Wednesday, December 19, 2018

B-man Quick Hits

For your reading pleasure I present a few recent conversations with B-man

After I've spent a while making a 2nd type of green cookies for Grinch day (the first type were an epic fail), B comes into the kitchen to check them out.
B: but there's no green icing on them. Could we just put some green icing on them?
Me: No, I've done all I can do. Go to your room

Me: hand me those cookies so I can throw them away, they've been on the ground.
B:vegetables come out of the ground and we eat those.
Me: yes, but we wash those first
B: you can't wash cookies
Me: exactly, we're speaking the same language. I'll throw them away.
B: never mind, I'll eat them.

Me: I've put the $2 for Milk & Cookies with Santa in your bag for tomorrow
B: I'm good

B: this chapstick you put in my advent calendar is rather, I don't know, mundane
Me: well, actually it's not. If you look at it, you'll see that it's a special Christmas edition peppermint chapstick.  So, it's not mundane, it's extraordinary.

I'd heard his music playing that morning at 4:45 am, went to check on him, told him it was early and to go back to sleep, he'd answered "I am"
Me: hey buddy, I'm so proud of you for going back to sleep this morning when you woke up too early.
B: yea, I thought "If they see this, they are going to be mad"
Me: if we see what?
B: the percent on my iPad
Me: you woke up, played on your iPad then needed to charge it back up?
B: oh yea
Me: what time did you wake up?
B: 1 o'clock
Me: so you were awake from 1 am until I came in at 4:45 am
B: yea but then I went back to sleep!

You're welcome!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Bad Case

Alright y'all, I'm going to be honest with you.  I have a bad case of don't want to.  I mean I don't want to do anything that involves leaving the house.  I just want to hang at the house, lay on the couch, eat junk and hang out with my boys. 

Can you relate?

I really need to get my nails done. They are grown out and super long.  They are actually making typing a pain. I usually a super fast typist but these nails are causing problems - at least 1 error every other word.  But getting my nails done requires at least an hour outside of the house and having a conversation. 

Saturday morning I got up early-ish and was getting tons of stuff done around the house.  Then I left to get my outside the house errands done.  Mercy! It was so people-y out there.  Hobby Lobby sucked my life force out of me.  All told, my errands took 3 hours.  I was so ready for nap when I got home. 

Do you feel me?

Sunday was great.  I worked at both campuses at church, took a tiny nap then had Christmas at Ryan's family.  It was so relaxed and nice that I didn't mind being out of the house ;) I love watching everyone be silly and open presents and tell stories. 

So maybe it's not the leaving the house part that's bugging me. I just don't have enough time with my people. I'm running around like crazy getting ready for Christmas and making sure they feel loved and I really just want to hang out with them.  I'm so thankful that we just have a few more action packed days before we can hang out together.  What a blessing!

Thursday, December 13, 2018


Have you ever really thought about words?  Lots of us have learned the Greek and Latin roots to our English words.  But where did those roots come from?  How did they get their meanings? I mean you can go down a huge rabbit hole researching words and where they came from and their meanings. 

But lately, I'm understanding more and more that our relationships give our words meaning. 

Think about it...what hurts more: a stranger saying you're ugly or your best friend calling you ugly? Your best friend saying that would hurt more, right? It would for me. 

My mind is like a tape recorder, too.  It stores all the ugly things.  I can access all the mean things people have said to me.  For some reason, it's not so great about remembering the good things.  (There is an actual biological reason for this but I wouldn't bore you with it).

Every year we have a special education meeting for B.  Every three years they do a full re-evaluation of him.  We had this meeting yesterday.  It is not an easy meeting.  There are some good things about these meetings - we talk about his strengths and remind ourselves how much he's grown.  Because of the testing we do have to spend a lot of time going over his areas of struggle.  Not just talk about it but see the words projected on the screen.  Then you get a copy of all these words. 

Different people talk about him - his teachers, his behavior specialist, his principal, the professionals who test him.  We have different relationships with each of these people.  Their words effect us in different ways because of these relationships.  Some we interact with everyday and their words hurt a bit more.  Some we just deal with sporadically so their words don't sting quite as much. 

Some of those words just stick with me.  They play over and over in my head.  They hurt my heart, even though they weren't intended to.  I have to fight against them.  I have to game plan how to make them shut up, how to override them with the good things the same people say. 

It's so hard. It takes a while.  It's exhausting.  So, I just color or read or think of something else. But the words leave a hole in my heart, a hole that sometimes doesn't get filled.  And it hurts.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Family Pictures

There is nothing I love more than pictures.  I love to be surrounded with pictures of my friends and families.  However, pictures are not so easy for B-man.  I posted an old picture of B yesterday so show how far we've come with his eye contact.  The eye contact has been challenging during photo sessions.  But, also, B struggles with his body.  He doesn't know where his body is in space.  This causes him to be a bit clumsy so he's not always sure where the photographer needs him to be.  His general silliness can get in the way. Finally, he does not have the stamina for a long drawn out photo session.  

And yet...I want good family pictures.  First thing first, I changed my definition of a good family photo.  I want pictures that show our personalities, not just how well we can pose.  Second, I've taught the older boys to smile and hold still while the photographer works with B.  You have to be at the ready when he is ready.  Finally, and the biggest thing, is to get a photographer who knows B, loves him and gets him.  For our last several photo sessions, we've used our friend Hannah.  She does a great job with B. 

