Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Good Bye Miss Jessie

About an hour ago we found out that our son's therapist is transferring her jobs. She will work for the same company, but at a different facility. I am happy for her, but very sad for my family and most of all our son. She has been a huge asset to our son's treatment at The Parry Center. I think it is going to be difficult for Taylor as she really connected with him. She was in it to win it and she has really done a magnificent job with Taylor.

There seems to be a lack of words when it comes to saying thank you for helping our son. You feel as if you owe the people that care for him so much more than what words offer. No words will measure up to the feelings we have for the people that care for him and help him. This transition has been so much better than past experiences. It is like the lack of words when we have a child and you can write again and again all the reasons that you love that child, but the words don't even touch the tip of the ice burg.

We appreciate you Ms. Jessie. You will never be his mother, obviously, but thanks for being as close to a mom that he had while there in your care. Thanks for caring for my son when I am not able to be there. Thanks for taking an interest in him and his needs. Thanks for advocating for my son. Thanks for wanting the best for Taylor. Thanks for being the wonderful person that you are. I appreciate all you have done for him. Gordy and I feel so much gratitude that God put you in Taylor's life.

Blessings in your future.

Thanks for asking the update on Tay's funds

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

And Let there be jerky!

We have so much jerky! Please, if you are in the area and are wanting to buy some jerky, we have it. It is all sealed and we just purchased it from a dealer at wholesale. We got a good enough break on the prices that we are able to also pass some savings onto you. It is Oberto jerky and we have tons of jerky. Our biggest seller so far is for weight watchers people as we have packages that only have 100 calories. In the store they sell for $1.99. We are able to sell them for $1.25, which is a big savings for people. That is a 40% savings. Buy 10 or more packs and the price goes down to $1.00 each. We have other varieties also, but this is our biggest seller.

As for now, I just unloaded the van and I am so tired. A full van load unloaded, and working a full day, and I should be going to bed now.

Thanks so much. Please spread the word to all you know. This is going to most likely finish our fund raising to get our Taylor to Disneyland, and other attractions in Southern California.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Let me help at least one person in this life....

Today I had a great talk with one of my co-workers and friend, at work. We actually had a lot of conversations today, but, one in particular came up. She had a lot of questions of autism. I answered them to the best of my ability, which wasn't too hard, as her questions seemed like she was asking about my son Taylor. She knows someone that might possibly have autism, so she was curious.

What the neat thing about this was, she has two kids of her own. She is a good mommy to her kids, so, her being so concerned shows that she also is not a selfish person but is wanting to help someone else.

I will always work with my son, and love my son and strive for the best for my son. Nothing will change that now, or ever. However, it would be so nice to touch the life of someone that could use help in this area as it is a wonderful thing to pass on. I wish someone would have known about and helped answer my questions through autism. If Taylor's life can help make one person's somewhat better, what a blessing for both of us.

The person that I spoke to just kicks butt at her job and nobody can touch her there... so she is someone that I usually don't sit with as I could use her words to a t and still never get 'er done! LOL! So for me to sit with her and have such good conversation on some touchy subjects, I think God put her in my life today.

Tay, I miss you today son. I miss you a lot. I just tried to call you but it seems like you are having a really hard night. I am sorry. I wish I could help you and make it better. I wish I could be there and try to listen to you. I wish I could just hug you.

To the moon and back buddy, I love you to the moon and back.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hope you had a fun weekend Taylor!

No music today, as playlist is down for some reason!!! Bummer!

We had Taylor over the weekend but our time went by entirely too fast!!! It bums me out. But, none the less we did have a great time with him.

On Friday when he got home, he decided he needed to wash the van with his little sister while Gordy got some things done with our trailer. We were set to go on a family reunion with my family, but my mom called on Thursday to say she had to cancel it. Big bummer in our eyes as we were looking forward to seeing each other.

We then ran down and grabbed some pizza and headed to Amanda and Spence's to help get some tags done for Kathleen and Garrett's wedding that is this Thursday. We were busy working. Tay had to take his meds before we left so, as hard as he tried, he was out in about a half hour after getting there. We didn't get home until after midnight from getting her tags completed.

On Saturday we had to run to DMV to get his State ID card. I was totally upset with the way they treated him. He had to sign his name on the machine. Well, due to his autism, his fine motor skills aren't the best. The line was small and they asked him to sign his full name. It really got him nervous and you could clearly see that on his face. He kept trying but he was not able to get it all in on that line. As hard as he tried. The lady said, come on now, this shouldn't take this long. He started to get really agitated. She then told him to write his first and middle name on the line but his last name underneath. He kept trying. His meds make his hands shake, so each time his knuckle would hit the screen it would erase his signature. The lady made another smart ass comment and you could just see defeat across his face. I kept telling him that he could come back later, let's go to the store and come back (we needed the ID card to take back to his unit) and he got really upset and disappointed in himself. I finally looked at the lady and told her to cool it, by lipping it to her. I then slipped a note to her that he was autistic and that she should be a bit more professional. Why should I have to do things like that? It is so sad!

We then went into Vancouver WA to enjoy a Hawaiian Festival. It is our second year to attend. It is a great event and I recommend it to everyone. The lady that runs it is a very nice lady. She has two sons that usually sing at it. They are very talented. Their name is Brothers Kaloku and Keawe. However, one of the brothers just got a new job and was not able to be there. I was so looking forward to Kaloku and his friends to perform but Taylor got too anxious being there. I tried to prolong our departure as long as I could, but he just couldn't make it long enough. You can view them on myspace at Their mom also has a myspace at

These are good people, check them out for sure!!!! I think that the gentlemen actually sell CD's if I recall as I want to buy one also!!!

There is also a FANTASTIC LADY who runs a shave ice stand. That is how we have gotten interested in these events, and the talented sons, and hula classes, is through the lady that runs the shaved ice stand. Ululani's shave ice! THE BEST! However, I really think that some of the goodness of the shaved ice is the kindness that she shows others.

