Tiny Treasure Tuesdays

image credit: Lerin at Beautiful Chaos

William–Mr Opinionated, if only you had the words to express them so we could understand them! Unfortunately Will is starting a summer cold or having an allergy attack. Runny nose, coughing. Good news, it doesn’t seem to be affecting his appetite or his activity. He is enjoying most of our days together, but by last Friday evening was yelling out the window for Daddy. He was so excited for his weekend with Daddy and this week has started off great so far.

Joseph–Joey is dueling with being a kind, compassionate brother and not always getting his way. He is doing surprisingly well with both, but we are still experiencing about five to seven meltdowns a week. They are getting shorter and less intense, but we are working toward being able to go with the flow more. He is still ripping toys out of his brother and sister’s hands but is quick to comfort them when they are hurt or upset.

Shelby– Shelby is a busy girl! She is doing well signing at school with her exisiting signs. She is slowly doing better with her new teacher and adjusting to her new class. Only one other child from her class last year has gone to this new class. Shelby has actually had the easiest adjustment to Jeff not being home during the week. She seems to just accept whichever parent is available.


Kissing Our Crosses

Back in 2005, Danielle Bean posted this to her blog. Please read it before you continue reading here.

Karen brought up a point about crosses we have in life back in the comments section. Her point was well taken. As was Kristi’s follow-up about realizing that some carry greater crosses than others.

When I first read Danielle’s post, back in September of 2005, I was in the throes of a years long battle with infertility that was coming to a head as my sister-in-law drew close to her due date with what would be her only child who was effortlessly conceived despite big factors of abc for over 20 years and her age being against her. I was young, in my mid-twenties, and could  not conceive and when I did, could not carry to term. I had one very small problem. A piece of extra tissue in my uterus that I was born with that had been removed a few months before. And still, we could not get pregnant. I was happy for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law but at the same time, sad for my own loss. I couldn’t understand why I was being punished, what I was doing wrong.

Immediately after I read what Danielle had written I began to consider doing something proactive. I was going to kiss the rather big cross of not having a baby that I had been carrying. At least, it felt like a big cross at the time. A month later, at my annual visit to the OBGYN, the doctor suggested if I had not become pregnant by January to start looking at acceptable options for fertility treatments. Two weeks later, to allow myself to “get on with my life” and assure myself that a late period was nothing but a late period I took a pregnancy test. The following July, I was holding my daughter. Do I think this decision to kiss the cross of infertility alone allowed me to get pregnant? Of course not. I think it gave me grace for certain that helped me through a very difficult pregnancy full of 30 weeks of morning sickness and daily shots of a blood thinner.

That grace allowed me to kiss the cross of morning sickness and offer it up for men and women suffering from the effects of chemotherapy, especially m friend MaryEllen who was diagnosed with skin cancer on my birthday in 2005. And the following Thanksgiving, as MaryEllen was being tended to by hospice, I was suffering food poisoning and offered my illness to ease her suffering. The Friday after Thanksgiving, God took MaryEllen home.

Those crosses I learned to kiss during infertility and pregnancy, again were small as I began to realize that my daughter was not like other babies her age. Perhaps that is why, when the rather large cross of parenting a child with autism came into my life, I was more able to kiss it. It has never been easy and never without moments of asking why me? But I continue to force myself when I least want to, to kiss that cross.

Does that mean my faith is stronger than other mothers? No, it does not. Yes, I have faith that God will take care of us, but one should not use, say my having more children, as proof that I believe God will not send us another autistic child. On the contrary, it is the faith that God will send us the son or daughter we are meant to have. We did not find out the sex of Shelby during our pregnancy because we wanted to be surprised and because any child, no matter what the circumstances, was a blessing to us. It shocks people to find out we did not pray for a happy child. We prayed for the child God meant us to have. I truly believe that is why we were given Shelby. Although we did not think we were strong enough to tackle the world of parenting a special needs child, God knew otherwise and it was no mistake we were given Shelby first. Cutting our teeth on the cross of autism allowed us to better parent our normally developing sons and hopefully any more children God chooses to bless us with in the future.

Today I am praying for all of you and the crosses you may carry, large and small, in life.

Monday Minutes

1) I am blessed that my extremely part-time job is one I love.

2) As a hope that Earl stays away from the Atlantic coastline (particularly the NC coastline where I live) and in support of stamping out domestic violence: .

Goodbye Earl….

3) Thank you to everyone who wished Shelby feel better, she has recovered and returned to school today.

4) Of course, that means another kid would get sick…Will has a runny nose and cough. Yuck!

5) Today is my Mommy’s birthday!!! Happy Birthday Mom!

7 Bonus Quick Takes, because I’m cool like that…

Favorite Bible Verses/Stories

1) From the book of Judges Chapter 11 the story of Jephthah. A warrior who promised to God that if he won in battle he would sacrifice the first thing that came through his door to greet him. It happened to be his daughter. Both Jephthah and his daughter were faithful to God and kept to the promise. Would we or could we be so faithful?

