Monday, December 22, 2008

Florida's Adventures

We have very much enjoyed a week of warm weather and relaxation...while kinda relaxation. But I won't complain - I'm sucking up all the vitamin D I can get before I return to antarctic temperatures of Minnesota.

Our journey started with a flight to Ft Myers and a few hours later piled in the van and headed to towards Orlando. Here are a few comments from that trip....

Courtney says, "Mom, is that Disney World?" as we pass a juvinile detention center.

Ten minutes later...."Mom, why are we driving to the middle of nowhere?"

There were more most hilarous comments I just didn't write them down. We had a really great day the next day at the Magic Kingdom and I'm sure it will be a memory the kids will cherish for many years to come. I was actually so impressed by Disney - we were able to get a special needs pass which allowed us access to the rides through the handicap lines and even had a restarant that served GFCF food making feeding Andrew so easy. We felt very blessed to have our trip there go so smoothly.

We returned back to Ft Myers that night and have spent the last several days with friends - at the beach - orange picking - and tons of swimming. Courtney has finally learned to swim without assistance and we are so excited to see them growing and maturing.

Though we look forward to celebrating Christmas with our families - I am trying to prepare myself for the arctic temps that we shall be re-entering in a couple days. We'll try and bring back some warmer weather....and thank you to those of you who lifted up our vacation in your prayers. Andrew has truly done well despite all the things that could have created some bad situations. May you all have a great Christmas and may you be drawn closer to your Saviour this season.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What is this?

So we had an interesting end to a very wonderful evening this fine Sunday. We were blessed with some great tickets to the Go Fish concert this evening and had a wonderful time seeing friends and listening to a really great concert.

Andy and Jason....what can I say....you guys truly have a gift and I am so proud of you for giving up all the things "you could have" for all the little lives and families that you are sharing Christ and his message with.

Anyway, back to the story. After the concert we packed up the van and headed thru the parking ramp - eric decided instead of waiting in line to leave on 9th St, he would circle back around and hit the down ramp to 394. When we got to it, it was closed so back in line we went....the end of the line. We got off 35W in Burnsville and headed down CR13. We were stopped at a stoplight waiting to turn left to take home my sis Katy and when the light turned green we started moving. This particular stoplight has two lanes and a large black SUV flew by in the left lane and headed around the corner right next to a white car in our lane. Both Eric and I cringed as we thought the SUV may lose it and smack the white car. No such luck - all was well - so we thought. It is only one block to the next light where we - and most the other cars - were turning right. The large SUV decided at the last minute that it too wanted to join the line for the right turn and Eric graciously obliged. We made our turn and within one block - the SUV had stopped in the right lane - completley stopped and the white car was half in both lanes stopped slighly behind the SUV. A rather large African American man stepped out of the SUV and approached the white car which we had suddenly decided we did not want to be next to during this particular event. We never did figure out what exactly happened - or why the large man in the SUV decided to stop his car in the middle of the street, needed to get out in the chilling stout wind and snow to approach mister white car driver. But it did create a bit more drama to our fun filled evening.

Again thank you to the Selness family and we enjoyed the concert immensly.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

God's Provision

I am feeling blessed this week, I am seeing God provide for Progress Land, and I am looking forward to seeing how the bad things that are going on will someday glorify our Lord.

We had three lots sales this week and large sum of money hanging out at the City of Lakeville as a trunk sewer credit that was missed from 05. All in time to get caught up on bills and relieve some pressure.

I am caught up at work - Eric helped clean the house today - and the Christmas shopping all complete. Now I can take a little breather, get packed for our trip, and ask for continued prayers that God will return Andrew to the little boy we had in August.

This is either going to be a great vacation or torture....I'll keep ya posted.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Three Year Project


As many of you have heard me complaining lately......I cannot seem to rid myself of this ever-loving dollhouse project. I'm pretty sure I started it when Courtney was two and she is now five sooooo that leaves me with the longest running project ever the history of my existance. I hate not seeing an end result and this thing just wouldn't stop producing pieces and new things to be painted....ahhhhhhhhh.

Well, today I finally finished. The exterior anyway. And Court shall be recieving it for Christmas. For anyone who loves tedius, painfully long projects - I highly recommend you build a dollhouse :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Awaiting my knight in shining armour!

Well tonight my hubby returns from his week long business trip. I am very excited to see him and am in need of a big hug :) Andrew had another episode on Tuesday night and it made me so grateful that God gave me such a wonderful husband to help support me during our hard times with Andrew.

Other than working extremely hard to finish the rediculous dollhouse, which I'm hoping to finish tomorrow and post pictures of the only project that has taken me three years to complete.... and trying to referee the kids as patiently as possible - it has been an uneventful week.

I'm off to have coffee - well I techinically don't drink it but will have a hot cider or tea - with a old girlfriend and enjoy some ADULT TIME.

Hurry home love, hurry home!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SKILLS!



Well, I'm not sure I can top your post :) But I am ever so grateful for the husband that God has given to me. You are unselfish in pretty much ever area of your life and always desiring to make me happy. Though I have come to learn it is not your job, but God's to provide for my happiness, you do an amazing job and I am so blessed to have a partner in life who loves me just as much now as he did our wedding day.


We have endured a lot of emotional, physical, and emotional hardship the last five years....it is a testimate to God's amazing love for us and your amazing love for me that we made it through. I thank you for all you do for our family, you take such good care of us. I thank you for being my support when I want to give up or don't know where to go next. You always point me back to my Savior. You are a wonderful man - great husband - a great daddy - and we love you more than anything.


May this day you be reminded that you are special, you are appreciated, and that I love you!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Amy!!!

Today is actually Amy's husband hacking into her blog to wish her a very Happy Birthday!

I love you Amy and couldn't have asked for a better wife and mother of my children. You are selfless, always willing to give yourself away to the benefit of others! You are happy, even when the rest of us may not be. You were the answer to my prayers 12 years ago when I asked the Lord for a woman just right for me. I was blessed with a woman that fears the Lord, cares for others, and just happens to be the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. (And I mean that!) The fact that you are a great cook, designer, fix-it person, and support for me in all aspects of life is just icing on the cake.

How did I deserve to have a wife that is such a blessing? I didn't, but I am so thankful! I love you Amy. Here's to celebrating 33 years!

Monday, November 17, 2008

In case of emergency....

So I was able to Skype with my parents today. I found out they were in Germany and about to head out off to meet a train to Switzerland. They had been in Amsterdam, Poland and the Czech Republic today before Germany.

I have no idea where they are spending the rest of the week - but I believe they are boarding a ship in Athens, Greece on Friday. I asked them politely if I could have the name of the cruise line and ship in case we should need to reach them. Mom pulled out their info and filled me in on those two details. What parents leave town and none of their kids or employees have the faintest idea where they are really going or how to reach them....

Only mine... only mine....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Monday

On the way to church this morning we were discussing the impending birthday for Eric and I this month. Andrew was kind enough to remind me that I would be 33 on Friday.

He was quiet for a few minutes and then he stated that his birthday was on a Monday, that January 12, 2009 was a Monday. I thought this kid is crazy and pulled out my cell phone. Sure enough the calendar said January 12, 2009 was a Monday.

Tonight I asked him what day Courtney's birthday was on - he non-chalontly said Saturday. Eric and I both whipped out our cell phones to find that February 28, 2009 was indeed a Saturday.

