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Archive for December, 2009

I am often asked how is it that I am able to cope with all the stress that goes on in my life. People often say “I don’t know how you do it!  I’d go crazy!”  I do take these comments as complimentary.  But I also think people tend to underestimate themselves. My response to them is usually,  “You’d be surprised at what you can handle when you don’t have any other options.”  That’s also where God comes in.  When things seem impossible, I know it’s God who is giving me strength to not drive  voluntarily into a brick wall. 

*ok here’s my little disclaimer:  I would never drive into a brick wall…….. on purpose.  If you really know me, statements like that are all part of my sick sense of humor.*

Nobody is immune to stress.  Everybody has different ways of coping with stress.  Some coping methods are good. Some are bad.  And some are just kind of odd. My husband’s way of coping with stress is by doing Tai Chi. A very good method. He does this every morning.  He is very interested in martial arts and has been doing it for the past 13 years.  He also runs 4 times a week.  He has been trying to get me to do the Tai Chi for the past 12 years.  I’m still not interested. But that’s ok, because like I said, everybody has a different way of coping with what life throws at them.

I prefer running. I never run immediately after a stressful moment has hit its peak. Like right after Matt throws a full glass of juice at the wall, I’m not in the mood to do a 5 miler. I think of the running as maintenance.  It gives me energy to face the day.   When I go too long without running, I find myself becoming moody.  Lately, I’ve been getting bored with the running which could possibly explain my irritable mood these past few days.  Time for me to get out the old bike trainer.

Another way I am able to cope with the stress is by doing this blog. If nobody ever  read my blogs, I would still write them.  It’s good therapy.  I know that someday in the future I will take a look at the blogs and say “Wow, I forgot how hard life was then.  We made it!” 

As I mentioned earlier, people may sometimes have odd coping methods.  My odd coping method begins after the kids are in bed. I pop in an “Everybody Loves Raymond” dvd and watch it till I fall asleep.  That will take anywhere from 10 min to 2 hours. I have seen each episode countless times.  John still can’t figure out what the appeal is.  Especially with that show.  He hates that show. Not me.  I explained to John how our lives are full of surprises, noise, and chaos. I just want to sit down and watch a program where I know exactly what is going to happen.  I can always count on Ray being helpless, Robert being jealous, and Debra being irritable.  I can always count on the father-in-law being repulsive.  Best of all, I can always count of the mother-in-law being intrusive, critical, and loud. I find all of this hysterical.  John finds the show stressful and annoying.  I would like to note that the characters in this show don’t reflect our family.  I happen to have the best in-laws anybody could ever ask for! I just enjoy the predictability that comes with watching those dvd’s.  It’s my escape and it makes me laugh.

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I have such creative children.  A few days ago, Alec (9yrs old) surprised me with his wonderful Christmas story that he wrote https://greatvillage.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/i-must-be-doing-something-right/. And today, Matthew invented a simple sleigh using a bath towel! These ideas do not come from me.  The best part of their projects is the fact that they think of them all on their own. 

Matthew also came up with the idea to use snowflake stickers as festive tape to attach the reins to the towel.  Just a little note that these snowflake stickers are actually postage stamps that I carelessly left within his reach.  I wasn’t about to take them away though.  The sleigh he made is priceless.  Notice behind him in the picture are stacked gift boxes. These, of course are Santa’s toys that he will deliver.  Also his idea. 

The only idea I suggested to him was to put pants on since he was wearing only underwear while he built the sleigh. I told him, “Santa doesn’t deliver presents in his Spongebob underwear so neither should you.” 

Merry Christmas!

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Yesterday my 9-year-old son Alec asked me if he could write a Christmas story on the computer.  I was a little apprehensive about the idea because I know how this kid’s mind thinks.  But how could I say no to my son who wants to express his creativity through writing?!  So, I said, “Ok, but there are two rules to follow:  1.  Do not email the story.  2.  Be appropriate.”

I was sure after rule number 2, he would change his mind.  But he was still excited so I went downstairs and let him do his thing.  After about 25 minutes, he came downstairs and handed me a sheet of paper with his story on it.  I was certain the title would be something like “Santa’s Elves Declare War and Take Over the World”, or “All girls belong on Santa’s naughty list”. 

