dark or closed spaces

The Rock has found some new tricks to either play with us, help him regulate, or for who knows what reason. The blanket is played like peek-a-boo. He will sometimes bring his blanket to me and try to put it over my head. He sometimes like to get under the blanket with me. We just sit with each other and he touches my face, sometimes giggles. The blanket is also used to cover himself completely at bed time or in the car. This scares me at bed time, but if I pull it down he puts it right back where it was. He's figured out something that works for him. The cupboard is a new one and makes me laugh. I know all my kids have done this at one time or another but I can't remember the Rock doing it until now. He just enjoys the dark and usually takes his trusted Elmo with him. Thank you to all of our sweet family and friends who let us take toys home with us, because the uncontrolled outburst that comes when leaving a beloved toy behind becomes too hard to bear. Elmo is one of these generous acts of kindness and is a daily loved toy.

Catch uP

I haven't been great about keeping up with anything lately. Here is life at a glance the last month or so. Punky won reflections for her awesome wave sculpture (that Aunt Jessie taught her how to do). The title of her work was "Together We Can make a wave of PEACE" She sculpted a wave and painted in blue with white caps and a Peace sign on the top of the wave. We are very excited for this accomplishment. Way to go Punky! Spunky finally got to try her feet at soccer this fall and she loved it! She was as we knew she would be, very aggressive and relentless with 100% effort. When her coached asked them to warm up for practice by running 5 laps she said "Only 5? Why not 10?" (i'm not kidding) She of course asked to play on a coed team, no boy or girl was too much of a match for her. She's a tough one. So glad she's bought into our family motto "Dickinsons don't quit!" when she was beaten and bruised a few times. She had a wonderful time and is now missing it. We all had a fun time watching her play and actually look forward to springtime soccer. I was so glad that the weather was great for every game but two. Tender mercies!!!! Taz continues to be "TAZ" as he so calmly tries to pick something up from under the table and runs his eye right into the round, glass table and pops open the side of his eye lid. Yep! Three stitches later he ended up looking like this. Taz is having a great time at preschool and hopefully learning a ton. Hopefully is my answer because he seems to not be able to remember anything. I'm pretty sure it's all jumbled in his brain somewhere, just waiting to regergitate it to me someday. He is starting to be a bit more articulate at times and this is just melts my heart......for a moment. After writing this I remember why it's so important for me to write, it reminds me what's so wonderful about being a mom. It's easy to forget the reasons that make it all worth it. I love my kids! especially when they are sleeping.

Time FLYS.....

when you are crazy busy with what's that thing called? Oh yeah!
I cannot believe it's been a year since the Rock's diagnosis. Oh how we have become so used to traveling to Lehi every few days for therapy and having therapists in our home. I cannot believe that in just two months my baby will go to preschool AND possibly ride a bus. I say possibly because right now the thought of putting my baby on a bus makes we want to throw up. There are so very good discussions both ways and I will just wait and see. I still have two months to decide. The Rock will have a brain wave hearing test done this month to make sure he can hear completely. He has now failed his hearing test 3 times. We know he can hear, we just want to know to what degree. It will most likely turn out great, but it will also be great to have definite answers. With autism there are so many things that are not definite that it will be great to have some solid info one way or another. Nursery time is getting better and better. I think the routine is settling in with him. He is now joining the group for snack at the table (miracle 1), today he smiled during singing time (miracle 2) and made it through without his trusted huge dinosaur (miracle 3). I am so grateful for such wonderful teachers who understand that these little things are miracles and make a point of telling me and celebrating with us. (miracle 4) Seriously when you see these little things as miracles you can't help but be in awe. (side note: Of course it IS difficult to remember these when you are totally exhausted from all the other things that I can't possible write because it would take forever)


I can't believe I haven't posted this amazing news yet......At the beginning of November the Rock was in his class. When class was over his teacher knew I was down the hall so she was bringing him to me. As they got close the Rock reached out to me and .........said.........MaMa! This is the first time he has ever seemed to call me anything. This was such a wonderful moment. I snatched him up and squeezed him as I cried. My heart goes out to all you moms that haven't heard these beautiful words from your child. Now that I've tasted the magic of being his MaMa I want to hear it again. In time I'm I know I will, some day soon. The Rock has learned to play a matching game with our family photos. This game is just a means to teaching him to talk and in some way know our names. As he plays this game he will sometimes look at the picture, repeat the name and then if the person is with him he will look at that person. He's getting it!!! Little by little we are conquering. My favorite sound he makes is for Punky's name. He sticks his tongue out and as if he is licking his lips back and forth he makes the "L" sound. It is so adorable. It happens so fast I don't have video to share, sorry.