2) Proverbs 16:24 “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the sould and health to the body.” Good to remember when getting cut off in traffic.

3) Ps 25:1-5 “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust: don not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exalt over me. Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you, I wait all day long.” I just love that one.

4) Matthew 25: 40 “And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'” Powerful reminder of how to love our brothers.

5) Luke 6:21″…Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” The sorrow of this life will not follow us into the next one.

6) Ruth 1:16-17 “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die–there will I be buried…” We had this reading at our wedding and shows me what true devotion is in a marriage or any relationship.

7) 1 John 4:16 “…God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.”

Please visit Jen at Conversion Diary!

It’s about consideration for others…

In the comments yesterday Holly clearly articulated the problem with people’s inconsiderateness when parking. I had hoped to make a slightly larger point. People, by and large, are more inconsiderate of others than ever before in my lifetime (31 years). And most of that is a direct result of the parenting of children.

I do want to mention that in the case of these two parents, these only children will remain only children as both women have told me at parent events, ad nauseam, about how after their child was diagnosed (on the autism spectrum, this school primarily services children like Shelby) they made the decision not to have any more children and had tubal ligations. Then they give me “the look.” Because, I continued to have kids after Shelby was diagnosed.

“The look” is something I get from the public at large when Shelby is making noises instead of talking, they see I have more than 2 kids, and when people figure out or find out Shelby is my oldest and autistic, and I went on to have 2 more. Probably most surprising to a lot of people is that the worst judgment I often get is from other parents of autistic children. They feel that I have burdened my boys with their sister and that I cheated my daughter of having the “complete parent” (as one father put it) an autistic child needs.

I want to be clear not all parents of autistic children feel this way. My friend Michelle, for example, whose son Lars is a year older than Shelby, had hoped for more children and was unable to have them. Similarly, my friend Ashley, whose twin boys are autistic and Shelby’s age, is expecting her 4th child next year (she has an older son as well). But it is rather shocking the number that do.

Which is why I am a pariah among parents at school sometimes. They moan and groan when they see me coming in my double stroller, but I certainly manage to get 3 kids through the door by myself rather than ask them for help and get the eye roll and loud sigh. It’s just not worth the effort, they have made their feelings clear, and guess what, I’m proud to say, look you could do this too if you put as much effort into it as you do rolling your eyes at me! And I offer up plenty of prayers for them as they are much more likely to have the meltdown child in the hallway than I am.

But, by no means is inconsiderate parenting confined to only-child families, I am reminded of a large family in my parish. One Sunday I watched as they arrived in separate groups including the grandparents and teenagers who showed up during the opening hymn. The mother of this group asked a married couple with a baby and toddler who had been sitting in the pew BEFORE this family had shown up to move so her family can sit together. Uh, no. Sorry, but I would not have gotten up and gone to the back of the church like this couple did. I would have politely informed her that unfortunately I would not be moving and her teenagers could find seats elsewhere. They were late, that’s what happens to people who are late to church, the find a seat where they can, maybe it could be a lesson to her teens that if they want to sit with the family, they need to wake up earlier and get ready on time. But instead, the rules didn’t apply to them. There are ten children in this family and unfortunately the older children are not setting a good example for the younger ones and from this discourse, it’s easy to see why. Mom and Dad can bail them out at the expense of other parishioners.

This is becoming an epidemic in society of parent being inconsiderate of others and allowing their children to believe this is acceptable. I am trying to teach my kids that if we miss a deadline for a sign-up, we miss the activity because it is our responsibility to follow-up on what we want to do. Not throw a fit in front of the person in charge about how they are persecuting us our lack of regard for schedules and rules. Similarly, I am parking correctly in my spot, because it makes life easier for all of us.

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) I am now in the world of full time SAHMommyhood with part-time weekend work. Very different. Very cool, so far. Very lonely too, missing my husband all the time!

2) Shelby has thus-far had 2 very good days of school. Her teacher reports that there was less yelling from Shelby on the second day from the first which is wonderful. She said that’s all she hopes for, me too!

3) I keep wanting to do one of those “theme” Quick Takes ala Simcha, but I can’t seem to make it work. I went to college for four years to be a writer, you would think this would be easy for me!

4) In the movie Singles, Janet (played by Bridget Fonda) rattles off a list of things that the perfect guy would have before announcing she scaled it back a bit to just “Gesundheit when I sneeze. Although I like bless you better, it sounds nicer.” That scene is in my mind as I coach my boys to say “Bless you” every time someone sneezes.

5) When The Jerk has to title his review of Point Break I am Wearing Pants, I know I’m in trouble. I feel dirty for admitting it, I love his reviews!

6) While we’re on the subject of feeling dirty, I know I’m going to catch h-e-double hockey sticks for this, but there was the 80’s metal band that people say was terrible when their original lead singer left, but they were totally at their best when they were Van Hagar.