Unbelievable.....if I can only harness some of his brillance into other areas :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Results

OK - So its been quite some time since I've blogged. You know when you sit down to write something and realize that you don't really have anything intelligent to say. That's been me the last four times I've sat down to write something. Well today I'm feeling encouraged so I thought I jot down a few things and then people can quit thinking "When is she going to write something to get rid of this vegetable post :)"

So....I went on the women's retreat with my church in September. I went alone and I went hoping to meet a few ladies whom I could connect with and start to develop some stronger friendships. I started my first night with an evening on the toilet - don't ask - and ended up in a room with women who like to rise at 5:30am. I don't even know what 5:30am looks like on a clock and after going to bed after midnight, was not feeling particularly excited about my day.

However, the room next door had someone staying in it that I at least recognized - somewho whom I had spoken to before and I knew was my age. I decided that looking like you are 20 makes it difficult to build friendship with women in their 30's - I wouldn't be too excited to hang out with someone in college at this stage of life. Anyway, I asked her if she wanted a ride up to breakfast and she introduced me to her friend. We all rode together and since they had no other roommates and liked to sleep in I joined their room that evening. All this to say that God has given me to two new wonderful friends who are experiencing different, but equally difficult situations in their lives.

One of them adopted 3 foster children - and the youngest is at 3 1/2 exhibiting austicic symptoms. She rode home with me since I had driven alone and I talked about our beginnings with Andrew and our fight against his autism. She sat stunned as many of the things I experienced with Andrew she was currently experiencing with her son. We met last week and she helped me cook all of Andrew's GFCF food - and then decided she would try it to.

It was only 4 days before he was showing drastic changes. No longer looking or acting "drunk", his eyes were clear instead of like he was in a fog, he started to going to bed instead of destroying his room for two hours everynight. He could sit on her lap and relax instead of fighting and being out of control. The list went on....they even went to a family event and the relatives wanted to know what was different about him.

I often wonder, "Why God, why us, why Andrew, why Autism?" But I know that there are mothers and fathers out there who are grasping for something to help, and apparently my struggle and my fight has prepared me to help some of those parents. To help some of those kids return from their food induced trances and tirates, to help them be able to rest again, to look into the face of their mother again, to start on a path of learning and growing like their peers.

I don't like that I have this struggle, but I do feel blessed to be able ease some of the struggles of those around me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Freak Vegetables

This year we participated in a farm coop and recieved a box of various in seasonal veggies. Our last box had several large, which would be a dramatic understatement, veggies. I didn't even know what they were but figured I'd figure it out eventually. I started cutting into the thing below wondering what it was and thought it should be safe to put in soup and not taste no matter what it was. I peeled it and then smelled it - it had a cabbagey smell. Then I decided to taste it..... Radish. This was on huge, honkin, monsterous radish. I almost couldn't believe it. I put the salt shaker next to it so you could see how big it is - it is one of the most beautiful veggies I have actually seen. Once sliced it was a marvel.
We also received a bag of potatoes from my father in law. In the bag we came across what I named "Larry Boy" and decided we couldn't eat him.... God does have a sense of humor.

Answers

I went on Monday to my parents house to water my mom's plants in the greenhouse. And as I drove up the driveway I saw my old neighbors garage door open. They were like a second family to me and the daughter that I was closest to died in a car accident in 1999 so I haven't seen much of them during my married life. I decided not to go visit since I was in my PJ's and hadn't even brushed my hair. I proceeded up to water the plants, pick out some new books from the Israelson Christian Library (thanks mom) and then decided to grab their mail. The mailbox is on the otherside of the car and it was freezing so I decided to pull in the nieghbors driveway and turn around. I pulled in and just kept going - up I went despite my disheveled appearance. I knocked on the door and found a smiling Corby with open arms telling me how great is was to see me. It was only a few minutes before I unfolded the story of our night before with Andrew and as I broke down I knew she was just the person I was supposed to see that morning. The things she has had to endure since Kendra's death has brought her to such a close relationship with Christ and that is what I want. We hugged and prayed and she shared with me that about a year and a half ago she had felt in several specific situations that she was to praise him, literally. So she decided to start rising early in the morning to sing praise songs and read aloud scripture. She gave me one of her books that she had prepared with all the songs and scriptures that went along with the lyrics. I thought, well, I'm not much for getting up early but I guess we can try something like that.

Yesterday I rose an hour early feeling terrible but got up anyway. I sang and read those scriptures for almost an hour and then got the kids ready for school. I can't say I felt much yesterday though we had no major outbursts with Andrew. I was exhasted, must have taken three naps. By bedtime I hadn't picked up my bible or spent much more time in prayer but decided to read a chrisitan novel till I couldn't keep my eyes open. I didn't know at 8pm when I started chapter 1 that it would extend until 2am when I finished the book - I know, I need to quit reading - I just can't put books down :) Anyway, I set my alarm for the normal time and decided I would do my singing time while Court was at school - I knew 5 hours of sleep was already going to be a really bad deal. I haven't slept well in almost two months and the fatigue was starting to set in again.

I awoke this morning to my alarm at 7:20 - totally refreshed - totally renewed - ready for the day. Despite Andrew's inccesent chant that he did not want the bagel with the sunflower butter on it "Its a Stink" I was filled with patience, I didn't raise my voice or show frustraition. I had peace - an unexplainable by all circumstances should have been tired and crabby beyond measure peace.

I have spent much of my morning - singing praises or in prayer - mingled with housework. I am not any happier about my situation, but I am at peace in this day. I am feeling my time with God produced someting in a way that has alluded me for quite some time.

Thank you everyone for all your prayers - I believe that as I continue to draw near to him he will show me more and more of himself. Please keep praying for Andrew, that he would find peace and rest at bedtime, that he would heal the bodily functions that keep him from being able to eat right, that he would heal his brain from the things that don't function properly.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Heartbreak


What started as a fun game of Dora (Candyland type game) ended with this mess and my heartbroken. We had such a great summer with Andrew. No Level 1 (abusive) behaviors and he seemed to be on track to living a fairly normal life. But the last four to six weeks have been a slow regression back to days I was certain I would never have to experience again. My struggles with feeling God's lack of invovlement in my personal life are not being improved by our latest battle with Autism. Lately I feel that Andrew may have an alter ego living inside his little brain and when that alter ego hears the word "no" or "don't" he rears his ugly head and takes over our little boys body. The shouting of "Stupid Girl", "Darn it", "You're a Stink", other hurtful words are thrown non-stop and eventually comes to something physical. Tonight was a kick to the stomach. We escorted him to his room and proceeded to take most anything out of there we thought he could hurt himself with and locked the door until he could calm down. After a good half an hour of screaming hurtful things, and throwing anything we left in his room. He started to yell he was sorry, that he would be good now, to please let him out. We opened the door to find the above mess - his bedding all thrown off the bed and the mattress thrown on the floor, wallpaper ripped off the walls and he had urinated on the floor. Why God, why do I have to experience this all again - why when I am already feeling so far away from you do you let something happen that make me feel even more like you are not here, not helping, not watching out, I feel let down again. Left to wonder what I did to deserve this - why I can't help my little boy - why I have to watch him suffer. I am going to fast this week - I am going to pray for my son - and I am going to trust that God will meet me where I am at. And most of all I am going to believe that he will remove the alter ego that has no place in our home.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My baby

I awoke from my Sunday couch nap to courtney pushing buttons on the microwave - uhhhhh I thought -- now what it is she doing.

Courtney, what are you doing? I asked. I'm warming up my soup but I don't know how. Now since I was 4 I have been cooking - at least that's what I'm told - why can't my almost six year old figure out the microwave I'm thinking. So I yell, find the COOK button - she pushes something and then another ten buttons and then says now what. I tell her to find the START button - I don't know where that is she says. I finally get up - frustrated and head to the microwave to teach her how to use it. We warm up the soup - and then I head back to the couch.

