Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas stockings

We have a tradition that every year we make our own Christmas stockings. We get the felt stockings and some puffy paint and create a lasting memory! Here is the finished product...

Christmas Morning breakfast

I must say that our Christmas morning breakfast was nothing short of a gourmet meal. Okay that's a little bit of a stretch, but I found this recipe for Blueberry Sizzle French Toast that is FANTASTIC! Thought I would share it with you...

BlueBerry sizzle French Toast
1 loaf French bread, cut into 2" cubes
8 Large Eggs
(3 c milk, 4 t sugar, 3/4 t salt 1 T vanilla)
(4 T melted butter, cinnamon/sugar)
Blueberry sizzle topping:
1 1/2 c blueberries
1 T Butter, 3/4 c maple syrup, dash nutmeg

Place bread cubes tightly in sprayed 9 x 13 pan. Beat eggs, milk, sugar, salt and vanilla. Pour over bread. Cover/refrigerate overnight, 6-36 hours. Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove; baste with melted butter. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon/sugar. Bake 5-10 minutes more.

In a nonstick skillet, cook clueberries in melted butter 3 minutes. Add syrup and nutmeg. Bring to boil. Serve warm over French toast servings.

**We found that it tastes great with or without the blueberry drizzle. We also tried topping it with powdered sugar instead of the blueberry drizzle and that was yummy too!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Finally Festive

It's taken us a while this year to get the Christmas decorating, Christmas baking, and Christmas shopping done. But we are finally festive!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

This kid loves to be scared!

Wyatt is so funny, he absolutely loves to be scared, he loves the anticipation of being scared. In this video he is watching the scene in CARS where Lightning McQueen and Mater are tractor tipping. Lightning McQueen makes a loud sound when he revs up his engine, then the tractor wakes up and tips over. Wyatt wanted to watch it over and over and over again and had the same reaction every time. So funny!

Thanksgiving Point

Had a fun evening at the dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving Point. I think the erosion table was the biggest hit! This was right up Wyatt's alley....sand, water, splashing, making a mess...he was in heaven.

More Thanksgiving Picts

The kids had a great time playing in Grandma's backyard, there were several days that were warm enough to be out without coats on which gave everyone time to burn off energy. One of their favorite things was to play in the leaves, they even helped grandma bag up a few.

We spent some time exploring Provo Canyon and other scenic areas.

We also saw the lights at Temple Square. It looks so pretty this time of year. We attempted to take a nice picture for our christmas card while there, but it is nearly impossible to get all 4 kids looking at the camera at the same time in 15 degree weather, amidst a crowd of thousands of people, and all have a smile on their face. Didn't happen. Gave up. I'm not sure I'll get Christmas cards out anyway. :)

Thanksgiving at Daniel Summit Lodge

We were in Utah for Thanksgiving and spend Thanksgiving day at the Daniel Summit Lodge near Strawberry Reservoir. They had a fantastic holiday lunch and beautiful scenery! The kids had fun playing in the snow and swimming in a pool all in the same day!
Wyatt loved playing on the deck, we saw lots of deer tracks in the snow, but never saw any deer. It was beautiful to be up in the mountain and so close to nature.

Dear Blog: I have ignored you long goes nothing....

Wyatt is adjusting well to his new schedule in school. He is going between two schools now, which means still lots of driving for me, but he has such great teachers! We are truly blessed to have wonderful teachers and therapists helping him gain new skills all the time. However, this is what he looks like at the end of the day....

Friday, December 4, 2009

Let's get it done this year!

Autism bills have been "pre-filed" in both the Missouri House and Senate this year. Let's get it passed this year! Of the 12 most common neurologic disorders, Autism is the ONLY one that insurance is allowed to deny coverage for both the diagnosis and treatment. This is a real problem, affecting real families. One in 100 children born today will be diagnosed with Autism. ABA therapy makes a huge difference in the development of these children, but it costs between $60,000 and $100,000 per year. These bills will go a long way to helping these kids lead meaningful lives. ABA therapy in the preschool years can make the difference between having a self sufficient adult, or having one who will rely on government assistance for their entire life. Doesn't it make sense to spend a little money now, to save a lot later? Not to mention that these kids deserve to receive the therapy they need!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Deep thoughts today

The grass is not greener on the other side....the grass is greener where you water it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It finally happened!

Finally, finally, finally!

