Wednesday, July 9, 2014

4th of July 2014

Seriously I need to be more diligent at putting my thoughts down...  Such is life!

July 4th was both awesome, terrifying, and exhausting.  We will start with the awesome.  The boys and I headed up to Pasco, Washington to spend a good deal of time with my family.  My parents, both sisters, and (now) my brother all live in Eastern Washington and I don't get to see them near enough.  We left Salt Lake on the 25th of June and will head back on July 18th.  I think that is a great visit!

Dean flew up for the 4th, which made everything just perfect.  We started the day out by enjoying a parade in the city of Pasco.  Floats consisted of pickup trucks with balloons.  THE marching band was the local middle school.  Giant John Deer tractors were the highlight (they were super giant and super cool to look at).  My boys love a parade, so it was well worth it.  Candy was thrown and I watched little children dive for as much as they possibly could get.  My little ones wait for a piece of candy they like and then they go after it.  They only pick up one piece and then sit back down.  So polite.

After the parade we went back to my parents' house to swim in their pool, bbq and just enjoy the afternoon.  I had this small headache starting up around this time.  Dang it!  I did everything under the sun to get my headache to feel better.  By the time 8:00 rolled around and it was time to head over to watch fireworks, I had thrown up and was having trouble focusing.  I stayed home while everyone packed up and headed for fireworks.  I was so sad, but the dogs were very happy I stayed with them. 

Once the fireworks ended I waited for everyone to return.  I was feeling better and was excited to watch Terry (my sisters ex-husband) give us a good display of fireworks on the street.  My phone started ringing about 10:45 and it was my sister, Mindy.  She says, "We found him."

"What? Found Who?", I responded.  She handed the phone to my other sister, Rebecca.  Again, I asked, "What?  Found Who?"

Here is the story, as I know it.

Once the fireworks ended, everyone got up to start packing up things to head home.  Apparently, Reilly decided he was ready to go and just walked off.  He followed a family to their car and tried to get in with them.  The family noticed something was "off" with him and found a police officer to hand him off to.  Reilly ran away from the cop and walked around for a bit.  a crossing guard on a street corner was finally able to restrain him.  I don't think it was easy for her, because he was screaming pretty loud.

Back at the family area, Dean noticed Reilly was missing and it was all hands on deck.  Everyone spread out and started shouting his name.  Braedon began to get upset and so did some of the other cousins.  My mom stayed with all seven grandchildren and tried to keep them calm.  All the eight adults began to fan out across the field to find him.  The longer they searched the more dread and fear started to set in.  Dean was near the end of his wits.  They contacted to police and the police sent out a message that a missing 6 year-old boy with Autism was around.  After searching for 20 minutes the police said they had him.

Dean started running and heard Reilly screaming.  Mindy also heard Reilly scream and took off.  Luckily, Reilly  has a very loud scream.  As Dean got closer to Reilly, he fell down to his knees and scooped the boy up.  I think Reilly was scared too and he was upset.

That's when I got a call from my sister.  Probably best I didn't get the call sooner.  No reason for everyone to freak out!  Plus, when I'm scared I can be really mean! 

Once everyone got home, I went to comfort Reilly.  He was very upset.  Then, I went to comfort Dean.  He sat on the couch and lost control.  He told me he didn't know how he was going to tell me he'd lost our son.  Thankfully, he didn't have to.  One of my parents neighbors came over to the house and he and my dad were able to give Dean a blessing.  They asked the Lord to help calm his nerves.  It made all the difference.

After a bit, Terry gave us some good fireworks and we headed off to bed.

I don't think I can comprehend how it felt for Dean to think he had lost Reilly.  I am so thankful we found him.  Dean is a GREAT dad and he loves his baby boy so much.  I'm glad things turned out so positive. 

