All posts by jessicaj11

Ten Years

10AnniversaryAdam and I recently celebrated our 10th Anniversary.  It doesn’t seem like we’ve been married for that long, but we really have.  Adam wrote some very sweet things about it on Facebook, and I wanted to put them here too.

But first, here is us through the years.  We apparently we have to take pictures of ourselves often.  So, there are lots of selfies.

Here is what Adam had to say about it. I love the way he writes.

Since I already said the words “Happy Anniversary!” to Jessica on this, our 10th wedding anniversary, I thought I’d instead use this space to tell you about something important to me. It could have been different.

We could have never gone on a first date. I asked her out during one of our ward’s trips to the sand dunes. If she had said no, I probably would have given up. I was not (and am not) the persistent type. But she said yes.

We could have never started dating exclusively. Even after our first date, I did go on a few other dates before we started “going out”. None of them panned out nearly as well, though. When the time came to make it more serious (as told last fall in one of my status updates), I got up the courage to talk to her about it, but I was very nervous about what would happen and how excited she would be about the idea. If she had said no or been lackluster, I might have given up. But she said yes.

We could have never become engaged. I don’t think, after our mostly blissful dating period, that I could have ever NOT asked Jessica to marry me. Still, at times we had our doubts and spoke together about them. They seemed very serious at the time and could have become major stumbling blocks in our relationship. By the time I popped the question, I don’t think there was any possibility she could have said no. We had, time after time, said “yes!” by rejecting those doubts. So, on Valentine’s Day 2004 (I know, I know, Valentine’s Day), she very enthusiastically said yes.

We could have never married. Just kidding. When we got engaged and jumped on that marriage-train, there was no stopping it. We went full bore all the way until we both said yes at the altar like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Then marriage happened. We could have let it fall apart in a dozen different ways over the past ten years. Compared to some, our tests and trials were probably not huge, but they were to us. Time after time, we were faced with the decision to draw together or pull apart. Perhaps we haven’t been successful 100% of the time, but when the ultimate boiled-down questions became “Are you going to work to make this marriage successful?” we said yes and grew closer together because of it.

Today, it seems sort of strange to just celebrate the anniversary of our wedding because, practically, it is such a small part of what our marriage _is_. So, I am celebrating ALL the times we “said yes” and all the ways we are committed to each other. I love you so much, sweetie, and I’m excited to face the rest of our lives hand-in-hand.

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A whole hand!

Wow, my Spencer turned 5 last week!  Some days it seems like it’s totally been five years and most days, I can’t believe he’s 5 already.  He’s getting SO big and has so much going.  We haven’t done our “official” 5 year old photos, but here are some good ones we took on our fall leaf drive.

ManyFaceSpencer

Some big things that have happened to Spencer in the last year:

  • Started Speech therapy and Occupational Therapy
  • Enrolled in Pre-K at the “big” elementary school
  • Had a blast at family reunion
  • Started Pre-K at the “big” elementary school
  • Earned a trip to LegoLand Discovery Center
  • Went to see several movies in the Theater
  • tried lots of scary things
  • Made lots of new friends

I’ve started a tradition (last year) where I interview Spencer every year.  Here is his interview from this year:

What is your name: Spencer
How old are you? (holds up his hand and says) 5
What is your favorite color? Red, and white and pink and purple.  Those are the only colors I like.
Who is your best friend? Branden (a friend he played with today at school)
Favorite animal? Insect
What do you want to be when you’re all grown up? a police man
What is your favorite movie? Curious George
What is your favorite book? Curious George Books
What makes you happy? having Lucy (our dog)
What makes you sad? When you [Mom] take candy from me
What is your favorite food? Nothing
What is your favorite song? None
What games do you like? Lego City, Nintendo Land, Twilight Princess and Nintendo Land.  Those are all the games.

Spencer is the best big brother for Matt.  And Matt ABSOLUTELY adores his big brother and tries do do anything that his big brother does.  Spencer is very curious about things he loves, and he asks all kinds of questions about them.  He has a fantastic imagination, and we often find ourselves telling him he has to turn back into himself before he can go into school, church or some where.  He loves watching his dad play Nintendo, and he often has good ideas about how to solve some of the puzzles we encounter in the video games.  He is very clever and comes up with some pretty amazing things.

We love having Spencer as part of our family and are so grateful for the all the joy and challenges he brings to our family.  We would not be the same without him.  Happy Birthday Spencer!

It’s been quiet, but not really…

September was a good one for our family.  We had lots going on, but we also had a very nice rhythm of our routine of school and the therapies I take Spencer to every week (3 therapists, 4 different appointments). We are loving the predictability of a regular routine, and the lovely fall weather.  We have been so blessed in so many ways.

