Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Thoughts on "A Trip to Holland"

My Thoughts on A Trip to Holland

Years ago, when I was in college (the first time), I came across a poem by Emily Perl Kingsley called A Trip to Holland. It is about how she wanted to go to Italy but somehow ended up in Holland. It compares the expectations of having a "normal" child to the realities of having a child with special needs and the different journey it takes you on.

I thought it seemed like a nice poem and even seemed to fit what friends of mine with special needs kids seemed to be saying they felt. Over the years I even sent it to some of them, acknowledging I did not know how they felt, really, but this seemed like a nice poem. Some said it pretty much expressed how they were feeling, others had different takes on it.

Since that time, God has blessed me with three children. Each of these children have their own special needs. They are blessings, I have no regrets. That is not to say I have not been angry. At times I think anger is an appropriate response as long as I do not let it get out of hand. I have also cried and been sad, also appropriate as long as I do not let it become self-pity. At other times, I just feel blessed and think how lucky I am to have not only a child, but children. God has truly blessed me.

Here are my takes on the trips that I have been on that never quite made it to Italy.

Trip One

My husband and I knew we wanted children. In 2003 we found out we were going to have a baby. The baby was a little girl and she would be born in the summer of 2004. The pregnancy was normal other than extreme morning sickness in the first trimester. We were looking so forward to our baby girl. It had taken us a while to become pregnant. I had prayed not only for a baby, but for the patience to wait for God’s time and not mine. (I often have said he answered both prayers at once when he gave me this precious little girl.)

I would say that the expectations were like the trip to Italy that Kingsley described in her poem. I naively expected perfection. It was going to be wonderful! I had it all planned out! I read all the books, I purchased all the right clothes, I had an itinerary in my head for everything. Then, suddenly it all changed. I did not land where I thought I would. I landed in a different place. I would say I landed in Australia. The books I had read did not apply. This did not mean they were not good books; they were just not the right ones for my situation. The Italian phrases I learned would not be of any use, but that was okay because the place I landed still speaks English, just a little differently at times. The packed clothes were also wrong. The season was wrong and she would not be comfortable in the clothes. (I liken this to her extreme sensitivity to certain fabrics and stitching. She HATED all the beautiful smocked dresses I bought.) I had wanted to go to Italy in summertime, but ended up Down Under in winter. I had two choices: pitch a fit that I did not get my way or decide to look around and see the beauty that Australia had to offer, after all God created Australia too.

My time in Australia has been wonderful. It is tiring at times when nothing seems to fit, like living in a different season from all those around you. However, I have learned so much and I have been inspired by the love of life and other people that I see through the eyes of my daughter. She may not think like everyone else, but that is okay. She is smart, loving, and creative. One of my all time favorite quotes comes from her. I once encouraged her to color more in the lines in her coloring book. She looked in my eyes and said, “Mom, I am just not a color in the lines kind of girl”.

Trip Two

Trip two happened in 2006. This time we were having a boy and I was sure we would land in Italy! I would finally use those handy Italian phrases , the advice from all the books, and I would have appropriate clothing! Italian countryside, here we come! Even my little Australia loving daughter would have fun!

Boy, was I wrong! We not only got on the wrong flight, we somehow ended up on the wrong flying contraption! Maybe it was by following “Australia” as she danced through life not really paying attention to where she was going. Maybe it was because my husband is Air Force and we ended up taking that a bit far …Who knows…anyway…somehow we ended up on a space shuttle and it took us to some undiscovered planet! We were not alone though; there were other families there that had somehow made the same mistake. None of us knew how we got there, but we knew one thing for sure - It was not Italy! Nothing had prepared me for this.
With these kids, nothing really seemed to fit. Most clothes were inappropriate, the books were still useless, and no one was ever really sure which language to use. Everything surrounding us was foreign and at times challenging. However, we formed a community and that seemed to help. We did not feel as alone, so things were not so bad. That is not to say things were not challenging, because you see there were other people who kept coming to the planet as well. They had “perfect” children or no children, and liked to judge the “improper” way the “planet” children behaved at times. However, we learned to not let that bother us (much) and to stick together.

Did I still wonder what Italy was like? Sure! But, I liked this planet as well. These kids may be sensitive and even “strange” to other people at times, but they were also very smart. We knew with the right help, they could learn to live on Earth (with all the people who think they are whatever normal is) and would even make it a much better place because they are there.

Trip Three

Okay, it was 2009 and this time I was going to Italy! I had learned to love the other two places and was even glad I had gotten to go to them. But I was still curious what Italy was like. After all, I had spent YEARS planning to go to Italy.

Again, I got on the wrong plane. This time I would say that I did end up in Holland. It was different, everything (including her) moved at a slower pace. It was nice though. There was beauty to be seen here as well. We have to wait longer for things, due to the slow pace, but that is okay. Slowing down and letting things take longer makes you appreciate them more sometimes.


So, I never have gotten to go to Italy. That is okay. I learned so much from Australia, Undiscovered Planet, and Holland. If I changed any of it, I would change my children. I would not want to do that. They are special and precious and were created by God Himself. For whatever reason, He trusted me to take care of these special, precious, wonderful children for Him. The trip to Italy was not in His plans for me, but He gave me so much more with my other journeys!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

She said NO!!!

Most parents do not like to hear their child tell them no. This is especially true when the "no" comes as an answer to bedtime. However, that was not the case last night. We were THRILLED to hear C tell us no! We even did a happy dance around the room!