Next time, headache or not...I GO!!!  :)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Braedon's Baptism

Braedon was baptized on October 26, 2013 by his Dad, Dean. It was an amazing day, filled with family, friends, school teachers, ward members, and a feeling that the Lord was very happy with Braedon. I was worried having so many people would cause Braedon to have a meltdown and nothing would happen. As it turned out, he loved every minute of it. We got to the Church early and I helped Braedon change into his white clothes. He really seemed excited to get in them. We then went to look at the font and check out the water. He was so amazed and excited. We had talked about what a Baptism would be like and what he would do. When we walked back out, Braedon saw a few people he knew and ran to them. He gave hugs and hand shakes to everyone when they got there. I really feel he knew the day was about him and everyone coming was coming to support him. My mom played the piano, of course. The speakers were Vikki and Jamee, Braedons "Aunts". We kept the program short and light (no special music numbers) to help Braedon. We also had the baptism at 9:00am on a Saturday, which is early. Braedon does best first thing in the morning. Once his medicine kicks in, he can relax and enjoy what goes on around him. Dean and I sat on the front row with Braedon. My dad, Vikki, and Jamee sat behind us with Reilly. It was such a blessing that Reilly did as well as he did. I had visions of Reilly diving into the font. Thankfully, that never happened. Braedon sat on the front row just beaming. He was so happy. Our Bishop opened the meeting by asking Braedon to turn around and look at all the people that came to his Baptism. When he did he said, "Wow" and had the biggest smile on his face. We sang I Am A Child of God and my dad said the opening prayer. Jamee gave a wonderful talk on baptism. She had several things to use to demonstrate what baptism is and why it is important. It seemed like it was just Braedon and Jamee sitting in a room together. He was so into what she was saying. Then it was time to get in the water. I stood up with Braedon and walked one way and Dean walked the other. When it was just Braedon and I, I told him he would do great. He looked up and saw Dean standing in the water with his hand out. Braedon took it and walked into the font. I stood there and watched my oldest son and my wonderful husband, and I couldn't help but think how lucky I am. Dean performed the baptism and Braedon went under the water. When he came up, he walked back to me so I could help him get dressed. It was just Braedon and I in the changing room. He was so happy. I hugged him and told him I was very proud and he responded with, "Thank you Mom". A funny thing that happened is I forgot to bring an extra pair of underwear, so he went commando the rest of the service. I helped him put his Sunday clothes on and we walked back into the room with all his friends. He could not get the great big grin off his face. We sat down and listened to Vikki give a great talk on the Holy Ghost. She wrapped Braedon up in a blanket to let him know the Holy Ghost will be there to help us and keep us warm and protect us. It was great! After the talk, Dean confrimed Braedon a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was a great prayer. The closing prayer was How Firm a Foundation, which is actually Braedon's favorite hymn. He loved the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing it when he was little. The third verse is one that I hold very close to my heart. On the day Braedon was diagnosed with Autism, I was driving home and my emotions were all over the place. I turned on my radio and had a cd in at the time. The third verse of this song started and changed everything for me. It was exactly what I needed. It goes: Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed, For I am they God and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, Upheld by my righteous, updehld by my righteous, Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand. As I led the baptism in singing this verse, I found myself unable to sing and filled with emotion. I just led and didn't sing the rest. I was so happy. Our very good friend, Kendall, said the closing prayer. Braedon then walked around and hugged and thanked everyone for coming. He really did know this day was about him and about his decision to be baptized. It was a great day.

Friday, August 30, 2013


Another school year has started.  Braedon began the 2nd grade on Monday.  His teacher is Mrs. Louilas, who has been teaching school at Viewmont for 25 years.  She's a very nice woman who has great enthusiasm for the children.  Braedon sure seems to like her. 

Reilly will start Kindergarten on Tuesday.  We were so fortunate to get him in all day Kindergarten.  Last year Viewmont did all day Kindergarten for special needs kids.  They had seven kids enrolled which stressed their budget to the max.  Unfortunately, this meant the next year they simply wouldn't be able to do all day Kindergarten a second year.  I understood this, but was disappointed.  Reilly has been attending Pingree for several years and was used to going to school all day.  I was afraid he'd fall behind more be only going a few hours a day.  Also, let's be honest, I'm such a better mother when my children and I have a break from each other.  I found out Reilly was the only Kindergartner with special needs at Viewmont this year.  I felt the door open a little.  After talking and talking with people, we all determined Reilly would be better served by going to school all day.  HOORAY!!  Tuesday, Reilly will start school and be full day.  I couldn't be happier.  Not only will he get academic support, but also social, emotional, physical, occupational therapy, nutritional therapy, and so many other things he needs. 