Here are some of my favorites from our most recent photos...
dancing machine

the good one
the not great one - Hannah captioned this one: when you realize you're not the favorite
B meditating

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


People are, in general, polite.  Of course there are times when we're upset or in a hurry or something's off and our manners go out the window.  We've raised The Bigs to say yes ma'am, yes sir, no ma'am, no sir, please and thank you.  They're pretty good at it.  It's also something I try to model for them.  B-man is another story. 

B doesn't understand the need for politeness.  Politeness and manners have become equated with British people in his mind.  And, as he'll tell you in a quick second, we are Americans. 

He doesn't understand why it's funny to burp and fart in the car with your brothers but you have to say excuse me when you burp in a restaurant.  Or, for that matter, why you have to try to quiet your burps in public.

He doesn't understand why it's rude to walk away when someone is talking to you. He's can still hear you and he has some where to go. 

B does care about others.  He can recognize when his friends are upset and comfort them.  He just does not get some of the social things, like manners.  So, it's our job to teach him.  Like most social things, I frame it in love "this is how we show people we love them." That's easy for him to understand and it seems to help him understand things like saying yes ma'am. 

But 'excuse me' when his burps is still a struggle.  We just keep telling him it's gross and saying 'excuse me' is the right thing to do.  He doesn't get it.  We keep saying it.  We try to make it a rule.  He's good at rules.  X+Y=Z.  Maybe he'll get tired of us correcting him and start doing it.  Maybe something else will click in that AU-some brain of his. 

Eye contact used to be a struggle for B.  He just couldn't do it.  I didn't want to force it so we started working on body orientation.  Line your body up with the other person's.  I'd read from some adult autistic people that sometimes eye contact is actually painful so I didn't want to force him into something that might hurt.  Gradually, his eye contact improved.  Kinda without us noticing.  I realized it when I got some TimeHop photos of a visit with Santa four years ago.  He couldn't look at the camera at all.  Now it's barely an issue.  I'm sure his manners will end up the same way. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018


Service is a major part of my life.  It's actually my 'why?'  I try to make service the basis for everything I do. 

As you know, our Nation is currently mourning the loss of former President George H. W. Bush.  About two years ago, I read a biography on him.  I was so touched by his lifetime of service that I wrote him a thank you letter.  That's not something I ordinarily do but his impact was that great.

I was young when President Bush 41 was in office.  Bill Clinton is really the first president I remember.  What I knew about President Bush 41 came through Dana Carvey on Saturday Night Live. I do remember his call to be A Thousand Points of Light.  I didn't have an idea what he meant but I remember hearing him say it. 

When I heard the news Saturday morning all I could think about was A Thousand Points of Light. I understand it now and it fits in with my why of service. 

A joke with one of sorority sisters is that we have to take a lot of pictures so there's lots of pictures for her funeral.  As I watched President Bush's service, I thought I need to serve with a loving  and graceful heart so that people will have nice things to say about me when I pass.  Here's my favorite things that were said about President Bush or were attributed to him at his service.

"His tongue may have run amok but his hear was always steady." Historian Jon Meachan

Hatred corrodes the container it's carried in.

Serving others enriches the giver's soul

"We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend; a loving parent; a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood, and town better than he found it. And what do we want the men and women who work with us to say when we're no longer there? That we were more driven to succeed than anyone around us? Or that we stopped to ask if a sick child had gotten better and stayed a moment there to trade a word of friendship?" President George H. W. Bush's inaugural address.

Thank you for your service, Mr. President and may serve in a many worthy of your example.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Fear of the Unknown

I don't know many people who are super excited about walking down a pitch black hallway.  The problem with walking down that hallway is that you can't see what's in the hall.  Something might jump out at you.  You might trip over something. We're afraid of the unknown. 

We want to be 'kept in the loop'.  We want to know what's coming next.  Some people deal with ambiguity better than others. Some of us want a step by step  itinerary. Others are fly by the seats of the pants.  But I think even those people want an idea of what's going to happen. 

This fear of the unknown can be fleeting - the dark hallway example.  You face it, you turn on the light, it's over.  But if it's continual it will lead to anxiety.  I struggle with anxiety and it all relates back to the unknown. When I don't know what's going to happen next in a tense situation, it snowballs quickly into anxiety.

In these situations, it's helpful to talk it out with a calm friend.  It's also helpful to make some plans. If this happens, I can respond like this.  If that happens, I can respond like this.

But the most helpful thing I can do is pray.  When I worry about what's going to happen next, I am saying to God that I don't trust Him.  Read that again: when I worry about what's going to happen next, I am saying to God that I don't trust Him. It took me a long time to wrap my mind around that. 

It's where the rubber meets the road.  I believe:

  • that He loves me. (John 3:16)
  • that God knows me intimately. (Matthew 10:30)
  • that God has a plan for my future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • that He wants good for me. (Romans 8:28)  
  • that He hears my prayers. (Jeremiah 29:12-13)

If I say all this but then spend time worrying about a hard conversation I negate all this.  Instead, I need to bring the hard things to Him in prayer and trust Him.