She came down a few minutes later and I apologize for being crabby. She said, I don't think your crabby, why are you crabby. I told her my head hurt and that I was sick. She said, "Well then we need to pray and ask Jesus to help you feel better. I will pray for you right now." She did just that and gave me a big hug. There have been many of times I have struggled with God wondering why Courtney just couldn't get it - why she was not doing what her peirs were doing. But God is faithful and she is coming into a place where she is starting to understand that God is in control and that we need him. I am grateful for her and am having to remind myself alot that she will soon be all grown up and I need to cherrish her and build an amazing relationship now so that we will be close when she is older.

Ewwwww

There are somethings you just wish you had never learned. "The Human Diploid Cell" component in many vaccines is one of those things. Now I know it has been assumed by many that we are totally anti-vaccine in our fam, but really that isn't the case. However, when I learned that many of the vaccines our kids are getting contain aborted fetus cells listed as "human diploid cells" on the ingredient list I was saddened. God may have used briliant scientists to create vaccines, but would he really be okay with us using something that was created with an aborted fetus? There are many vaccines out there with an "ethical" alternative to the vaccines with the aborted fetus lines in them - I encourage you to ask for them and not support those vaccines which originated from an abortion.

Here is a chart with all the vaccines with "human diploid cell" lines and a list of the alternatives available. All made from normal vaccine companies.

http://www.cogforlife.org/fetalvaccines.htm

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Before and After

So the final unveiling is here:

Before:

After:

Before:

After:
BBQ Area:
Eating Area:
Fireplace/Sitting Area:

Now to sound like the "Oscars" - thank you Kory and Luke for your brut strength and ground know-how. Thank you Bryan for the electrical smarts and super installation of all my electrical desires :). Thank you Susu and Joy for spending two full days with all the kids and trying to keep half the backyard off the kitchen floor, oh and also for letting your husbands ignore you for two days. Most of all thank you Skills Man for "making me" do the project and then working four straight days to make it perfect. I love you.









Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tired

12 hours of digging, laying patio stone, building retaining walls, sweeping pea gravel, concrete cutting....can't feel my fingertips and oh so tired.....

Check back for before and after photos.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Trip to the Orchard

Well we made a quick trip to a local orchard yesterday. I had intentions of finding one with a little more hoopla to occupy the kids - but we wandered upon a small family orchard and decided they would enjoy the picking of apples no matter where it was. We grabbed a large bag, told them what our favorite apples were, and off we went to the rows of trees that awaited.
Now Courtney's favorite part of the trip were the cats.....to both her parents dismay....hardly would put them down to even pick one apple. Oh well, at least she enjoyed her trip to the cat farm.
Andrew on the other hand - could have picked the entire row of trees by himself if we would have let him. He had a great time and couldn't wait to eat one of the apples he picked. The hard part is that Apples make Andrew Angry :( But we let him have one despite that....and yes today we are paying the price. I wouldn't let him have something in the van on the way to Cannon Falls today and he threw a book at me....and then toy....and had started to toss a DVD case when Eric caught him. I was driving. I guess prayers that Andrew's digestive tract would function normally would be greatly appreciated. It is so hard to say no to him sometimes, but it is so hard emotionally when he is violent and spews hurtful words and objects.


Anyway, our trip to the orchard was fun and the kids will want to go every weekend probably. To bad our favorite apple "The Honeycrisp" is so stinkin expensive.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Fireproof


We went to a movie tonight - my first in many months. I went knowing it was not going to be an Emmy nomiated movie, nor one that may be in theatres for any length of time, but one that I knew would leave me feeling like I had been touched by the Holy Spirit.
I was not disappointed. How often I need visual reminders of God's grace and desire for me to let go and run to him. I came home and decided to browse the website relating to the movie and on one of the pages the song "Deeper Still" by Scott Krippayne started playing. My counselling session last week was specifically centered on my desire to know God deeper, I want to let go of my self-reliance and let him be my partner. I honestly know tonight that I don't have to live this life a one-woman tornado trying to make life run smoothly for all involved in my life. Tonight I'm letting go of my inability to fix my son, my inability to to be the mother I desire, my inability to be the wife I desire, my inability to be the employee I want to be - and I'm putting them in hands that are far more qualified to make them work than I am. I'm ready to fall into the arms of God and let him lead, I'm ready to feel I'm worthy of him and all he has to offer, and I will do my darndest not to backseat drive. I only have one life on this earth - I cannot continue to spend that life striving to please everyone except for the ONE who matters. Lord, intimacy with you is my desire, I feel your presence and I know you are here with me to walk alongside, to guide, and to carry my burdens. Lead on.......
"Deeper Still"
Here I am in this familiar place again
Standing on the shore of my complacency
Ankle deep in love I once was swimming in
Shallowness has taken over me
But the current pulls the sand
And moves my stubborn feet
From the dryness of the land
To where the waves pound over me
CHORUS:
Take me deep enough where I can see
The bottom of Your heart
Deep enough that I can know Your will
Deep enough to know that we Will never be apart
And when I get there
Take me deeper still
Take me through the wonders of Your faithfulness
Help me see the depth of my own need
Lead me to the water where Your mercy is
For You and You alone can set me free
I am covered by Your grace Far away from shore
As You’re taking me to places I have never been before
CHORUS:
Take me deep enough where I can see
The bottom of Your heart
Deep enough that I can know Your will
Deep enough to know that we Will never be apart
And when I get there
Take me deeper still

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wednesday Madness

Well tomorrow shall be a day of madness. I shall attempt to go to bed early so as to rise uncrabby to get the kids off to school. Wednesday is my day with the carpool to Courtney's school - then off to counselling in Golden Valley - yes I am attempting to work through my deeply hidden issues...he..he....then straight to Courtney's school to pick them up - then run home and dress both her and myself and do our hair in less then 10 minutes for the "Cousin Family Pictures" - then off to Andrew's school to pick him up - then off to the mall for the imfamous "Cousin Family Pictures" which I might add will include a 6 day old premmie baby, a 7 month old just learned how to crawl little boy, and 5 usually less than cooperative children. Can't wait. Then off to home to prepare dinner for all 10 adults and 5 eating children. We will all be hanging out with Joy and Kory and the rest of the family will be getting to know little Elijah whom I have already had the pleasure of spending time with.

Ahhhhhh - I'm tired and I haven't even started that day yet!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Delivery


I went to bed last night at 11:15pm hoping to get a good nights sleep. But at 1:30am my cell phone rang - then my home phone rang. I decided either dad had something very important for me to do or it was Joyzie. Sure enough it was Joyzie. Her water had broke and she was letting me know it was time to head to the hospital. So I packed up and off I went to St Cloud.

An hour drive - and 2 1/2 hours after I reached the hopsital my new nephew, Elijah Warren Bellmont was born at 6:01am. He was 5 lbs 1 ounces and was 18 1/4 inches long. He was also 5 weeks premature - almost to the day of Jada's early arrival. But I think God gave us a little miracle because his lungs were fully developed and all was well despite his small size.

Now the premmie birth is no new process for us Israelson women....number 4 of 6 grandchildren to be more than 4 weeks early. I was so proud of Joyzie for doing it without an epidural - she was a real trooper and now will have the sole title of "No Epidural Childbirth" in our fam.

We are so excited to have a new addition to our family - Welcome Elijah Warren!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Flashing Lights

Well, Andrew had his first migrain in a long time yesterday. We needed to pack up a bunch of things to take to Eric's parents in Cannon Falls for the giant Cannon Falls garage sale day on Saturday. So we put him in bed and proceded to clean out the garage. Then we woke him up (he was not happy about it) and throw them in the car and off we went.

