Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Dear Triniti,
Wow, what a year.
Your fourth year was nothing like your sister's fourth years were. Nothing at all.
self portrait: Smile
I had no idea last year when you blew out your candles that we were beginning a very long and hard road. I had no idea that what I thought were mere behavioral issues would be something far more serious.
I spent the better part of the first few months of your fourth year trying to decide what I was doing wrong. I had parented your sisters in exactly the same way I was parenting you but with completely different results. And it had to be the way in which I was parenting you because I refused to believe that you were just a bad child.
There were tantrums that far exceeded anything I had ever witnessed; violence and screaming and complete withdrawal into yourself.
Something was wrong.
And by the time you began school, I started seeking out professional help because for the first time as a mother, I had no idea what to do. Every lifeline I had failed me. My family and friends, while they tried, were not bringing any solutions or explanations to the table and I was quite frankly at my wits end.
You see, darling girl, I believe that your children are a product of your parenting. I believe that, while you and your sisters have very different personalities that are each your own, your behavior is a direct result of my mothering. And your behavior baffled me.
Where the cuteness is too much
So we went to see all those doctors. I think you and I saw more doctors and therapists and psychiatrists in a few months than I've seen in my entire life. And they all, independently of each other, said the same thing: You are a good girl.
I have a friend who lives in Austin who is in college to become a therapist (in fact, I call him The Therapist here). One night, he and I were on the phone and he was explaining to me the way that anti-depressants work. This was something I had never even considered and I found it completely enthralling. This discussion opened up completely new lines of thought for me. It was like seeing color for the first time after being in a black in white world.

I use that as an example of how unaware of Asperger's and Autism I was prior to your diagnosis. I knew that there were kids out there who were Autistic, but I didn't know what it meant or how it worked. I didn't know the signs or the symptoms which is why it took me so long to see them in you.
Trin & her earrings from the tackle box
I always thought that your little idiosyncrasies were just part of your personality and while they were different, I didn't make anything out of them. "Different" was just who you were. The way that you had to have everything in a certain spot just meant that you were meticulous. The way we had to things in specific orders just meant you were organized. I would joke that you were OCD but had no idea that you really were. Your adversity to heat of any kind, right down to your bath water being more than luke warm - I just thought it was a personality quirk not Sensory Sensitivity.
When the doctors started using the word "Autism" I was thrown. You were not what I associated with Autism. Those kids didn't talk or make eye contact or play with other kids or really even live in the same world as everyone else.
too cute
I dug into anything and everything about Asperger's that I could find. Any experiences by other mothers, any articles written, sheets of symptoms - you name it. And whether I wanted to believe it or not didn't matter, there was no denying that all of those little things you did actually added up to something.
All of these signs. All of these independent flickers that, when put together, became a bright flashing light.
I bet that there are stages you are supposed to go through when you get news like this... those stages usually begin with denial and usually end with acceptance. I didn't have those stages. My first stage was disbelief and my last stage was happiness. There's nothing wrong with my daughter. She is just different.
Does that sound bad? That I was afraid of there being something wrong with you? Maybe it does. I can't imagine the strength other parents need to be able to raise kids that are completely Autistic or that are suffering from something different that I don't even know about. My heart goes out to those parents because this has been hard and I know it could have been so much more.
Picture 008
My lesson for your fourth year has been in patience. I move fast, I keep our schedules jam packed and we adhere to them. We squeeze every second that we can out of a day. Your sisters are used to this, I am used to this but you were having a really bad time trying to do all of the running around that we do. The anxiety and stress of constantly being out and running around were triggers for you and so this year we have really had to slow things down. You needed more time.
We started getting up an hour and half earlier every morning so that you could have enough time to be ready to leave in the mornings. We started getting ready to leave the house sooner so that you would have time to put things where you wanted them and not forget anything. We took more time for everything. We slowed down and let you catch up.
You think about things differently, you look at them differently and you take different things away from situations than we do. I've learned so much this year about how your little brain is wired. It would take days for me to list all of your accomplishments this year, all of the things you've overcome. But I am pretty sure that my favorite thing is that you now come up to me and kiss me and tell me you love me. And you do it sincerely, not because it is a routine.
You are the coolest little chic. I love hearing your stories or strategies or ideas because they are so different than any I've ever heard before. When someone asks me how all of this will affect you when you are an adult, I believe - wholeheartedly - that you are going to do awesome things. The definition of Asperger's may be "a highly functioning form of autism" but I think the definition of your Asperger's is "a completely new and different outlook on the world".
Trin in the hammock
Happy birthday Trin!