So, all in all a great weekend. Anytime you are surrounded by the aloha spirit, how could you go wrong? Whenever we have our son with him, if even for a short time, what a great thing. Keep us in prayer.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A thankful heart to many, and an admiration to our friend Alex

There are days that your heart just feels so overfilled with joy and comfort, knowing that someone loves your family. There are days that you are especially grateful for the people that surround your family and especially your children with good vibes and set examples of kindness.

A week or so ago I wrote about one of the students that my husband worked with at a college, that became a part of our family. Alex! Our friend that thought outside the box. Our friend that could take an old percolator coffee pot and turn it into a piece of artwork. Our friend that spoke his mind but was respectful in doing so.

It is really important to me to know that there are people that God leads to our hearts. At first we may not know at the time, how, or why they are in our life, and what we are going to teach us. What are we going to take from them? How are we going to build that relationship? You just never know.... but I do believe each has a purpose in one way or another.

So, Alex was a young man that taught me today with words he wrote on this letter he sent me through the mail. I am simply amazed. Without going into his person life in depth, he was searching for answers in his life, to know which direction or road he wanted to follow in life. He traveled and did some amazing soul searching and he knew he wanted his passion and to be with someone he loved, so he relocated his life, and is about to do that again in a short amount of time.

He wrote this letter of support and encouragement on our family situation with our son's autism and how we support each other. My eyes just welled with tears as I just felt his arms around us, even though he is so far from us. His words made us miss him even more.

He then sent a check and said that this was to cover a day at Disneyland for Taylor. I can't tell you how much I (we) were touched by this. I immediately called my daughter to tell her. I woke her up from a nap, but she was also so touched. She is one of his biggest fans anyway, this just really touched her heart since she is busting her rear to get this trip for Taylor. What a kind and generous man he is.

Did God place Alex in our life to hand us a check to get our son into Disney for a day? Certainly not! However, He placed Alex in our life to be a part of our family. It does not matter the distance that separates us, he is one of our forever friends. He is the big brother that Taylor deserves. He has a fantastic older sister and younger sister, but not a big brother. That is what Alex is... caring, concerned and supporting. That is what family is.

Today, although I always know I am blessed, I am so very blessed to know that God has plans for us. I know that Alex is in our life for a purpose, and visa versa. I know God will continue to put positive people in our lives.

Alex, when you read this, if you read this, I am so thankful for you. I am so touched by not only your generosity but your thoughtfulness. We are looking to meet up with you on Sunday when you get in, perhaps we can take you and your girlfriend out, or meet you one night when Amanda and Spencer are in town also. I am sorry you have to work and can't join us a day, but would love to just catch up with you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good Morning Son

I am back to work now and I so miss getting up and blogging to you. My days are filled with work and activity until it is time to go to bed, as you can well imagine. I miss the time to just sit and jot my thoughts to you. HOWEVER, it doesn't mean that you are not on my mind. I miss you so much.

I can't wait to go to the Hawaiian Festival with you this weekend. I think that I washed your Luau shirt for you on Sunday, but I will double check. I know it is one of your favorites.

I sure wish you were here to sell jerky with me. We have tons to sell. I went and picked up another van full last night. I appreciate you going house to house the other day wanting to help someone else in need. That is so SWEET of you!

I have so much to sell. I am going to see if there are any events coming up in the area soon where I can sell some there. That would be fun!

Okay son, for now, I need to finish getting ready for work. Just know you are never far from my thoughts and you are ALWAYS in my heart.

OH... I just came up with a new recipe a couple of nights ago. I am going to try to submit it in for a contest and the winner gets a trip to NEW YORK NY for two. It would be fun for me to go there with dad or you or sis. I doubt I will win, but it is sure fun to daydream about. Then we could get some of those nut chews on the corner like dad brought home.

To the moon and back buddy~ Mom


The R Word Campaign

Monday, July 21, 2008

We go together!

We had a great weekend with you Tay! I am glad you were able to spend time with Amanda and Spencer also. I hope you are keeping the new shoes she bought for you extra clean, as I know how important that was for you.

I had fun at the yard sales with you. You were as patient as you could be even though you were hot and tired. I hope you loved the treasures you found at the sales. I know that they bull fighter with the bull on the black velvet was your absolute favorite. It makes me smile to think of how proud you were of your painting. It was very cute.

I think that your favorite thing was most likely going to Wonderland with your dad right before he took you back to Parry Center. I hope you had the best time....

My favorite part of your weekend? I would have to say that it was most likely when you and Carlie were sitting in the pool together. You are such a good brother to want to spend time with her. You two seemed to be having fun.

If I can't keep up as much on this, buddy, just know I started back to work so I am going to be gone most of the day, but as usual, you are never far from my thoughts, dreams and prayers. Dad and I are so proud of you.

To the moon and back buddy.... Mama~

The sore on your forehead is from you trying to hang upside down on the monkey bars at the center. Where oh where did you learn to hang by your toes son?

Friday, July 18, 2008

The next step...

Yesterday we met with Blanca from DD services and also with Danielle, and Tami from New Solutions. We had a telephone conference with Jessie, Felicia and the Doctor from the Perry Center. The meeting went well and I really feel God is leading us to the right people, once again. This last set of trials and tribulations has gone much smoother than we have experienced in the past. (God is hearing my prayers, and I think He saw our cups were full!) So, Blanca will be responsible for finding our son a group home to move into. He is doing so well at the center, but he is doing so well, they are fearful that if he is not moved, he will regress into some older behaviors. None of us want that for him. Taylor also really wants to go. This is a HUGE deal, as Taylor never wants to go. He gets comfortable and change is so difficult for him. He is so proud of his accomplishments, in which he should be. With that in mind, they don't think, nor do we, that he is ready to be thrust into his environment here at home. With Car being young and throwing fits, and his sensory disorder, we think that will be a HUGE trigger for him to regression. He still has more goals he is wanting to reach, and we want somewhere to do this, that he will be safe and happy in.