It took most the evening to take out and mark and fold all the items but it was one of the more relaxing trips at the in-laws due to Andrew being in bed sleeping the whole time and Courtney having no one to fight with.

We woke him up to go and again had a very unhappy camper. About 15 out he started yelling he was sick he was sick and we thought he was going to throw up so we whiped over to the side of the road and pulled him out of the car. Next thing we know there are flashing lights and a nice Mr. Policeman asking if we were OK. Eric said it was the only time he'd ever seen flashing lights behind him and not got that sinking feeling in his gut. We told him we had a sick child and he waited behind us until we were all loaded back in to protect us from getting rear-ended I guess.

Andrew woke up perky and fresh this morning - no sign of headache. He said "I'm all better mom." and we got up and got dressed for school. Hopefully no more flashing lights :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weekend Project

Well I embarked on becoming a carpenter this past weekend. We went to visit Joy/Kory two weekends ago and Joy and I discussed adding a wall to their very ugly play room to make a nursery for the future baby boy Bellmont. I then proceded in my OCD way to plan the entire thing while trying to sleep for the next six days. Here is a before picture of the left side of the playroom - it gives you an accurate picture of the right (nursery side).

So - after four days of shopping - five nights of surfing all home improvement store websites and a partridge in a pear tree - I headed off to Paynesville to build me a wall. We started with priming this wonderfully dated paneling - ripped off all the trim and then painted. Not bad for the first night. We went to bed at about 1am and I was asleep within about 3 minutes - when considering it had taken me probably 2 hours every other night that week to fall asleep due to brain planning - felt mighty nice. I awoke to Andrew crawling into bed with me - stroking my face - giving me a kiss and saying "I love you mommy". Not a better way to wake up if you ask me. Then breakfast - and back to work. Here is a mid-finished picture. I had installed new white paneling on the back wall (mostly at least), put up the curtain and was about to start the actual dividing wall. Now Kory and Eric were gone virtually the whole day - so this little make over was 97% girl power.














Each of the projects that went into this little remodel took ten times longer than I expected (painting the exception) and due to brain mailfunction required several quick thinking reconfigurations to avoid having to purchase more materials. So.....in the end - aside from moldings around the ceiling and some finishing trim on the new wall - we successful created Baby Boy Bellmont's nursury in 1 1/2 days. Way to go Joyzie - you and big belly were a big help.














Here is the kinda imcomplete wall - but you get the picture. Have white board for dry erase markers on the right and needs trim - thanks Kory for the help on the door!










PS...

slanted ceiling = pain in the rear.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Awareness

I don't know who the author of this is - but I recieved it via email this morning. As a mother of a little boy fighting autism I am always looking for ways to "enlighten" the public and this is a great letter.

Inside The Mind Of A Child With Autism
Nobody can see my disability. I look just like every other kid-attractive, walking, making sounds. They can't see how my neurons are scrambled in my brain. They can't see the misconnections between the left and right brain. Nobody can see I have autism.Nobody can see that my body is sick. No one can see that my stomach is in knots from my digestive system not working. No one can that my body and mind are starving because my cells don't make the right enzymes to digest food. No one see that I suffer from low blood sugar because I can't properly metabolize nourishment.No one can see that my body is attacking its own nerve cells from auto-immune dysfunction. No one can see that mercury lead and arsenic cannot be excreted from my body, so it keeps building up in my brain. No one understands that my body cannot tolerate normal enjoyments for children, like bright, vivid colors and loud noises. I desperately want to be a kid and enjoy these things, but my body just won't let me.But everyone can see how inappropriate my behavior can be when I am out in public. Everyone can see how immature I can be compared to other kids my age. Everyone sees the 2-year old tantrums when things have been too overwhelming for me. Everyone sees my frustration from trying to cope.Everyone sees my screaming and fighting. Everyone just assumes I'm being bad, not that my body hurts, my eyes are in pain from colors, my ears ring with loud noises not heard by others.Everyone sees my tantrums when I don't get my way. No one sees that I can't explain my fear when I think I'm not being understood. Everyone may see my screams when my mom takes something away from me. No one can see that having something of comfort can keep my fears under control for me, and taking it away makes my nerves explodes in anxiety.No one understands how hard I have to work to keep my behaviors from reacting to the chemical imbalances in my body that makes me feel horrible. No one can see that, no matter how hard I try, sometimes I cannot control it. No one can see the shame I feel after I've had a meltdown from my body's problems.What they don't see I am a person. I have feelings and want to be loved and accepted like everyone else. What they don't see is that, when they look at me like I need a good spanking; I understand that I'm not capable of controlling my body.What they don't see is that I scream because I don't know how to say "HELP ME"What they don't see is that I hear every ugly word they say, but for the life of me, I can't make my mouth say what I'm feeling. But they don't see that as a disability. They say I am unmanageable. They say I am a problem.But I am not a problem. I HAVE AUTISM. My mom has taken me to more doctors and specialist than you can ever imagine. She's read more books and done more research on my disease than parents would ever want. She has tried special diet, supplements, drugs and various metabolic therapies. She has PRAYED for GUIDANCE and asked for discernment on how to help my body. And behaviors, OH YES, has she tried everything to help my behavior.Stop telling her all I need is a spanking. If spanking would stop all this, my mom would gladly exchange my disability for a spanking. She knows better than all of you what I need to help me, and what we both need is your understanding, not ignorance.I just want to be accepted and understood. Not blamed and ashamed, I want to be appreciated for my gifts. I do have some if you look more closely. I want to be cared for as a person. I want you to care, even when I act like I don't.I want to be respected, just like you do. I want you to respect my mom and dad for all the hard work they have done to help me try to lead a normal a life as possible. I want you to respect my family and all the struggles we have to endure because of our love for each other.I want to be LOVED like any other child. And need you to role model respectful behavior for me so I can be respectful too. I want you to love me just like God would.

Friday, September 5, 2008

First Day of School 2

Well Andrew officially moved on to 1st Grade yesterday. He was sooooo excited. He's been waiting for a long time to get out of Kindergarten and he couldn't wait. He really loves his new teacher, Mrs. Pickens, and is quite impressed that he gets to go to school all day. My little boy is getting so big and we are so proud of him. Though we still have many struggles and I know that he fights frustraitions being different and having to work so hard for the things that come so naturally to the rest of us...I am sure he will have a super year. Here is a picture of him looking like he doesn't want to go....but I think he just didn't want me taking even one more photo :)
We love you buddy and pray for an amazing and successful year in 1st Grade!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day of School

Today was Courtney's first day of Kindergarten! It was a day of mixed emotions for me. I am grateful to have the morning to myself - but....she is my baby and now she is in school. Andrew has been off to school since his 3rd birthday, somehow that just felt easier. Now I didn't cry, but was a little sad as I left the parking lot. She said she enjoyed herself, so here's to hoping she has a really great year this year.

The Last Hurrah!

This was the final weekend of the summer at the cabin, but one of the most beautiful of the summer. So it was fun to share with our pals the Selness family. Courtney, Andrew and Ella were apparently enjoying Grandma Kathy's cushion hauler! Though the cabin always seems to exhaust me by Sunday afternoon - the kids had so much fun and it is always more fun with friends. We took out the new boat (pontoon), relaxed in the hottub, and of course watched a little of the weather channel to keep up on Gustav.

Ella, Courtney and Britten
At least I think the girls are becoming fast friends - by the end of the weekend I think they were playing more like sisters :) but Courtney was so sad when they left on Sunday afternoon.