I like the school my boys go to.  The school year is both a blessing and a curse for me, personally.  I am reminded how behind my boys are when they are around neuro-typical children their own age.  I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if Autism weren't a part of it.  Luckily, I don't dwell on this aspect of life too often.  I'm so happy and blessed with what I do have.  Two wonderfully entertaining boys!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Day Three

Day Three

I needed two things before I could sit down and finish this adventure we undertook to Santa Fe:  Time and Perspective.  I think I've finally been able to get both of them.  I hope I can convey what this day was like from my point of view.  I know everyone involved ended the day completely exhausted, both physically and emotionally. 

Looking back I can see some key areas of learning.  I don't call them mistakes because I believe if you do the best you can at that moment then move on.  Learn from it.  Do better next time.

If you haven't read Day One and Day Two, please do that before going on. 

The day started at 6:00am.  We were up, showered, dressed, packed and ready to go by 8:00.  The boys were still trying to convince us to take them to the pool and we were trying to explain if we did we'd miss our plane.  Braedon was ok with that.  We got everyone to the car and Braedon started to worry where his Lito was (his grandparents, uncle and a cousin were in a different car).  We explained we were going to meet for breakfast.  For the next 60 miles (we flew out of Albuquerque) things were pretty quiet.  I think everyone was tired from the past few days and ready to go home.

Braedon knew we were going to the airport and when we started to drive around old downtown Albuquerque, his anxiety began to rise.  I could have shot his uncle for picking a place that, I think, he pulled out of his ass!  I think I'm still a bit angry about driving around town looking for the Red Feather Cafe while Braedon began to come apart.  When we finally got there, both Dean and I had another reason to end Daniel's life...well two more reasons.  First, there was nowhere to park.  When Dean's mom told us to go around the block again, I just about lunged at her.  The people at the restaurant told us to just park in front of the place in reserved parking.  Second, Daniel picked a quirky little place that does everything SLOW and organic and home style.  Normally a place I would love.  When you have two boys that eat only certain brands of cheese (Tillamook sharp), chicken nuggets (banquet), that eat only Johnson sausage links, not patties.  You REALLY want to just find an IHOP....not the Red Feather Cafe, that proudly features Vegan choices... AWESOME!

After a deep breath we walked in and sat down to order.  Reilly ate some bacon and Braedon walked around outside with his Lito.  It was nice to sit with one of Dean's Aunts for a bit before taking off for the airport.  Braedon's anxiety level was still slowly going up.

Daniel stayed in front of us on the short drive to the airport.  Once, a car got in between us and Braedon began to panic.  Daniel slowed down, allowed the car to pass, and we were okay again.

We dropped the cars off at the rental place and headed to the bus to go over to the airport.  I should mention when the boys ride on airport buses, they like to sit in the very back.  Four young guys got on right before us and sat in the seats in the back.  I remember thinking to myself, "This should be interesting.  I'll try to get them to sit somewhere else, but in the end I bet those guys move."  Sure enough, Braedon walked straight back to where he liked to sit, looked at the guy with a beard and hat on and said, "Umm...You're in my seat."  Everyone laughed.  Many references to Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory went around the bus.  We explained to the guys our boys have autism and they were so nice.  Two of guys moved and Braedon and Reilly took "their" seats.

We finally reached the airport.  Hooray.  I, stupidly, remember thinking, "Whew.  The hard part is over."  Even as I type that last sentence I laugh.  Our group started to go into the airport, but one or two stayed back to rearrange their luggage.  Braedon's anxiety level continued to rise.  The "pack" was not allowed to separate.  I explained to everyone that from this point on we were one group.  We checked our bags and a very nice older gentleman said he'd check our booster seats for free. 