Gordy is so knowledgeable and just keeps a great outlook on it. We are doing this to help our son. At times I need his strength, as I know, this is what is best for our son. However, I get really scared. I get really nervous. I get really concerned. I get, as silly as this sounds, really jealous and feel helpless. He is my son, I want to be the one helping him. Yet, he will be in a home in a smaller setting, and the caregiver mom will be making his dinners, and getting to see those big brown eyes each day. I try to clear my thoughts of that, yet, in reality it is really hard.

Today is today, and I am going to make today as good as I can, even when these thoughts make it difficult for me. Today is all I can work on. The important thing in all of this is that my son is safe and that he is building life skills to give him a successful life full of happiness. That is where I am at today.

A date with you today!

I should be getting ready. I should be curling my hair, getting ready to come pick you up, but first I need to get this done (and a million other things that just need to wait!)

Today is going to be our day! Mom and Taylor day. I will get to the center to pick you up, and off we go, and I won't have to share you with anyone until 5P. Then I have to share you with dad, and Car, and Mim's, but that is okay, I don't mind sharing you with them.

I am excited to see you son. It will be fun. Tomorrow we can go to Brownsville where they have their all city yard sale. I know you always have so much fun there. We can have our annual hamburgers up at the church and I can watch you as you dig through boxes of toys looking for that perfect one. I am sure it will have something to do with transformers or star wars, as usual.

Today we will try to go get your ID for you as I know that was important to you. I will bring the papers with me that dad pulled out.

Okay son, I will get ready now. I just love you so much and am so excited to see you! I have a surprise or two planned. If you are with Jesse and you are reading this, don't pump her for information, as she has no idea.

To the moon and back buddy~ Mama

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Had some busy days!

Tay, it is past 1A, and I can't sleep. Perhaps it is too hot without air conditioning or, maybe I am just missing you an so much that I can't get you off of my mind. Maybe it is a combination of both. Dad and Carlie are both fast asleep and have been for quite a long time. This is when it sometimes is the worst for me. This is when my mind doesn't want to sleep and I just sit and think about how much I miss you.

Last night (Tuesday night) dad took me out to dinner for our anniversary. Amanda watched Carlie for us and it was a very nice time. I had to sit and think for a few moments, and I think out of 8 years of marriage and 3 years of dating, that is only about our 4th time out without you kids. To be honest with you, it was nice. I love your dad so much. Sometimes life just gets so busy we don't have that time to just be Wendy or Gordy, we are either, wife, husband, parent, employee, etc... It was nice to just be sitting across the table from the man that I love. After dinner we picked up the girls and Spence and went out for ice cream at 31 flavors. That was fun too. Carlie is in a purple kick right now, so she got an ice cream that was purple and pink and I thought of you immediately. It was cotton candy ice cream. Wish you would have been there with us.

I had a really bad experience at the grocery store today. I saw a woman screaming and cussing at her child. She was using really big cuss words. I told her to calm down and it escalated from there. The police were called but not before she could leave. However, we did get her license plate. The little girl was probably Carlie's age. It made me sad for her. I just wanted to get home to hug my kids. I got hugs from one of them. I miss your hugs.

Okay, I need to try to get some sleep, but not sure how that will pan out. Just know, we are sleeping under the same stars buddy. To the moon and back! I love you forever. Dad and I are so proud of you.

~Always, Mama

Monday, July 14, 2008

A cry baby miss you day! An I am so proud of you kind of day!

I miss you today son! That doesn't change from day to day, however, some days are worse than others.

Tomorrow is our anniversary, and I have been going through my mind, time and time again what a precious and special day that was for our family. It wasn't just about dad and I, but it was about all of us coming together as a unit. Man we lucked out when we found dad didn't we.

My mind jumps from moment to moment of that day. You playing basketball in your tux, sis hating to wear her shoes; all of our family together including both mom and dad's siblings and parents, aunties and uncles. I just keep thinking back to when we had lit the unity candle, and the music was playing. It seemed like forever. We looked over at you and you were just crying. My heart just filled with so much love for you. You were so excited to be getting a great dad. You were such a little man, but this really touched your heart, which in return made dad and I both start crying, and sis, and Kim.

Tomorrow we will celebrate our union together. This is a union of man and wife, but also a union of our unconditional love for our children. Wish you were here for me to give a big hug to. We will be seeing you soon, but until then buddy, to the moon and back. I love you to the moon and back~


Uncle Bernie also wrote today. I shared with him and Uncle Ryan the incident that happened the other day. He was so proud of you son! You are so lucky to have such neat people in your life that support you in your efforts to be the best person you can be. It made me cry reading Uncle Bernie's words. They love you too son.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We had a great day with Taylor. He came home on Friday night. However, he didn't want to hang out with mom and dad. (Go figure)! He wanted to go be with his sister, Amanda, and her boyfriend Spencer, and his friends. There was a part of me that wanted to be stingy with the time I had planned for him, but I didn't think that would be fair. So the carne asada and asian chicken salad went without Tay eating it with us. Dad took him to McDonald's on the way... (his favorite). He got a happy meal. Almost 18, still wanting happy meals for the toys. Most of the time, it just makes me smile as I know it is a part of his obsessions due to his autism. His sister also had bought a pizza for them. They watched a movie together. She texted not too terribly long after he got there. He actually had to take his meds before he left, so he was so tired. G left immediately to go pick him up after the text came through. When he picked up Taylor, he asked me to put the sheets on the beds in the tent trailer as he thought Taylor was going to fall asleep.

He got home, and he went into the tent trailer, laid on his bed and he was out within three minutes. It reminds me of him when he was little and he could sleep through everything. Now, he has such a tough time sleeping without the pills.

On Saturday morning, I took him to a couple of garage sales as he loves to go to them. He was out digging through things, and it was like having him home again. I wanted to get him to Walgreen's though as he really wanted some photos to take back to the hospital with him. He ended up taking Carlie to the toy section as he was getting antsy.

We went home and got ready to take him back into Portland. We went to Uyagimias in Beaverton, as he wanted to go. I looked for something small but meaningful to give G for our 8th anniversary which is on Tuesday. I didn't find anything. The store was pretty slow, so that made it nice. It was also cooler in there, as it was 92* yesterday.

