Friday, August 6, 2010

My boy.

This is my Peyton Joshua.

Peyton ("PJ") is special to me because he's so sweet. He has a caring and sensitive side to him that is so endearing and unlike anything I've ever seen from a child his age. He has an extra-soft spot in his big heart for his older sister. If she's ever hurt or crying for any reason, he's right by her side, showering her with hugs and kisses. At the same time, he's ALL boy! He LOVES to get dirty, make messes, throw things, hit things with sticks and make as much noise as possible! "Frogs and snails and puppy-dogs' tails" for sure over here...

Recently, we've found out that there's something else that's special about PJ.

He's just...different. Around his first birthday, we began to notice that he was not the same as other kids his age. He cried...ALL.THE.TIME. He didn't point to things. He had a really big problem with textures...both tactile and when he would eat. He would bite every time he got frustrated...which was a lot. He couldn't handle loud noises. He didn't say a single word. All of these things convinced me he was autistic. But he LOVED being around other kids and adults. He maintained eye contact when you spoke to him. He understood simple commands. So I brushed it off.

Fast forward to his 18 month check-up (one month ago). By this point, I KNEW something was up. He began pointing (around 15 months) and was better with loud noises..but other than that things were about the same. The only drastic difference was his new- found temper tantrums. PJ throws the most random temper tantrums ever. He gets one thing in his mind and NOTHING I repeat NOTHING, can come between him and that one thing. For example, if he wants something he's not supposed to have, like a pair of scissors, I'll move them out of his line of sight. This will cause him to lose his mind completely. He'll scream and flail around and try to climb up on the kitchen counter to get them. If I try to pick him up and move him out of the kitchen, he'll bite and hit me and scream like I'm killing him. This is consistent...a few times a day he'll have these episodes. But at the same time, he's very social and LOVES people. He still obeys basic commands, more so than when he was only 12 months. He can point to things if you ask him where they are (but JUST started doing so).

Today was our first day with an Early Intervention caseworker. She interviewed me, spent some time with PJ and then just shook her head. She told me she has no idea how to classify him. A lot of his behaviors are right in line with autism, but he socializes SO well, that she doesn't think he is autistic. She's baffled.

I'm kind of confused by my feelings of the whole situation. I've never been afraid of autism. In fact, when he first started with the signs, I kind of made up my mind that I was not going to let it be a crutch or an excuse for him...for ANYTHING. I'd just have to tweak my thinking and actions while raising him. I felt strong and confident. And didn't even want to tell anybody...if he did get diagnosed autistic.

But now, I get overwhelmed. Some days, after a battle with him, I just cry. I cry and cry and cry and feel inadequate, and cry some more. I feel alone (and I know that's not the case!!) but my biggest support, other than Tim, is my Momma...and she's 350 miles away. Tim works....most of the time it's just me, PJ and Addisyn (who is two and a half years old and we're going through the battle of the wills like crazy lately...she's absolutely no help during his tantrums cuz she's usually having one of her own.) I miss my mother. I miss my whole family, but there are days I just wish I could drive over to my parent's house, drop off Addisyn to play with Momo, and take PJ out for some special one-on-one time, so that I can remember all of the beautiful little things about him that make me so proud of him.

I guess I just need your thoughts and prayers as we learn, with the help of EI, to teach PJ to communicate better, and to cope with his behavior.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Meeting my witt's end.

I've neglected this poor blog, but not because of laziness. We've had a tumultuous last 2 months and it's all culminated to where we are now...a giant mess.

Since around May, we've been itchin' to get out of our house that we rent. The neighborhood has been deteriorating and things have been happening that have made us VERY uncomfortable here. So we started looking at other places to live. Then in June, our landlord came into our house a few times while we were in Philly, and took stuff from our fridge WITHOUT ASKING. Now, had he asked, I totally would have said "Sure! No problem, help yourself!" But, the principle of what he did was highly illegal and technically broke the contract of our lease (he must give us 24 hours notice before he enters the property for ANY reason, except if he has a police officer with a warrant with him.) It was just creepy and didn't sit well with us. It was kind of the last straw with this place.

A few weeks ago, we lined something up for was seemingly terrific, not ideal, but definitely a vast improvement. We sat our extremely emotional/not-all-there landlord down and let him know. He was reluctant...and it ended up being slightly messy, as he wanted us here for at least two years (our lease was signed only for 1 year)...but we finally got him to agree to let us out at the end of August (even though our lease is up this July 31st...?). Well, we found out on Monday that the place we had lined up was actually spoken for, so we sat our landlord down again and let him know that we would be willing to stay...which he quickly shot down. Turns out he doesn't want us here because "our hearts aren't here, we don't love this place." He wants us out by September 1st.

