Hooters:)!?

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