Thursday, April 25, 2013

Doing a clothing inventory

I always do a seasonal clothes swap, giving away outgrown clothes, putting hand-me-downs away, etc.

I always go to Goodwill on Dollar Day and Savers on Half-Price Holidays to stock up on items in the next few sizes up so that when one of my child has a sudden growth spurt, I have clothes at the ready.

What I have never done is an actual inventory of the clothes to see exactly what we have and what we need.  I just kinda have an idea that "oh, I think we need some winter jammies" or whatever.

Today I decided to actually pull down the boxes, go through each size and make a list of what we have so that when I shop I can be purposeful about it and not just buy something because "it's only a dollar".

I just did the first two boxes, size 4T, which Justin will be growing into soon.

I got a first class illustration on why I needed to do this.

See, these are hand-me-downs, so it's only logical to me to think that Justin will not need anything in this size, seeing as how these were all Jason's clothes.

This is not the case.

Somehow, we have ten pairs of jeans/casual pants and six pairs of dress pants.

Dress shirts?


Casual shirts?

Six, quite worn.

Winter jammies?

Two sets and a few mismatches.

Summer jammies?

None.  (Actually, I realized that I had already added them to his jammie drawer, so he does have some).

I looked at that and thought:  Why on earth does he have so many bottoms and hardly any tops?

I think what happened was the tops got worn or stained, so they were purged, while, for some reason, I thought we needed more pants, so I bought a few more!  I know I've bought at least two pairs of jeans in this size recently.

So, this list thing is quite needed.  Now I know that I need to look for dress shirts, a couple of nice casual shirts, jammies, and a couple of sweaters.

No pants!

I also realize how incredibly blessed we are to even be able to have this much clothing.  Thanks to tons of generous hand-me-downs and thrift store sales, my kids never have to worry about going without.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Supposedly, I look like my dad...

Yesterday was my dad's 60th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Dad!  Although the list of things that we don't agree on is longer than what we do, one thing for certain:  I have never doubted your love for me.  You have always been there when I needed you.  Thank you.

I have to brag on my children:  Without getting into too many details, suffice it to say that I gave my children very clear instructions yesterday:  Be Good!  Don't make noise, don't touch his stuff, don't, don't, don't.  Just eat and be nice.

And they did so good!  Tyler ate his food without complaint, cleared his place at the table and sat nice and quiet.  Katelyn and Jason interacted with Grandma Dotty (love her!), but kept it pretty calm and quiet.  Justin did well, too.  We kept the visit short and sweet, the kids understood the importance of what I was asking them to do, and it good.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

He knows The Truth

Because Tyler doesn't respond in church in the same way that I see other child responding, I think that he is not listening, not paying attention, not caring, not plugged in, not learning anything, etc, etc.

And while he misses a lot of little things, he *knows* The Truth.  I was reminded of this last night at church.

Bro Conroy was preaching, and, as always, he was hilarious.  Tyler was definitely listening when Bro Conroy was talking about chamber pots!  Classic boy humor.

But there was another time (and I honestly can't tell you exactly what Bro Conroy was saying) Bro Conroy was talking about not believing in One God Baptism or something similar.  Tyler says "Man, those people are so dumb.  Don't they read the Bible."

I just looked at him with a little smile, inside thinking "He knows!  He really knows!!!"  My joy was doubled in that moment.

And this is a classic Asperger's example:  head knowledge without the emotional knowledge.

Tyler knows the gospel, but he can't apply it to himself.  He doesn't understand that he needs salvation.

Grateful for Grace has another great post up today for Autism Awareness Month and the writer says the exact same thing:  I don’t have the energy to spend hours/days on something trivial when the bigger deal is to ..... teach to a child, who has no understanding of their sin, their need for a Savior. These are where I focus my energy.

It is my prayer that there will come a day when all of my children will have the Holy Ghost and be baptized in Jesus' Name.  I dream of the day that I will stand by the baptismal tank and rejoice when Tyler is buried in that watery grave.  I know it's coming.  I believe it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thankful that they do eat.

I lament daily about the picky eaters that my children are.  One, in particular, is extremely picky due to Sensory Processing Disorder.  Another copies everything that said child does, so if said child refuses to eat something, copy-cat refuses to eat it, too (with a few exceptions).

Anyway, I spend so much time despairing about what they won't eat that I don't often  stop to think about what they do eat.  They do eat a lot of stuff, some of it "weird".  And for that, I'm thankful, especially when my cupboards are bare.

Today, for lunch, my sons ate corn tortillas fried into tostada shells, with cheese melted on top, and Carnation Breakfast Essentials chocolate milk.  I also put out raisins, but they didn't eat them.

Everyone ate and was full.  Not the most balanced meal, but I call it good.

Thank you, Lord.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pantry Challenge for Youth Retreat

This past month, we have been eating down our freezer, fridge and pantry instead of grocery shopping so that we could use the month to send our daughter to Youth Retreat, which was this past weekend.

For four weeks, I spent less than 1/4th of our normal grocery budget.

We ate a lot of beans and rice, folks.  A lot.  Beans and rice with salad, tostadas, bean enchiladas, black bean tacos...

