Monday, December 22, 2014

A Little Favor to Make a Little Boy Smile Really Big...

Dear Readers,

As many of you already know,  I have a little boy who loves to make videos. When I say "videos" I mean crazy fun videos of him acting out scenes from Mario, replays of the latest soccer game he's watched, or his own type of interpretive dance to his favorite songs.  He works very hard dancing, writing scripts, uploading photos and create small (okay, sometimes not so small when you are the viewer)  youtube videos and gain "views. "
 Brady has Aspergers. People with Aspergers  are usually fascinated and obsessed with things that neurotypical people don't really care about, don't really notice. Brady has been obsessed with Mario and Luigi since he was four years old and I don't see the fascination every really going away. I envision myself with a 16 year old son running around my house with a fake mustache and overalls smashing make believe Gumbas.  My gain? I always know what to get him for Christmas and  I get to watch a little boy constantly be delighted with the same video, the same costume...even the same pastime and I've learned a lot, let me tell you.  There's something to be said for sticking with a love instead of being easily distracted and going on to the next thing. Consistency and Loyalty...two amazing qualities. :)
 However, because some people don't really understand his fascinations or the value of them to him,
my husband and I have to be a little protective. He has had videos on youtube (he actually has a channel) but we had to turn off comments just because of some rather distasteful remarks from viewer - bullying instead of encouraging his differences.
 Brady values views and even though HIS value isn't based on how many times someone clicks on a REALLY makes him happy when they do.
I have a favor...if you could click on this link and watch his latest little conglomeration of songs and dance, he would be ecstatic. I think the video is about 1.5 minutes of sheer energy. If you would go one step further to possibly share his video on facebook that would be amazing. He works so hard at the things that he loves, I would like for him to rewarded for his effort and his talent.
Brady's #1 Fan

Saturday, December 20, 2014

And Then He Was Nine...

One day I woke up, rubbed my eyes...and realized that he was nine. 

He said it was the greatest day of his life because he's now closer to being ten and getting his brown guinea pig. 
There was a trip to an overstimulating restaurant...with Mexican food, thousands of  green and red twinkle lights wrapped around trees, fiesta music for all, and an overcrowded arcade. He was in heaven.

Then it was back home to have my leaning tower of gluten free chocolate cake and a few gifts. My awesome hubby found our little man a couple of authentic soccer jerseys at the thrift store...BRAND NEW... for mere pennies. Brady's heart was won. I made the little soccer peg men last minute as a cake topper - Brady was super pleased with their simplicity. 

Happy birthday my Little Love...may you be wrapped in the arms of God and protected by His spirit. May you find joy in the little things in life (as you already have), may you grow to love others and be loved in return....I wish you lots of soccer playing years, cups of hot tea, and next year  - one brown guinea pig.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Remembering, Regretting, Learning, and Hoping.

  I spent a lovely morning with my Brady angel, going from store to store, explaining prices and nutritional facts and why the aisles are numbered...every time he would look up at me and try to make conversation about things that I like - I felt uncontrollably happy. I couldn't help but to hug him several times in the middle of a store, couldn't keep my hands off of his long thick hair...couldn't get enough of those freckles and blue eyes. My heart. 

I found a post this morning from almost three years ago and it pretty much sums up the way I have been feeling this last week. Brady hasn't been doing super well in the health department...he is very washed out with dark purple under his eyes. He is congested, then his nose runs...then he is congested. He has a little...errrr...itching problem. He seems very distracted... I have to ask him a question about three times before I get a response. I guess because of all of this I've started searching for answers again for our boys...searching what could be out there to help them with some of the "side effects" of having autism. My search brought me to the book Healing the New Childhood Epidemics, Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies. I expected to be be reading a bunch of medical jargon that is totally NOT understandable for a creative brain like mine - but it hasn't been that way at all. It's been mind blowing, eye opening, heart's been a lot for me to take in. This week has been pretty emotional for me. I've struggled a lot internally with a super strong love and hope for my boys, but also just a sadness that you would only understand if you have a special needs child. I have three...this is overwhelming to me sometimes. When I read a book that has ideas that I can try and that tells me that their issues come from their gut, their brains, and their nervous systems and that each child with autism is affected in all three areas, I just feel like there are NINE puzzles to solve. I essentially have to work on all three areas for all three boys. 

