Where I’ve Been




I lost my mojo.

I think it’s been a gradual thing for a long while. My posts have been further and further apart. Then I got pregnant and once we settled into the pregnancy thing, I thought I’d have endless material.

Nope. Apparently, I just had endless exhaustion and the I-Don’t-Care-About-Anything-But-Survival thing going on. I never even updated the blog with the results of the Old Wives’ Tales experiment.

It’s a GIRL!

But ohhhh how I’ve missed just sitting down at the keyboard and typing out my thoughts or sharing the crazy stories and hearing yours, too. I’ve gotten a bit of that through the Facebook page. If you’ve visited there in the last week or so, then you know how my children are encouraging me to get back to blogging. That’s my nice way of saying they’ve given me enough material for a sitcom pilot.

If you’ve missed out on the Facebook updates, here’s just a sampling:

grace flag blog

G apparently made a flag for her fort. Yep. Those are undies. Then C, in an act of war, stole the flag off the fort and threw it. Where it landed in the neighbors yard. Then the dog grabbed the stick and began running around the yard. With the panty flag. G and C are chasing after the dog which the dog loves and just wants to keep running. We later found out that the panty flag had been flying proudly from the top of the swing set for about 3 days.

Two days later, we were at the park and Miss G decides to do a little gymnastics routine from the top of the slide that’s about eleventy thousand feet tall. She is hanging like a monkey from the top bar and swinging wayyyyy out over the edge of the slide. This child has all of my klutziness and NO FEAR. This is not a good combination.

Oh and then there was Monday.

Monday was bad, y’all. So bad. On Monday, I thought homeschool would actually kill me. I was seriously questioning every reason I’ve ever had for spending time and money we don’t have on curriculum and tuition just to battle against bad attitudes and have every single thing be so stressful. (It’s not always like this but it sure was this week.)

I guess to break up the monotony of school work, someone (who shall remain nameless but her first initial is G) took it upon herself to wash the dog. Why?? “I wet the dog because the dog smelled like wet dog.” Of course. Half a bottle of dog shampoo was matted into this poor animal’s fur. It took 30 minutes of me rinsing her to get all the suds and mud and pine straw out.

At some point while I was finishing the unexpected dog bath, my sweet daughter “accidentally” unplugged the crock pot where our supper had been cooking for about 3 hours. Two hours later, I realized what had happened. Cereal for dinner.

No matter what I did on Monday, it was so quickly apparent that it was totally useless. Pretty much like this:

On Tuesday, I felt obligated to issue a public apology to anyone within 5 miles of Publix. It was supposed to be a 10-minute in-and-out trip for some toilet paper. It quickly escalated into a 1-hour commercial for Valium. And we forgot the toilet paper.

Don’t get me wrong. All the craziness is not just coming from my sweet daughter. My sweet son is generously contributing his own share.

caleb ice cream

Her stories are just a little funnier at this point. I’m glad she is brave. I’m glad she is independent. I’m even glad she’s got a bit of a stubborn streak. “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” This will serve her so well in life.

Grace b&w

But she will send me into labor one of these days.

There is no way I will need to be induced for a third time. No. Way.

I have an induction method. Her name is Grace.

grace tea blog

Boy or Girl? An Experiment with Old Wives’ Tales




old wives pin itWe are just three days from our big anatomy scan. Three. Days.

I don’t know if it’s because of the exhaustion or the nausea or the holiday craziness but I have actually not been obsessing about this like I did for my first two babies.

However. Now that it’s just THREE DAYS away, it’s pretty much all I can think about. And so like all logical, educated, practical moms-to-be, I have turned to the Google.

Y’all. I cannot believe how many different old wives’ tales (ahem) theories are alive and well on the internet. Some I’ve heard before and some are brand new information to me.  (Which makes me wonder… If it has just become a thing in the last six years, is it really an old wives’ tale or just internet legend and lore?)