7) For those who only follow me for Quick Takes, you might remember that we’ve been asking St Joseph for a miracle here. The miracle was delivered. My husband has a job and started teaching this week. We are thrilled with this turn of events although it means he spends the weekdays in another city and the weekends (when I am working) home. Our whole family hopes to be together full time by Christmas!

So, you know you wanna go by Jen’s and see more quick takes…you KNOW YOU DO!

I may have 3 kids…

but I don’t use that as an excuse for anything. I show up early or on time and if something truly beyond my control (traffic accident, bridge opening) delays me, I am mortified. I make sure my kids are dressed: I didn’t say matching, I said dressed.

It’s a given that when I drop Shelby off at school, I have the parents who suddenly need to run to get ahead of me with my double stroller lest they get stuck behind me, or I might ask for help (I never do, this is the life I chose, I’m not asking for special treatment). But what kills me, is that these parents don’t seem to have it together.

More than one with only one child drives a mini-van. I drive a compact car. Most of them cannot park their mini-van. I hate the parking lot at school anyway, but there are so many parents who make it worse. I manage to stay within the lines every time I park. Not so for a lot of others. The other day I parked in a space with no one to either side of me when I got the boys out to pick Shelby up. In the five minutes it took me to gather her up and get back to the car, two mini-vans were parked on both sides of me and their wheels were over the line in my space…so that I couldn’t open my car doors. I have 3 kids to get in there. Somehow, I managed, as I started to pull out, I saw the parents and their children coming out. Immediately I had to wait for them to get their one child in the car because both of them had to load said child on the side of the car I was on.  I have seen both of these mothers before. These are two only children, I’m a bit perplexed about the choice of the mini-van in their situation. Regardless, it’s their inconsideration that bothers me the most.

Let me be clear when I say that I am in the business of raising responsible, compassionate, faith-filled human beings. But I am well aware that many other parents do not see their vocation this way. Many don’t even see it as a vocation, but I digress. The term “helicopter parent” is defined one of two ways: 1) a parent who is over-involved in his or her child’s life to the point he or she can be found doing things like the child’s homework to insure an “A” grade or 2) a parent who makes excuses for a child to the point that the child can do no wrong and therefore believes he or she is capable of doing no wrong. I see many helicopter parents around my daughter’s school and her school serves children age 4 and under only. I have overheard parents arguing loudly with teachers about how their child has never ever hit anyone and never will and they should file a defamation lawsuit (I only heard the lawsuit threat once and I fear some under-educated judge would actually hear it). I have seen parents ignoring a child doing something dangerous (like climbing a fence) and then yelling at the adult who intervenes for the child’s safety. What these parents are not thinking about is the fact that their child sees and hears what they are doing and learns by example. Bad example. And that example plays out in their child’s actions now and into adulthood.

Bad parking seems like a little gripe, but what is really going on is that a mom is pulling her oversized vehicle into a large enough space but not thinking that someone else either already is or will need to pull into the spot next to her. She is not stopping to think, if I overpark it could make someone who has trouble walking park further away because their car does not fit in the space. Or, I am going to waste someone else’s time when they cannot pull out of the space because I am loading my child? These very simple actions and thoughts build seeds of understanding and compassion that a child’s subconscious picks up on.

So, don’t misunderstand me, I may have 3 kids, but I hardly think the world around us revolves around me or them. And I intend to raise my kids to understand that.

Thankful Thursday Part Deux

last week I took a break from Thankful Thursday Part Deux as my Thankful Thursday was about people. This week, we are back:

These are my mother’s parents. I call them Grandma and Grandpa but you can call them Sue and Jim. They live in southwestern NY which means we don’t get to see them as often as we like, but we are fortunate they come to visit a few times a year. My grandparents raised six children and now have sixteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren (soon to be five). Many of our family traditions come from their Italian (grandma) and Polish (grandpa) traditions. They are still willing to do anything for their children and grandchildren. When my cousin Andy was in the hospital receiving treatment at Duke, they came  and lived with my uncle and three other cousins to help out while my aunt stayed with Andy at Duke. They are active in their parish and community. And they have over 50 years of marriage. My family is so thankful to have them in our lives.



1) Tuesday, the last day of summer, my Shelby cut open the bottom of her big toe. I stopped the bleeding, closed the wound and bandaged it. She is no worse the wear now. Somehow we managed just me her and the boys. This was our first, bigger than a scrape, cut, but it was okay.

2) Since this is Jeff’s first week of work, we are home alone for the weekdays. It’s been an adventure with the kids, but I’m really enjoying the time with them! And aside from Shelby’s toe, we’ve not had any major issues.

3) My meal-planning and cooking for the kids is going well. Trying new recipes and having back-up for the kids who are all doing pretty well with the try one bite rule.

It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that. ~Danielle Bean