We went to an international celebration on the East side of Portland. I was nervous as I can't do crowds. It was nice as it was really slow. I didn't see the diversity there. I saw two food booths, one being kettle corn. I did see some dancers from the islands, but other than that, I only saw one other booth that had anything to do with diversity. UGGGG! Not a great event, but great to be with all my kids at once. Carlie ended up getting a bloody nose from the heat, and really dirty feet if that counts.

As we were driving in Portland, Gordy thought that he saw our friend Alex. Alex was a student at OSU when Gordy worked there. He worked in Gordy's office. He had the most fun personality and he quickly became a part of our family, and would join us for Thanksgiving at our home a couple of times. He has matured into a fine young man now. He used to live in Portland, but, from what we know, he lives in LA now. The kids loved that his number to call him was ---/905-POOP. They always wanted to call him. Anyhow, we then thought perhaps he was in town visiting, but we couldn't catch up. Almost made our day even brighter.

In two weeks we will be back in Portland for the Hawaiian Festival in Vancouver. It will be fun. All in all, it was a great day with Taylor, Amanda and Carlie.

Oh, there was an outburst on the unit the other day. Someone was trying to target him (they do this by trying to get the others to lose their temper, then they get bumped down a level) and called him a very derogatory name for two males that love each other. Taylor did INDEED lose it, and had to leave the unit to cool himself down so he didn't do anything that he would regret. He kept his cool enough, and I am not sure if it was during the outburst, or if it was when he returned after his walk, but... HE STOOD up for gay couples. My son stood up for what he believed in, which is diversity. He said that he had really good friends that love each other and it makes him mad when people call them horrible names.

WAY TO GO BUDDY! You keep doing it! Keep standing up for what you believe in. Words are always better than getting mad, but just know you are more of a person for standing up for your beliefs and dad, sis and I are SOOOOOO proud of you. We know that sometimes it is hard to speak our minds when we know others might make fun of us or try to belittle us, but who cares. They are the small minded people! I know, that you on that day, made some of your counselors sit back and say, Man, Tay is cool, did you see how he handled that?! He stood up for what he believed in. Many adults don't have the capability, so you doing this shows how mature you are and how much you care for your good friends!!!!! FANTASTIC!!! That is why we chose this song today.... Say by John Mayer. Say what you need to say!

If someone that is autistic can do it, so can you!

Friday, July 11, 2008

2nd post for the day, please read the following post below this

I just wanted to take a few quick moments to touch base with you. Please continue reading the blog for the day below. I am not sure if each of you have noticed, but we have also been adding music to our blog posts for the day. Some songs might be fun, but most have some sort of meaning to us.

I just wanted to thank each of you that keep coming back here. I want to thank you for the kind letters and words of confidence, praise and understanding. We try to teach our kids that their job here on earth is to be kind to others. That is just a given.

The other night my husband came home and told me that he had heard from one of our friends up the street, and also a colleague at his work. He hadn't known about Taylor until recently. It is not something that we just bring up and talk about to everyone. We really don't see this person all too often either, and if my husband did it might have been in a very public setting that he definitely would not bring up. He was so kind and said he would love to go see Taylor if that was okay with us, and things of that nature. Things like that just melt my heart. Part of it is for the pure kindness of someone, and the other being that people see the love we have for our son and when they know him, they really think he is a good kid. Which he is!

I get emails from past students that really aren't students, but a piece of our family. Even though they have been gone for over a year or more, they continue to keep in touch with us and check Tay's blog to see how he is. It touches me beyond what words can say.

I get email from people that don't know us, but want to be supportive. There are days I just don't want to pull myself out of bed, knowing my son isn't at home with us, but I do for the sake of saying I did and to keep Carlie in a happier atmosphere. Sometimes the words of others are what keeps us pressing forward.

Thanks each of you. Again, if you know people that can benefit from our blog, that might have autism, or parent an autistic child, please pass our blog along.

Great quote for the day.

This is something that Amanda made Taylor on one of our visits. Her famous piece sign . I love it as it reminds me we need to have peaceful hearts.

This is Carlie chasing Taylor riding his riptide at the Parry Center. She loves to chase him. Usually she is riding her scooter chasing him.

I was just checking out a blog browsing, and I saw this fantastic quote that stopped me in my tracks. The blogspot was by Sharla whom I don't even know. I was just browsing as I said.

The quote is: Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.

I sit and I ponder this for a moment (or many moments) and see how this can apply to my own life, to our family dimension and to our son's autism. In reality it can be applied to anything in life, including our dreams. Feed our faith. Sharla, I needed that today! I am glad I came across your blog!

Today, I know my son is being carried in the hand of Christ. I know that he is going to be okay. No, I know he is going to be better than okay. He is going to be Fantastic. He is going to shine and be an outstanding citizen in our community. He is going to love and be loved by many (as he already is). He is going to learn the strengths he needs to succeed, he is going to learn the patience of Job, and he is going to learn how to take care of himself if he ever wants to move out on his own. He is going to be okay. We, will be there backing him up the whole way. Always, forever, unconditional love.

Our family will be stronger and more united through the struggles and confusion we go through with learning how to best help our son and his disability. We are going to always be united and always share our love with family and friends, not only when it comes to autism, but about diversity. We will overcome any obstacle, even when it takes the breath and/or life out of our sales for a moment.

Tay is coming home tonight, and once again, it will feel good to have my son sleep in his own bed and wake up knowing he will be bouncing down the stairs at any moment. I am excited to sit and visit with him and see how he is doing. One thing that I notice about myself lately is I like to just sit and watch him with his sisters, Spencer and his dad. I try to capture those moments in mind to help me hang on until our next face to face visit.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

For all of our blog followers in surrounding areas Krispy Kreme

We are having a krispy kreme sale in September and we could really use some help. We have planned out 4-6 different really busy spots here in Salem. We could use some help sitting and holding signs getting traffic into the spaces. This is going to be a huge help in my fund raising efforts to get Tay to Disneyland. If you would be willing to help us, please contact Amanda at We could also use help with pre orders. If you know anyone that would like to order some of the doughnuts, let us know. It could be people at church, at your job, neighbors, it doesn't matter. Please spread the word. Thank you again.

