Thursday, April 20, 2017

Deer vs, Car and Anastasia's First (Real) Easter

Let's start this week off on the day that things got, interesting. Wednesday morning around 6:00 am to be exact. 

I get a call from Char saying he had just been hit by a deer. It darted out of the darkness, he saw a blur in the side of the light from the headlights. BAM! Hit by deer. He's (sadly) hit a deer before, which did some serious body damage but still the car survived. He expected no less from this incident, in fact, this time he was in an SUV. He made it a few miles when the engine started smoking. 

He called the towing company and alerted the police of the accident. (Which we're going to get a $1,000 bill for the dead deer from the DNR). Char thought that he would just be taken back to Wyoming like last time. Unfortunately, he was taken to a small Utah town called Coalville. Where he was promptly stranded and with a dwindling phone battery. 

I called his Dad around 7 am and asked if he could pick up Char. His dad was pretty much Char's only hope of getting home. Char was rescued around 8:30 and they went to Park City to try to rent a car. They arrived around 9:00 am just to discover all the cars are already rented OR getting an oil change. Furthermore, none of their cars would be available until 12:30 pm at the earliest. 

They choose to rent a car in SLC instead of leaving Char to wait around for over 3 hours. By the time they arrived in SLC Char had been up for nearly 30 hours straight. He couldn't make the 2.5 hour drive back home. They got a car rented and Char just followed his dad home and slept and spent the day and the night there. Because he had an early morning appointment in Ogden the next morning.
On Thursday Heidi Anne broke out in a rash at school. It got to the point that it was worrying the school nurse (who knew they still existed?). The nurse called me and told me how the rash was spreading before her very eyes. Well, I was stranded, without a car or a rental, because Char was in Utah. I didn't even have a stroller, because it was in the car, which was still stuck in Coalville! Luckily, my friend Amber rescued Heidi Anne and brought her home for me. 

On Friday Heidi Anne was going with her Aunt E, cousins, Grandma and Grandpa to see the Broadway production of The Lion King down in SLC. When we got to Aunt E's house everyone was dressed up. I dug out Heidi Anne's Easter dress from the bottom of the suit case so she could match them.  
Char had work all weekend and activities were planned, thus we would be spending all weekend at Grandma's house. I spent the afternoon alone with the babies at Grandma's house. Rory watched Moana and played with a school bus while Anastasia pulled herself up into a standing position on everything she could.
Rory loved pushing the button that made the school bus make noise. Anastasia kept trying to steal it from Rory whenever standing up got to boring for her. When Grandma and Grandpa came home they had brought the cousins for a sleep over with them. Heidi Anne loved it. 

On Saturday we all had special breakfast of french toast and waffles. Then when it got warm enough the girls all went out the play. Soon Rory went out to join them once he noticed they were playing with bubbles. He tried so hard to be like the big kids and blow his own bubbles. He had a good time popping them. 
Meanwhile, Grandma packed the eggs with treats like candy and little toys. Then Grandma took Rory with her to go hide the eggs. 
Around 10:30 all the cousins, aunts, and uncles (minus Aunt S) had arrived. A short time later the hunt was on. Heidi Anne and Cousin A got the most eggs. 
Rory could care less about hunting for eggs. He wanted to jump on the tramp alone while everyone was hunting around. Then he went and played in the sandbox. I put Anastasia in the swing, which she enjoyed, to keep an eye on Rory in the sandbox. 
On Easter Sunday we were going to have a big family dinner, but Rory had reached critical mass. He suffered meltdown after meltdown. It just wasn't his day. Unfortunately, we left before dinner. 

We came home and gave the kids their Easter treats. I saw this cool thing on pintrest, where you fold beach towels into bunnies. That gave me the idea to get the kids each a beach towel, swim suit, bubbles and candy for Easter. I think it went over pretty well. We'll use them a lot this summer once we live close to a splash pad again. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring Break 2017

We were going to do a family outing to kick off Heidi Anne's Spring Break and to get out of the house and into warmer Utah weather to have a taste of Spring. We wanted to go to the Dinosaur Park in Ogden. Everyone had some blue on their clothing in support of April 2 wear blue for Autism Awareness. However, that got postponed on account of rain. Once again, our plans were derailed by weather. 

One neat thing is Rory has learned a new word "Bubble". We have no idea where he picked it up. He knows the word but not the actual object bubble. 
On Monday we got to go to the dinosaur park in Ogden. It was a bit chilly but much warmer then Wyoming. Heidi still had her own guide book from her field trip last year. 
There was an indoor museum before you went outside to the park. Upstairs, there was an machine T-Rex, he's attacking a family of triceratopsIt made Rory rather nervous. For most of the trip he was just sitting in the stroller, he wasn't strapped in, he could have gotten out at any time. 
We had fun looking at the different fossils, gems, and rocks located upstairs. Some of which were turned into beautiful works of art and lovely craftsmanship. I regaled Heidi Anne with the times my Granny and GrandDad would take us fossil and rock hunting as a kid about her age. 