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so eloquently put by katehopeeden at 11:20 AM
| link to this post | 6 spoke |

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Straight stolen from Snow:
Dear you,
I try every day to try and understand and hopefully even like you, but you make that impossible.

Dear you,
I feel like, by even responding, I am encouraging something that can't happen. You are just too young.

Dear you,
I would be the happiest chic if you actually took that vacation with all your stuff.

Dear you,
I'm not sure what happened to us. I think we just grew apart. But I still love you.

Dear you,
I miss you more than words could even begin to describe.

Dear you,
If I had been able to choose my sister, you would have been her.

Dear you,
We never see each other any more. I miss you!

Dear you,
How can we be of the same blood and so very very different?

Dear you,
I am so scared for you every day but I know that you will try.

Dear you,
I miss our really long emails. And I'm to blame. I'm sorry! Life has been all crazy lately.

Dear you,
I miss our really long phone calls. I know you are mad at me and I am sorry. I really wanted to come to your graduation.

Dear you,
I am so sorry about your mother.

Dear you,
When I think it isn't possible, I think of you and him twenty years from now, sitting together with your gray hair and happiness and know that it can be.

Dear you,
I declared for you my heart and you said no. I am beginning to wonder if you were right.

Dear you,
I miss us being able to talk like we did. But it's probably for the best that we don't.

Dear you,
You never made a bigger mistake than leaving them. You missed out on years of Amazing.

Dear you,
You are a wonderful and patient mother. Don't let them win.

Dear you,
Stop hogging my computer, damn it.

Dear you,
Would it have been a mistake? Maybe we'll see the next time we're in the same zip code.

Dear you,
I can't believe you are a father. And I can't wait to hear all about it!

Dear you,
Make sure you breathe. It all will be ok soon.


so eloquently put by katehopeeden at 12:48 PM
| link to this post | 2 spoke |

Friday, May 18, 2007
Dear Emilee,
Today, you turn nine years old. I can't believe that nine whole years ago I was laying in a hospital room waiting for you to arrive. That nine years ago, you were this little tiny bright red baby with pitch black hair.
This morning, before I woke you up, I sat for a few minutes and just watched you sleep. No longer a small baby that I can pick up and hold in my arms, you have grown into a stunning girl. Blonde and blue eyed with an easy smile.
Picture 162
You've always had this *thing* about you. This happiness and light way in the world. You have always been caring and giving and genuine. With that in mind, I was afraid of your eighth year after seeing how your older sister took to hers. There is much talk when you are a mother of "Terrible Twos" and your child is supposed to become a holy terror at the age of two. I thought this was a myth as Amanda left her twos behind without incident. But then, there was three. And let me tell you girly, three was a pain. Three was the age that made me question just how much I wanted to keep you and your sisters. Three was tantrums and pushing limits and the real introduction of the word "NO!" for both mother and child. Three was hard.
But three was only hard until I met Eight. Two years ago, Amanda turned eight. I didn't consider it to be a major age. Wouldn't be much different that seven had been. And I was horribly wrong in that assumption. Horribly. Eight was, what I can only assume, your Sneak Peak at The Dreaded Teenage Years. I couldn't believe the changes that Amanda went through, not only physically but emotionally. Body and mind were a projected roller coaster to all around her. Her ninth birthday was a gift for us all as she got a few inches taller and shed a few pounds of her "chubby" and it seemed, got a little control over her emotions.
Emilee & Amanda
But I never thought that you would undergo the same transformation upon turning eight. You and your sister have always been so incredibly different that I rarely assume you will experience or react to things in the same way. However, The Universe apparently inflicts pre-pubescence on all little girls similarly and equally. Just as your sister turned nine and started to slim down and mellow out, you picked up her discarded weight and emotions and piled them on high. Your personality is much different from Amanda's, possibly more patient and tolerant and a little more stable, so you weren't completely unbearable this year but you were, in many ways, the B version of your sister's eighth year.
You discovered, buried within you somewhere, your Cattiness. One of the most common among the young girl traits. It's meaning: deliberately hurtful in one's remarks; spiteful.
Yup, Catty I believe is a synonym for Young Girl.
It can't be helped. I have long learned that Nature will be what it is and that all of these things are phases. But the bickering between all of my girls this year was so overwhelming. And as I mentioned before, my Sneak Peak at The Dreaded Teenage Years.
But here's the thing Em - it's all part of growing up. And you, my darling little girl, are indeed growing up. And all this years woes aside, you are making excellent decisions while walking down this road.