Hello Tay, my son and forever friend

Amanda and Spence taken by Taylor

Dad and Car taken by Taylor

Hi Tay,

I am just sitting here thinking about some of the changes that are coming up in your life. I want you to know before I go any further, that Dad, Amanda, Carlie and I are so very proud of you! I am so impressed with the strides that you are making and that you are really trying to put some great living skills into your life.

What I want you to know son, that all of us make mistakes. I want you to know that there are times that dad and I see, that you feel unworthy of things. We feel that you think you don't deserve things that we want to bestow upon you, no matter how little those things are. YOU ARE WORTHY.

I am afraid for you. I am happy to hear that they think that you are doing well enough to leave the hospital in the next month or so. However, I get really nervous for you. I know how hard change is for you. I wonder what personalities will be in the assisted living. I wonder if you are going to feel shunned by us because that is where you are going. I worry that you will fall into some old habits unintentionally and your world will start to get more confusing. I guess that is my place though. A mom always has a right to worry and be concerned, as does a dad. That is where we are at.

We are full of HOPE! We are full of gratitude! We are full of excitement. We feel like you are going to get some vocational training to help you have a more fulfilling future. We know that when you find something that you love, you just succeed, so we hope to see you find that passion with help, so you can build a future on that passion. We feel so blessed that you have had Jessie to help you, and all of the staff at the hospital as they have helped you make so much progress. We are excited to have you more near to us, so we can see you more often, so we are hoping you get to move closer to home. You don't know how much my heart misses you. As a parent, we always have to do what is best for your children though, no matter how much it hurts our hearts.

Dad is excited to pick you up tomorrow. He has plans for us to spend a lot of time together and that is always nice. He said maybe you can even help with the tent trailer so you can sleep in it.

Love Mom

Hello again by Neil Diamond

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

18 days level 3 according to taylor going for level four

We talked to Taylors therapist last night, and it seems that he is doing really well learning some skills there. He has been on level three for 2 weeks and three days he said. He is trying to achieve level four here. There is only one other person on the unit that has achieved that. The therapist thinks that he is not ready for level four this week, but I think that Taylor can do it. Level four is where he is able to go to the commons on his own or go outside for specific amounts of time on his own. He is going to keep heading in that direction.

This week I think that we are going to head into Portland. Gordy is going to bring him home on Friday night to spend the night. I can't wait to see him. We will then eat breakfast here and pack a lunch most likely and head into Portland for the day for an International Day at a park. I am in the house all the time now, so it is a must that I get out. Our family loves and strives for diversity, so this will be nice to go to.

I am so proud of Taylor and the strides he is taking. The next step would be the assisted living/ group home setting where he will also be going to school and getting some vocational rehab training. That could happen in as soon as a month. We have a meeting next week with his doctors and some people involved in his medical plan. Exciting but also scary all at the same time.

Not a lot up in Taylor's world. He was upset last night that he had jammed his thumb while playing basketball. He doesn't do well when there is a change in his life, so this next move is a little bit scary for me, not knowing how he will react. The therapist is going to be talking to him more and more about the idea he will be living on his own now (to make it easier for him) and that there will be people his age there. Keep us in prayer. We need that!

I liked this song for the fact of the photo I am posting that Taylor took in December. I think that it is a fun feel good song! He loves to go to the water box with Spencer and his friends.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My best way to understand the confusion

This is a photo Taylor took in December. I am not sure who is in the photo, but it was Spencer and his friends at the water box for wake skating?! Not sure that I am using the correct wording.

For a change, I want to post some pictures that Taylor took on his camera that he got for Christmas. These will be things he thinks are important. I will put his name in the bottom corners of the photos so you will know. TT

One of my first jobs was when I moved to Alaska, and I worked at a KFC, Kentucky Fried Chicken. I was a hard worker. I didn't complain a lot, did all of the jobs put forth to me in the best way that I was able to. I worked overtime hours ever chance that I got. I remember when my boss pulled me in the back after only 3 days and told me he was giving me a raise as he didn't realize I was such a strong worker.

I enjoyed my job as much as you can, flinging chicken, making biscuits, gravy and coleslaw. However, there was one part that I would always surely dread. When people would start ordering buckets of chicken. There were different sizes of buckets... 12 piece, 16 piece, 20 piece, so on and so forth. With that in mind, I could not for the life of me, for a really long time, understand which pieces of chicken went in which bucket. It would be so easy if they would just say, 4 wing, 4 leg, 4 thigh, 4 rib and 4 breast.... BUT Noooooooooooooooo, they would say something like 6wings, 5 legs, 5 thigh, 2 rib and 2 breasts. It was so odd, I couldn't wrap my head around it at all. It, to be honest was really frustrating. Why not just make buckets in increments of 5 and give them one of each per size of bucket.

I guess, this is my closest analogy of autism. It just doesn't make sense. No matter how hard my son, or others with this disability are trying, they just sometimes can't wrap their brain around it. Things that seem so logical are not put into play. I was just sitting here thinking about this and thought, man, I kind of remember that frustration.

Monday, July 7, 2008

For those that are requesting about donating

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

I joined a recipe exchange here

I received this recipe in the mail and tried it for a 4th of July picnic. It was wonderful. It does not show me who the recipe was from as of yet, but I should know by tonight maybe.

I have had this salad before and it is WONDERFUL. The salt from the pretzels and the sweet from everything else make a nice combination for the food lovers in all of us. I would, as well as everyone at their picnic, would give this two thumbs up. I had no left overs to snack on during the weekend. This recipe is easy to make and is something that is very quick also, so you don't have to spend too much time in the kitchen. I wish I would have gotten a photo of it before it was being consumed but people were too quick for me to catch that. I will be making it again in a couple of weeks and will try then.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2 cups crushed pretzels

3 tbsp. sugar

3/4 cup melted butter

9 oz. cool whip

8 oz. cream cheese

1 cup sugar

2 cups boiling water

6 oz. strawberry jello

20 oz. frozen, unsweetened strawberries

(side note, I also made this with raspberry jello before with half frozen raspberries and frozen strawberries and it was SO good also, so it is okay to experiment! I have a friend that she tried it with lime jello and frozen strawberries and it tasted like a strawberry margarita, but I find that hard to believe and it wouldn't look pretty either!)