To my surprise, his story was nothing like that.  So here, I give you Alec’s Christmas story:

The Christmas carol   by Alec

 Ones a pond a time there were two brothers name alec and matthew  they were rich people. Alec and Matthew always fighting and they were selfish and rude. There were pour (poor) people. One day Alec and Matthew were visetid by two goest. One goest was name papa phil and the other goest was grandma Linda they both told Alec and Matthew what will happen if they didn’t straiten up. Then they woke up then they remember what the goest told them. They disided (decided) to go to church. After church they wrap up presents for the pour (poor). They walk up to a tent that some people were living in. They saw Alec and Matthew . Then they open the tent. Alec and Matthew gave the presents to the people they were very happy.  The End                                                                                                                            

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Weekends are always our most difficult times with Matthew.  One minute he can be the sweetest boy and then the next….BOOM!  In our house, there are a lot of “BOOM” moments.  John and I spend most of our weekends tag-teaming.  It’s hard and anything but ideal.

 For the past several years we have come to dread the weekends. No matter how much planning was involved or how rigid of a routine we created, the weekends have always been incredibly difficult. So every Sunday night, I say a special prayer thanking God for getting us through yet another weekend. Good or bad, I thank God.  I will admit that I don’t give God as gracious of a thank-you on a bad weekend.  A time  or two, I’ve given God a sarcastic, “Thanks a lot!”  But I know He has a sense of humor.  I also know that God can handle me being angry with Him.  He knows deep down, I really am appreciative.

So now it’s Sunday evening and the weekend is over.  Matthew has thrown a grand total of 5 major tantrums.  When I mean major, I don’t mean throwing himself on the floor kicking and screaming and flopping around. If that were all Matthew did when he’s upset, my life would be a breeze.  Many kids with autism don’t have  a great amount of impulse control.  Matt is one of those kids. I don’t count the minor and moderate meltdowns that he has. Those meltdowns dont’ take nearly as much out of me as the major ones do. 

So the weekend is over. I am tired. I also make a mental note that the 5 major meltdowns are a huge decrease from the regular 10-12 he has per weekend. So does that mean it’s a good weekend?  I think so.  It helped that Matt was kept busy. It helped that Alec was kept busy.  Like usual, Matthew is spending Sunday night with his Grandma tonight. This is so I can catch up on sleep and have quality time with Alec. So why am I sitting here typing?  See ya! I’m off to play Mario Kart with my son 🙂

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As I have mentioned in a previous post, I really enjoy this time of year. But I am noticing that the long list of holiday things I enjoy is becoming shorter and shorter every year.  For example, one of the things I use to have fun doing was taking pictures of the boys for our family Christmas card.  It’s fun when they’re babies. They just sit there and look cute.  That has all changed.  Alec would have his tongue sticking out and Matt would have his finger up his nose, and if not, he’d have it up Alec’s nose.   When they weren’t doing that, they were pulling each other’s hair.  I don’t need these type of Hallmark memories.  One year I became so frustrated that I actually took the picture of them while they were sleeping. They looked so peaceful  And I tell you what, it was the best picture I had ever taken! It was even featured in a local magazine! 

This year I have a new task that I am tempted to cross off my “Fun Things to do at Christmas Time” list.  And that is decorate the house.  Understand that I would never choose not to decorate the house for Christmas. The kids would be devastated. Besides, it’s tradition. I just don’t find it as fun as I used to.  No, I am not becoming a Scrooge. I am not just being lazy. 

I am not a perfectionist so decorating isn’t usually so stressful for me.  It is for Matthew.  Matt has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) tendencies. He has not been diagnosed with this disorder…yet.  This obsessive behavior he has is more related to his autism.  I’m going to cut to the chase….it really really SUCKS! 

Let me give you an example.  As he was closely examining the little artificial tree for the 17th time yesterday, he noticed one of the little bulbs was burnt out.  It was hard for me to notice it, especially since all the others work. Now if you are like me, you will just tuck that bulb behind a branch and ignore it.  But not Matthew.  “OH NO!!!!”, he shouts.  “We have to fix it!!”.  So I get into the box where I placed a spare light bulb.  I removed the old one and placed the new one in.  It was such an incredibly tight fit, I couldn’t even get it to completely connect.  It actually broke while I tried pushing it through and stabbed my hand.  “Matthew, it doesn’t work, but it’s ok, we can hide it.” I said as I placed the old one back in.  “OH NOOOOOO!!!”  he screamed.  Then the wall kicking began.  I wasn’t exactly in the mood to restrain him, especially since I had blood gushing out of the palm of my hand from the broken light bulb. 

“Matthew, don’t hurt my house!”  I said.

 He kicked harder screaming “It’s broken!!! Christmas tree is stupid!” The wall kicking turned into tree wrestling so I grabbed hold and restrained him until he settled. 

*sigh*  Only about 3 1/2 more weeks of this?

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