The cabin to us, is a place to relax (at least now that most the projects are done) and spend time with family and friends. It has been a fun and yet short summer for us. Dad and Eric above are showing the true loving and inspirational bond we all share while there :) Hope that you all enjoyed your labor day weekend as much as we did.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Embarassing Situations 2

Well - for most of you readers it will be no suprise that I am small chested. In order for me to create a little cleavage - and not be too uncomfortable while wearing a bra - I purchased something really cool. It is a bra that is actually made of silicon or something and the inside is sticky - like the lint rollers that you wash off and get sticky again.

Soooo....you stick them on and off you go. Well, Courtney, God Bless her - brought me my new favorite bra this weekend at the cabin. I had it sittin in the bedroom on a dresser. As she hands it to me she asks "What is this mommy". I say a bra and then look closer at my new-found over-the-shoulder-pebble-holder. To my amazment I see "TEETH MARKS". Courtney, did you bite this. "Yes" "Why would you do that" I respond. "I don't know, I didn't know what it was." she said. Uggg.....well I set it aside hoping it would go away. But to my dismay, it seems it is only more aparent that someone tried to eat my bra. So....the next time you see me....there may be teeth marks showing through my shirt. Guess that should get some good laughs :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Grrr...

I'm so frustrated with my daughter but I thought I better write this one down quick.

Me - "Courtney, be quiet and get that shirt on or you are going to bed right now." Courtney - whining and sprawls herself out on the bedroom floor. Me - "Courtney, stop pitching a fit." Courtney - "I'm not pitching a fit....I'm protesting."

That is the honest truth....I don't even want to know where she came up with that one. So hard to remain mad when they are so clever :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not Playing Games....

Well I am in Portland this week visiting with a girlfriend and helping out with her kids while our husbands catch "The Big One" in Canada. So far it has been fairly uneventful....only minor fist fights and a few 'you stinky girl' comments from Andrew.

Tonight we've had a bit of a battle between the kids and I and what "go to bed" means. I keep explaining that it means close your eyes and be quiet or lose another fun thing to do tomorrow....and they keep wondering "hmmm, I wonder what she means by lose another fun thing." So they have found out on now three occasions what they have lost for their inability to simply be quiet. Swimming, Cinderella and treats have gone out the window so far. Then Courtney proceeded to start crying and whining about the fact she had lost Cinderella for tomorrow. "I'm not playing games with you anymore Courtney," I said as I grabbed a wooden spoon. She got her spank'n, we had our talk about why it hurts Jesus when she disobeys mommy and then she asked me this deep question....

"Why won't you play games with me anymore mommy?" I had to hold myself together until I could answer her without hurting her feelings. I'm not playing the "I have to go potty, I'm thirsty, I want you to pray with me, I need a hug, I'm hot or the what are we going to do tomorrow thing anymore. That is a game you play at bedtime." I think she got it, but I will have to play Memory or Candyland with her tomorrow just to be sure.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fresh Air

Today was our last day of family camp. We spent time again at the Mini Farm - the kids favorite hang out - the handcraft shop - and the beach.

Running out of money resulted in a few very simple crafts today. The kids chose to decorate paper chinese fans. They colored and created and were very proud of them. That brings me to this evening....

I let them stay up real late tonight. We had our evening session (like Sunday School), then we played at the park, came back to the camper and the kids helped me build a campfire and sat around there for awhile. Then I remembered that I promised to take them somewhere dark to look at all the stars. We had recently read a children's science book that talked about stars and constallations and they have been asking to look for them. So off we trotted to find a dark place around here to lay on the picnic blanket and look at the stars. Grandpa Warren joined us and we talked about stars and how God made them and how he knows how many there are even though we can't even begin to count them.

Then we headed back to the camper.....this brings me back to the fans. The kids put on their PJ's and were told to climb into their beds. Courtney said "First I need some fresh air." She flicked out her fan like a genuine chinese person and started fanning first her right armpit and then her left. I busted out laughing. What is that - and how does that equate to fresh air. Turns out Susu told her that is what they were for.....

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Embarassing Situations

Well this week the kids and I are at "Camp Forest Springs" a family camp that I used to go to from the time I was 4 until I was about 17. It has been a long time since I have been back up here and it is amazing how many amazing memories I have recalled since arriving on Tuesday night. Today the kids and I went to the Mini Farm - the kids love playing with the baby kittens and rabbits and even took a little ride on the burro (donkey). Courtney was completely freaked out the whole time - but I had fun sharing an experience with them that I had done countless times during my childhood.

After a much needed nap by Courtney and myself - we headed to the Waterfront. The kids have really really enjoyed swimming and hanging out on the beach. They have a ton of old tired tubes that the kids use to swim with and spent a good hour floating around and torturing one another and other helpless children nearby.

At 5pm - all the activities closed for the evening so people would prepare for dinner. As we started walking back to the camper Andrew yelled "Mom, my boo-boo's hurt" I busted out laughing and looked closer....sure enough - he had two very red nipples. Now mom and I were a bit stumped. How on earth does a 7 year old boy hurt his teeny tiny nipples while swimming. Then it dawned on me that they were probably rubbing on the tube the whole time he was swimming. Poor kid - but he just kept yelling his boo-boo's hurt - his boo-boo's hurt and I was starting to get embarassed. Then he started running and fell and scratched up his hand. Now he was full out crying and saying he needed a bandaid and that his boo-boo's hurt. This actually made it much less embarassing for me as we finished our last block to the camper - now he had another kind of boo-boo that did genuinly hurt and no one would have to know that he was talking about his nipples :)

I will share pics when I return....anyone who wants an easy - spiritually encouraging - amazing family memory making week during the summer I would highly recommend it here. I hope we make it one of our two family tradition vacations that we can carry on with our children - I know that I will never ever forget our summers here and would be fun to share those same memories with my children.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Motorcycle Mama

Well - I did something I was determined not to do this summer. Took a motorcylce ride with my hubby last night. I told him when he got his license that I wouldn't ride with him until next year cause I didn't want to orphan our children.....but I knew it meant alot to him to have me hop on an enjoy a ride.


The thing is...the first 15 minutes were pure terror. See I am a control freak - and as the passenger on the bike, obviously I had no control. Seems the on/off ramps where the worst - but I think that I could go again without the sheer panic this time :)


Here is a photo of my hubby and I and our friends Andy and Amanda who went along on this emotionally uncomfortable, but nice ride with us to Lake Nakomis last night...

After our dinner we went for nice walk around part of the lake and then headed back to the bikes to go back to their house. All around it was a fun experience, but somewhere between 15 and 32 my dad says I turned into a woman....I got all afraid of stuff. I guess its true - it happened, the daredevil child I was has faded into oblivion. But.....at least I can cook and clean now !

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I thought he was over this!

Well today was a rough day. Courtney didn't listen at dance...suprise. And we went to River Falls tonight to celebrate my nephews Brady's birthday. Andrew did well at social skills therapy today, but apparently something clicked this evening that set him off. As I dragged him to the car to avoid anymore embarassment from his freakout, I was so saddened that I was having to relive some of those moments. That this behavior wasn't really totally gone - he was just doing better at controlling himself. Lord, I didn't ever want to experience that again - I didn't want to feel the embarassment, feel the helplessness, feel the dread of wondering when it would happen again. Please calm him, remind him that he is your child and that you can take control when he is losing it, and remind me that I am doing the best I can and that sometimes it is out of my control. Just when I get comfortable in where he is at I am reminded of the struggles I could be having everyday - when I quit praying for his healing every night I am reminded that he is not healed that he has yes a long way to go, but also that he has come so far.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you konw that the testing of your faith develops perseverane. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

What I want to be when I grow up.