Mix the pretzels, 2 tbsp. of sugar, and 3/4 cup of butter together and press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees farenheit for 8 minutes. Let cool.

Combine the 8 oz cream cheese, 9 oz. cool whip, and 1 cup of sugar and mix well. Spread on the cooled pretzel crust.

Mix the jello and 2 cups boiling water together, then add the strawberries (do not thaw the strawberries beforehand!) Stir until the berries soften and the jello starts to thicken. Gently pour the jello mixtute on top of the cream cheese. Refrigerate.

Serves 16.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The day after is hard

Waking up and realizing in that morning haze, that Taylor is not here, it is hard. I had such a nice visit with him getting to come home. Now we wait, we wait to see him again. It leaves an emptiness in me.

When Taylor left, he hugged me. He now towers over me and I am having to reach up to hug him. His body goes a bit limp as he is leaning on me and it is that feeling of being defeated again. Gosh, I hope that he doesn't feel defeat as that is not why he is at the hospital. We are trying all in our power to give him the proper tools to get along in life in a productive and not have self hatred for something that he has no control over. I just hugged him, and didn't want to let go. It hurt so much. He is my guy!

I called to speak to him at just a little bit before 7 p last night and he was already in bed sleeping. I needed to see how he was coping with the having to go back stage of the visit. It seems like it did not effect him as it has affected me. A good thing.

So, now we will wait until our next visit. I just miss him. He seemed to understand better some things such as personal space. That is a huge thing for him. He didn't yell at anyone. The noises of the fireworks seemed to get on his nerves and there were a couple of times he had to remove himself and did a great job of recognizing that fact. I had to do the same thing, as it got to be too much at times. Too many people and too much noise, and somewhat unorganized from years past.

So buddy, I will see you soon. I miss you so, but you are in my heart Mister! To the moon and back buddy!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Good Bye Buddy... it was a good time!

A picture of You, Carlie and Dad as you were getting ready to go back to the Parry House.

The dreaded wave that is an indication that I won't see you until next week! Bye Buddy. I L Y!
Be Strong!

Tay, I am sorry I cried when you left today. It wasn't supposed to happen like that. I hope I did not hurt your feelings. It just makes me sad that I have to wait a week to see you again. I had such a good time with you. This has been the first time you have called me mama in such a long time. I feel like there are some parts of my son I am beginning to recognize from time to time. I will try to become stronger so I don't cry when you have to leave.

I love you buddy. I have some things to go read and I need to lay down due to my migraine. I hope you have the best day. See you soon. It was fun to see you visiting all the neighbors too.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Smiles everyone, smiles!

This is what I want to remember today by Taylor! I love you and I am so glad that you were able to come and spend the day with us here at home for the 4th. You did such a great job today. I am so proud of you. I know things were getting tough a few times and you were really trying hard to maintain. You did good son. I can't wait until I will get to see you again and your next home visit. You are in bed now, sleeping. Tomorrow is going to be so hard to take you back.

Welcome Home For The 4th Of July Buddy!

The flags are lining the street in front of our house. Carlie and I are just waiting for you and dad to get home. I am catching up with an old friend and cooking, and trying not to be so anxious, but I just can't help it!
This will always be home Tay! I hope you are as anxious as we are for you to get home. Today is your second favorite holiday, besides my birthday as you love trick or treat candy even better. Maybe this is the year that will change though, who knows. Just know I love you so much son.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Would I lead the same path of life again to get here?

I have had much on my mind, and much on my plate in the past couple year and a half or so. I start going over things in my mind over and over again, thinking, what could I have changed to have been a better person, a better mom? Would I choose that road again? Would I do it all over again? Am I satisfied where I am at? Did I learn the lessons that needed to be learned?

My answers often times confuse me. If there were easier roads, then wouldn't I just naturally want to take that road? I wish that I were the type of person that could say yes... that would be so much less stressful, let me take the easy way out next time.

Yet, I am not that person. I am the person that often times would and will take the harder road even to this day if there is a lesson or a moral behind it that I can not only learn, but hopefully pass onto others that might need that in the future.

I then look at Taylor and I think, what about him? He doesn't really understand things that we do, so I do want the road that is easier for him. I want to mother him and tell people to leave him alone and I want to put the pieces together for him. I know, however, with all the wisdom of being his mom and his number one fan, that I would surely fail my son if that was the way it were to be. I can't learn his lessons for him (damn it as I would it a minute if I could).

You hold these babies in your arms and you see them for the first time, and they take your breath away. They are the greatest gift that we will ever have in our lives. They are these little bundle of hopes and dreams and pure love. Raw love, that you will do anything to protect. My friends often called me mama bear when there were issues, and the kids tried to handle them on their own when it was with a teacher or people of that nature that wouldn't listen to them or push their feelings to the side, the mama bear in me would come out. I hope it was in a good way, and not a negative way. We as parents sometimes forget that we need to advocate for our children. We need to realize that their voices will sometimes go unheard unless we are there to make it heard. Just simply calling a meeting and making sure you are there to sit next to them, somehow makes people stop and listen.

The only regrets I feel in life that one might have or want to change in life, is making sure we right our wrongs. If we mess up in life, it is a heavy burden to carry on our backs. I think that when we learn that things were done improperly, we as adults, as caring people need to say whoa, I really messed up. I most likely caused you some grief and some sort of turmoil in your life and I want to make that right. I for one, am going to be one that I hope gets my apologies done before I am on my way to check out.