Over the last nine years, you have grown in many ways. Every year has brought with it these new ideas for you and you always explore them. You are fearless and confident. You participate in everything and try everything and usually love everything. A few years ago you decided you wanted to be a Chef when you grew up but rather than continue to be interested in cooking, you've drifted off and now seem interested in so many things that when I wonder what you are actually going to be when you grow up, I can't even begin to guess.
Emilee & Chica
But I can tell you that you will be busy and happy. You have inherited this from me. This inability to be still and this constant pursuit of happiness. If someone throws an activity at you, you catch it. This year alone has been UIL, Student Council, Choir, Softball, Advanced Reading, The Talent Show... and I'm sure more that I just can't even think of right now. And you did all of this without prompting while maintaining a straight A average at school. I'm impressed. And I'm so very very proud.
Emilee at the spelling UIL meet
Here's the thing kiddo. I know that you and I are going to butt heads. I know you are going to experience things as you grow up that are going to make the relationship that you and I have difficult at times. But I also know that you are going to come through all of that and still be this awesome and amazing girl that I am so very proud of every day.
Happy birthday Blondie!

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so eloquently put by katehopeeden at 8:10 AM
| link to this post | 1 spoke |

Thursday, May 17, 2007
National Bingo Night
Is tomorrow people!
Go, print your cards!

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so eloquently put by katehopeeden at 9:08 AM
| link to this post | 0 spoke |

Wednesday, May 16, 2007
First of all, thanks to ALL of you who emailed me yesterday to wish me a happy birthday :) I appreciate it so much.
I know, there's nothing here.
I am totally blocked World.
I can't write an email or in my journal, let alone a blog post that even remotely resembles entertaining.
I'm blocked.
I've got a bunch of stuff going on (totally typed "stiff" the first time and trust me people I don't got none of that going on).
I've got personal stuff, emotional stuff, work stuff, kid stuff.
I've got stuff.
Lots of it.
And not a lick of it blog worthy should I suddenly be able to break down the brick wall with the giant "No Complete Sentences" sign hanging on it.
Be patient with me, I'm still here.
I'm just quiet.