Originally we were told we could take our childrens car seats on the plane and they could sit in them.  We use carseats/booster seats and took them on.  Once seated, we were told they couldn't sit on THOSE particular seats.  Ok!  No problem.  We put them under the chair in front of us like any carry-on baggage.  How nice to check those seats in this time around and not have to carry them through the airport and worry about one more thing.

We gathered things together and Braedon watched as our bags and his car seat rounded the corner and out of sight.  That moment was the last time that day I'd be "sane".

He started asking for his carseat.  Dean and I explained it would meet us on the plane.  As we walked down the corridor toward the security check, Braedon began to completely loose control.  His volume went from a 3 up to a 10.  Tears started to run down his face.  He was screaming and jumping up and down.  I continued to speak in a very slow low tone that I hoped would calm him.  He showed me his plane and pointed to the cargo section and said, "carseat?"  I told him, "yes".  He responded, "No...carseat with Braedon", and he pointed to the windows on his toy plane.  The only thing I could think to do was stop several times and explain to him what was happening and things would be okay.  I DID NOT KNOW YOU COULD GO BACK AND GET THE DAMN CARSEAT!!!  We reached the security checkpoint line and half our group went to stand in line with everyone and half (us) went to go through the special line.  Braedon lost it at this point.  He screamed, jumped, cried, his face was red and his eyes were all over the place.  It didn't matter what you said to him, I'm pretty sure he didn't hear it. 

Then I noticed some nice TSA men converging on us.  The nicest voice asked me what he could do to help.  I didn't know.  I had no idea.  I explained the situation as quickly as I could and he said we could go back and get the carseat.  Sweeter words had never been spoken to me!  I told Braedon we would go back and get it.  Dean, Reilly, Daniel, Dominic, Lito and Lita would wait at the security checkpoint for us to return.  I remember my last words to Dean, "Don't move!"

Braedon and I went at a part run part walk back through the airport to the ticket counter.  I was saying over and over and over, "Things will be fine.  Daddy is waiting for us.  We are getting your carseat."  Braedon kept crying and screaming and worrying Daddy had left.  I quickly explained what happened and that same nice older man ran back to find the carseat.  While he was gone, two older women came over and helped me out.  We kept telling Braedon it was coming.  He wasn't sure if he should wait for the carseat or sprint back to his Daddy.

The man came back with the carseat and Braedon clutched it like you would a floatation device.  I expressed my tremendous thanks and we were off.  Back through the airport to the security point.  Remember what my last words were to Dean?  I do.  They had gone through security and were waiting for us on the other side.

Just when I thought things would calm down, Braedon fell apart yet again.  This time TSA was waiting for us.  They quickly opened a new xray machine just for us to go through.  One of the agents and I kept telling Braedon to slow down and walk through the metal detector...which he did (whew).  Oh, it did take A LOT of convincing for Braedon to put his carseat on the belt to go through the xray machine.  We were right there when it came out!

He ran over to his Dad and began to chew him out for not staying where he was.  All I could think was, "Better Braedon does that in public then me!"  As I sat to put my shoes on I had a moment to collect myself.  I remember saying to myself, "Don't cry.  Don't loose it.  Everyone needs you to be in control."  I took a deep breath just as Braedon started into another meltdown.  He wanted my carry-on to go through the xray like his carseat.  Dean had taken it with him and it already went through.  I walked it over to the machine that was off and pretended to do it.  I'm sure TSA loved to see that.  They started back toward us.  Braedon knew I was pretending and got louder.  A nice TSA guy said to me, "You know if he continues to act this way they won't let you on the plane."  10,000 things went through my mind in that split second.  I smiled at him and said, "Thank you.  I do know that.  Let's hope we can calm things down before we get to the gate.  Thank you all so much for your help.  We appreciate it."  It's funny, but I can really remember exactly what I said.

I knew I had a short period of time to calm him down.  In my head I was planning my contingency plan for staying in New Mexico should we not be able to get on the plane.  We would have to leave the airport, stay another day, and try again the following day.  It would not work to take a latter no no...So, my plan was to calm Braedon down.