Early on after Wyatt was diagnosed, John made a comment about how Saige at about 18 months would run back and forth between us giving us big hugs every night before she went to bed. I had forgotten about that night time routine from days gone by. The comment he made was something to the effect that he was sad Wyatt wasn't doing the same. finally.....happened!!! Last night Saige, John and I were sitting in a circle on the floor. I would say, "Wyatt, give mama hugs." He would run to me and give me a big bear hug. John would say, "Wyatt, give dada hugs." Again, big bear hugs for dada. Then Saige, "Wyatt, give sissy hugs." Big bear hugs for Saige. It was an AWESOME moment. A milestone. Not the kind the doctor writes down in the chart....It truly is the small things that count.

I remember a line from one of Jenny McCarthy's books about her son that always stuck with me. (Probably because I cried like a baby when I read it). She said that the love her son gives her is "Louder than words".
It is true.

Belated Halloween pictures

I'm only two weeks late...

I think the girls loved handing out the candy more than getting it!

A bumblebee, a princess, superman, and a baseball player!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Three years! No way...

November 1st:
I know everyone says this, but time really does fly by so fast! I can't believe my baby has turned three! I remember very vividly Halloween night three years ago. I was FED UP with bedrest, I decided for myself that three weeks was enough and if I delivered at 35 weeks, this baby would be okay. So I took Saige trick or treating to 4 or 5 houses, then let John do the rest, and the next morning we said hello to a healthy, perfect baby boy! The past three years have certainly been an adventure, boys are so very different than girls. But what a sweet boy we have! Wyatt's has been learning the "Happy Birthday" song at school and learning to fill in the blank when his teacher stops singing (Happy birthday to _____). So when our family began to sing Happy Birthday to Wyatt, Ben, and John it was so fun to hear Wyatt trying to fill in the word "you" as they sang. The look on his face was so sweet because I think he kind of understood what was going on. He even tried to blow out his candles.
He also enjoyed opening his presents for the first time, I think his Hoops and Yoyo card was his favorite (thanks mom)!

Picture of the family birthday party for Wyatt, Ben, and John
Wyatt with his Hoops and Yoyo card (who needs toys anyway)

Wyatt at only a few hours old! Yes, he came out smiling!

Saige, proudly holding her new baby brother!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Random pictures

I haven't had much time to blog, but here are few quick pictures...

The kids at Wyatt's preschool Halloween party. (Wyatt's in the cape, Saige is in the baseball cap)

Saige dressed up for 60's day at school.

Here's our superhero again at his preschool's party!

A day at the park...

Bath time fun

At Loose Park...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Check out my awesome kid!

Wyatt has continued to make AWESOME progress lately. I used to keep track and count all of his new words, but after 100 I lost track! Here is a video of a work session we did at home. He does 23 hours of therapy each week, not all this structured, but it's hard to describe to people how much time, energy, and effort you put in to get just the smallest amount of progress. I had no appreciation for the milestones Saige met as a toddler, for each and every word she said, and for her developmental progress. The progress just's of course very different with Wyatt, but we truly rejoice with each new skill he gains!

In this work session we use a color block schedule to identify which task is next (he matches the color block to the work box), then he is working on matching the colored pegs to the correct slot on the peg board. He needed help with the first two, but then gets the last three on his own. I love that he tried to say all the colors too. I think he said each one except yellow.

"Penguin", "sheep", "frog"

Another therapy activity Wyatt enjoys. It's a bucket full of beans and various animal figures. He finds an animal and then we name it.

"I want bubbles", "pop"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Grocery discussions

John and I are having a "discussion" about our family food budget. Perhaps you have had similar "discussions". Since I'm the one that does most of the grocery shopping and food preparation, I think he loses touch with how much it costs to feed a family of 6. I went back in our recent bank statements for the past three months and added up what we spend at Walmart, Hyvee, Big V, Target, Whole foods, and Costco for the entire month. I was shocked! It really is a lot of money, and it does also include certain household items as well. But I thought that perhaps he was right (did I just say that?). BUT, then I did a google search for food budget calculators and linked to this site at the USDA.

For our family of 6 on the moderate plan, it figures $1169 per month. On the low cost plan it would be $1056. Let's just say I'm not admitting to anyone being "right" yet, I am well within the parameters that good ole' Uncle Sam has figured and that is including Wyatt's gluten free casein free foods which are at least 3 times as expensive as regular food.

The "discussion" will continue....