But, really, it's been a good thing as it's forced us to eat up some food that's been languishing in the freezer and pantry for far too long, passed over for something maybe a little more simple to prepare or appealing.  (Thanks, Mom, for buying too many ribs at Christmas time.  And, thanks, Dad for the sirloin steak you gave us for Christmas.  We ate them up with month.)

It's also made me remember how important it is to not waste food!  I *try* to chop up any extra veggies and get them into the freezer before they go bad.  I get lazy about this more often than not.  But it was so nice to be able to pull a bag of carrots out of the freezer today so that I could use them in our Rice and Veggie Stirfry side dish.  We are getting low on options, so I was feeling a little desperate before I remembered these carrots.

Another thing is freezing meat!  Even less than a cup of cooked beef or chicken can become a whole meal when made into a casserole or soup.  My family loves spaghetti with meat sauce, and 1/2 lb of ground beef can make the whole meal!  Just a little bit of chopped up ham can spice up boring scrambled eggs.

And when you don't have meat and it's bean and rice night, my two tips: 

1.  Green onions!  I always make a salad to go with our beans and rice, and we've found that adding green onions to the salad gives it that little pop of flavor. 

2.  Homemade tortillas!  I don't make these too often, but they are delicious alone and can take the place of chips at snack time, and they add comfort to dinner time.  These are definitely a learned art; they don't seem nearly as impossible now as when I first started making them.  The KitchenAid mixer helps a lot.

One final thing is that this pantry challenge has reminded me of how very blessed we are.  If necessary, we could go for a least two more weeks without being all that uncomfortable, just not much options.  Longer than that before we would starve.  I didn't do any big stock up to get most of the food that we have, either.  It's just odds and ends left over from my bi-weekly shopping trips.  We live in a land of plenty, and I am so thankful.

And now that grocery ads are here, payday comes this week, and I'm gonna go see what I can restock with!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Loving the Asperger's family

This month is Autism Awareness Month.  Asperger's Syndrome is classified under Autism Spectrum Disorder, and, in fact is being completely removed from the DSM and will be called just Autism.

Grateful for Grace has a very good post today about what Asperger's can look like to other people and giving grace to parents when what Asperger's looks like is poor parenting.

I can so relate to this post because, before we knew that Tyler had Asperger's, I thought I was the worst parent ever.  And I felt like everyone else thought so, too.

Why does that child get away with acting like that?  Why doesn't the parent discipline him?

It wasn't until we found out that Tyler had Asperger's, and then got the message out to our friends and relatives that I was able to let go of some of those feelings and give grace to myself and receive it from others.

I get tears in my eyes thinking about how our church family (the people we spend the most amount of time with) have come to love Tyler for who he is.  Here are just a couple of things that come to mind that have happened recently:

  • Tyler likes to hang out by the coffee shop after church. The Sister in charge has been so kind to him, allowing him to stay around instead of running him off.  One time she even had him go around selling brownies, then gave him one as a "thank you".  Then she came to check with me that it was okay for him to eat it.  I think this is a safe place for Tyler to be, so I'm grateful that they put up with him.
  • Tyler can get antsy during church.  One good way to help him be calm and still is to massage his neck.  I can't do this for a long period of time, though, as my hands start to hurt, or, more likely, get busy with the other boys, or with worship.  One time I was standing up, worshiping, and I looked down to see a Brother massaging Tyler's neck and shoulder for him.  (I should note that not everyone would get away with this.  This man is someone that we trust and who has taken the time to earn Tyler's trust.)
  • We are a very friendly church and Pastor has us greet people at least once a service.  Tyler hates it.  One Sister turned around to shake his hand and Tyler flinched away (with a little smile, I might add!).  She tried to shake Justin's hand and he just stared at her.  I said "I'm sorry, my children are anti-social!"  She just laughed and said "Hey, I have Tyler in Sunday School, remember?"

More and more people are helping us find the new normal, reaching out and loving in a new way when the typical way doesn't seem to be working.  We even have people at church who have told us that they like sitting around us, that they love our family so much, that we remind them of when they were young with small children (and we are pretty distracting , so this is a huge compliment!)

Yes, we still have issues, mostly from the younger crowd who just see someone different.  And I guess I should confess that I still feel like a complete failure at least once a day.  But, giving grace helps.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Off to Youth Retreat

Katelyn is off to her first Youth Retreat today!  She was extremely hyper and excited this morning, and, truthfully, I was feeling excited to.  It's so fun to see my little girl grow up and reach each milestone.

And though we will all be enjoying a few days of peace and quiet (she makes enough noise for all three boys), whenever she is gone, it always feels like a piece of me went, too.  I will constantly think about her and pray for her until I know she is safe in my arms again.

Keep the youth people in your prayer as they travel up the mountain for A Mountaintop Encounter.  Bro Sam Ham and Bro Dorian Myers are the speakers.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happy World Autism Awareness Day!

Today is World Autism Awareness Day.

Do you know that?

I admit that I didn't.

It seems like our calendars are becoming so filled with This Awareness Day and That Awareness Day that, truthfully, I pretty much turn it off.

I just happened to find out when I read today's post at Meet Penny.

Be a friend to this child today. Include this child and his or her family in your prayers. Remember to invite this child to your home for play dates. Look beyond the mystery and find the person. Celebrate what we sometimes cannot because we are stifled by the mystery that we live each day. (From Meet Penny)