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!