"Mom, can I be a rockstar when I grow up?" Courtney said. I'm not sure how she came to the conclusion she wanted to be a rockstar when "My deliverer is coming" was on the radio, but I have already decided I will never understand how her brain works. "Sure, you can try." I replied. "OK, then I want to be chef and then a good mommy. So first a super rockstar, then a chef and good mommy and then........" She couldn't decide what her fourth career should be. I didn't press her for an answer, I think she's already got her work cut out for her. I often feel I can't even get the good mommy one right so more power to her if she can be rockstar chef and a good mommy. I guess we'll have to wait and see where life takes her.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pottery

My friend Conni and I were looking for something fun to do while she was in town last week. So we ventured off to a paint your own pottery place in Woodbury and had a great time. I started out with this....

And finished our three hours with this....

Now it is not the finished product. Once it comes back from being glazed and fired it will be much much, more vibrant and I can't wait to see it finished. I'll add a finished product pic when I'm done. Hope you go out and try it sometime - so much more fun than a movie :)

Busy busy busy!



Ok - so it's been like two weeks since I've had anything intelligent to say. I can say without hesitation that my brain has been mush and my schedule out of control. I went from being a 24 hour a day/ 7 days a week stuck at home therapy mom - to having to drive all over tarnation this summer and I'm not so sure I like it. I thought I would like it, I thought it would be so fun to get out - but I'm finding it very expensive and stressful actually. But, who am I to complain, things are going well.




We have been painting....

I think it is pretty obvious who painted what :)

We have done some dancing....


And we have had some serious drama.....I'm sure we will talk about that later. Let's just say Courtney and mommy have had a few heart to hearts last week in an attempt to get her to function more typically with her age group. She struggles so much with focus and her ability to see her peirs or authority and copy them or participate with them. I see some similarities between her and Andrew, but am praying that God will bring her up to where she needs to be and that he will give me the patience and grace to work with her through her stuggles. None-the-less, was a frustraiting week for the teacher of "The Jungle Book dance and drama class".


All in all though - the first half of the summer had flown by....I can't believe how fast it has gone. Another week is here and another round of company.....I'm tired already.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Night Mutterings

Due to some out of town guests staying here this week - Courtney has been relegated to our bedroom floor for the week. Last night she woke up as we were going to sleep.

Eric hunched over the end of the bed to look at her. "Are you real Daddy?" she asked. "Yeah, I'm real - you can go back to sleep now." he said. "OK, love you dad."

Sweet mutterings of the semi=unconcious.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

Well we had our first "everyone at the cabin" weekend last weekend. And aside from a few family spats it was uneventful and relaxing for most. We had our 1st Annual Mandatory Nerf Baseball Game and almost all children boat ride!

The kids love being up there so I'm glad that summer is here. Hopefully it will be a summer with lots of memories with cousins, fun in the sun, and relaxation.

Andrew started his "Social Skills" class(therapy) today and has it twice a week for the next couple months....life is going to be so different this summer...but I can't wait to see what we will find to occupy all this time.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I got a Whopper

Well today our children embarked on a new hobbie.....FISHING.
We started out a little rough, and learned that Daddy is a much better teacher than mommy in the casting dept. But it only took about 3o minutes and they were both casting like pro's. At least as far as you can cast with a 2 foot pole with a cartoon on the side.
The best news is, within a few hours they had both caught a fish all by themselves on those little tiny poles and they were soooo proud of themselves - it was awesome.



Who knows what tomorrow will hold - but for today we have two championship calabur kiddie fishers.



Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Opps she did it again...

After a long, long day of planting flowers out at the golf course, I crashed on the couch with my laptop and proceded to search for the ever lovin expensive tan tap shoes I'm looking for for Courtney. It has been a long day with the kids and I could tell Courtney is gettin a little desperate for some attention. She was pretty much refusing to go to bed and getting into trouble.

Eric went up to the kitchen for something and I hear Courtney say "They are too short, I need mommy to make them longer." My immediate thought was what is too short, she couldn't possibly cut her hair again. We had a fairly extensive conversation the last time she embarked upon her own cosmotology training. Well I was wrong. Sure enough, she chopped her bangs and then some. 1 inch bangs are no longer in style - hmmmm, what to do. After a little disciplining it was time for me to try and fix it. Now I only really know the Eric cut, the Andrew cut, the Luke cut and the Warren cut.....none of those are girls.....something new for me to learn.

So, we pretty much left the bangs and had to take off about 1 1/2 off the rest of her head. I'm not sure how it will look dry - my scissors are dull, but that's what she gets. I was awefully tempted to give her the Andrew cut just as a reminder that we don't ever ever ever ever cut our own hair. I had mercy and warned her that her next personally given haircut would end with mommy giving her a haircut like her brother. Think I'll follow through? Lets hope we don't have to find out.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Big Purchase

Well, what started as my comment about saving some money - turned into Eric purchasing a motorcycle this weekend. Though in theory it will save some money - I'm most certain this endevor will never actually pay for itself with those savings. I am fighting my humanity to not feel left out of spending such a significant amount of money.......and not because eric didn't involve me in it, he did, but because it is not a purchase that I truly wanted to make. I can think of a half dozen other projects I would love to do around the house that that money could have accomplished. Maybe it is my fear of motorcycles...maybe it is my stingyness hating to spend money...but I'm fairly certain it is just mostly my selifish feeling of inequality. I kinda feel like I'm 5 years old and wondering "Where's my present?" Oh, now this is a comment I am very familiar with and have experienced on numerous occasions in the last several weeks and my reply is always "Courtney, you need to ask Jesus to change your heart. We need to have a heart that would choose rather to give than to get something. We need to be unselfish and be thankful for what we have." Soooooooo, I'm daily asking the Lord to change my heart, to become overjoyed for Eric's "present", and to be able to share in the joy that he shares in his new purchase. I'm not there yet, but I know that this is the attitude the Lord desires for me to have towards my husband, so if I ask for it, he will give it to me.

In the meantime, Eric thank you for your patience in my inability to "get excited" about it or all its upcoming accessories. You deserve something fun that will help you escape your crazy WIFE! I love you.

Mamaskills

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What...

"Andrew get on your clothes, we have to leave soon to go to school registration." I said. "Invisible clothes......I have invisible clothes mom." he said.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"The Heavenly Man"

Though many of you may be thinking - "She is especially fond of Eric today." That is not the inspiration of my title....love you hun, but you will always be "The Skills Man" to me. My title is the title of the book that I am just finishing. It is a biography of a Chineese man who was tortured and imprisioned often for his faith and his amazing passion for spreading it through China.

As I read his story, the Holy Spirit prompted me to see something that I haven't really thought much of before. Throughout the whole book, Brother Yun (the chinese man) was constantly telling us what the Lord was saying to him and it was almost always Scripture - there was an occasional vision or dream - but for the most part it was just Scripture. He had memorized so much of the Bible that he was able to recall and recite it during his most horrible moments. And I must say this man will need about 50 U-Hauls to carry all the crowns that he must have earned in Heaven for his sufferings. I think us Americans who suffer little for the sake of Christ think if we pray that God should somehow tell us directly something or have someone else tell us what he's thinking. I guess I knew I should be reading my Bible more, but this book gave me a real revolation. That the Bible IS GOD's WORD. Yesterday, today and tomorrow this will stay the same and if I am reading and memorizing and meditation on his Word I will hear from him. Personally I have a very weak personal relationship with Christ. I have much head knowledge, live to the best of my ability as a follower of Christ should, and desire to serve him wherever he wants me.....but I don't spend much time with him. I don't fellowship with him daily and read his Word to hear his voice - I just ask him to tell me so I can skip that task.