We went downstairs to the museum where Heidi Anne could watch a paleontologist work on a fossil and ask him questions directly. Next was an activity table where Heidi Anne could trace "real fossils". 
There was a matching game next to her. Rory had fun just putting the wood blocks back in their slots. It may have been mismatched, but he enjoyed himself. That's the important part, after all.
Anastasia had fun just going along for the ride. It was a bit cold so, yes, her jacket is on backwards and she's tucked under a warm, fuzzy blanket.  
We walked around the indoor museum downstairs. Looking at the skeletons of different creatures, from a woolly mammoth, saber-tooth tiger skull, to different dinosaurs.  

Heidi Anne found a dinosaur eggs' nest, with mostly cracked eggs. She decided that the eggs hatch before they became fossils, that way the baby dinosaurs survived. Because if they died before the eggs hatched that thought made her very sad. So we went with her happier theory. 
Next we wandered around the park outside, with different life sized models of dinosaurs. This is the best picture of of all three kids together. We spent over an hour strolling around the park.
After we toured the park grounds went to the play ground. It was a bit crowded. We were going to have Rory go down some slides but they were all wet and a bit muddy. 

That's when Char found the baby swings. Rory LOVED the swings. He was grinning ear to ear the whole time he spent in the swing. I love his tee-shirt, it has a little monster and reads "Hear Me Roarrrr". I thought it was perfect for the Dinosaur park, and with his nickname of Rory. 
Here's Heidi on top of a giant turtle at the park. She had fun on the playground as well.
Rory tried to be a big boy and go through a "dinosaur skull" on the play ground. Unfortunately, there was a big dip that we weren't aware of and he fell down, hard. That pretty much brought our Dinosaur adventure to an end. 

On Tuesday we went to the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City. We got there just as 2 bus loads of children on a field trip arrived. There were a lot of kids running all around the place. 
Heidi Anne became the self appointed tour guide since she had the map. Every time we came to an enclosure she'd inform us of where we were. It helped that there little signs with pictures telling us what birds we were looking for. Which turned into an eye spy game. 
There was a large duck pond filled with different species of ducks. Char spotted an adorable family of ducks with ducklings. They were the only ducklings in the water. 
I like to think that Rory enjoyed seeing the birds, except for the time when two ducks swooped over his head. That startled him quite a bit. As did the loud children running all about. 
One part of the duck pond had pelicans. We were just in time to watch them being feed by their handlers. We saw geese, swans, and ducks as well.   
When we were looking through some of the enclosures I saw something bright blue near the ground. I told the others "Guys look at that bright blue bird!" Just as I said this I noticed a man kneeling in the cage and it clicked. He was wearing bright blue gloves. There was no brightly colored bird, in fact, there were no birds in there at all. The man must of thought I was trying to make a joke and replied "Yeah, like I haven't heard that 30 times today." But I seriously thought there was a bird in there. 
There were pairs of ducks everywhere waddling on the walkways, in the gardens, or on the lawn. These could have been the very same ducks that scared Rory for all I know. I got a lot of duck pictures. 
Heidi Anne's favorite bird was the scarlet ibis it was just the most beautiful bird she saw in the whole aviary. Also because she LOVES the color red and it was the reddest bird there. 
We went into a woodland birds section. We watched some little species of ducks swim fully submerged underwater. We even found a bird on her nest. I got a lot more pictures of the birds but there were either cages in the way or random children blocked the view. 
Near the entrance there was a merry-go-round sculpture that kids could ride. Heidi Anne got very dizzy on it. 
We saw some bald eagles and some golden eagles. Around this part of the park we asked out loud to each other how do the birds stay in the mostly cage free aviary? Out of nowhere a random employee responded "Most of the birds here are injured and unable to fly away." 
We had a lot of fun trying to find the owls that were blended into their surroundings. Here is Heidi Anne spotting an owl that I "couldn't find for the life of me." I love being a mom. We were going to the play ground but it was crowded by the kids on a field trip.
Anastasia did fairly well for her first fun outside adventures. It's so nice now that she isn't a new preemie and that flu/RSV season is over. I think we've expanded her worldview quite a bit. "You mean there's more to just home, doctor offices, and Grandma's house?"
Later that day Anastasia surprised us all. She took her first steps with the aid of her doll stroller / walker. Anastasia doesn't know she lacks the muscle tone to do this, so she pushes herself to be just like her siblings. 
On Wednesday, we didn't have any adventures planned. Char made us a lovely breakfast, since we didn't have to rush about trying to head out somewhere. We decided to do some deep cleaning and start packing up parts of the house. Strangely enough, that's when Heidi Anne went to go play with a friend. They then had a sleep over. 