 Brady will be nine tomorrow. My baby boy will be nine tomorrow. I think I have a hard time when he has a birthday. Okay, I KNOW I have a hard time when he has a birthday.  My husband has held me several times in the last two days and just let me cry. I love my little boy so much and am so proud of him and his strength. Reading the book about how kids with autism PRIMARY emotion is fear and anxiety is hard to read.  It makes me sad that most of the time that's the FIRST thing that my boys feel, and it's true. I've seen it. 

I'm so happy that my boys also experience a lot of joy. I'm so happy that they seem pretty comfortable in their little worlds and in our home. BUT...after Christmas we are going to pretty much go hardcore with a whole new diet ... first starting with gluten free and then moving on to yeast....again (insert a big sigh.) We will be supplementing them and also detoxing them for heavy metals - I'm a little scared of the changes. For any of you that think your kids might have any of the four A's...autism, adhd, asthma, and food allergies I really recommend this book. In fact, for anyone that has a child and would like to prevent the four A's...I challenge you to read this book. I had a very alert little baby, a very comical little baby...and then I didn't. I wish I would have known some things then that I know now. 

 The most precious little lips, big blue eyes...

 ... engaging, soft chubby little arms, loved to play peek a boo...

... and then one day he just became serious, stopped looking at the camera in photos, had fevers often, a messed up tummy but doctors couldn't figure out what the issues were. I know now what the issue was. People like to encourage and say things like "God made him perfectly." God made my boy perfectly...God didn't make autism. 
I will share my past post at the end here, it's relevant to me today. The love that I have for this little guy is stronger then ever. As he and I were driving home this afternoon and I was watching him look out his car window I wondered what he was thinking about. He see things differently than I do...his world is pretty amazing yet pretty confining. I thought about how much I've changed over the past nine years, my ideas of parenting have changed. I thought when I had a baby that kids were basically good for making you laugh, making you feel loved, and to basically just do whatever you tell them to do. I learned fast that this is completely wrong. Kids are made so that you can love them, so that you can grow, so that you can change things about YOU in order to help them lead fulfilling lives. I have changed...I'm better because of Brady. I love more fuller and more deeply because of Brady. I'm more thoughtful, more sensitive, more sacrificial because of Brady. I nicknamed him "Little Love" when he was a teeny tiny guy and I think that even when he is 180 lbs he will still be my Little Love even though my heart has never loved any other person more fully and more deeply. Thanks for listening....



He sits, perched on one of his favorite spaces - Papa John's old truck, daddy's new one. His eyes are blank and staring into space and I can't help but wonder what he's dreaming of. Is he walking on the moon today, surrounded by all of his planets (he knows all of their names and colors) or is he a samurai....imagining himself karate chopping and taking out the enemy? Is he in school....having a conversation with a friend that he can't have in real life? Is he eating something delicious......or maybe worried that we'll be late to the party on Saturday? I wish he could tell me.
Somedays there are glimpses of hope....he hugs me, awkwardly but sweetly. Somedays he comes up to me, his finger pointed and his face a little nervous and says "I love you Mommy" and then he looks around quickly - I can tell it was hard for him to say those words and he was unsure of what my reaction would be. I hug him and tell him he is the sweetest boy in the world, and that he will always be my very favorite first born. :)
Other days are hard, and I don't know how we are going to get through this...this childhood and this a complete family. I wonder how we are going to meet his special needs, how we will ever learn to communicate with him the RIGHT we will prepare him for his future. I wonder how Zac and I will stay together in spirit and in harmony, stressed beyond our limits on a daily basis?
Someday he will be a man...a strong man with a lot of expectations of his world...some expectations that can't always be met. I worry.