I’m gonna take one for the team here and explore some of these theories and how it applies to my baby. I’d love to have your guesses in the comments on what you think. On Friday, I’ll share what actual science and technology suggest and we’ll see how it all turns out! (Disclaimer: “Actual science and technology” have led us astray once before when the ultrasound said my son was a baby girl. Whoops.)

Alright. Here we go!

The Mayans  According to the Mayans, the age of the mother at conception added to the year of conception can tell you what to expect. If the result is an EVEN number, then you’re having a girl. If it’s an ODD number, expect a boy.
** I was 34 years old at the beginning of this pregnancy (and I have five more weeks, thank you very much, before I turn 35). So 34 + 2014 = 2048. So according to the Mayans, this baby is a girl. **

The Chinese  The Chinese have a gender prediction based on lunar ages and months of conception. I’m not even going to attempt to explain the background on this one but if you’d like to try it, here’s a widget on Babycenter.com that I used. You know. Just for the purposes of this post.  Mmhmm.
** I put in my due date and scrolled way down to find my birth date. Just press enter and find where your assigned lunar info overlap. They bold it for you so you don’t get too lost. According to the Chinese, this baby is a boy. **

Morning Sickness  According to a popular old wives’ tale, and I’m totally summarizing here: If it’s a girl, you’re gonna hurl. Charming, I know. Based on my first two pregnancies, this is one I would’ve supported wholeheartedly. With my first, I thought I knew what morning sickness was. HA. My second pregnancy landed me in the hospital once due to hyperemesis gravidarum. Zofran became my favorite thing.
** This baby is somewhere in the middle of the two extremes I’ve experienced. On one hand, I’ve had more food aversions and nausea than actual vomiting. Then again, I was on the Zofran for much longer to prevent vomiting. According to the theory, I have no idea. Total toss-up. **

Skin  This old wives’ tale says that if you have dry skin, you’re expecting a boy. If you have soft skin, you’re carrying a girl.
** My skin is definitely super dry right now. If you ignore all those other pesky possible causes for dry skin (like a thyroid condition or oh, I don’t know, winter), then according to this theory, baby is a boy. **

Feet  This one is very similar to the skin thing. If your feet are colder than normal, you’re having a boy. If it’s all average temps on your toes, then it’s a girl.
** Again, ignoring the fact that it’s December, this theory would predict our baby is a boy. **

ultrsound pic 1Skull Theory  This was one of the many new-to-me theories out there. This high-tech theory uses an ultrasound from around 10-12 weeks. If baby’s skull is very round, it’s likely a girl. If baby’s skull seems more angular or sloped, a boy is predicted.
** I’m not a very good judge of this one. Based on the very scientific google examples, my first guess would be that baby’s skull is on the more angular side. According to skull theory, baby is a boy. **

Baking Soda Test  Remember that old tale that said to combine your urine with Draino but then there were explosions and chemical burns and all that fun stuff? Yeah. Don’t do that one. Now, the old wives have adjusted the theory to use baking soda instead of a harmful chemical. Apparently, if you combine your urine with baking soda and it fizzes, you’re having a boy. If nothing spectacular happens, you’re carrying a girl. I actually can’t believe I did this one. But hey. It’s all in the name of, um, science. Right?
** Yeah. Nothing happened. Of course, nothing happened in any of the YouTube videos I watched either. Except for one major reaction but she ended up having a girl so, go figure. But according to the baking soda theory, baby is a girl. **

ultrasound pic 2

The Ramzi Method  Another theory using ultrasound scans, this one actually has a ring of real science behind it. Dr. Ramzi is not an old wife but an actual doctor. He did real live research on placental location and how it relates to gender. According to his data, they found that you could look at a 6-week ultrasound and there were crazy high statistics (over 97%) that male babies had a placenta on the right side of the uterus while female babies were on the left.

** This is our 8-week ultrasound and it looks as though baby is connected to the left side of the picture which would be the right side of my uterus. According to the Ramzi theory, baby is a boy. **

I hope it goes without saying that all of this is just for fun. We are not picking out paint colors or buying clothes based on this. It seems that the majority of our “theories” are pointing to baby being a boy but we’ll just have to wait another few days to find out for sure. Hopefully, baby will not be modest and will show off!