Thursday Heidi Anne played at her friend's house and I worked on laundry. So here's some pictures of the babies being adorable.  
Rory has a large stuffed dog that he got for his birthday. You may remember that he fell in love with a stuffed animal at Christmas which was actually going to his cousin as a Christmas present. As you can see, he still adores his doggy. He also makes a little nest out of his soft, fuzzy blankets. 
Anastasia likes to drink her sippy cups the same way Rory does. Laying down on the ground. She's trying to giggle and drink at the same time. It didn't work out very well for her. 
Rory's begun lining things up now. It started with his matchbox sized toy cars. But now it's anything that matches. 
For example, when he got into a pack of diapers. They became fair game to be lined up. This was in a much better and longer line, until Anastasia crawled through it, destroying his hard work. Here he is trying to put everything back in order. 
On Friday, the busy week caught up with Heidi Anne. She was exhausted and slept on and off until noon. Heidi does this thing where she raises her arm when extremely sleepy. We were going to Bear River State Park but it was to windy. It just became more windy as the day wore on. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Wearing Blue for April 2

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day, with the whole month of April being Autism Awareness Month. Typically the symbol for autism are puzzle pieces with blues and primary colors. Like this one:
But the color for April 2 is blue. I'm not 100% sure why. Maybe all the other colors were taken? Perhaps they just had to pick a primary color? I think because it's Autism Speaks color of choice and they are the largest non-government advocate for those with Autism and their families in the world. 
Why is awareness so important? Why wear blue 1 day year? I believe it's to help us come together as autism families, our children can meet others like themselves and know they are not alone. It's to show how prevalent autism really is. Without awareness of autism, how on Earth will we ever gain what our children desire and need once they become teens and adults. That is just plain acceptance for who they are. I feel like acceptance begins with awareness.
This was our first April since Rory's diagnoses. I think I went overboard on the whole wearing blue thing. I even put the babies in blue pajamas the night before. They woke up wearing blue.

I have a couple cousins with autism so I was aware of it at a young age. However, I actively learned about autism when my friend's little boy was diagnosed almost 2 years ago. I wanted to support her the best I could and be a good friend. I think this made me more informed. Therefore, when Rowan started showing signs of autism we were on the ball. 
My research went from just casual interest into a Mama Bear's desire to learn everything I can about autism. I know it's only been 7 months and there is a TON I don't know yet. For example; what on earth triggers his meltdowns? What foods will he eat? How does he know different food brands when he can't read and isn't in the kitchen when I make breakfast? How well will ABA therapy work out for him? Will the speech therapy really help him learn to speak or will he stay non-verbal? But I will know these answers with time, I just have to be patient. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Car Accident, Changes and Doctor Who

Heidi loves to play an educational game called Little Alchemy. You can create different objects by combining different "elements ". For example, she made a snowmobile by combining the following: 
1. man + sick = Cold
2. Cold + rain = Snow
3. Snow + Motorcycle = Snowmobile 
Anyways, Heidi Anne somehow created the TARDIS, a sonic screwdriver, and The Doctor (Doctor Who) in her game. Heidi Anne then reminded me she wants a TARDIS poster for her birthday. She lamented that no one in her class watched Doctor Who, so she couldn't really share her discovery with anyone. She's starting to reach the age where, I as a mom "don't count".

On Monday Char was driving to work in the snow when he hydroplaned. He slid off the road, hitting a sign at 65-70 MPR (in an 80 MPR zone) on the driver's side.The pole slammed right where he was sitting. The airbags were deployed and the windows exploded with shattered glass. (He's combing glass out of his hair as I type this.) He's okay, very sore and bruised. But okay. 
It could have been worse, he was 2 feet away from a river and really close to a barbed wire fence. That car didn't fair to well. You have to see the car to get the full magnitude. The axle is shot, the frame on the driver's side is bent in multiple places along with the missing windows. The Utah Highway Patrol officer was rather nice and blamed the accident on Mother Nature. 
Here's Anastasia playing with Rory's car just after I received the news regarding the accident. We did receive the cost to repair the car, it's over $21,000.00. Apparently, the adjuster stopped counting at that point. It didn't include the axle (which broke) or the tires, ball barrings, etc. Which means the car is a total loss.  

Anastasia pulled herself up and stood by herself (with the aid of the toy box) for the very first time. She got stuck in that position and didn't know how to get down. So I did the right motherly thing, I took a picture and then I saved her. 
Anastasia has also learned another trick. She can kneel! The first time she did it Heidi Anne exclaimed "Mom, look! Anastasia is doing the marriage proposal pose! You know, kneeing." I laughed at that and replied,"Do you mean kneeling?" Heidi Anne says, "Yes, kneeling. But I like marriage proposal pose better." A reminder for me that my children are always watching and taking in more than they show.

Well, March has been a rough month for us. A car accident, a totaled car, insurance changes, finding new doctors / providers. Char quitting at one of his jobs, he's been working 60+ hours per week for over 2 years. He had to quit or he'd burn out and we worked too hard to get through nursing school. Plus, he's applying to school for his BSN (bachelors of nursing degree). It would be hard to go to school while working over 60 hours per week. All in all a difficult month. 
Here's a Doctor Who quote that helps to keep me positive during the rough patches. I want to be a good story my children tell my grandchildren. That even when times were tough we still had fun, mom stayed happy, every day was a little adventure, victory, or milestone. 
P.S. Spring break starts for Heidi Anne right NOW. We're going to try some inexpensive stay-cation ideas my friend Valerie gave us. You can follow her blog at http://www.51centadventures.com/ .