The Rock has gained a few more tricks and it is so exciting. He has started to understand the value of pointing and actually doing it. We started with two see through cups with dots on them, we would put one preferred thing in one cup and a non-preferred in another cup. We asked him to point to what he wanted. The first two days we helped him point, by holding his hand, but after a couple days he started to pointing on his own and a couple days after that he started pointing to things on his own. Pointing is so exciting because he has learned that he can communicate what he wants. A month ago he didn't have any wants. Now he brings me what he wants or points to it. He even is doing two steps by pointing to something up high and then pulling on me to and saying "u"(up) and then pointing to what he wants. As I write this seems so simple, it is, but it is such a big deal. My son ASKS for things, yeah! My son asks ME for things, yeah! My son WANTS something, yeah! The simple things you never knew were fundamentals are such BIG deals in the Rock's life. I love that the little things are big accomplishments. It makes life full of miracles everyday, that we took for granted before. It also makes life feel like we are climbing mountains everyday instead of bumps, but life comes in all sorts of trails. It's the attitude we face them with that makes the difference. Sometimes the attitude is the mountain I climb, thanks to miracles everyday, PEACE can find me if I let it.

Like Father, Like Son

I can't believe is how identical these two are. I know some of you may argue otherwise, but this is what I see on a daily basis. I get the blue/brown eye thing, but the face, the lips, the intense eyes, I love it! This pic of the Rock is my fave and Heman with his Magnum face makes me melt and laugh at the same time. I love my family and feel that we are all blessed to have one another.

tactstile defensive

The Rock has issues with sensory things. He has a difficult time touching most foods (fruit, veggies, noodles, pudding, yogurt, meat, basically everything that isn't crunchy, sometimes he surprises me) and even wants to run away when you are eating these things around him. He has even been known to gag at watching you eat something. Food is not the end of this issue he doesn't like to touch anything slimy or gooey (play dough, paint, grass, the list goes on and on) This was a huge eye opener to us. Can you imagine gaging or wanting to throw up because someone is eating yogurt or noodles or watermelon? What do you do? We have started over taking these things slower. We give him choices with food but don't force him to eat anything or even put it on his plate. We do art projects and push through it with him and stop if he gags or gets mad. We have sensory boxes with rice, beans and cotton balls in them. We take time to play in the boxes and put his feet and hands in them. The picture above is after he had eaten a sucker that got all over his mouth and then we played with the cotton balls. He put the cotton balls up to his face and they stuck. For a minute before I got the camera he had a very cute Santa beard. Last Sunday Aunt Sadie made amazing cupcakes and the Rock wanted one, GREAT! He ate all of it with frosting and crumbs all over, after he was done he rubbed his hands together, WOW! This is wonderful because he was able to accept the feeling and then to rub his hands together and accentuate the feeling is awesome. The more and more sensory input he allows himself to accept the better he gets and is able to work and learn more in different situations. Below is a video of him eating Ice cream. Utensils are too much for him but some how he has learned that Ice cream and Popsicles are yummy and slimy. Pop Pop is a new word. He will even open the freezer (HUGE accomplishment) and get a popsicle out.

catching up

Punky is growing so fast! If you've talked to her lately you have learned that she is wanting to babysit your child. She is excited about getting more responsibilities and is wanting to test it out.......on your child. Punky and Spunky have started taking art classes from their Aunt Jessi and are loving it. It's so great having Aunt Jessi close to us now. Both of the girls are very talented artists and I love watching their talents multiply! Spunky has had her two front teeth knocked out by her brother and sister, what a trooper! She is a super tough girl and has proved it on the soccer field every Saturday for the last month. She loves to compete and chase after the ball. She's always in the middle of it. It's been so fun to cheer her on, you are welcome to join us any Saturday this next month. She is hearing more and more that she looks just like her Mom, she is so sweet and says "I know, Thanks." Taz is on to making a whirlwind at preschool. He was so excited to start school. On school days he says he doesn't want to go, but the next day (not a school day) he says he has to go. I'm glad he is liking it. School for the kids has always come with great stress and anxiety for me. Having Taz in a great school early is bringing me peace. This little boys nickname is right on the mark. He is a whirlwind of all boy and joy! Finding peace in motherhood is a daily chore for me and some days I don't succeed. I love my kiddos and don't want to do anything else, I just feel like Katniss sometimes. I can see how I am the reason things are so messed up, hard for my kids and how I have ruined my kids for life (please do not comment on this part, I know what the real answer). SO sometimes I need some time to catch up on sleep and energy. Luckily I have AWESOME friends that help me. I was able to go to VEGAS with a friend and catch up! It was a ton of fun as things always are with my buddies. Eating,Laughing,Crying,Sleeping,Singing,Swimming, and other crazy things are a so needed. This is how I keep some sort of PEACE in my life. Thanks to all my friends that keep me sane, you are angels in my life. My husband of course is the reason I am able to catch up and stay sane (occasionally the cause of my insanity), Thank you LOVE!!