What do you think? I’d love to hear your guesses based on your own experiences with tales and theories, legends and lore. Just let me know in the comments and we’ll update you on Friday!

 

Every Act of Love

Rope Heart

I often find myself believing the false idea that a gesture has to be BIG to be enough. But the truth is that we can make a difference with every act of love. I want to find ways to involve my kids and foster compassionate hearts in them. I’m thankful to be surrounded by kind and loving people who are always offering great examples, whether or not they even realize it.

I wrote a new post over at Turning Pages that includes a few simple ideas to involve the kids in acts of compassion for our neighbors. There are SO many ways to show love. I’d love for you to come over and get involved in the comments by sharing some of YOUR ideas. Especially during this time of year, we’re always hoping for new ideas to bless our community. Click here to join the conversation: http://ashleydoylepooser.com/2014/11/17/every-act-of-love/.

Seven Thoughts on Morning Sickness

(image courtesy of Victor Habbick/freedigitalphotos.net)

(image courtesy of Victor Habbick/freedigitalphotos.net)

Ahhhh morning sickness.  A rite of passage of every mom-to-be.  I have a love-hate relationship with it because on one hand, I’m miserable.  On the other?  It’s a great sign that everything is progressing.

As the weeks slowly pass and the nausea remains every minute of every day, I’ve had a few thoughts on the subject.

1. Food choices are disposable.  Something might sound good to me but only once.  After I’ve eaten it, it’s dead to me and I never want to see it again.  Yes, my poor patient saint of a husband, I know I was able to eat soup yesterday but today?  Today, soup is the devil.  Options are becoming very few and far between.  The best restaurant choice ever during this magical time of pregnancy is a tapas place.  Eat half of one dish and once it’s dead to you, have something different.  Noche in Atlanta saved the day a couple of weeks ago.  (I had the Trailer Park Taco and the Fried Green Tomatoes without the goat cheese – They were delicious.)

2. Cooking and cleaning are torture.  If you needed to extract sensitive information from a mom with morning sickness, just have her brown some ground turkey or clean the toilet.  I would cave in an embarrassingly short amount of time, tell you whatever you wanted to know, and beg for mercy.  Ground turkey is dead to me.  I’m so thankful that my husband isn’t having a bad attitude about the current state of our house.  Or at least he’s keeping it to himself.  Smart man.  Not his first rodeo.

3. There are eleventy million different food commercials.  And don’t even get me started on all the different shows.  Flipping through the channels and accidentally coming across Bizarre Foods is not fun.  Oh no.  Things you never noticed until each one induces the gag reflex.

4. Go ahead and trade in the purse for a diaper bag.  Yes, you still have seven months before you need it but at least half of the stuff is for you.  I have my emergency go bag that includes a travel toothbrush with toothpaste, mouthwash, sanitizing wipes, and some gum.  I’ve also tried the sea bands on the wrists (didn’t work), preggie pops (didn’t work), ginger (didn’t work), alcohol swabs under the nose (actually worked temporarily but I’m not sure how many of my brain cells I might have sacrificed with that one), Phenergan (didn’t work but I slept okay), and Zofran (ding ding ding – we have a winner – kinda).

5. You want what you can’t have.  I think there could be a deeper philosophical discussion on this one but I don’t feel like it.   Suddenly, I only want to eat Publix subs, sushi, brie, smoked salmon dip, and goat cheese.  I couldn’t have cared less if I had any of that food before but now that I can’t have them?  Ohhhh they sound so delicious.

6. Enjoy the two week grace period.  There is usually about two weeks from the time you have a positive home pregnancy test and when the morning sickness kicks in.  Enjoy that time.  It passes quickly.  Deep clean all the things that will gross you out later.  Toilets, fridge, etc.  Cook up a storm.  I wish I had thought to make up some freezer meals ahead of time.