In the end, I know that Brady is perfect. He was made this way for a reason and I don't understand it...but it's real and it's my life and it's not ever going away. He will always need me, and I guess that feels good. It's comforting that my six year old still needs to hold my hand in a store, he needs the security that only I can provide him with in a public space. There are times during my day that I see that as a hassle, and I'm slow to recognize it as a JOY that he's so bonded to me...that he wants me and that he feels safe in my arms and in my sight. He is teaching me things about myself I would never have learned....everyday I have to grow more, I have to get to the next level of understanding....I'm stretched and made stronger...because of him. Thank You My Brayden Allen.
April is autism awareness month. I challenge you to google autism, autism spectrum disorder, Asperger's Syndrome and become *learned.* There are so many children effected by autism today, I know that it is a relief to me when someone can say "oh yah, I know what that is...I read something about it" or "I watched a show about that." Even though they aren't living with it daily, it's nice to know that they know. I don't feel as alone in this journey...and I know that people will be more understanding of my little love and the challenges that he faces ....and they will be SHOCKED at the things that he can do!!!!! He is the smartest little kid that I have ever known and he has a sense about him that is different than other kids....he is COMPLETELY honest.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

And The Shimmer Came Out...

We decked our halls...a little bit earlier this year. 
We had guests arriving on the first of December so in order for my house to feel festive we put our tree up an entire three days early! I think this will be the new normal for us..why not enjoy those Christmas carols and celebrating the Advent just a little bit longer?
We use to always have a massive fir tree every year. Our first year in Colorado our finances were somewhat sparce so we decided to opt for a thrifted artificial tree. This little tree has now played host to our oodles of ornaments three years running and going strong - and saving us money and precious fir needles. I guess as Martha Stewart would say "it's a good thing."

I made our snickerdoodles this year with honey instead of sugar and they turned out quite tasty. Next time I will also try to omit some butter for coconut oil...although I'm a bit nervous that they may loose their Snickerdoolishness (say that three times fast....)

It was our little Koala's turn to put the star on top of the tree this year. This position is quite treasured in the Corley home as it only comes once every four years...he did a swell job and had a "cat smile" to boot. I love that little boy (the big man isn't so bad himself, wink wink.) 

This year as we were putting up our tree I kept watching my hubby readjust ornaments, wrap light around the tree "just so", he even did the outside of our house! I had this overwhelming feeling of thankfulness that he LIKES to do things like that - that he also loves the magic of this season. It made me happy and thankful that I'm married to a sensitive man who loves the finer things in life like white lights and Bailey's Irish cream. He's a good one. 

Our home is simple, but it's cozy. I don't have many decorations or place to put them, but I think I like it that way. A simple wreath on the front door, a glass bowl full of little artificial tree and gold star on top - our stockings. 

I'm very in love with stockings and the thought of sneaking little gifts into them all season long. 

My Brady is most in love with the tastes of the season...

Tristan just thinks everything is wonderful and says over and over "oh I think this will be the best Christmas ever." He loved his new ornament this year...a little fawn to remind us always of Tristan's gentle soul and his love of animals. Trinity received an angel, she is so in love with music and the scriptures and the whole story of her precious baby Jesus - she makes my heart sing. Brady got a little soccer ball ornament to mark the year he fell in love with the game - he was ecstatic. Finn received a little wire star and he looks for it every day on the tree with his cute little mouth saying over and over again "where's my star? Where's my star?" 

I'm so excited to rest and to feel the Peace of the season. I'm so excited to go through this season and do simple things everyday to anticipate the saviors birth and to give love and light to those around us. Decking the halls this year has been very simple for us, but very symbolic. I hope you all had a lovely lovely weekend. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Bit of Thanksgiving...A Little Late

Cuddle Bugs on the couch, watching the parade, eating fruit salad and pumpkin streusel bread. 

Brady was thrilled to see his favorite Pokemon character sailing through the streets of New York City. 

Me, the cook...the one responsible for our entire Thanksgiving (I pulled it off.)

We sat down to a delcicious meal and a rather smaller bird then most American. I found a little organic chicken for sale at the store and decided that that would be the perfect amount of meat for a mostly meatless family. He turned out well I'm told, with his butter and thyme and lemon pepper basting. 

Giggles over potatoes...

After all the stomachs had been filled the crew went out to enjoy a little bit of backyard "futbol." Zac photo bombed me...