So every day I am faced with the reality of progress in slow motion with the Rock, but progress nonetheless. I try hard to stay focused on the good things that are happening. I am constantly running here and there and catching up on all the normal MOM stuff along with side jobs here and there. Therefore I stay in my own reality a lot of the time, especially when it comes to the Rock. Last Friday my reality was knocked over. It was the first time I had my niece over for the whole day without any other kiddos, except the Rock. I knew this was going to be very good for him to have someone his own age to play around and watch. Usually all the big kids are around and so she runs off with them, well this day was different. They played side by side and didn't bother each other too much. I think for the Rock and my niece it was a great day for them. For me....the hardest day I've had in awhile. I had to keep myself from crying all day, because I felt that all day I had someone screaming at me "YOUR SON IS AUTISTIC! YOUR SON IS AUTISTIC! See the difference between these two?" Reality breached! OK I get it, I know and it's OK! It's just that sometimes we are faced with reality checks. Tough ones at times. We are looking forward to this Friday when my niece comes over again. What will she teach us next and how can we learn from her? Having her is a blessing in our lives and sometimes blessings hurtsdon'tit?


Every day there is something wonderful that happens at our house, especially when you are counting up how many times you get eye contact. I can't believe that nine months ago my son couldn't do all the things he can do now...... *eye contact *plays with us *talk- words come and go and what we had a year ago we don't have today, but what we do have is good and we've had it for awhile....go, more, candy, cookies (food), drink, shoes, ball, most of these are sounds and signs for words, but I'm so glad he is understandin a need to talk to us. *comes to me for comfort *less stimiling more regulating *wants to be with us *understands "Let's go!" (this happend last week and Spunky pointed out to Nana "Did you see that, that was a miracle, he just listened and followed my mom!" She was so elated with joy for her brother. The simple things!! *holds my hand when walking (most of the time) I hope that after reading these things you can add them to your list of simple blessings everyday. I didn't count these as blessings with the others, I took these simple things for granted. I don't ANY more! I thank my Heavenly Father every day that the Rock has never forgotten or lost the ability to kiss me when asked. This is a total miracle and I am so grateful. The kisses I get from my little boy are the highlights to my life. I hope you get kisses every day! Love Me XXXX

Seriously !!! BLESSED

Today the Rock just started laughing. I have no idea why he was giggling so much. It didn't happen just once either. This kind of giggling is not an every day thing, even though he is usually happy. This laughter is pure JOY and you can't help but giggle with him or in my case cry for JOY. Even in our times of trials, I CAN count my blessings! I think we all could take a good 10min. and talk about our trials. We can also take a good 15min. or more and count our blessings, joys and the things that make us laugh. I have to share a few of my incredible blessings over the last little while. I am over come with the amount of support we have received from all of you who want to come walk/run with us in a few weeks. We can't wait to be with all of you in one place. We need and want you all to be there. Thank you for your efforts. The last two years have been a doozy and when you have loved ones rally for you and your baby in a time of need, my gratitude is endless. Two weeks ago I needed help to raise money for treatment. We were in a time crunch and I needed all my resources. My Dad of course was the first one in line. The event was Saturday morning and come Friday night 9pm my dad calls and says "I just flew in, my wrists don't work and my knees are shot, are we a go tomorrow? I'm there!!" I hated the fact that I needed him any way he was willing. I can't put into words what that kind of love like that feels like to receive. The next day was a hard one for my dad, but as always he endured it well. All for me and my son. My mother who always gives has put together a work lunch at the airport to raise $$$ to donate for the charity Daybreak 5k. I appreciate my mom always going the extra mile and exhausting all resources to make miracles happen. Thank you Jen and Russ for donating to this lunch and make it more profitable. Thank you Continental for making it happen. Our amazing family and friends made it possible for us to move and get settled in one day. Moving again weighed so heavy on everyone in our family. Yet with the help and love from all of you it was smooth sailing. We are blessed to have each and every one of YOU!!! It has been wonderful to be welcomed by sweet treats, little ones knocking on the door and visits. It's the little things in life that give the most, a hug, bread, cookies, a knock on the door, a phone call, an invitation all have made us feel at home. I could keep going on and on and not to show anyone up, I needed to share my gratitude for me and my family. I hope that you are counting your blessings. My 15min. are up. We love you and hope you know how special you are to our family.