7. It forces you to admit weakness and ask for help.  I am so bad about asking for help.  So.  Bad.  Which makes it really hard once baby arrives and little lives might actually depend on you admitting you need some help.  When you have those days when the Zofran has betrayed you and you can’t get up off the bathroom floor and the kids are running amuck and will be needing to eat dinner and you can barely type a text without passing out, you are forced to cry uncle and ask for help.  It’s good practice for later.  Or life in general.

Do you have any thoughts on morning sickness or any tried and true remedies that gave you some relief?  I’d love to hear them!!  Share them in the comments so we can all add to our go bags.

ICYMI – Life Changed. Another Stinker Baby?!

Announcement SBIf you missed our huge news (and I just don’t know how you might have missed the earth shaking a bit – oh wait – that was just for us)…

I am PREGNANT!

Whaaaaaaaaaat?  Craziness!!

It’s actually been a huge roller coaster.

Long story very short: We were pregnant, we were shocked, we were excited, we miscarried, we were heartbroken, oh wait maybe not, we were left wondering and afraid to hope, we were pregnant after all, we were thrilled and grateful.  I wrote about the roller coaster and all the raw emotions that come with that crazy ride on my other blog and I’d love for you to check it out – ashleydoylepooser.com.

We had decided early on that we weren’t going to tell anyone our news because oh-my-goodness-what-if-something-went-wrong?  And then it did.  And we asked for prayers as we waited for things to progress.  But then things went right again.  And we couldn’t not update our friends and family.  And then it seemed like a lot of people knew.  And it also seemed like why not?

I was most excited to tell our kids.  They have periodically begged us for a baby off and on over the last couple of years.  I would tell them it was up to God and they’d have to talk to him about it.  Well.  I guess they did.

So I made them adorable Big Brother and Big Sister shirts.  We took them out to lunch with my sister and parents and gave them their shirts.  I stood back and waited for the happy tears and squeals like all the other kids on YouTube.  I was secretly hoping we’d be the next viral video and get some ad revenue coming in.  We could definitely use it!  Baby needs a…well…baby needs everything actually.

Instead of a revenue-producing goldmine, we got blank stares.  Jake tried to explain a bit further – “Mom’s having a baby!”

Grace: “Again?!”  (She was actually excited, though.)  Caleb: “Tell the truth…  Is this a dream?  Can we go home now?”  (He was most definitely not excited.)

I started looking for a phone number for the Exasperated Big Brother from YouTube to form a support group for less-than-thrilled big sibs.

But then Caleb came around and became super supportive.  So super supportive, I’m about to start calling him Granny.  He randomly checks in on me.  ”Mom?  Are you allowed to drink that kind of water when you’re having a baby?”  Or “Mom, make good food choices to help make sure the baby survives.”  He is so sweet!

Grace will just randomly bust out with “We’re having a BABY!”  But the best was when she told her Sunday School teachers, “My mommy is really sick but it’s a secret.”  They probably thought I had some deadly disease.  She wants to wear her Big Sister shirt 24/7.  I hope she is still this excited if she ends up sharing a room.

They’ve asked us where the baby will sleep.  Ummmmm.  Welllll.  Ahhhh.  Hmmmm.  At least we know for the first few months, baby will sleep in Mama and Daddy’s room.  After that will be a surprise!  ’Cause we sure don’t know right now.

We’re also not sure what baby will sleep IN because the very last of our baby stuff was hauled away over a year ago.  We have zero baby stuff.  Oh and I gave away all my maternity clothes because I sure won’t be needing those!  Ha!  I should be freaking out right now but I’m not.  It’ll come together.  Somehow!  We’ve had a friend offer to pass down a carseat/stroller and another offered her crib.  Bless them!  We might have to start naming this kid after them.

So in summary -
We’re having a baby!  We have no stuff!  I heart Zofran!

It’ll all be okay.

 

 

Erin Condren Life Planner




Last month, I found myself in a bit of a self-induced panic.  I had a thousand and one things to schedule for July and August but my planner ended in June.