This book touched my spirit and reminded me to get in the Word, to work on memorizing Scripture so I will not lean on my own understanding, so I will not depend on my own strength, so I will be in union with Christ and may know that I am on the right path because I am on the path with HIM.

Thank you Lord for real stories of others who have lived a life so amazingly connected to you that their expression of faith and servanthood draws others closer to you. If you need or desire a stirring from the Holy Spirit - "The Heavenly Man" by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway will do just that.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Amazing...



Well - last week I wrote out a check for $300 big ones to send in to a "special needs" bike camp for Andrew. I didn't send it out yet figuring I should try again this year to see if I could get him to cooperate with me. Well we went to Kansas City this week and his little buddy Juliane had learned to ride a bike so we thought we give it a shot with Andrew as well.

Took him about 30 seconds before he was off and running. We had one pretty good spill, but otherwise he picked it up like a pro. Today, now home, we decided to ride to the park - this was a different bike and we were home with no one to cheer him on.....and he exceded my expectations. Even freeked me out in his gutsy riding. Up and down curbs and driveways - guess that's $300 I get to spend on babysitting for date nights :) Any takers.....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Words of Wisdom by Courtney Mae

We are in KC with friends - twins Courtney's age a matter of fact and here is what Courtney asks during their afternoon playtime.

"Do you want to go destroy the world Juliane?"

What 5 year old girl asks a question like that - guess she is more like her mommy than I'd like to admit.

Road Trip

Well Eric is out of town on business this week so I decided to go with my dad down to Kansas City to check out the projects. Now the kids have never taken a long car ride - long RV ride yes - but not long car ride. So....I always assumed that the "Are we there yet's" that they show kids doing on tv were a bit exaggerated - NOPE. We hadn't even been gone 20 min and Courtney asked how much longer. I bet they asked 100 times over the 6+ hours. If you ever need to work on patience I guess a road trip would be the perfect time to practice :)

Ready for round 2 on Wednesday - I guess at least they know what to expect this time - not sure if that's going to work to my benefit or not :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

China

As I watch the news of all the major disasters happening around the world - I am able to somewhat distance myself from the reality of the total devistation that has occured. I might stop and say a little prayer for them, but I've not spent much time on my knees asking God to bring healing, safety, supplies or to sweep their land with revival. But this morning I woke up to news that China has had a MAJOR earthquake....and my sister and her family are there. They are doing missions work with YWAM and have been working in some orphanages and doing street ministry. I don't know where they are and haven't heard from them, thus I don't know if they are OK. It is amazing the difference of your prayer life for a certain occurance when you are directly involved. I was convicted to try and pray the same next time something else happens to people I do now know - natural disasters - car accidents - etc.....

I challenge you to do the same. We know from 9/11 that when bad things happen, many people turn to God - though I am afraid since I don't know where Joy/Kory/Jada are - I will be praying for God to sweep through China and to change that nation just as fervently as I will ask for his protection over my family and that they are safe. Please join me.

**Update - heard from Kory at 8:35 - there are 2000 miles from the county where most where killed. A praise for certain - but continue to pray for the chinease who were affected.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Wordless

I've been wordless this week - aside from Andrew's quote this afternoon....

Andrew if you want something to drink get some water. "Mommy, I don't want it, waters not a very good drink."

So until life gets interesting again. Have a wonderful week.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Home at Last!

Well at 11:10pm last night I picked up my long-lost parents from the airport. After an almost 24 hour trip home from Greece - completeing a 28 day cruise - they were real tired - but it was sooooo nice to see them.

They have been gone for two months and it seems like forever ago we were together. Today Dad took all the boys golfing for the day and us girls hung out at their house with the kids and mom. Then we had a BBQ and enjoyed some quality family time before Mom and Susu/Kaden leave for Brazil on Monday.

Anyway - has been a good reminder to appreicate your family when you are with them - cause you just never know how long it will be until you see them again.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

You did what?

Andrew was home from school today due to cough/runny nose. And I am trying to clean my office - wow - major disaster - major....so I let Andrew play in the sandbox and Court cleaned her room so she could watch a veggie tales movie.

About lunch time Courtney came upstairs - not crying or whining (unusal) - but with her tongue bleeding. In my hurry to finish my office before lunch I told her to get a washcloth and put it on her tongue to stop the bleeding. She obediently complied and later came back down for lunch.

During lunch I asked her "Courtney, how did you get your tongue bleeding?" "The refridgerator" she replied. Now my mind was wondering into all the strange things that had to have happend for her to have a bleeding tongue from the refridgerator. "I stuck it on the freezy thing and I couldn't get it off and then when it came off I found out it was bleeding." she said. Ahhhhhhhh, the little hotel fridge in the guestroom - and she managed to stick her tongue on the freezer section.

What exactly would possess a child to stick her tongue on something like that to begin with. I'm pretty sure she learned her lesson anyway.....

Saturday, April 26, 2008

It's Winter Mommy!

After my long, long, long day with the kids yesterday - I slept in this morning. That is until about 9:50 when Andrew came running into my room and yelled "It's winter mommy, not spring, it's winter." and went running back out of my room.

Uggg - who chooses to live in this state anyway.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thank Goodness for 7:30

Ok - today was by far the worst day I have had in months....and if it is a precursor to my summer I'm doomed. I'm sure the first words Eric will here tomorrow will be Andrew's "Hi daddy, I'm sad you were gone last night. I said "I don't know" to mommy's story and she started crying. But she's feeling better now."

Yep - good thing it was a rainy day today or half the neighborhood would have heard me a yelling and crying - I"m not even PMSing! I just wanted to read them a story - but Andrew's been horrible for a few days and I should have known better. For therapy, I am supposed to stop and ask him questions frequently while reading so here was our conversation.....

"One, more thing Mini." said mommy. "Can you please feed Ruff and Tuff." I read. "Andrew, who asked Mini to feed Ruff and Tuff?" "I don't know." said Andrew. Not an exageration when I say that I read that line at least 25 more times and asked him the same question to get the same answer. "Just listen to me" I started yelling. "Stop playing with the blanket and messing around, just listen to my words and listen for the answer." Nope - never got it - Courtney who had been sitting patiently next to us the whole time finally said "Mom can I come back later when he finally gets it." I felt bad she was having to suffer through this, so I let her answer the question. This happend a couple more times - and in between sobs I continued the story. I knew that me and therapy were going to be an adjustment, but I was hoping for a smoother transition.

Pray for patience both of us and for breakthroughs for Andrew.... Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Pray I cling to this verse when I want to give up.

Growing Up

Well my little boy is growing....this process has been longer with him then most boys. Some days that is a good thing and some days a bad, but one thing I decided to do this week was make his room more usable. Typically there is nothing in his room since he used to do damage to himself or the room itself with the contents - but that is no longer the case - so I felt safe making it a place more that he can hang out and get used to doing homework etc..


So.....off to craigslist I went....in search of a loft to make his room more usable. Yikes - expensive or crappy or if a good deal usually gone within minutes of posting....four days of searching and there is was. A decent looking loft, only $75 and in Savage, and the best thing is that it wasn't sold yet.


Long story short, they dropped it off only to have two peices have fallen out of the truck on the way here - which we found the next day - one on either side of the 42 and 13 intersection :) They refunded $10 for all the scratches that little tumble gave them and threw in the special ikea mattress. Wow - now it was a really great deal and I was able to assemble it so non of the scratches could even be seen - Yay.