Tay, I will always be the mom I think that you deserve. I will always be your biggest fan. I will always speak the words I think you are trying to say when you can't say them. If I ever get that wrong, you WON'T HURT MY FEELINGS to correct me. I will always be here for you, in good times, and not so fun times. I will be here in times that I miss you like there is no tomorrow, and on the days where you laugh your butt off and aren't really sure why. I will listen to your stories about pokemon and dragster cars and hot rods. I will listen to how you love roller coasters. I will tell you that favorite story one more time (as many times as you like) how I went over the rainbow to get a pot of gold and the leprechauns gave me a choice of a pot of gold or you, and I went home with you. I will tell you the story time and time again how I hid pickled herring in Uncle Troy's salad at Uncle Jared's wedding and when he bit into it he started swearing (good times!) ! I will listen to you tell me how you think Uncle Troy is so cool when he tells you to stop running in and out of the house because he isn't raising monkeys from the zoo. It's all good buddy. We will get through this together and there is going to be no regrets, just great life lessons. Isn't that what we really grow from, life lessons?

To the moon and back, only 16 hours left to see you Mister! Can't wait. Mama is going to be a cooking fool today and tomorrow morning when you get here I can just spend time with you with no worries or anything to take me away from our time. I am sure you are excited to get home too. It has been a long time, but you have worked so hard for this. I am so proud of you son.

Oh, and dad said you can put up the tent trailer tomorrow night to sleep in and you boys can sleep out there, or all of us, whatever you want.
Always your mama~

Autism Tip of the Day: Many children or people that have autism, which is a disability, may have a dual diagnosis of other things that are going on also. Our son for example has ODD which is called Oppositional Defiant Disorder. As per mayo clinic . com, this is their definition of this mental health condition. Taylor doesn't do this to be bad, just the way, once again that he is built and wired, so to speak.

Even the best-behaved children can be difficult and challenging at times. Teens are often moody and argumentative. But if your child or teen has a persistent pattern of tantrums, arguing, and angry or disruptive behaviors toward you and other authority figures, he or she may have oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). As many as one in 10 children may have oppositional defiant disorder in a lifetime.

Treatment of oppositional defiant disorder involves therapy and possibly medications to treat related mental health conditions. As a parent, you don't have to go it alone in trying to manage a child with oppositional defiant disorder. Doctors, counselors and child development experts can help you learn specific strategies to address oppositional defiant disorder.

Tay, the countdown is on Buddy

Tay, just up writing to an old friend, and I started to go lay down. I remembered that I had talked to Jessie today. You are super lucky you have such cool people that work with you Mister! Anyhow, we talked about this blog that sis and I have for you.

You know, I know that there are issues of you feeling not connected to your family when you are there. I get that! I can totally see your point. I don't like feeling disconnected either. So, with that being said, I told Jessie about your blog, so that when you have sessions with her, you can totally see that we write something EACH and EVERY DAY! You are never far from my mind buddy! More importantly, you are so much a part of my heart. I miss you so much every day. I miss your smile.

Remember, today, forever, to the moon and back!

If you ever feel lonely and Jessie is available, you can go ahead and read my journaling. The reading is great for you and then you can see the photos and see your sisters that are crazy about you.

I love you son, but I am so tired right now. I will close this. Remember no matter where we are, ever, we will always walk under the same moon and the same sun. We will always be connected by the heart.

I also talked to Aunt Cackie tonight. She says hi. Did I forget to tell you that her baby is going to be a GIRL! Girl, boy, girl, just like us.

Night. If you need me, call me! If not, I will talk to you tomorrow night.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Guess who is Phoenix of the week?

My son; obviously. Each week the staff at the Parry Center, that work in his unit, Phoenix, choose one patient of the week. This week, they chose Taylor and he is so very proud of himself. We are thrilled. What might you ask, will be his reward for this? He gets to pick out the movies each night this week to watch, and he gets $3.00 to spend anywhere. He is beyond thrilled. I get excited to see him excited at little things. Now, the really big stuff.... only about 39 hours left until I get to hug him and tell him how proud I am of him. I told him on the phone... but I will be able to hug him and look at those big brown eyes. I am so excited!

In This Life

This song sums it up for the way I feel for not only my wonderful and handsome son, but my devoted husband, and my two beautiful daughters. This song is sung by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

What is the Greatness that we teach our children?

My kids on Christmas morning at our house
in January when Tay came home from the
hospital. We held Christmas to enjoy it together.

Too many gifts to fit under the tree! The lined
the hall going into the kitchen.

I have always been a firm believer in several things in teaching my children. I expect greatness from them. It is plain, it is simple, and it is a bit old school if you may, similar to the golden rule, yet, I feel that I am much more liberal that most that I see.

I have seen students in college and in high school since I have always tried to volunteer at the schools, that just fall apart when they feel they have let their parents down with a grade less than an A. It has always baffled me to some extent. This isn't like they were sad, but that they were distraught, and giving up on themselves for fear of what their parents would think of them. Gosh, what a heavy load to carry! How sad.

Don't get me wrong. We all get disappointed in ourselves for in one way or another, for fear of disappointing others. Sometimes however it is from the guilt that those people place on us. I don't want to be the mom, friend, wife, person that makes people feel guilty. Have I done it before? Made people feel guilty, you bet! I don't want to be that person though. It doesn't seem healthy.

I guess a lot of this has to do with my love for my son and seeing the struggles he has to feel somewhat normal. He is trying his hardest to function, yet, it will never be up to some peoples standards. To me, it seems like these are the people with a real problem. How did it become the problem of the person with the disability? It makes no sense.

I am to the point, and have been for a very long time... if you try your hardest and get an F, then that F is fantastic. HOWEVER, if you get an F as you weren't following up on your homework, or applying yourself to the best of your ability, then I will make sure that you do apply yourself. Sis had a really hard time with Spanish Class, so we paid for a tutor to come and help her to enable her to apply herself more efficiently. She has made it clear that she didn't apply herself all the time in school as it was more of a social scene for her. (Do I dare tell her that it was the same for me? She already knows. ) Yet, the last semester of school she took classes at the college and really applied herself and did so well.