Between homeschool schedules, doctor appointments, eleventy thousand meetings and activities to schedule for the upcoming MOPS year, schedules for both of Jake’s jobs (that are different every week – the schedules, not the jobs – ha), church activities, and now some of Jake’s music gigs, too – I needed a planner that could basically sprout arms and hold my hand as I tried to organize this crazy life.

After doing a ton of research, I kept coming back to the Erin Condren Life Planners.  They cost a little bit more than the planners you can find at Walmart but it is so incredibly personalized, I could almost see the arms growing.  Plus, I won’t need to buy another planner until 2016!

I was able to choose a pattern (and then change my mind five times), choose any color combination I wanted (and then change my mind twelve times), choose any kind of personalization I wanted (and then change my mind twice), and finally hit the order button.  Then some wonderful, creative, talented person in southern California with the initials KB began to design my planner just the way I wanted it.

Once I placed my order, it was given the status of “pending” and this lasted for about a week.  It updated to “invoice to print” and then “printing” in about half a day.  It was in “printed” mode for a day and then it went very quickly through “in production,” “quality control” and “shipped.”  I got my happy e-mail with my tracking number soon after.

With the recent launch, the orders came in fast and furious.  These poor people must have been working nonstop for the past few weeks trying to meet all the orders perfectly.  I’ve heard some tales about orders being delayed or some mistakes being made or customer service being slow to respond.  I can’t speak to the experiences of others but my experience was perfect.  When I placed my order, I was given an expected ship date.  My planner was sent on its merry way to me just one day later than the estimated date.

As soon as FedEx had it, I began stalking the tracking updates like a kid watching Santa on Christmas Eve radar.  The tracking updates only happen when the packages are scanned in a hub so I got really tired of seeing Bloomington, CA for days on end.  But finally, it arrived in Ellenwood, GA and made its way south.  I spent the morning listening for the sleigh bells (truck engines).

It arrived right on time and exactly as I ordered it!  Want to know more about what to expect from the Erin Condren Life Planner 2014-2015?  Check out my pictures down there.

Obviously, I’m in love with this new organizational tool.  This purpose of this post was just to share how cool this product is and how helpful it’s going to be.  I used my own moolah to purchase the products (forgoing having my hair done, nails done, or buying new clothes but whatevs…Worth it).  Erin Condren did not ask me to write this nor does she know me from Adam.  But!  If you think the Life Planner might be for you, I do have a link to share with you.  When you register an account with Erin Condren, you will get a $10 coupon code to use on your first order.  When you place your first order, it will also send me a $10 coupon code.  Win-Win!  Here’s that link:  https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/ashleypooser0108

EClifeplanner 1

After looking forward to your new planner, it was awesome to see how much thought went into making the presentation and packaging just as adorable as everything else. You want to look carefully at everything because there are $25 in coupon codes in there, too! Surprise!

EClifeplanner 2

Everything came out just as I hoped! I went with the Scales pattern. The background color is Seafoam and the pattern color is white. Instead of first name on top and last name on bottom, I put my full name on top and a quote on bottom. “Enjoy the journey.”

EClifeplanner 3

New for this year is the removable perpetual calendar. This tucks neatly into a pocket inside the planner and is a great reference for birthdays and anniversaries. In 2016, instead of copying them all down again, I’ll just move this to my new planner. I love efficiency.

EClifeplanner 4

Also included with your new Life Planner is a sampling of awesome labels. There are gift labels that showcase some of Erin Condren’s adorable colors and patterns. They would be great for birthday gifts or a hostess gift. There are also a few labels that match my planner and are personalized with my name. Love them!

EClifeplanner 5

Along with the included stickers to label appointments (doctor, dentist, birthday, vacation, etc) and the blank stickers that can be used however you wish, I ordered a sheet of personalized stickers. This will help me keep track of all of my MOPS meetings, activities, and events for this year. I have stickers for MOPS General, MOPS Steering, and MOPS Activities. Awesome feature of the stickers? They’re removable! If your schedule changes, just gently peel them up and move it!