You see until last night, C only had 3 "words" that she would say. This would be okay if she was about to turn one. However, she is 2 1/2 years old, so she should be speaking in short sentences, not the baby babble we usually hear from her. She says "Da Da". (However she uses this just to mean any adult). She says "baby". (This is used just as a generic word. She calls pretty much anything a baby.) She will occasionally also say "bye bye", but she usually just waves. It is for that reason we were thrilled to hear her say, "no". She has not said it again, but she did say it 2 or 3 times. That gives us hope that we will hear it again!

After having three children I feel there are a fewthings I have learned for sure. One is that it is amazing what perspective you get once you become a parent. It is a learning process for sure! Some people like to refer to parents of several children, like myself, as experienced parents. I am not sure I agree with that. Each child is different. Each child is a new experience altogether. I do not think there is any such thing as an "experienced" or "expert" parent. There are just parents. We all have different experiences with children and we can even help each other out when one of us comes to an unknown area (thing number 2, even as a kid I was a "do it myslef" type. Since becoming a parent I have learned that sometimes you have to ask for help)..for instance, I have a friend whose daughter is a little older than C, and has similar problems. She has given me advice and passed on knowledge she has obtained while trying to help her little girl. I have another friend whose child has similar problems to IE. She has also talked to me and helped me.

For those who are interested, here is C's story to date:

She was a very quiet baby. I never worried too much about that, after all J is quiet even as an adult. S talks all the time as well, so I probably never noticed exactly how quiet she was. However, when she turned 2 and had yet to say any words other than Baby and DaDa, I began to worry. I mentioned it to her doctor and he said just told hold off a couple more months and we would see. I waited and she said Bye Bye a few times and that was it. I called TEIS and they did an evaluation. It was determined that she had no receptive speech delay, but that she did have a significant expressive speech delay. She also has some gross motor and adaptive behavior delays. She is now on a waiting list for speech therapy, occupational therapy, and in home educational assistance.

Hopefully she will begin talking to us soon. I look forward to the day she purposefully says, "MaMa". I will treasure every new word with her...even if the little smarty pants is saying "no" to bedtime! (For the record, new word or not..she went to bed :) )

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cooking with S...BBQ cups edition

S likes to cook. I thought this might be a fun recipe to try. In the future I will start making things GFCF (or at least GF) but right now I am trying to use up some of the things I have on hand.

I found this recipe in the Beyond Macaroni and Cheese cookbook. It is a neat little cookbook with all kinds of kid friendly recipes. Here is the link if you are interested. (You can also probably find it at your local library. I found mine at a used book store for $3. I used store credit from other things we "sold" to them and got it for free.)

We did the Barbe Cups..

Here are pictures of the process:












Eating what she made..YUMMY


Early Anniversary Present...

I have the best husband, ever!

I have been wanting a KitchenAid stand mixer for a long time. They are expensive though so I did not just go out and buy one. For about a year I have been dropping not so subtle hints at J. I would have them up on the web browser and say they were "cool" or "imagine what I could make with one of these" or "wow look what it will do". I would also randomly leave the web browser open to a page that contained one - especially when there was a sale. I would touch the ones in the store and stand and look at them awhile.

The other day the newspaper came and Target had an ad for the mixers. They were on sale for cheaper than I had seen them in awhile. J noticed before I did. He had been asking around to people he knew and found out none of them had regretted the purchase of their KA mixer. He told me to go ahead and pick one out! I went to the store before he could change his mind!

It is my 10th anniversary present (our anniversary is later this month). I do not mind getting an appliance at all! You see, I am not a jewelry type of girl really. I wear my wedding bands and that is about it. Occasionally I might wear a necklace or a bracelet. My ears are pierced, but I do not wear earrings much. I am pretty practical as far as presents go. I like stuff I will use. He knows that :).

So far I love it! It helped me make fluffier frosting than ever before! It cut the time of making sausage balls in more than half! Also the sausage was better mixed in than ever before! It is also easy to clean off the beaters (they are not supposed to go in the dishwasher - but are easy enough to clean it does not matter).

Here are pics!


Amazon link to learn more about my new toy :)

He also ordered me the KA attachment kit. It has a grinder, slicer, shredder, and strainer. Basically, it lets your mixer be your food processor as well. He says the juicer, ice cream maker, and pasta makers are coming in future times!

I have not taken pictures of these yet, but here is the link about it. It can be tedious to attach to the machine because of the sharp parts, but I think that is true of anything that used interchangeable sharp blades! The thin slicer does slice very thin! Again, as the blog title says, I am just learning as I go. I will try and post pictures and videos of it as I learn!

Oh, and I did not pay $100 for the set. That is a high price for it. If you wait around the price often goes down.

Monday, June 6, 2011

S's 7th Birthday

It was a fun time for all! Due to vacations and such, some kids could not come. However, the ones that were able to come had tons of fun!

We had "the bestest goodie bags ever!" thanks to House Party. It is a site where you can sign up and apply to host parties. If you are chosen you have the party at your house (or location of your choice) and they supply some of the things for the party. Companies use this as a way to advertise their products. In S's case, we received a party pack from Expo markers. The kids each got a dry erase board, a pack of skinny washable dry erase markers, a pack of fat washable dry erase markers, and a eraser for the board. I also received a large table top dry erase easel. I put the items in canvas bags so the kids had a way tote the items around.

We had cake pops, cupcakes, sausage balls, cheese dip and chips, veggie tray, fruit tray, pizza, and drinks.

Here are some pictures from the party. I am including only ones with S as I do not want to put pictures of other peoples kids faces on the web.:

The cake pops I made


The cupcakes





Little sister (little brother did not want in ANY pictures)