So now, here we are...looking for another place....getting ready to move somewhere temporarily for a 6th time. We're trying to find somewhere with a short-term lease, as we're exploring some possible job transfers for Tim, and if they don't pan out, we'll buy a house up here in the spring. Preferably 3 bedrooms, but since we plan on being there short term we'd take a 2 bedroom place too. We DON'T want to be in an apartment complex...unless they offer a 6 month lease, and can let us go month to month after that. If you know of anything, please let us know!!! Thank you!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Help me!!

Ok, so I've become re-dedicated to (read: obsessed with) working out again. This has happened before. One summer, when I was home on break between my years at college, I was working out constantly and that was probably the healthiest I have ever been. Well, I've been re-bit (re-bitten?? whatever...) by the fitness bug after years of pregnancy, newborns and miscarriage. But there seems to be a problem this time around.

I started the re-dedication on March 1st. During the first 6 weeks, 10lbs literally melted off. I was stoked and so encouraged!! Each week I've stepped it up a notch - increasing my miles, speed, weight used in resistance training, and length of workout sessions. I vary my workouts, too, doing different things on different days. In the last four days, I've worked out for 1.5- 2 hours every day. On top of it, my caloric intake is between 1600-1800 calories (and not empty ones either), and I've been careful to add lots of protein to my diet.

So today, I stepped on the scale, expecting to see a HUGE number since it's been another 6 weeks since my last weigh in. What did I see instead? A big, fat .5lb lost. WHAT!?! HALF A POUND!?!?! IN SIX WEEKS!?!?!!?!?

WHAT am I doing wrong??

Friday, May 14, 2010

My top 5 go-to lunches.

I don't know about you, but lunches around here have strict requirements. First, they have to be prepared FAST. Second, they have to be healthy. And third, they have to please my toddlers. That's not an easy task!! PB&J gets here are my other "go to" lunches.

1. Stir-fry: I LLOOVVEE stir fry and it's SO easy! Pour 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup soy sauce into a large skillet and throw in whatever fresh veggies you have lying around. Our favorites are carrots, broccoli, green peppers and tofu (*disclaimer- yes, I am well aware of the effects of soy on hormones, especially little boys', but I buy only quality, organic tofu and we don't eat it very often at all. Tofu is packed with protein, and because I work out everyday, I need that protein!!). MMMMM!! Let it simmer on medium heat while you make some instant brown rice with it - I like the Uncle Ben's "Boil-In-Bag" kind, they only take about 10 mins to prepare. Boom. You're done.

2. Grilled wraps/quesadillas: We almost always have whole wheat tortillas on hand...they're so versitile!! Put some veggies and cheese (or even some left over chicken from last night's dinner) in one, fold it in half and throw it in your microwave for 1 minute---instant, yummy quesadilla. Or, stuff it with some fresh spinach, tomatoes, chunks of fresh mozzarella and basil and drizzle it with EVOO, wrap it up and press it in the good ol' George Forman grill...quick, fancy Caprese wrap!! And it took all of 5 mins to make.

3. Veggies and dip: My kids absolutely LOVE to dip things (it is my understanding that most kids do) before they eat them. Take some low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt, mix in some dill, salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder - you get yummy dip. Put it in a little bowl with some fresh, cut up veggies and beans (big ones, like kidney beans) on the side and, I promise, you'll be astonished how fast your kids are devouring vegetables. Add a couple crackers and grapes on the plate when they're done, and you'll have a complete meal. My SUPER *I'm talking abnormally* picky 17 month old loves it...all because of the dip.

4. Mini-pizza: This one is fun because the kids get to help prepare it. Take an english muffin and open it up the way you would any other time. Let your kids help you spoon a little tomato sauce on it. Then let the creativity flow by letting them sprinkle some cheese on top and adding whatever toppings you have in the fridge...and don't limit them. If they want to put fruit on it...let them. Hawaiian pizza has fruit on it. Addisyn once told me she wanted to put pickles on hers. I let her and she ate that thing right up. Bake it in the toaster oven until the cheese gets all melty. I think when they help make it, lunch becomes more appealing to a 2 year old.

5. Leftovers: I'm a huge fan of leftovers. If you're preparing healthy meals in the evening, make a little extra...or, if it's something your family REALLY likes, even double the recipe. Our favorite "leftover" meal is enchilada casserole. I bake a big tray of it and it lasts us dinner one night, and lunch the next day. Huge time saver and I know it'll be a big hit both less thing to worry about! :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!! here's a recipe...