Come WALK for the ROCK......

On September 18th, Saturday @ 10am Daybreak 5k for Operation Kids Scholarship Fund for Autism. All proceeds will go to scholarship funds for many families receiving treatment, including us. It is not possible for the Rock to get the help he needs without this scholarship, so we are asking forc help. Registration is only $5 with the encouragement for everyone raise additional funds to donate. If you would just like to donate to Operation Kids Scholarship Fund for Autism please go to the registration site and click "donate". We encourage everyone to tell everyone about this great event. All of you that would like to walk/run in honor of the Rock please contact me so that we can make matching shirts saying WALK for the ROCK! Not only will there be a fun walk/run that day, Daybreak will also be hosting a health fair and a Fizz Fest with lots of fun activities for kids. I hope that all of you will come and enjoy this day with us!

Talents and Autism

Check out my post on Autism Journeys Blog about talents. I've included a video of the Rock swimming. If you haven't had the pleasure of watching this miracle you've missed out and don't have to anymore. The first time we went to the pool this summer I had every mother and life guard jumping on me and him, making sure I was paying attention and he wasn't drowning. Everyone is used to us now so it tends to be a bit less stressful. Hope you enjoy watching.


This is the Rock's new found motivation, Ms. Gamee. We started working with Gamee to teach the Rock how to walk and stay with me, instead of running away ALL the time. After just one lesson (which I wasn't sure was successful) the Rock knew what to do with Gamee. Kate Andersen, Gamee's mom and founder of Autism Journeys, was walking ahead of the Rock with Gamee and the Rock started reaching and whimpering for Gamee. This action is outstanding for the Rock. He has just recently started to ask seldom for food or drink, so for him to ask for Gamee after just one time I was shocked. I am optimistic that Ms. Gamee can pull more out of my angel and can't wait to be there to witness the next miracle and milestone! To find out more about Ms. Gamee, canine therapist, or Autism Journeys checkout their website www.autismjourneys.net or the blog www.autismjourneys-aj.blogspot.com. We love this place and people who bless our lives every day.


For all of you out there who have seen me or will see me at the pool, NO the Rock IS NOT DROWNING!!! I AM watching him and he is having the time of his life. I promise to post a video with him swimming because it's incredible. I know it may look scary but it's not. It is difficult for him to have me so close all the time so I give him some space here and there. I also make him work by getting him to talk to me by asking for "more" when I throw him in the pool or have him count "1,2,3" and jump in off the side. The fact that I can get him to talk to me in the pool with so much going on is huge. Sometimes I can get him to LOOK and talk to me but not always so this is what I'm trying hard to work on. BUT he can't work all the time so I MUST give him a break and back off for a minute. The Rock is SO incredibly happy in the pool it's amazing. He is almost 21/2 and with a life jacket can so freestyle and breaststroke, which of course is all self taught because it's not like he would follow any instruction even if I tried. He can hold his breath longer than Taz and knows that when he needs a breath or a rest to roll onto his back and float. It's amazing his instincts to do this. Punky was the same way at the same age only difference is that although she had many instinctual qualities she still also learned by following our directions. So if you happen to see us in the pool you are witness to something amazing and wonderful. I consider myself lucky to be apart of it and hope that you do to. ***I do realize accidents happen everyday and know one is exempt from them. I appreciate your concern on our behalf and thank you for watching out for my little ones.

autism & trips

Every time I leave the house and go somewhere out of the norm I am always shocked by how comfortable I am at home and how anxious I am everywhere else. SO a trip is far above the occasional visit other than home. A trip with the Rock brings a whole new meaning to anxious and yet I get comfortable in my routine and think "Sure! We can go on a trip, it will be good to do something new." This statement is true, HOWEVER it doesn't make anything easier. I realize life can always be harder and I am extremely blessed for everything I have. A trip for the Rock is way more difficult for him than me, he just can't explain that it's difficult. If the Rock had had a choice he would have stayed inside the hotel room the entire time playing with the fabulous toys the Johnson's brought or swimming in the pool (but even that got too cold after awhile). The torture of having to eat or stay with us at all times or be with so many people all the time was a lot to take in. I think all in all we did OK....except when it came to sleep. Only one out of the four nights did the Rock sleep. This is so NOT normal that this was the wake-up call that life was way difficult for him. Once we were home it took us a week to get back to normal sleeping patterns, no tantrums(head banging) over everything, playing with us again and eating something was a huge accomplishment by the end of the week home. I think everyone has to adjust to changes, but for the Rock it's just a little bit harder and I don't know what he wants or needs. This I hate and can't wait for the day he can tell me. No this does not mean that I'm not going to go on a trip again, it just means I am aware and will do my best every time to make it the best experience for everyone.

