Have you ever seen the episode of Seinfeld where George is trying to stay calmer by repeating the affirmation, “Serenity now,” in a calm voice during stressful situations and by the end of the show he is screaming, “SERENITY NOW!!!” If you know that episode, you would understand how I felt a couple of hours ago. Brian was at a rezoning meeting for some land that we are hoping to build on, so I was watching the kids. Things were going along and we hit the seven o’clock hour. Christian was getting pretty tired since he didn’t sleep so well last night and had some of his melatonin already, but he just started throwing things at me (like his shoes, full bottles of juice, books, etc.) all because I wouldn’t let him stand in the refrigerator and continuously rearrange everything inside. So, I was just trying to remain calm and give him a big bear hug, hoping the pressure would be relaxing to him. Not so much. Once I let him go, because he kept slapping me in the face, he ran around the table knocking over all of the chairs and making this VERY strange frustrated sound. I’ve never heard him make that noise before. Then he ran over and just plowed Olivia into the floor and when she started crying, pushed her down again. Ahh!!! So I comforted her and sat down on the floor between the two. Then the hitting of the mama started again, so back to the bear hug, which seemed to help for a few minutes, until Brian walked in and bam! – started right in with the slapping on the face. I put him in his room for a couple of minutes to give both of us a break. He was mad that he was in there, but seemed to calm down, so after the minutes were up I opened the door to find him running around with his pants off and piles of poop all over the floor again! (He did this same thing a week ago and yesterday pooped in the tub.) Ack! At least Brian was home, so he put Christian on the toilet to finish and then get cleaned up, while I armed myself with household cleaners, gloves, and a trash bag to clean his room. Yuck! (But I have to say that it was not nearly as bad as the last one in his room, which took two loads of laundry to clean up; and not nearly as bad as when he used to shmear it all over everything, including his mouth!!!) Now I know why he was acting out. He always gets a little more hard-to-handle before he has to have a big poop. He was hungry then and polished off two pieces of toast while falling asleep on the couch. What a night!!! (And yes, the first part of the rezoing passed. I guess that there is a second meeting in two weeks for a final voting.) I hope that everyone sleeps well tonight and that we don’t have any big poop mishaps tomorrow!

You know I never meant for this blog to seem like I need to complain about my life, but sometimes I need to vent the frustrations out somewhere before I can focus on the positive things that are going on here. I hope that makes sense. I do love the blessings that God has placed in my life, and I do understand that the challenges that are happening everyday serve a purpose, even when I may not ever understand why. God never gives us more than we can handle, right??? Some days I feel like I’m right on the edge of that… But I am thankful that Brian was able to get up with Christian for an hour last night, so that I could get a little more sleep. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through the day otherwise. We seem to be able to be strong for each other when the other of us can’t be – I think that is how we are weathering our challenges right now. I am blessed to have a husband who is willing to be there with me even in the dark times.

We have hit a few more glitches with the home process. Brian is frustrated, but reassured me that everything is going to work out, one way or another. We are both convinced that even though life will not be perfect when we get into a home, things can be so much better and less stressful. I really pray that is the case!

So, it’s been awhile. Sleep, while still happening, seems to be an every two night deal. Two nights of good sleep, two nights of bad sleep. And Christian’s sleep is always better when I fervently pray for Christian’s good sleep before I turn in for the night. This just proves again that nothing is too small to bring to God in prayer!

I am grateful for the nice weather that we have had lately! It is funny to think about the fact that 60 degrees in Wisconsin seems SO much warmer than 60 degrees in Florida! All winter I was missing the winter of Florida. I missed being able to take my daily walks with the kids (and put on the weight with that, too). I missed the warm sunshine. So it’s been great to have the warmer temperatures and sunny weather over the last couple of weeks. The weather people are talking about possible snow this weekend. Oh, please, NO! I finally got Christian to wear a spring jacket. Hopefully the cooler weather won’t hang around too long!

Brian and I are getting a second opinion on our possible modular home building project tomorrow. We have been having a hard time getting answers from the builder we have been trying to work with, so he found another builder out of Neenah who also builds Wick homes. I hope they will be a better fit for us.

Olivia has been having repeat constipation issues, so she is being referred to a pediatric GI doctor. Hopefully he will be able to help her. I think that many of her tantrums stem from stomach/intestinal pain and there is not much that I can do to help her when she is screaming like that! We pray that her GI tract starts working better soon!

Yesterday was Olivia’s 2nd birthday already! It’s hard to believe it’s been that long already! She was very excited about her balloons and cake (i.e. she wanted cake for breakfast this morning). We had the special treat of pizza last night for supper. Both of the kids were talking about it all afternoon. It was quite yummy for something different! (Christian & Olivia both liked Christian’s special GFCF pizza – Olivia actually liked it better than the reg. pizza!) Overall she had a good birthday and seemed to enjoy her pink ball and purple beanbag chair.