The game was close...

In the end the "red" team won and were given a World Cup trophy by the littlest blue team member (his gold glitter sensory bottle.)

The fresh air was enjoyed by all and we were so thankful to be given a sunny day for Thankgiving.

After the game we all came in for some coffee (hot chocolate for the littles) and a piece of not-so-homemade pic. I hope you all had a happy holiday with loved ones!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

We've Been

We've Been...

- trying out new gluten free recipes
- licking spoons
- listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving ( I can't help myself)

- organizing bedrooms
- wrapping gifts (trying to be done before December)
- reading Froggy books (my boys are crazy about them)

- dancing indoors when it's too cold to dance outdoors
- playing legos
- slacking off on our workbook pages

- trying out our second hand winter gear
-looking cute as a button in our second winter gear
- making the most of our sunny weather (a storm is a brewin')

- trying to pretend it's summer and chug lemon water (who really wants water when it's cold anyway?)
- making a 6 foot long grocery list for upcoming visitors and festivities
- having family movie nights
- eating tons of bananas now that berries are out of season
- enjoying our warm home
- giving out care packages to those without
- remembering those around us that feel sadness instead of joy during this time of year
- growing closer as a family

Monday, November 17, 2014


The snow came and hasn't left. Unlike last year (maybe it just hasn't been that long yet) I haven't felt cooped up really at all. We'll just say that I think I've finally mastered the art of layering my clothes and keeping my feet warm...a hot drink in my hand and the curtains pulled all the way back - it's been peaceful. It's been pretty calm. It's been what a snowy week should be. 

Yes, do you see my child in the 20 degree weather without pants on ? It's all for the sake of filming - she and Brady would run out and say a few lines, his i pod posed and ready to go, then they would run in and warm their hands and head back out. The fun only lasted 20 minutes or so and then Trinity let her brother know she had had enough and that she wasn't wearing a long coat and boots like him and she was gonna find a blanket. that's how to dress for the snow. 

Gentle flakes
Soft and white
Drifting, falling
Through the night
In silent wonder
As I slept
Glistening secrets
Darkness kept
With morning light
Appearing bright
Peering out
Brought pure delight
The mundane world
I thought I knew
Had been transformed
To something new
The filters
I’d been seeing with
Could not survive
This viewpoint shift
It shocked me into
Present time
Beyond the trappings
Of my mind
Here and now
In awe and wonder
Dissolving illusions
I’d been under
Nature’s beauty
So intensely real
Hearts spill open
And people feel
In this space
We come alive
In this joy
Our spirits thrive
Seek the beauty
In all things
Feel gratitude
For what life brings
Stop and smell the roses
Breathe the sparkling air
The magic in that flake of snow
Is lurking everywhere.

Dan Coppersmith

Monday, November 10, 2014

Goodbye Warmth, Hello Chill

The day started sunny...almost balmy. I went outside to our shed (in search of a holiday box) and was surprised how comfortable I was in just a long sleeve shirt.  I called the kids to come enjoy the last few moments of our true autumn weather...clouds were approaching. Only minutes went by when a huge gust blew through our yard, leaves swirled and fell and the air immediately went from warm to crisp to almost biting. I guess the Arctic Blast we've been hearing so much about on the weather channel arrived...and we watched it come. 

The kids started flapping their arms,  trying to keep up with the whirlwind of leaves flowing around the perimeter of our yard. My littles were laughing, taking joy from nature ... the power of it, the mystery of it, the colors and the touch of it...the chill of it. Deep belly laughs filled our yard and I watched the joy...I took it in and placed it deep inside of me, a memory I will never forget - my babies dancing in the leaves, arms lifted almost in praise...loving their little backyard, loving the beautiful earth we've been given, enjoying each other...enjoying what matters

I watched the clouds covering our bright sun, the rain of leaves falling on our yard...and bid the warmth a rather glum farewell. 

The littles weren't glum...they were still laughing and running and exerting whatever energy they could while their was still space (our basement starts feeling a bit snug during long indoor days.)

They call him "Wind In His Hair." 