NovemberCollageStarting at the beginning, we started a new therapy with Spencer called Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT).  Spencer has responded to it brilliantly.  Basically, it will give us better tools to deal with Spencer’s reactions to our requests and help him to deal with some of the things he feels in the same manner every time.  We are still in the beginning stages of it, and we are still doing the Child Directed Interaction.  So what that looks like for us right now is Special Time.  For 5 minutes a day, each of us plays with Spencer using something like blocks, legos, tinker toys or something.  During this 5 minutes, we are not allowed to ask questions, give commands or use any negative talk or sarcasm.  We ARE aiming to praise him, talk about what he’s doing and reflecting back to him what he says to us.  Spencer has just been eating up Special Time, and Adam and I are pretty close to the goal of 10, 10 and 10 (praises, descriptions and reflections).  He has responded so well, that we are actually having his teachers learn the same thing,TCIT.  We’ll see how this goes, but his teachers are wonderful and willing, so I’m not worried

Adam and I were able to go see Wicked again.  It is such a good show, and we were so glad we were able to see it again. Not much else to say about that, but it’s always worth mentioning.

Adam jumped on a planed and headed to Sugar City for a visit.  No real reason.  He just thought he should go visit, so I made sure he went.  When he came home, we were SO glad to have him home.  The boys really missed their dad, and I really missed my husband.

I started trading boys with my friend (thank you so much!) while Spencer is at school.  So Matthew has gotten SO much better about going to other people and being less of a Momma’s boy.  We were really concerned about when he goes to nursery in November (oh yes, just 3 more Sundays before Nursery!).  We were nervous he wouldn’t be able to be there without me.  He’s shown us lately that he’ll be JUST fine.  He’s such a laid back guy, and he’s really good about going with the flow.  We are so grateful for his attitude.

Adam and I spend a lot of time training for our half marathon (running it on October 19th).  Our Saturday mornings are spent doing our long runs, which get increasingly longer as the half gets closer.  I was supposed to do another sprint triathlon on September 28th, but it was cancelled because of nasty weather.  I was a little bit bummed, but it did let me get closer to running the half marathon distance wise before the race.

That’s what’s been happening with us for a while.  Just in a very deep routine, and we’re loving it.  It’s so good for our kids.

Living with an Aspie: Starting School

First Day
This is Spencer on his first day of Pre-K

Starting school is a fun time of year for a lot of kids and families.  It’s exciting with all the changes and things happening.  They just can’t wait to see who their child’s teacher will be and to send them off to school.

Well, that isn’t the case at our house.  The start of school means the end of all our summer routines, which brings about a mega case of meltdowns.  Throw in the fact that Spencer is going to a big public school (new building), new teachers and new amount of time being in school, and you’ve got the recipe for major pain.

To combat that, we tried a few things to help ease the transition from mostly being with Mom all the time (and a very small Pre-school class), and for the most part I think what we did REALLY worked.  Starting a week and a half before school started, we went up to the school EVERY day and started working wake up time to school wake up time.

The first time we went up to school, we met the secretaries and some of the counselors and learned the procedures for dropping off and picking up Pre-K students.  Everyone at our school has been SO accommodating to Spencer and his needs, it’s been wonderful.  Anyway, we practiced dropping off and picking up.  Then we would also practice walking from the front of the school to Spencer’s classroom (area before we knew which room for sure), from his classroom to the resource room and vice versa, and from his room back to the front of the school.  We made sure he knew how to get to the important places he would go during his day at school.

Frist Day 2
What is your teacher’s name? Ms. Austin (I caught the end of him saying it. Can you see it?)

When school started, he was VERY confident about where he was going, and I know that eased some of his anxiety about being at school.  The only thing we could not simulate was the number of people who would be in the lobby and moving about the school while he was.  The large crowds make him very nervous.  He’s getting better and better about going where he needs to go everyday though.

We also created an All About Spencer folder for his Pre-K teacher and his resource teacher.  This folder included a letter about Spencer and his diagnosis, and what that really looks like with him.  It also included a 4 page Sensory Profile for him.  We were hoping these things would give his teachers a head start in dealing with him, and it REALLY has seemed to help.  The last two days, his resource teacher has been sick, and has had a sub there for her.  Everyday, the sub has been waiting up front to be introduced to him with the para-professional that Spencer already knows, and he has gone with them mostly willingly.

I’ve been so impressed by all the faculty and staff at our school, and how willingly and lovingly they have taken my daringly son into the big elementary school.  He still has his bad days, but I know it could be SO much worse.  Here’s hoping things continue to work well.

Triathlon Recap

I’ve been training since April for a Triathlon that I finally got to run on July 20th. I ran the First Capital Triathlon in Guthrie. It consisted of a 500 meter open water swim in Lake Guthrie, a 12.5 mile out and back bike ride, and a 5K out and back run.