FaMilY TrIp

We were all excited to go to the beach for the first time in a year. We have all missed it so much!!! On top of that we went with the whole family (missing the Kinsmans :( . We all had a great time at the pool, happy hour, and our daily enormous breakfast (these were the favs). We enjoyed a nice bike ride, until a tire popped luckily close to home. A good old fashion pirate treasure hunt was a highlight with kite flying on the side. AND of course what's a family trip without a little drama....no not any fights (other than the usual banter between Heman and Grammy) just a small panic when Taz went jumping into the pool after his sisters, while forgetting he wasn't wearing his life jacket. Taz paddled as hard as he could until a good Samaritan jumped in and saved our sweet Taz. These are some of the captured moments I got, Kel and Sade got more.


This weekend was a big one for us, full of wonderful family events ALL weekend. The fun didn't stop until yesterday afternoon. I can't tell you all enough how much it meant to us that you were there for Spunky's special day. Her decision to follow her Savior, Jesus Christ, and be baptized was a big decision and one she was really excited about. We were so happy to have our family and friends there to support her. We love you all so very very much.

6 months LaTeR....

I can't believe that it has been since months since the Rock was diagnosed with Autism. The intial overload hasn't totally worn off but has become smaller. When I first took the Rock to see the doctor I felt like I was loosing my son, today I feel like I am a part of his world. EVERYDAY miracles happen at our house, I think they probably happen at yours too, it's all in how and what you see as a miracle. To us miracles include: *the girls wanting to read the scriptures or read at all *Taz not going to timeout *the Rock eating!!! (just eating anything is good) *Punky enjoying school *Spunky saying she's smart *the boys playing together *the Rock following/understanding any direction *the Rock crying when we leave him *Taz playing and learning *the Rock pointing for something he wants There are so many others, but the simple things ARE the tender mercies and miracles sent from heaven above. ***disclaimer I write this to remind me of my blessings, it's way to easy to get caught up in all that is needed, I prefer to see the miracles (right now anyway).


Punky is growing so fast I can't believe it! My baby is 10! She is a fabulous story writer, lovely singer, and amazing artist. These are all things she loves to do and it shows in the work she produces. She is a very logical thinker and can come to very wise conclusions on her own. This is exiciting and difficult at times. We love her so very much and has changed our lives for the better everyday for the last 10yrs.


8 Spunky is 8 I can't believe it. We have loved the last 8 years with our darling daughter. If you have ever met SPUNKY you know what a treat she is to be around. She can always make you laugh either with her or at her, it doesn't matter and she doesn't care. Here are her best photos from the last year.

"Ma Ma"

That's ME! That's ME!The other day when the Rock said "ma ma" I thought time stood still! He was looking right at me (awesome accomplishment) said "ma ma" (MIRACLE) and then ran away up the stairs for me to chase him. I had to wait 26mo to hear him say my name and mean it and it was worth the wait. I am the MaMa! I am the mom of 4 beautiful children, each one is so unique and talented, they are amazing and I am blessed to be their mother.

liTTle VaMPirE

It is common place in our house to be bitten by the little vampire. Last night I went downstairs with the fam and Heman asked if I saw his head. I teased and said no and started laughing because his eye brow was red and swollen with bite marks. The day before, I ended up with a black and blue bruise. You might be saying to yourself don't let him do that, well I say DUH!!! I would stop him if I could, but this kid is SO fast in every aspect. The Rocks' therapists have said that they will be excited when he bites them, because then they would have really bonded. If you find yourself with a bite of love, consider yourself a LUCKY person.