 

Turning Pages

Change is scary.

But exciting.

It’s scariting. Or excary. Or something.

I’m nervous.

I started this blog, Stinker Babies, in April of 2010. It felt right and seemed to be a good fit for a few years. But for the last year, I’ve been feeling like we’ve been outgrowing the name, Stinker Babies. My life has changed, my plans have changed, my goals have changed. I feel like I want my blog to change and grow with me, as a mom and as a wanna-be writer.

So may I humbly introduce my new home on the web: AshleyDoylePooser.com.

My blog name is Turning Pages and there is a post up over there that explains why I chose that particular name. I also transferred a few of the most recent Stinker Babies posts just to make it feel more like home.

I hope you’ll still feel welcome. I would love for you to stick around and see how this all comes together (or doesn’t)!

Life is an adventure!  I hope you’ll come along on this one!

turning pages header2 formerly stinker babies

10 Signs Your Dental Appointment Is Not Going Well

Image courtesy of patrisyu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of patrisyu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1. When you call to make your appointment, the receptionist says she’ll have to get your file from storage.

 

2. When the hygienist asks when you last had your teeth cleaned, she asks you to repeat your answer.  Twice.

 

3. After your x-rays are done, every staff member you speak to asks you (again) if you have dental insurance.

 

4. You knew they were going to ask how often you floss and you’re pretty sure last night and this morning don’t count as “daily.”

 

5. Once you sit in the chair and open wide, the hygienist leaves to go get more tools.

 

6. When she’s ready to begin cleaning your teeth, she applies numbing gel.  To everything.

 

7. At the first sound of the scraper, you remember why you considered going to that “anxiety-free” dentist across town.

 

8. The hygienist says, “Ooops.”  And then starts rinsing and sucking, rinsing and sucking.

 

9. When you’re about ready to check out, she hands you information on their payment plan.

 

10. The receptionist is looking over the hygienist’s notes and says, “Ouch.  You don’t have to go to work today, do you?”

 

***************************************************************************

Take it from me, folks.  Go see your dentist every six months.  If the dentist makes you nervous and you put it off (like someone else I know…ahem…me), it’s just worse when you finally have to go.  Thankfully, nothing major is needed but…Ohhhh man.  I’m not looking forward to this gel wearing off.
Dental Appt Pin

Telling Our Son About His Autism – My Messy Beautiful

c by the treeThis essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

It started like every other night.  It could have been any other ordinary day.  Any at all.  The same instructions had been given.  The same teeth-brushing arguments, both pro and con, had been repeated.  The blessed melatonin had been given.  We sat down and pulled open the devotion book but we never read past the date – April 2nd.

Before I even realized what I was saying, I asked the kids if they knew that it was World Autism Awareness Day.  They looked interested and were being exceptionally angelic at the moment.  So I took it a little bit further.  ”You’ve heard the word, ‘autism,’ many times.  But do you know what it means?”  They shook their heads and wanted to know more.

It was happening.  We had anticipated this moment for four years.  When would we tell Caleb about his autism?  How would we tell him?  We decided on the gradual method of slowly, bit by bit and inch by inch, laying down the groundwork.  We wanted them to have a firm foundation in knowing that everyone is different and that is a beautiful thing.  We wanted them to be solid on the fact that God has created each and every one of us so beautifully and wondrously and intricately and intentionally.  We wanted them to have the practice of loving others and seeing past differences to the heart and soul.

Years of anticipating this moment, sometimes eagerly and sometimes anxiously, and it was here.  Even in those first few moments, I was unsure if I should shut it down.  Jake was still at work.  He was missing this milestone.  But the ball was rolling and it was rolling down a steep hill.  It felt right to allow it to continue on its path.  Wherever it led.

We talked about what ASD is and how it can make some things easier and others more challenging.  I told them about some common experiences among those who live life on the spectrum.  And I simply asked if it sounded like anyone we might know.  I could see his wheels turning.  I showed them the episode of Arthur (“When Carl Met George”) and within 35 seconds, it happened.