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Picts from Smithville's Octoberfest this morning....

Saige dancing to "Gitchy Gitchy Goo" with her Dance class

Saige and I marching with Brownie Troop 32 in the parade

...and Hot Dog Man....not sure what bet he lost to have to wear this in front of all Smithville, but a funny picture anyway!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Homecoming parade

I love that we live in a small town with some small town traditions. One of those is the Homecoming Parade. It is, to say the least, a BIG DEAL! The entire town shuts down, school is let out early, every boat, trailer, firetruck and tractor within a 5 mile radius is deployed to carry hyped up high schoolers around the streets of Smithville while throwing huge amounts of candy at screaming children along the way. The parade is of course the precurser to the football game which the ENTIRE, yes I said ENTIRE, town attends. This is the first year we went to the parade. In years past I have not wanted to venture out on my own with four children to supervise, but this year we decided to go for it!
Here we are loaded up in the wagon waiting for the parade to begin
Saige was way too cool to have her picture taken that day. :)
My pictures don't do it justice. I was trying to snap them while making sure Wyatt didn't get run over by a fire engine! But it was a lot of fun, and the kids got a lot of candy.

Wyatt's favorite place to hide


Darn YouTube

In surfing the net this morning (like I don't have a million other things I should be doing), I searched on YouTube for autism videos and saw many that depressed me and others that inspired me. Then I found this beautiful song/video. Truly inspired, but darn it I cried all the way through it! Darn You Tube! If you need a good cry, an uplifting cry, watch this video!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

1 in 91

1 in 91 children, 1 in 58 you think we are in crisis yet? When will we put enough resources into researching causes and cures for Autism? How high do the numbers have to go? In the 1990's it was 5 per 10,000 children. In 2003 it was 1 in 150. Now 1 in 91 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Are you alarmed yet?
This legislative session the state of Missouri along with many others are considering passing legislation requiring insurance companies to pay for the diagnosis and treatment of ASD. Many people don't realize that insurance companies will not even pay for you to take your child to a developmental pediatrician to have them diagnosed with Autism. We received Wyatt's diagnosis about a year ago, and our insurance company denied payment because he was diagnosed with Autism. If he had been diagnosed with any other disorder that day, they would have paid the bill in full. Not only do they deny payment for diagnosis, but even worse, they deny payment for treatment!
Autism is the only neurologic disorder that insurance companies refuse (and they do this legally I might add) to pay for speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and behavior therapy. Discrimination?
As this legislative session gets underway, I'll continue to post updates and links to sites where you can write your representatives to urge them to vote for Autism insurance reform. Please support this worthwhile cause! These kids are worth it!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Super moms don't need sleep, but I do :(

I remember shortly after giving birth to Saige one of the nurses jokingly saying that she hoped I enjoyed my last night of good sleep for the next 18 years. I laughed, and being a new mom didn't think much of it. Now, I'm not saying I haven't slept through the night since becoming a mom 7 years ago, but you definitely sleep differently with little kids in the house. You definitely sleep differently when you hear one of those kids coughing all night long. You sleep differently when you just gave one of them tylenol and put them back to bed, but you don't know if their fever is going down or not. You sleep differently when you know one of them has had rough day and you wonder if they are sleeping or laying awake. You sleep differently when your mind is racing trying to plan out the schedule for the kids for the next day. And you definitely sleep differently when your almost 3 year old wakes up at 3 a.m. and decides to use your bed as a trampoline for the next 8 hours before he finally decides to crash. Bed time will come early tonight. Is 6:00 too early?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Birthday to Mariah! Finally she's 4!

Mariah has been planning her birthday for at least the past 11 months, and finally she is 4! Mariah is full of cuteness, smartness, and a whole lot of SPUNK! This lovely barbie cake from Wally World was literally half frosting (no kidding), so we are all waking up from our sugar comas this morning. We love you Mariah!

When Aunt Rachel comes to town...

When Aunt Rachel comes to town, it's party week! We love it! We all but clear our schedules, and we live as tourists of KC for the entire week even though we all grew up here. This week has included a trip to T-Rex/Legends, a trip to the Independence Visitors Center, a trip to Deanna Rose (sad we missed that one due to a puking kid), big family dinners at mom and dad's, and a slumber party for the kids at Grandma's tonight. I keep forgetting my camera, but I remembered it for our T-Rex outing. Here are a few picts!