loves got everything to do with it

I forgot to share this sweet story of love and understanding while we were in Colorado. I have to start out with saying THANK YOU to our brother and sister and their kids for all they did for us and for their desire to love all of us so much. After the first day of being with our family in Colorado, our brother said something like "I can't tell the Rock is autistic." Autism has so many different faces, they say if you've met one person with autism you've met one. Then comes the next day, our brother kept saying the Rocks name to get him to play with him and of course he wouldn't after at least an hour of trying, our brother asked us "Why won't he look at me? Can he hear me? He looks at you guys." I looked at my brother and said "He can hear you, to the Rock you just don't exist. You are an object in the room. He doesn't understand that he can and should have a relationship with all people. The only way to get into his world is to play with him. Make him look at you while you play. You have to force yourself into his world." So our brother took the challenge! Heman and his brother spent the next 45min to an hour playing all of the Rock's favorite games and making him ask our brother for more if he wanted more playing (more is the most common word the Rock has). At the end of play time everyone was exhausted, it really is work for the Rock and everyone else involved. Our brother succeeded!! Shortly after play time was over our brother asked the Rock for "5" and the Rock slapped his hand. The bond of love was made forever, the Rock kept doing it the rest of our stay. Heman and I sat back in awe of the progress the Rock has made in such a short period of time and also in awe of the tremendous desire of love our brother had to make sure his nephew knew he loved him. Our sister of course never stopped waiting on us hand and foot, for which I will always feel guilty and appreciative of her sacrifice for us. All of our family everywhere is amazing and I never can share my deep appreciation with all of you enough. Hug someone near you and feel our love for you from them.

young women WHAT?!?

Last night Heman got to sit down to dinner with Punky and Spunky, who turn 10 and 8 this month. While eating they started talking about life and both the girls expressed a desire to one day serve an LDS mission so they can be the right girl for the right guy, SOMEDAY! Heman was blown away by their mature atitudes and while explaining this to me said "They are such wonderful young women." To that I replied in my head "Not so fast, they aren't near womanhood yet, RIGHT?" I think they are closer than I want to except most days, but I have to agree that some how a little bit of the good things we are teaching them is seaping into their brains. I love these girls!!!

Miracles NEVER cease!!!

Miracles happen every day it's just a matter of recognizing that its not just a coincidence it's God's hand reaching down and blessing your life, even if for just a moment. Last night we were putting the Rock to bed (you know Taz's monster, who now sleeps in a big bed) and he didn't want to. He was crying(this is not normal behavior, when the Rock expresses any kind of emotion it's a time of JOY in our lives) and got out of bed, so Heman put him back and shut the door, as always, well the Rock banged on the door! This is huge!!! He understood that we left and to get our attention he should bang on the door (I know you are thinking every kid knows this, but not every kid especially our autistic child). I'm not even to the BIG miracle yet! Heman went back into the room and picked up the Rock and he hugged Heman tighter than ever before and didn't let go. SOOO Heman started to sing to him just like he has with all the other children (the Rock has NEVER wanted to be held and sung to or rocked to sleep). The Rock calmed down and was then able to lay in bed and go to sleep. Oh how it's the simple things that are the biggest MIRACLES in our lives. Heman was over JOYED to be able to hold his son just like he has with all the other children.

easter tender mercies

All holidays the last 6mo have brought anxiety and sadness for me when it comes to the Rock. His inability to understand what is going on or even wanting to be apart of any party is difficult. I want so badly to be with all of my children and yet he wants to be by himself. So this Easter was approaching quickly with a little bit of dread and yet when it came it came with JOY. Porter woke everyone up at 5:30am and everyone was excited to find goodies, but the Rock was still sleeping and I let him sleep. The Rock sleeping was a tender mercy for us, because I didn't have to be pulled between my little ones. The Rock was able to rest and join us when he was ready and Heman and I were able to participate with the older ones and their happiness. Keeping on the sleeping theme...... Isaac is always a fun kid to hang out with and enjoy, even though he has an bottomless stomach. This stomach cause much of my exhaustion and as I have to battle the never ending opening of refrigerator and pantry. After two days I was tired, so on the third day when Brig was leaving I was worried, but God gave me a tender mercy (picture of isaac asleep on the lazyboy) at 6pm, just as priesthood mtg. was starting.

EaSteR CeLebRaTIon

(i can't make this look the way I want but it's here!) We have been blessed and spoiled by Dhana and Ben this Easter weekend. Dhana is truly amazing, thank you for catering to our every need, I say the Dhana Dickinson Hotel is a 5 diamond experience. We had so much fun watching the cookies rise and decorating with mounds of frosting, dying eggs was enjoyable, filling and hiding the eggs was funny (watching "Benny" hide them), hunting for 100 eggs was a free for all and the inner animal came out in all the monsters. The suprise of all was our manly men bringing home beautiful flowers after priesthood session last night for both Dhana and I. We have been blessed with inspiring messages from our Savior's Apostles and other church leaders and other tender mercies. We are all so grateful for our Savior and his resurrection this EASTER MORNING!

there's MoNSteRs in my BED!!!!