I also needed to calm myself down.  There are many emotions I feel when my sons go through such a dramatic meltdown.  I feel overwhelming sadness that I can't help them.  I feel powerless to their autism.  I feel angry that they won't settle down.  I feel like punching the next person to give me a sideways glance.  I am completely aware of what people are doing around me throughout all of this.  I can see the glances.  I can see the leaning over and whispers.  I can see the shaking of the heads.  Yet, I don't let it bother me.  If it did, how would I be able to help my boys?

As we turned the corner to head to our gate there were two planes boarding.  Braedon was screaming at the top of his lungs and I had a strong hold on his arm so he wouldn't run away.  I almost laughed out loud when about 200 heads turned to see what was going on.  The only sound was Braedon crying and screaming and me saying in a low slow tone, "Everything is going to be ok".  We thought Reilly had a messy diaper and Dean went to change him.  We all found a corner to stand in for a moment.  I told everyone we were just going to stand there and say nothing.  Just silence.  No one speak to Braedon.  I held him in my arms and rubbed his head and back while we waited for Dean.  I could feel his breathing begin to slow.  In that moment I knew we'd be able to get on the plane.  He took some deep breaths.  His color in his face began to go back to a normal color.  By the time Dean got out, he was quiet.

We walked over to our gate and took our seat.  Braedon looked so tired.  His eyes were puffy.  For the next 20 minutes we sat there.  Everyone looked exhausted.  I sat by Braedon and helped him take some deep breaths.  We boarded the plane and everything after that was smooth. 

As we came across the Wasatch Front Braedon said, "Mommy.  My mountains".  I smiled and told him we were home.  We landed, got to our car and made it home. 

That was our day three.  His grandparents were wonderful.  They helped out and tried to keep Braedon calm.  I think they were more shocked at what they were seeing then anything.  I remember telling them, as we sat at our gate, to imagine doing this by yourself with both boys.  I said this happens to me when no one else is around.  It happened just the other day at the Zoo.  It gave them a better understanding when I say they had a meltdown.

I was glad it was over.  As I typed up this story, I found myself laughing and crying.  Next time I fly, the carseat will stay with us 100% of the time!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day Two

Day Two

We finally rolled out of bed, got some breakfast, got dressed, and headed out the door around 10am.  We were off to explore Old Downtown Sante Fe.  The weather was beautiful and everyone seemed to be in a rather good mood.  We walked around and saw some amazing artifacts, buildings, and clothing.  Along the way, we ran into the boys Grandparents, Uncle, cousins, and several Aunts.  Braedon was rather excited to see so many people he actually knew.  After walking around for a few hours, Braedon made the decision we needed to go back to our hotel.  He likes to walk around, but only for a certain amount of time.  Once we've seen everything it is time to go.

Everyone headed in their own directions and we headed to WalMart to stock up on swim trunks, floatation devises and goggles.  The boys had made the decision they were going to go swimming.  Dean and I would have liked to walk around a bit more and drive around and explore the area, but we didn't have a say.

Dean and the boys had a blast in the pool.  They played for over an hour and when they got back to the room, the boys took a nice hot bath to warm up.  We got ready for the wedding and headed back to Old Downtown. 

The wedding was in a beautiful Catholic Church.  Reilly and Dean had to step out because Reilly wanted to climb a staircase that is over 100 years old and doesn't get climbed anymore.  As we headed to the reception, Braedon started to tell us he wanted to go and get in the pool.  For the next hour, we tried so hard to get them to calm down and enjoy the reception.  It was a sit down dinner and dancing after.  Dean and I thought it would be a blast.  Finally, tears and yelling started and we knew it was time to cut our loss and leave.

As we waited for the valet to get our car, no one spoke.  Braedon tried to apologize but I was irritated we had to leave and refused to speak to him (I know, the high road).  He started to cry and we got in the car and headed back to the hotel. 

No pool!  We got them ready for bed, put on a movie and settled in for the night.