Today's project was to build a desk - I had an old dresser top which matched the wood color of the bed and his nightstand was the perfect hieght - so I attached the top to the nightstand on one end - built a leg on the other and whola - a perfect sized desk for him. Then the drama started when we didn't have a chair.....I should have known....so, off to the garage I went. We've had 4 rickety stools sitting in the garage that we tried to sell in a garage sale - so I chopped off the legs to the perfect Andrew hieight and fixed all the rickety issues and now he is happy.


It does need paint and new drawer colors in order to fit in - but that will have to wait until this ever-lovin, never-ending threat of snow leaves this global warming - what a joke state of ours.


Below is a pic - now on to my next project ....(rubbing my hands togther)


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The first of many in 2008 I'm sure.....


This is my burned shoulder by the way....he..he

Thunder

Among Andrew's many other sensory issues - Thunder is a bigggggg issue with him. No matter how much you explain that it won't hurt him, there is something about the big boom that he can both hear and feel that petrifies him.

So being the first thunder storm of the year - last night was both exhasting and entertaining. I put headphones on him with some music, which kept him occupied for awhile. But....then there was a simultaneous flash and giant thunder - which scared me by the way - and he came running in our room screaming like a little girl. He climbed into bed with me, his little heart beating wildly, with tears running down his face and telling me he was afraid.


As I held him next to me to calm him down - I reminded him again that when we are afraid we can talk to God. And so the first of many discussions Andrew had with God last night began.


"God, can you hear the thunder. He said yes. God I got scared by the thunder in my bed so I came into mommy's bed. Mommy says we should pray when we are afraid. Do you pray when you get afraid? Well you can.....its only thunder."


I wish I could remember the rest of them - but I was sooo tired. If anything came from my long night it was that Andrew might be grasping the idea that he can talk to God.....now whether or not he grasps who God is I'm not sure....but at least he is talking to him.


One more blessing out of trial that God has pointed out to me. Now.....I just need a nap.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Family Photo

This evening we embarked on something that has not been done in the Skillestad family for five years - it was probably almost five years to the month actually. It was the dreaded "Family Photo". Now - for those of you who know me....I prefer to take our photos myself. I think I do a fairly good job and sure is cheaper. But, we had a Gift Certificate to use for Flash Digital Pictures in the mall so I decided they would be the lucky ones to put the Skillestad's on film this time around.

We all looked cute and matching and though it seemed like it was moving a little too quickly for the quality factor - we had previously bribbed the children to listen to the photo lady and to smile. And they did. We were told to come back in 45 min and then we would be able to order.

Off to the dollar store for our bribary payments to the kids and to pick up a few unnecessary items and then back to Flash. Non my in-laws were with so they could pick what photos they wanted but I pretty sure I spent four times as long trying to pick out and decide on what to purchase as it took for them to actually take them all.

Finally, Eric left with the kids to go get them dinner and we decided I would ride with his parents and we'd meet up at Famous Daves for dinner......30 min......45 min.....1 hour.....who knows how long I was sitting there with that lady. First you can't use this coupon with that...and then if you spend this much you get this....then when I finally had my purchases decided and ready to go I hear this....."Oh, your gift certificate is paper....you'll have to use the entire thing now or lose it" Are you crazy....I just spent almost an hour picking out stuff so that I could have half of my GC left for next time. Well that guarantee'd in more than one way that I won't be back. I spent another 20 min arranging and figuring and deciding......meanwhile, father-in-law heads out to car and Eric sits at Famous Dave's parking lot with our two monkeys.

We got one great shot of us all together which was the main purpose I guess....and technically I didn't spent any money on them....but I was disapointed that they weren't better and that I had to use the whole amount tonight. Oh well, off to research craigslist for some backdrops so I can take them myself next time.....oh how much cheaper it shall be.....and how much less time we will waste! You can browse our experience at http://www.photoreflect.com/scripts/prsm.dll?cobrand?i=01wa - put in our last name and the password november. Enjoy.

Two Bike or Not to Bike

Well this week we decided to purchase a couple Tag-along bikes for the kids. Those are the little one wheeled bikes that attach to an adult bike like a trailer. We found two for $100, but the man said one needed some repairs so we got them both for $70. Considering they are $150 new for a cheap one we felt pretty good about our new purchase.

Well Luker (the amazing do it all boy) was able to fix the broken one in about 10 minutes and we set out this morning to put them on and see how the kids liked them. Minor detail - womens bikes apparently aren't so compatable unless you are a giant and can have the seat a foot higher. Which of course I am not.....so we load up mommy's bike, the tag-along that will be attached to mommy's bike, and Eric's seat which was also having a minor issues with the hitch. Now dragging all that into Eric's Bike Shop was fun....and after answering all our questions and fixing it as best they could, we loaded it all back up and headed to the Prior Lake/Savage school carnival for a bit - whole nother blog for later. Once we finally got home we decided to hook them both up and see how the kids liked it.

The 1/4 inch of clearance on mommy's bike is still a bit worrysome, but otherwise the kids had a great time and we are excited to go an a Skillestad family bike trip this summer! Yay for Craiglist and smart brothers and the chance to actually go riding this summer.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Still Waiting for the big one!

So I've recently started getting together with one of my friends for prayer before Bible study on Wednesday nights. I was telling her that I really struggle to trust that God will actually provide what I am asking him for because I have been praying for 5 years that Andrew would be healed and I'm still a prayin'. Over the next week I had several revelations - I often go long periods of time without remembering the things that we have come through with Andrew - the smearing poop all over the walls and carpet - the fact that he couldn't talk at 3 and screamed at us all the time - the fact he never slept - we couldn't use a drill without a total freekout - and of course the most embarassing moments of my life in several Target store isles with the "Control your child you sucky mom" looks. And then seeing the progress of other children with autism I know - who are doing some, not all, but some of the same things we are doing - and they are not progressing anywhere near the rate that Andrew has.

There have been little miracles.....speech, eye contact, "Mommy I love you" moments after an apology, sleeping, and now only three therapy sessions left before discharge. I may not ever see the "Big One" - the moment I have been asking for - the autism gone miracle......but I can now see the little ones, the ones that I cannot see or appreciate until I look back at the difficult times. Yes, I tend to not look back, it was a very painful time and a time I did not draw strength from God to get through. It is embarassing to even question God's provision in my life or in the life of my son - but sometimes our perspective is off. I'm realizing, that if I am ever questioning God's ability or willingness to be faithful, I need only to recall our past, and then procede into my future being faithful to Him. Trust and me don't always mesh, but through prayer and andrew's journey I believe that God will draw me into the intimate relationship that I so desire and in that real father/daughter relationship I will no longer struggle with trusting Him. I will climb in his lap and look into his face and know, truely know that he's got it all covered.

Thank you Stina for drawing me out - for challenging me - and for all your prayer!

Monday, April 14, 2008

"Never heard that before...."

Conversation overheard after a Mommy/Daddy Sunday afternoon nap:

Courtney: Daddy - your socks match your underpants.
Eric: Yeah - I guess they do. Wow, never heard that before.

The little statements that make having kids so amazing!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cousins




Yesterday we had a fun day with my niece, Lydia!
She' hadn't spent much time here by herself until yesterday, but Courtney and Lydia just love to be together and play sooooo well together. Aside from Lydia falling out of Court's bunk bed and a couple little tattles - they did amazingly well. We dressed them up, put on some eye shadow, curled their hair and I tried to get a few cute pics of them together. I am so far behind in my scrapbooking I should quite taking pictures - but I know we will want memories of them spending time together at this age.
I hope they continue to spend alot of time together this summer and form a bond that will last their entire life....Lydia has such a gentle spirit I'm hoping she'll rub off on Court :)

Just kidding....they are both wonderful little girls and it is fun to see them together!