So last Monday night we put the boys to bed as usual (the rock is still in his porta-crib). After about 15min Taz starts saying "There's monsters in my bed. DAD there's monsters in my bed! MONSTERS!MONSTERS!" Both Heman and I yell from downstairs "There are no monsters go to bed!" Taz starts crying and yelling "MONSTERS!" So Heman gets up and goes upstairs to find a MONSTER (the Rock) climbing all over Taz. It was black in their room and the Rock had never climbed out of his bed before (even though he loves to climb), so we didn't think it could have been him, but it was. Taz was relieved to find out it was only his brother and we were laughing! Now naps are pretty much over unless the Rock is exhausted and I know he doesn't have the energy to fight it (he is just like the other kids, tonz of energy). As far as bedtime goes, we have had to just wait until he is tired, instead of a set time. All because how do you tell a little boy to stay in bed, it's bed time, when he doesn't understand. This is just a knew adjustment to our lives and a learning curve to how autism effects the Rocks understanding and ours.

but I'm NOT READY!!!

Why is it that no matter what, time keeps ticking forward? In little more than 30 days Spunky will turn eight, YES 8, EIGHT! The age of accountability, I'm not ready. I can't believe that my second child is getting baptized. Time flys NO MATTER WHAT! Spunky is spunky and it scares me more than anyone to have her grow up. She is just her and I know all of you know what I am talking about and you are all scared for me. Honestly I just pray every day that she just gets that she is worth all that is good in this world and doesn't need to try everything just to try it. Did I tell you that about a month ago she asked me "Mom? What will you do if when I'm eighty(80) I smoke?" I respond with "Well I'll probably be dead so nothing and Why would you want to smoke?" she says "Just to try it, I'll almost be dead any way." SeriousLY!!! What goes on in this girls head? I know you all think she's just like me, but I don't ever remember thinking about stuff like that, maybe I just have selective remembering. I'm SCARED and NOT READY but HERE IT COMES! April 26th she turns 8 and May 8th she gets baptized. Save the date! She is already practicing holding her breath for 10min in the bathtub, just in case "You know everything has to go under the water."says Spunky

ShoCk and AwE!!!

We are so excited to have so much more help for the Rock between the new sensory class twice a week, EI therapist, and our new found love Autism Journeys. Everyone is wonderful and we finally feel like we are on top of Autism and not standing around wondering what it will do next. Today was awesome! I went to pick him up from his sensory class and got there early to see a miracle....the Rock sitting in a chair watching the teacher all by himself! I know this sounds like not much but they said he sat there for most of circle time. This is huge for his attention awareness. I love new little things that are actually little miracles for us. He has started coming to me and reaching for me to pick him up. This too is a new miracle and although I wish I new what he wanted when I did it, I love that he wants me (even if only for a second before he goes somewhere else). I am amazed all the time by how much he understands (when I say hot on the stove, when Daddy comes home, when he's poopy(he always finds me, sometimes the only time he comes to find me). But then he doesn't understand that (when all the lights are off and everyone is leaving the room it's time to leave, when I ask him if he wants a drink or something to eat, that climbing on the tallest thing in the room is very dangerous and the list goes on.) Everyday is a new day with new highs and lows...I know it's called life but a little different and something we are still learning about for us and the Rock.

what to say.....

to any parent or person. "How are you doing?" This says it all, it says you care and it allows them to answer if they want to. Don't be offended if they don't share with you, sometimes its just too hard. If they do share and you want to help, ask if there is a way to help or just let them know that if they do need you, you will be available. Then when they call be available! I and everybody realizes no one is perfect and that we all say things that hurt sometimes without even knowing it. Hopefully these last two posts will help you and me not say something that can hurt. I am sure I have and will in the future, for that I ask your forgiveness now and please know I am not trying to hurt you.

what not to say.....

to a parent of an autistic child. #1 No he's not. I don't believe it. #2 He doesn't look autistic. #3 Why do you think that? #4 What gifts does he have? #5 My kid does/did that too. #6 Who told you that? #7 He's too young to be diagnosed. #8 Don't give him a label. #9 You should discipline your child better? #10 He doesn't act like other autistic kids I know. The truth is if you've met one kid with autism you've met ONE kid. There is a huge spectrum of autism and EVERYONE is different. I know that no one has said these things to hurt anyone, but the thing is it does especially at the beginning of this journey. At the beginning your head is spinning and you question everything you are doing and not doing. You go through every stage of grief because you have lost something, your child. You are not sure of anything any more because the life you had is over and you are on a new journey. SO any question that question you or your decisions, cuts to the bone. All anyone ever needs is to be validated, to be reinforced that they are doing the best they can. We all just need love, support, and prayers. We are doing the best we can. ***if you have said these things to someone don't worry, they have already let it go...probably.