TriCollage640

Overall, it was AWESOME! I felt really good about all the times I turned in. I’m not super fast, but I never was. I came in about 13 minutes faster than I predicted.

Total Time: 1:47:22
SWIM: 13:07
T1: 2:12
BIKE: 55:58
T2: 0:56
RUN: 35:11

The part of the race I was the most nervous about was the swim. It’s a little bit scary swimming in an open lake where you can’t touch the bottom or rest like you can in the pool. Lucky for me, they had a practice the week before so I wasn’t learning how to do the swim in the lake during the race. I was able to do my swim a little faster than I predicted. I thought it would take me about 15 minutes and it took me 13, so AWESOME.

When I went out to the bike, I was pretty tired. I did do the swim faster than I had before, so I was a little more winded. Once I settled into the bike it wasn’t so bad, but it was pretty hilly. I knew it was so I was concerned about my bike. It had been giving me fits with the gears. So, I checked to make sure they would shift into the first set of gears the Thursday before the race, and they did so I stopped worrying. WRONG MOVE for me. My bike refused to shift into the first set of gears after the first hill, and I had to make do with my lowest gear being 2-1. I was hating life and cursing my stupidity to do a tri during the first quarter to even half of my ride. I was convinced that I was going to be the last one in, and that never makes anyone feel better. Once I made the turn, got some more quick energy into me, I felt much more positive and had a way better second half of the ride.

When it came time to do the run, I was cursing my stupidity again for the first quarter to half a mile. Once I got my running legs under me, I had the best run. I loved seeing all the different runners and the people out on the course cheering us on. It was a great run, and a lot faster pace than I’d been pulling off during my last training runs.

The best part was seeing my husband and sweet boys cheering me on right near the finish line. It made me so happy. I had a great big smile on my face when I finished not only because I finished, but because my family was there to support me in my crazy athletic endeavors. 🙂

In the end, I can hardly wait to do another race. The trouble is, I can’t seem to find one that isn’t on a Sunday. The ONE that is on a Saturday is an half Ironman distance (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run)! Yikes! SOOOO not ready for that. I’d like to get comfortable with a sprint and Olympic distances before I try a 70.3!

May was…

busy. May was so busy with birthdays, school stuff, evaluations, work outs and weather. The calendar doesn’t look that busy, but we seemed to always have something happening.

Here are some of the highlights in pictures: I’ll talk about them as the post goes, but here they are to start.

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At the beginning of the month, we celebrated Matthew’s first birthday. I can’t believe he is a year old already. He’s grown so much and we are so blessed to have him in our family. He’s such a good little guy to have around in our house. As a matter of stats, Matthew is growing well. He’s in the 77% for his weight, 89% for his height and 76% for this head size.  He’s quite the mover as well.  He’s practically running around the house now chasing after Spencer.  He definitely keep us on our toes.

At Spencer’s school, they had a Mother’s Day “tea” (meaning punch and cookies). He escorted me to my chair and my place mat. Got me my drink and my cookies. Then all the other kids sang a song, and Spencer promptly ran away not waiting to be around for the loud music. Other than the running away and fit throwing, he did pretty well.

Spencer’s school ended on the 16th of May. It was very bittersweet. We loved his teachers so much, and they have been SO good for him. I’ve seen lots of growth and change in him from the beginning of the school year to the end. So, to help us maintain that change, we have started Occupational Therapy as well as speech and pragmatic skills therapy (in prep for social groups). He’s doing very well thus far, and as a result, Spencer was able to feel confident enough to learn to buckle his own seat belt! (HUGE at our house).

Just like we did with Spencer, a couple weeks after Matt’s first birthday, we did some really cute cake smashing pictures. (Thank you Shana!) They turned out absolutely darling. You can seem them HERE

We’ve also started the process of expanding our patio in the backyard. We have a lot of space that is unusable. It doesn’t get any sun and is usually pretty muddy. So, we’re going to expand our patio so we can use more of our backyard. It’ll be great if it every gets done now. The wet weather we’ve been having has prevented things from moving forward as quickly as we planned.

On Memorial day, we enjoyed hanging out together as a family. We even made a trip out to Pop’s. It’s a soda shop that sells all kinds of bottled sodas. It has a restaurant in it (we’ve never gone for the food), and is definitely a cool thing to do in Oklahoma.

Adam and I have been busy with our training and both are making good progress toward our goals.

That’s been our month of May.

We are safe

Just a quick note for our family and friends out of state. We are safe and were not close to the horrible tornado that went through Moore, OK.

Thank you to those of you who have called to check on us. We appreciate your love and concern for us.

Many are in dire need of help and have lost everything to this tornado. If you have the desire to help, here is a list of organizations you can donate too or you can donate a little extra to the humanitarian aid category on your tithing slip.