Brian & I had a meeting with one of the guys from our modular home place this morning. That was pretty exciting! We were going through the catalogs and putting together our “dream” home. (Any bells and whistles we may like to price out even if we don’t get them.) It was pretty fun to pick out carpet, countertop, vinyl, cabinet, siding, shingles, etc. coloring and start to get an idea of what this home could possibly look like all pulled together. My head is trying to not let my heart become too optimistic about the whole thing, but what a relief it would be to be in a place of our own!!!

April is Autism Awareness Month – it has been interesting to watch all of the coverage on autism this week. (Like CNN devoted a whole day to it.) It is so interesting to me to watch all of this coverage now. I watch it hoping that I will learn about something new that I haven’t heard about before that we could try. I watch hoping to better understand what it is like to actually be the person with autism – just how scary and confusing the world must be to navigate through! I only wish that I could be in Christian’s head for a day so that I could understand things from his point of view once! It is so easy for me to pity myself and the things that I must go through everyday in dealing with his autism, but how one thousand times harder it must be for him! I was thinking to myself the other day, in the middle of him continually hitting me in the face because I wouldn’t let him hit Olivia because she was crying, anyway, I was thinking of the words that Jesus spoke about “turning the other cheek” and how that is just so applicable to that situation. Lots of times Christian’s frustration comes from a communication barrier or sensory overload. He is not just a brat who is looking for trouble. He just doesn’t know how to handle that situation in a way that most other people can. I struggle. It’s hard to know how to help him. How hard to push him. And how much is too much and how much of that is just way that God wishes him to be? I would love to have a future for him where he can live independently, but I don’t know for sure that will happen for him. That’s OK. I’d be happy for him either way. All I want is to be able to understand him better. To know what life is like for him, from his point-of-view. He is so fascinated by all of the things that the rest of us are too busy to notice in our daily lives. Yet he is also so frustrated that the people who love him the most can’t understand him and why things like reading that new book is so upsetting, why Olivia is crying is so loud, why a voice inflection in a certain manner starts an all-out hitting, screaming, kicking tantaum. I only wish that I could understand so that I could help him to learn to defuse these “horrible” situations before they come “the end of the world!”

I wish I knew too where all the other families in our church body were. I mean with autism happening in 1 out of 150 kids, there has to be so many other families affected by this disorder. How do they handle church? Do they go to church functions? Do their children go to Sunday School and how does that work out for them? What are different WELS churches doing to help our member who are struggling day-by-day with so many challenges that rip so many families apart? I’m just curious.

Anyway, just pondering these things today. Now another load of wash must be done!

OK. Is my spell checker ever going to work on this?!?Oh well. Please just excuse all mistakes then. I am not the world’s greatest speller even when I am getting sleep!

I am trying not to get too excited about the prospect of a new home, but the land now sounds like a go, too. I guess we need to meet with our general contractor next. (We have to have a G.C. because of the type of loan we acquired.) I would be SO happy to be in our own place, and for Christian to have some room to run that is safe for him. I keep praying that these are the plans that God has in store for our family.

Yes, eight hours of sleep happened again last night. Yippee!!! I am SO excited about that, but the funny thing is I am more tired now. It’s like my body is trying to store up sleep now just in case we go through another round of the “no-sleeps.” Is this really what the body does? I’m not sure. However, I do feel like I could sleep for a couple of days straight! Thank goodness I haven’t totally stopped the coffee yet. (maybe someday…)

Sleep has happened the last three nights! That is so amazing! Christian was up by 4am this morning, but I couldn’t complain considering he had gone to bed around 6pm. We are praying that this new sleeping schedule will start becoming more of a norm. (Maybe not going to bed at 6pm, but sleeping for 8 hours! How great would that be!!!)

Things are hopefully starting to come together for getting into a home of our own. We were approved for a loan yesterday with terms that we can’t beat anywhere! It sounds like we have a piece of land available for us just down the road from the Haack family farm. Then Brian could walk or ride his bike to the farm most days. That would be nice! Anyway, we are looking at the possibility for putting up a modular home on this land. Nothing too big and fancy, but big enough that the kids can each have their own rooms. (And we can have our room back to ourselves.) The exciting thing about this is that it could happen pretty quickly all of the sudden and we could be getting into the home by the beginning of summer. That would be SO wonderful! We will be praying that everything works out this time!

We just received Christian’s evaluation report in the mail (the state conducted testing with us at the end of January for placement in the waiver program). It was a little dishearting to read that he would now be classified as having “severe autism.” After mourning that “label” for a few days and contemplating what the future might hold for him, I gave up thinking about that. Each and every day is so different and unpredictable. How can I manage to tell myself what he will be capable of in ten years when I can tell myself what he is capable of in ten minutes. What a HUGE reminder again that God is in control, not me as much as I would like to be.