Life Lessons Learned Over and Over and......

So I've decided to write on my blog again in hopes that if it's out here then it won't be in my head any more and help me figure things out. Yesterday was an enlightening day for me and Heman. Life has not been a bed of roses and much more like a fire pit. I have a new title for our family to go with a new out look. With all that has been going on I have felt like our lives are in pieces and I can't find or be the glue to put us back together. What kinds of pieces you might be wondering well here they are and the life lessons I have to keep learning over and over and over again. #1 We were recently told that well of course things are hard right now moving across country once let alone twice in 8mo. is life changing and usually very difficult to deal with (no duh! I didn't need to hear that). the glue or answer is....don't look back you might be turned to salt, like Lot's wife. God has a plan and as long as you are seeking for HIS way you will be where he wants you to be. #2 I have to be the leader (I know you are all stunned at this news)and I am not feeling like I have value if I can't produce income in some way. Being the leader, boss, manager validates me as a person and I don't know how to do this. I kept wanting to find something outside of home. I wanted to work with Heman (another piece). I have felt lost and unsure of my purpose. the glue or answer is...you are the leader, the boss, the Manager Of Mayhem (M.O.M.). All the executive roles I wanted to have and need to feel validated are all in the home if change my perspective and realize that I do have value to my loved ones. #3 We have been sick for one, two or three weeks out of every month for the last eight months for no reason other than the fact that I don't think you are suppose to move across country twice in one year. It throws your body out of wack. So to say the least having a workout schedule has been impossible. Some might think that's great but for Heman and SheRa it stinks and it feels like part of you is missing and something extra is growing around my stomach. #4 Punky and Spunky have been struggling in school. I of course took this to be a reflection of bad mothering. the glue or answer is....out sourced help. Did you know that resource in school is not just for the mentally disabled? Did you know that resource is for students that are extremely bright but have some sort of learning disability that doesn't let them perform to their potential? Had I known this I would have asked for testing years ago. My daughters are bright, intelligent girls that have a hard time putting everything together. I thought that that is what I've been saying all these years and no one was listening. NOW they are and the girls are getting help. #5 Taz in the midst of all the crumbling of our pieces is twirling around begging for more attention (literally as I write). It's the nature of the beast I guess. the glue or answer is...do my best, I don't have any other ideas, right now. #6 In November of 2009 the Rock was diagnosed with Autism (wow to write this makes it that much more real). It's been a roller coaster of emotions just with this piece of our lives. the Rock has been in therapy for the last four months. Yes we have been blessed with progress little by little and yet a few steps back. We have hope that because we have learned about this so early we have ahead start and will be able to give our son the best and the most of what he needs. More will come as we move forward. the glue or answer is....faith and hope in the future. #7 Heman's new job! I have this vision of working side by side with Heman. When something new came into the picture I felt I was being pushed out. I'm his partner not anyone else, right? He kept saying God has given him this opportunity to provide for our family and I saw it as God punishing me and taking everything I need away. Why would God do this to me? the glue or answer is....God's not doing this to me, he's doing for someone else. Heman is where God wants him and if I change my perspective I can help and be there for someone else as well. So sad that I had to learn this lesson in particular twice in one year. I hope I don't have to again. It stinks feeling like God has abandoned you, when really he's right there just waiting for you to open your eyes to the whole picture. #8 FEAR, I have felt so much fear for the last I don't know how long, years (seriously). Even though I know that fear and faith can NOT exist together I still thought I was doing a good enough job enduring. NOPE! I had to experience for myself the words I had to say to a friend 31/2 yrs ago, YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE FAITH! I wish I didn't have to learn that one first hand, but I did, even though inside I already knew it. It is my hope that as I have shared bits and pieces of our pieces with you that you can learn from me. I hope that I can give you hope and faith for the future. Pres. Boyd K. Packer, once said,"If you are helpless, he is not. If you are lost, he is not. If you don't know what to do next, he knows. It would take a miracle you say? Well, if it takes a miracle, why not?"

happy birthday HAGEN 2!!

Brigham finally agrees that the Rock is his mini me! It's so hard to get him to hold still that him in the carseat is a good place to take a picture. This is his deep stare before dosing off. We love him so much and know that he is a blessing in ourlives. When the Rock turned one we learned that he didn't like cake as he cried when we tried to feed it to him. It was so cute! We have learned that chocolate is the only thing he truly desires. My heart was complete when he was placed in my arms. He is an amazing child!