Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Beginnings

The phrase "everything happens for a reason" is so incredibly true and something I wish I could make my kids understand. Not that we want all the bad things in our life, but if we look back we can usually see all the reasons WHY obstacles, bad decisions (and good ones) were thrown at us. I don't believe it's all in God's plan. God certainly didn't want me to have children BEFORE getting married; God didn't want me to get divorced; BUT, He always leaves the door open for us to head down the RIGHT path once we "see the light" and chose to do it. I believe God sits and watches us. He will open the right door for us to go through, and when we purposely avoid the right door and go on our own path, a little further down the road, he opens another one and watches and waits...with a LOT of patience, with the hope that we will eventually pass through the right door and follow Him.

This is where I am at! Eric and I want desperately to have our marriage blessed in the Catholic Church. We met with our Priest, Father Stan, and are finally on the path to what God wants for us. It will mean having to look back at a lot of past mistakes and admitting we did wrong. It will mean looking at our past decisions and realizing they weren't good ones. But, Eric and I have grown so much in our 11 years together. We have had a LOT of ups and downs and walking through wrong doors. But, we are both, walking through the right door, TOGETHER!

It's never too late to do the right things. It's never too late to learn from the past and move forward. We have one life to try and make it right, so remember to walk through the right door and follow God's path. But, if you find you have ignored the right path for too long, learn from it. Everything happens for a reason!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Home School

Well, we started our home school adventure and so far, so good. Elliott is testing out of everything and about to work his way through the 2nd grade program. (he is only 6, mind you)

Elliott started pre-k at age 4 and was officially diagnosed with Aspergers during that year. We knew BEFORE the official diagnosis, but getting the "word" provided his with special education services in school. He did great, but was always ahead of all the other kids, academically. He had fabulous teachers and aides. He went to summer school to try not to deviate from his schedule, and started Kindergarten in Sept. 2011. This year became much more difficult. He was not being challenged enough and although his Special Education team tried everything to make his life better, he was having more and more anxiety about school and meltdowns galore. Eric and I started discussing the possibility of home school, but we still weren't sure it was right for him. At his last IEP meeting, the teachers even admitted they were at a loss as to what to do to challenge him more. They really can only do so much with so many other children to consider. And, with no Special Education classes (kids are all merged together) he was starting to get lost in the shuffle.

We researched hundreds of programs and found Seton Home Study School. We fell in love with the curriculum almost immediately, and being that we wanted to incorporate Catholic Religious Education along with his core courses, this was perfect!

We met with the school, and although it was sad to say goodbye to the fabulous staff at his elementary school, we ventured out to keep Elliott home. What a difference the one-on-one attention has made. He is happy, learning a ton and he is having much less anxiety. I have no doubt we made the right decision.

While working on Elliott, my daughter, Emmalee, started talking about the possibility of home school for her. At first, I'll admit, I was against it. She is in 6th grade and had come so far. Emmalee has also been diagnosed with Aspergers, but she is more like her Mom! She is functional, but friendships and social things are difficult for her. She expressed anxiety about going to the Middle School next year (peer pressure, girl drama, etc) and begged us to try this with her, too. After much back and forth, Emmalee is home! We shot right to 7th grade...she is enjoying school and says she is learning more because there are less distractions. (Really? A 4 and 6 year old are LESS distraction?) LOL. My Mom is teaching her every Monday and Friday afternoons. Her job is Spanish and Reading. Emmalee loves it because she gets bonding time with her Grandparents and let's face it, my Mom is an awesome teacher!

Gideon, who is 4, is also home schooling, at the moment. He is using the Bob Jones Pre-K Program and doing terrific. (I had purchased it a few years ago for Elliott, but since he got into Pre-K at the Elementary School, I never used it) We will be getting him the Kindergarten curriculum from Seton as soon as he finishes the Pre-K program.

So, here we go...our home school adventure. It is NOT easy, but so far, the kids are loving it. Emmalee seems much happier and less stressed out. Elliott is most definitely having fewer meltdowns and moving at HIS pace (which already has him doing 2nd grade work) and even Gideon will start Kindergarten a year ahead of time. Not to mention, being able to teach Religion, which they do NOT get in school! The kids are learning how to pray the Rosary (each got their own) and we can all pray whenever we want to. How awesome is that?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Good Times

Just a side note to my "My Story" page...I know I left a lot of details out of my first 18 years, but it is so hard to remember everything as I write. (the whole time-line thing is tough and I remember things AFTER I have written) I may go back and add more details as I remember things, but I am trying to explain my life with AS more than anything else. Please know, there were a lot of GOOD things that happened during my childhood, too.

Memories with my Grandparents, spending summers in OC, MD at their beach house ~ helping on the boat ~ Operas ~ good food cooked by my Grandmother ~ times spent hiding in a corner listening to my Uncle play the piano ~ sneaking on my Uncles piano and getting in trouble ~ my cousins in Buffalo and times spent with them ~ my cousins in Williamstown, NJ and how much fun it was at my Aunt Theresa's house ~ my cousin, Katrina, who was like a sister (when we saw each other) ~ spending weekends with my brother and sister who, to this day, I love with all my heart ~ yearly Christmas Caroling with Sue, Kim, Kelly and others ~ mischief nights...running from the man who owned the Corvette after egging his car! ~ Halloweens in Berlin, NJ and the lady who, every year, invited us into her home and gave us Caramel Apples ~ Flyers games and going to the Coliseum to watch the Flyers practices with my brother ~ singing in the band "The Defiant Ones" with Dave, Chris and the gang...and getting to wear Yvette's cool spandex pants! (thanks Girl...I wouldn't have looked the part without you) ~ winning Battle of the Bands after singing my heart out pretending to be Pat Benatar and actually hitting the high notes ~ singing the National Anthem at a Redskins/Eagles game at the Vet (remember the Vet?) and watching the game from the Eagles side line on the field (THAT was cool) ~ Going to concerts at the Spectrum in Philly...AC/DC, INXS, Van Halen, David Lee Roth (solo), DIO (with my brother and his friends), Genesis, Yes, and so many more ~ Being completely silly with Cheryl & Gary who kept things fun and interesting in the HS Band Room...and so many more memories I can't possibly write them all...

Joanne, Ray, Unkie and me in OC, MD

My favorite photo...Ray, Joanne and me

My Grandfather (aka Vovo) dancing with me

Christmas Caroling with friends!

Working on my Grandparents boat in OC, MD

Halloween in HS

All unforgettable times in the midst of some bad ones. Life wasn't all bad! Those of you who made it better...you know who you are!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Working on "My Story"

I am working on the "My Story" page. I have made it all the way up to age 18 so far. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be. But it's soothing for the soul to hash out things in writing that I never really think about much anymore. The more you look at your past, the more you see how far you have come and it makes me smile.

I have no idea how old I am here...but love the sunglasses!

My New Blog

Welcome to my blog. My goal here is to share my life experiences with others who have suffered with Asperger's. If I touch just one person, this blog will be worth my time. Mind you, it's a work in progress. I have started writing "My Story" but it is far from done. (Only up to 1984) But, you can certainly check out what is written so far. I will let you know whenever it is updated. Eventually, I will have Kevin and Elliott's stories posted, too. Also, stories of my new homeschooling journey and daily life. If anyone reads this...great. If not, it is a great outlet to write my thoughts, even if only for myself.

So, there you have it! Another time-suck and a new adventure in blogging!