And right there, right smack in the middle of our messy living room with the laundry piled high and the dinner dishes still on the table and the trash waiting to be taken out, with us and the dog all squished together on the couch, it happened.  It started with his eyes.  They looked brighter.  After five or so minutes, his face had changed.  He looked older somehow.  By the time the video was over, he was eagerly asking, “Mom?  Do I have ASD?”

I took a shaky breath and said confidently – no wait – I said proudly, “Yes, buddy.  You do.  What do you think about that?”

And he knew.

And just. like. it happened to us when we received his diagnosis, his life began flashing before his eyes.  He was seeing it all with a fresh understanding.  His filter had changed.

And he understood.

And he told me about how the things, the hard things, he now knows were the challenging parts of his ASD.  And we talked about how far he’s come.  And how much he’s overcome.  And how he has done the hard things and how he can continue to do the hard things.

And he was proud.

Jake came home from work to find his boy had grown.  Caleb seemed to stand taller as he told his dad about ASD and how God had made his brain special.

He went to bed that night having diagnosed our dog with autism as well.  ”She loves her toy like I love trains.”  And any loneliness he might have felt dissolved away in the solidarity of puppy kisses.

He woke the next morning, ready to share himself with the world.

So, world?  Get ready.  You’re about to get a whole lot of awesome.


mom do i have autism

messy-beautiful-450b

The Talk

c by the treeIt started like every other night.  It could have been any other ordinary day.  Any at all.  The same instructions had been given.  The same teeth-brushing arguments, both pro and con, had been repeated.  The blessed melatonin had been given.  We sat down and pulled open the devotion book but we never read past the date – April 2nd.

Before I even realized what I was saying, I asked the kids if they knew that it was World Autism Awareness Day.  They looked interested and were being exceptionally angelic at the moment.  So I took it a little bit further.  ”You’ve heard the word, ‘autism,’ many times.  But do you know what it means?”  They shook their heads and wanted to know more.

It was happening.  We had anticipated this moment for four years.  When would we tell him about his autism?  How would we tell him?  We decided on the gradual method of slowly, bit by bit and inch by inch, laying down the groundwork.  We wanted them to have a firm foundation in knowing that everyone is different and that is a beautiful thing.  We wanted them to be solid on the fact that God has created each and every one of us so beautifully and wondrously and intricately and intentionally.  We wanted them to have the practice of loving others and seeing past differences to the heart and soul.

Years of anticipating this moment, sometimes eagerly and sometimes anxiously, and it was here.  Even in those first few moments, I was unsure if I should shut it down.  Jake was still at work.  He was missing this milestone.  But the ball was rolling and it was rolling down a steep hill.  It felt right to allow it to continue on its path.  Wherever it led.

We talked about what ASD is and how it can make some things easier and others more challenging.  I told them about some common experiences among those who live life on the spectrum.  And I simply asked if it sounded like anyone we might know.  I could see his wheels turning.  I showed them the episode of Arthur (“When George Met Carl”) and within 35 seconds, it happened.

And right there, right smack in the middle of our messy living room with the laundry piled high and the dinner dishes still on the table and the trash waiting to be taken out, with us and the dog all squished together on the couch, it happened.  It started with his eyes.  They looked brighter.  After five or so minutes, his face had changed.  He looked older somehow.  By the time the video was over, he was eagerly asking, “Mom?  Do I have ASD?”

I took a shaky breath and said confidently – no wait – I said proudly, “Yes, buddy.  You do.  What do you think about that?”

And he knew.

And just. like. it happened to us when we received his diagnosis, his life began flashing before his eyes.  He was seeing it all with a fresh understanding.  His filter had changed.

And he understood.

And he told me about how the things, the hard things, he now knows were the challenging parts of his ASD.  And we talked about how far he’s come.  And how much he’s overcome.  And how he has done the hard things and how he can continue to do the hard things.

And he was proud.

And, you guys?  We are so beyond proud to be his family.