** Happy Mother's Day, Mommas. I hope you all had a beautiful day with the people you love the most. **

The four of us spent the afternoon over at my Sister-in-law's house, with her, her husband and three boys and my MIL and FIL. It was a really nice time and I made a YUMMY, EASY dessert. Want the recipe?? Here ya gooo...

Crockpot Peanut Butter Cup Cake - serves 8
you'll need:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar, divided in half
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water

Coat your crock pot with a good amount of non-stick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. In the microwave, melt peanut butter for about 30 seconds, and then add to the mix along with milk, oil, and vanilla. Stir really well to combine. Spread this mixture into the bottom of your crock pot.

In a separate bowl, mix together cocoa powder, the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, and 1 cup boiling water. Pour this evenly over the peanut butter batter in your cooker.

Cover and cook on high for 2-4 hours, or until the top has set and an inserted toothpick (into the cake--underneath the cake is molten chocolate mmmm...) comes out clean. Let the cake sit uncovered in an unplugged crockpot for about 20 minutes, then serve warm in dessert bowls with some vanilla ice cream. It looks a little funky but don't be turned off by it, I's yummy :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Is it really only noon??!?

We had a busy, busy weekend and what always suffers on weekends like that is the housework. The laundry is EVERYWHERE...some dirty, some clean and waiting to be folded, some folded and waiting to be put away. There are stacks of dishes in the sink (and on the counter) and we don't have a dishwasher so they all need to be washed and dried by hand (booo.) There are tiny landmines (read: toys) ALLLL over the living room. One of my sheer curtains is hanging awkwardly because my son tried to use it to rappel down the side of the wall. All the floors in the whole house need a good mopping and the rugs need vacuuming. You get the picture...

And we woke up today to rainy, chilly gloom outside. Sort of exciting considering my massive list of chores to undertake....who wants to be inside doing chores when the weather is gorgeous??

So I was up and at 'em by 8:15. By 9:15, barely anything was done at fact, the mess was probably worse. Why??

Because (deep, dramatic inhale)...Addisyn threw a 30min tantrum about having a banana with her cereal rather than blueberries...and then about the banana being "too small" (sliced) rather than a "big one" (whole), PJ dumped the dog dishes out all over the floor, the dog got out of the backyard, Addisyn had a "potty accident" most likely to get back at me for ignoring her screaming, PJ climbed on top of the dining room table while I was cleaning fore mentioned "accident" and knocked over a vase of very dead roses, my next door neighbor brought the stupid dog back and proceeded to talk my ear off while Addisyn ran around half naked and PJ got into the refrigerator...

...and that was only one hours worth of activity. We've dealt with whinning, crying, pushing, multiple time-outs, arguements, books ripping, refusals of manners....

It's been just crazy all up until nap time at 12:15. Even while writing this, I've had to run up the stairs to discipline Addisyn for dumping as much stuff as she can find (her pillow and blankets, toys, clothes) and then climbing into PJ's crib...TWICE. I'm certain there is a direct correlation with the amount of vitamin D my children's' bodies produce from sunlight and their behavior. I'm praying they'll wake up refreshed and ready to start over.

Anyway, all that to say...there is still laundry and dishes everywhere and my floors are still embarrassingly unclean...unfortunately I've lost the ardor to tackle the undertaking. Someone please send some motivation my way!!! ...or just come over and clean for me? ;)

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Winds of Change.

They're blowing again, and trust me, I know a thing or two about change.

I'm pretty sure I've shared on here that we've moved 5 times in 2.5 years. Well, it seems we're gearing up to move again. Currently, we're renting a wonderful little house in a not-so-major city. It's right on the border between a nice neighborhood and a bad neighborhood, so we put up with some rough neighbors and their loud music and their cursing off their kids, and we've recently called the cops on them. And then last week, I was running (in the nice part of our neighborhood, actually) and some guys in a car started following me, yelling obscene things at me. They drove off but came back TWICE to follow me and yell some more. That was kind of the last straw. We feel like our time here is up.

I'm just so frustrated. I grew up in one general area my entire life. This is so foreign to me. I'm the kind of person that REQUIRES stability, and stability to me is digging roots into the ground, building relationships that last and staying put - all of which have been missing in my life the last 3 years. I'm SICK of moving!! I HATE moving!! I really want this next move to be semi-permenant, as in I don't want to even THINK about moving for at least 5 we have to find somewhere condusive to that (i.e. good school district, 4 bedrooms, big back yard, safe neighborhood etc). I want to paint my walls, and I want to get a big dog, and I want to not have to worry where we are going to fit any subsequent children or if I'm going to be abducted while running. It's all I can think about, lately.

Tim's got an appoinment with our mortgage broker/realitor next Weds. We need favor.