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so eloquently put by katehopeeden at 7:23 AM
| link to this post | 2 spoke |

Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Directions to make the hardest snack ever.
Things you will need:
2 big boxes of Rice Krispies
5 10oz bags of marshmallows
1 bag of red licorice
red air-brush icing
wax paper

The way that this sort of thing begins is with an idea.
I can trace back for you how the idea came to me.
I picked my kids up from daycare and grabbed my free copy of the NickJr magazine that the daycare lady gives us and took it home. It had some travel suggestions in it so I thought it possible that I'd browse through and see about some random weekend thing the girls and I could do. Like camping. The magazine made it's way from room to room as everyone but me browsed through it.
So last night, after dinner, I suddenly remember that I need to bring snack for the game today. It's my turn. Resigning myself to running into Boerne to hit Wal-Mart, I told my mom and asked if she'd keep an eye on the girls. She says she will but "didn't you see that cute little recipe in the magazine for the baseball shaped popcorn balls? It was so cute, it had red licorice on it for the lines...."
A little light bulb dings itself on over my head and I for some insane reason decide that we should make those. That would be so cool. All the other moms on the team will be utterly impressed by my creative ingenuity and throw flowers at my feet as they wish they were as cool as me.
Ok, well not really.
Instead of Wal-Mart, I run down to the new Dollar/Grocery Store down the road from my house. I don't usually shop there and have only been there twice. Why? Because it's not a dollar store. It's a big convenience store, complete with convenience store pricing. And instead of popcorn, we decided to make rice krispies treats.
I get everything I need and head back home where I begin melting marshmallows and butter and my mother tried to devise a way to cut the licorice into smaller pieces.
Now, let me let you in on a bit of top secret information that you may not have been privy to prior to reading this little entry.
Rice krispie treats do not like to be round.
fallin' apart
That's right. The little effing balls would much rather be pressed into the baking pan as the directions mention. So many of my balls fell apart and had to be pressed back together, sometimes requiring the use of some Melted Marshmallow Glue (patent pending).
I fought with these balls for the course of about two hours before deciding that rather than continue to shape them, I would shape them and then wrap them in wax paper, so they could retain the round shape I so desired and I could maintain my sanity.
This is where my mother's part comes in. Make the little licorice strings stick to the rice krispie balls. Seemingly easy task right? With a little help of my Marshmallow Glue, it should have worked. Alas, work it did not. It was as though the licorice and the balls were opposite ends of a magnet and refused to bond. God damn them.
That left my mother and I sitting there covered in butter and little rice krispies, trying to figure out how in the sam hell we are going to make these balls look like baseballs.
And then, I remembered the "air brushing icing" I had purchased for some other brilliant idea I had many moons ago. Was it red? I couldn't remember. I located it on the shelf with all the other cake decorating junk and sprayed a little into the sink.
The fun part was next. Pick up the ball, reshape it for the millionth time and spray red lines around it before it fell apart, wrap it quickly in wax paper and tie it off.
The whole while realizing that the other mothers were much less likely to bow at your feet with the edible abomination you would be presenting their children for snack.
The end result:
baseball rice krispie treat

Lessons learned:
Never begin a barely thought out made from scratch snack at 8:00p on a school night.
Always have red spray icing.
Do not pick up free magazines.
Always put butter on your hands previous to attempting to shape a rice krispie treat.
Never tell your mother you need to get snacks for the game.
Always have a back up plan.

PS. Watched American Idol, want to marry Blake Lewis.

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so eloquently put by katehopeeden at 7:05 AM
| link to this post | 1 spoke |

Who: katehopeeden
Where: San Antonio, Texas Yeah, so I am all that you see here. I am friendly and kind, crazy and bitchy, playful and flirty... sometimes I am funny but mostly I just write the first thing that comes to mind and then stop when it ends. I love life and I am lucky to be living the one that I am. Want to know more?
Click here!

12/14/84 - 1/26/05

"The most wasted day is one in which we have not laughed"

"Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you might miss it."

"Guys are like stars, there's a million of them out there but only one of them can make your dreams come true." "Don't spend your life with someone you can live with, spend it with someone you can't live without."

"Reach for the moon, even if you miss you will still land among the stars"



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That cracked my shit up! TM

Kate went to Dallas?

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"There are some of us out here who are living vicariously through you, okay?! So for god's sake, let us have some fun and excitement!" -Educated Liberal

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