The last of my yellow's now snowing outside and by the time the week is over the world will be bare and brown ... with maybe a little white here and there. Good bye 60 degree weather...hello 8 degree highs. Hello warm slippers and tea. Hello increased energy bills. Hello winter squashes and greens ... good bye berries and organic grapes (see you when prices are down.) 

After our wind dance and our good byes to fall weather ... we came in and unpacked our holiday mugs, made cocoa, and snuggled on the couch.

Hello snuggles. Hello Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Hello cookies and cocoa and stories all day. Hello early winter. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

That Kind of Day

It's a Mario and Luigi Day.
It's a Chilly Fall Day.
It's a Sunny Sky Kinda Day.
It's a "Hang with Your Bud in the Backyard" Sweet Day. 

It's a "My Baby isn't a Baby Anymore" Day.
It's "Prop That Kid Anywhere" Sort of Day.
It's a Piano Music Day.

Today is a Day I Can Exercise.
It's a Clementine and Date Snack Day.
It's a Healthy Heart, Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Day.

It's a Love On Your New Best Friend Day.
It's a "Glasses Are Cool" Day (and everyday.)

It's a Blessed Day.
It's a Good Day.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Hurt and My Joy

 It's a peaceful morning. Finn climbed into bed with me, snuggled up under the covers and told me the same thing he tells me every morning ... that he's hungry and ready to watch "cow" (his favorite little video about farms.) I get up, searching in the dark for my slippers's cold now in the mornings. I get him settled on the couch, a warm quilt wrapped around his little diaper clad body... pour myself a cup of coffee, read some Scriptures to start my day. I light a candle and put on some soft music and begin cleaning the kitchen, hoping to accomplish a couple of things before my other three littles get up.
 I check my e mail  and see a message a friend has sent me ...wondering if I would be interested in this "new" study they are doing on autism...I read about this astounding "link" they are finding between mutated genes from some couple and if they have children with high functioning autism. This is nothing new, nothing I haven't read before ... but it makes me feel sad. Instant tears run down my face ... my peaceful morning colliding with my not so peaceful reality.

We have three sons. All of our boys are beautiful inside and out. All of our boys are bright and growing and blooming into wonderful people. All of our sons have high functioning autism.

 I'm not sad that they are mine. I do not feel that they "lack" in any way. I love all of my boys more then words or songs or poems or anything could ever say. 
 But...when I read studies that want to "link" their condition to one cause, or I talk to doctors who callously tell me that environmental issues aren't to blame for this neurological condition, or that they are this way because of "genes" I feel guarded, I feel sad, I feel defensive...sometimes I feel angry....sometimes I feel smart and proud that I have more information than some "professionals." I guess, what it comes down to is that I see the heart of my children, I see the beauty and the creativity and the specialness that is them - I see more than mutated genes and I'm willing to go further then to just say "me and my  husband obviously have genes that aren't compatible and we make babies with issues." 
 I love the quirkiness of my little guys, I love their individuality - but sometimes I grieve. Sometimes it is is early in the morning, in the quiet that I thank God for my blessings, but I also tell Him of my fears and my wants and my pain. Sometimes the hurt strikes unexpectedly when I look at other people's family photos, or when I sit in a restaurant and watch a child sitting at a nearby table, enjoying his meal, connecting with his parents in an obvious sort of way. Sometimes I hurt when I'm on a playdate and I see that my kids aren't like the other kids...sometimes it hurts when I'm in the middle of some long repetitive motion or communication that I have with one of my boys EVERY SINGLE DAY without fail. Sometimes it hurts unexpectedly...when I check an e mail, or watch a new documentary on our food, our air, the pharmaceutical industry. It hurts when I see two people walking, holding hands...and I wonder if my boys will be able to experience that kind of love and connection with another person.  Sometimes, it's early in the morning with my lit pine scented candle and soft piano music and I feel peaceful...and I hurt peacefully. I know that my hurt doesn't change my love... change the status of my's just a moment of hurt.  
 I am a mother to three sons with autism - I rejoice in their differences, I grieve their differences...this is what is real and what is OKAY. Above all, I love ... I celebrate...and I give thanks for three blessings who are more than mutated genes.