I remember when Tay was a little guy. When we would ask him what he would like to do when he grew up, his biggest dream was to work at McDonald's. When you asked him why, it is because he wanted free fries with his meal. We would chuckle at him. Now I sit back and I think to myself... do I want my kids to live out my dreams or their own dreams. Do the people that work at fast food chains need to be treated differently than the rest of us with career in different industries or in professional settings? Certainly not. They are no different. In fact, they most likely are working harder than many of us.

I remember being a waitress, which I did for most of my life at different restaurants and clubs. I remember always feeling down about myself. I remember not feeling like I was as good as others because I didn't have that college education and job doing something really *IMPORTANT*. The fact of the matter being, I was doing something important. I was a mother to two little ones and I was feeding them without child support. I was making sure they had food and nice clothes and heat to stay warm in the winter. I was making sure they weren't yet another statistic of mommy sitting at home on welfare. (Welfare is good if people need it in extreme emergency cases, but to be on it or abuse it, not for me, and I feel it is abused.) I made sure if my babies were sick, I had medicine to make them well. That is hard when you look at all the bills attached to keeping up a home, and having two children to feed and clothe on my own, yet I did it. I was important. I was teaching them. I also volunteered at the school twice a week (once in each of their classes), was involved in the church, and would like to volunteer to help feed homeless on the holidays, and make sack lunches to give to the homeless downtown.

Is our greatness defined by the jobs that we hold or is it defined by who we are as a person and what we do to show those around us that they are important? It is important to teach our children to apologize when they are wrong. Apologies left unsaid can really eat at a person. Apologies help achieve greatness. Showing people how much they are loved is also greatness. Not only is it something that helps them with confidence as a person, and feeling secure in being loved, but it makes your heart grow.

My lesson to my kids:
Nobody can take your faith or your knowledge away from you.
Family is family forever. No IF LOVES, BECAUSE LOVES... only anyhow love. (Mrs. Gage in the third grade taught me that lesson when she was substituting for my teacher, Mrs. Lang)
Try your hardest at all you do, if you fail, no big deal, small beans, you won't fail yourself when you gave it your all...
Give of yourself, you will receive back in ten fold. That isn't monetary for purpose, but, watching the joy of others will give to your heart ten fold....
If I leave this earth before they do (and it better happen that way) it won't be good bye, it will be I am getting a home ready for them for our forever life in Heaven, and that each of them is EVERYTHING to me, along with my husband.
Apologies are not just for the person that deserves the apology, it also cleanses our soul and makes us not feel so bad. Don't pass up a chance to apologize as you may never get that chance later in life and it will linger with you.
Help who you can, and direct those that you aren't able to, to someone that can help them....

Our two main jobs in life:

Be good to each other and those around us. That is our job!

Make the most beautiful relationships here on earth while we have the chance as when it is time to go, we don't want things being left unsaid.

With this, have my children achieved greatness. WITHOUT A DOUBT!

Gordy, Amanda, Taylor, and Carlie, you have achieved greatness. I am so proud of each of you. I am sOOOOOO blessed that each of you is in my life.

Dear Bubby, from Carlie

Me dancing for mommy last week.

Me doing hula at the concert on Saturday

Dear Bubby,

Hurry up and come home to visit me. I am missing you very much. I ask mom and dad about you every single day and we talk about you. You are a really good brother and I really, really love you lots. If you were here, I would give you a big face hug. I can't wait to play with you for the 4th of July. We are going to have so much fun. I pray for you every night. Love you~ Carlie PS I made mom buy us some capri suns, popsicles and fruit snacks for when you come visit. It is going to be so fun, just like before you went to the hospital and we shared treats.

Mom and dad put my little pool up in the back
corner of the yard where they are going to put the
garden next year. I want it on the grass but they say
it will kill the grass...

This is where I was out playing on the
playground in the back yard and the
sprinkle got me wet. I was so mad. This
is after the fit I threw.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sometimes there are just angels amoung us....

Even when we don't realize it, God works in our lives in such wonderful and enriching ways. Today I had a very nice young lady come to my home to pick up a baby item that sis was selling to earn money for Tay's vacation. When she pulled up, it was like a breath of fresh air. Diversity! Since my depression and having to take a break from work, I have not been able to focus as much on all of the really important things in my life. I so love the diversity part of my life and what we teach our kids. There are not too many people in our area that are not caucasion. Not that being caucasion is all that bad, mind you... but I just strive for difference and long for striving to piece us all together as humans. I feel segregated at times when there isn't the diversity in my life and that is the last thing that I want.

Here stands this sweet, nice, and very sincere young lady that just had it all together. I was busy getting things done around the house and looked a mess.... and she didn't bat an eye. We talked about our kids and our husbands and our jobs, and religion. Imagine this all in a 10 minute time frame, well... okay maybe 15 minutes. It just touched my heart so.

I really believe God put her in my life today to lift my spirits and I am thankful for that. She even put an extra $15 towards Taylor's vacation fund. That touches me so....

Megan, if you keep up with my blogging, please know you touched my heart.

Do we ever throw ourselves away?

I think that with life, it is so easy to simply throw ourselves away. I think that it is easy to set expectations that are too high for ourselves and when we don't reach those expectations, we throw away our feelings and desires as if we are a piece of trash or a piece of garbage. I feel like we need to take to heart that WE ARE WORTH IT, just because.

This really doesn't have anything to do with me, but in reality it has to do with all of us. I believe that at times we just lose ourselves. I feel like the outside world puts little labels to us, just as I label my blogs... and we take those labels to heart. We try to pretend that they don't hurt our feelings but we know, deep down it does.

I think of my kids in these situations. We want to protect them from all of that, and especially when they are disabled. I feel that Taylor has just lost faith in himself at times. I feel that with all of the kids and I try to always teach them they can do what they put their minds to. I guess with autism, it is hard to connect the pieces anyway, so does he really understand what I am saying?

I want to lead by example for my kids. I am going to try to not worry about what others think of me. I will make all of my dreams come true. Most of them have, just by having them in my life. Yet, there are always dreams we have for ourselves.

I will not let others let me throw myself away, and I will not let others accomplish that by letting my kids feel like they are thrown away.