Our Family

Our Family
"These are the children God has graciously given to me. (us)" - Genesis 33:5

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

ROCK Halloween Party

We had our very first ROCK Halloween Party this past Friday. It was held in the conference rooms at Dartmouth Hitchcock where we usually hold our meetings...so there was plenty of room. It was awesome!

This was a first time Halloween party for many of the kiddos that came, and for those that had been to one before, it was the first time they could participate and eat whatever they wanted!

Of course it was held as a costume party...how do you have a Halloween party without costumes!! The kids looked awesome. We had a costume contest where we voted for a winner in three categories: Best Costume, Most Original Costume, and Funniest Costume. Joshua won for Best Costume, and Ethan won for Most Original. No, the voting wasn't rigged...there were about 15 kids there...and we weren't in charge of the voting!! :)

We also had a pumpkin decorating contest. It was the most quiet we had during the whole party. Imagine 10 or so kids, diligently painting and decorating their pumpkins. It was very serious business...as you can see by the beautiful pumpkins that came out of it! :)

The best part...from Ethan's point of view, was the donut eating contest. He had been talking about those donuts since we ended the meeting them month before. One of the moms that came to the party made these delicious apple cider donut holes that we placed on plates for the kids to eat...without their hands...very funny!
We ended the night by giving each child the chance to take a wack at the pumpkin pinata another family brought for the party...it was stuffed with lots of yummy gluten free goodies! All-in-all it's a night my kiddos won't forget...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

9-1-1 Registration

Easter Seals was holding this event last night for anyone who has a child with special needs. It was geared more towards children who are on the autistic spectrum though, so we attended.

What this will accomplish is two things...first, it helps the emergency and medical community see the different faces of autism. As most people know, no two children are alike...and it's the same with autism. There are many different forms and levels of autism and last night we saw quite a few of them. The emergency response community are now being instructed to look on the refrigerators at homes when they respond to an emergency. We are instructed to post our child (ren)'s information in plain view for them to find. It helps them identify the possibility of additional care needed to help avoid escalating or scaring this particular child.

Secondly, the event was designed to help our children see, touch, hear and meet these people who, in an emergency, would be the people our kids would have to interact with. We're glad we went.

Ethan didn't like it at first. He had been talking about it all day...ALL DAY!! Every time he brought it up he'd flap his hands and arms and look up at the ceiling because he didn't know what to do with the excitement. For that very reason, I told him early on because I wanted to take the time to talk about it throughout the day and make him aware of the lights and sounds that accompany these people and vehicles. Yes, he's heard sirens before, but not so close. For those of you who don't know, Ethan is very sensitive to loud noises and bright lights...unless he is the one in control of them. When the fire truck first arrived, for example, it sounded it's horn and siren...and scared the beejeebee's out of Ethan. At that point he wasn't interested anymore and went right inside the building. We gave him about 10 min. or so to reach what is called baseline, by letting him color and play puzzles with some of the other kids, and then I brought him outside. (The first time was with Daddy)

With lots of encouragement and reassurance that they wouldn't do the siren again, we got him into the fire truck. He put the helmet on, and stared at all of the buttons and controls. You could tell it took a lot of will power not to reach out and press everything at once. (That and having me say over and over, "leave the buttons alone" seemed to work!)

Once he got down from the truck, the firefighter helped Ethan into a pair of boots and pants, and a coat. The coat was so heavy, Ethan crumbled (him and all of his 31 lbs!) under the weight of it! He didn't like the coat, but loved the boots and pants.
After that we went over to the police car. Ethan loved that it had a computer in it, and told Daddy that he needs one for the Jeep. The policeman even let Ethan talk over the speaker phone in the car...that kid never tires of hearing his own voice...amplified!

Soon after the ambulance arrived and Ethan was all warmed up and receptive to another brightly lit vehicle. He talked with the paramedic and was allowed up inside where the stretcher and all of the equipment is stored. He, of course had a million questions...and answers...not always on topic...but enough to occupy the paramedic for over 15 min. We finally told Ethan he needed to let the other kiddos who were getting up the courage to come over, get in the ambulance and check it out too.

So, we took them to the van to get them changed into their pajama's. Well, Ethan had a meltdown...he wasn't ready to go. He started screaming, and physically fighting off Mike who was trying to wrangle him out of his clothes and into his p.j.'s. Finally, we told Ethan that we would go back and visit after he put his p.j.'s on but then we would need to head home.

Well, since the ambulance had parked directly behind my van, I asked them if they would mind moving it so I could back the van up when it was time for us to leave. No problem, but, would it be alright if they took Ethan for a little ride in the front seat. Oh...my...goodness...I thought Ethan was going to explode...immediately he stared flapping his hands, turning his head and doing raspberries (another excitement stimulus), and happily took the paramedics hand to climb in the front seat. I bet you can guess what happened next...let's just say it got very noisy. Ethan was allowed to push any button he wanted: sirens, horns, lights etc...and he did, happily. He loved his 2 minutes of noise-making bliss, after which he was more than ready to go home...riding in the Jeep of course!

Saturday, October 13, 2007


No they aren't email chat words like "A Spying Disciplinarian" or "Teacher Came In". The most I know of that lingo is lol...yes I'm getting old.

What they stand for are Autism Spectrum Disorders and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention. I know...a mouth full, but that was the name of the class that Mike and I took this morning. Easter Seals offered this course to parents and caregivers of children who are on the spectrum...which includes Asperger Syndrome. It started at 8:30am and went to 12:30pm. Yes, 4 hours of us trying to keep Rebekah quiet while paying attention to the speaker. We had our friend Emily at home holding down the fort with the boys. Fortunately for us, she was still in one piece when we came home, though we think they must have roughed her up a bit, because she said she'd love to do it again anytime!! :)

Anyway, we weren't sure what to expect going in...but we left with some interesting information. Now we can process it over the next week and go back again on Saturday, same time, same place, to finish up.

The course is typically taught to professional care takers of children on the spectrum. It is also done over the course of 4 days...about 36 hours worth of training. They narrowed the information down to 2 days, 8 hours for all of us. So far it has opened our eyes to some of what is going on in Ethan's world. It has also allowed us to sit among parents who completely understand, empathize, and can advise us that everything is okay. That our doubts, frustrations, and anger are all normal feelings and that they will come and go depending on the day.

We look forward to finishing up the course next Saturday with the hope that we can walk away a little more educated, a little more aware, and a little bit stronger in our parenting skills for Ethan.

After all...this face isn't the face of Autism or Asperger Syndrome...
...it is the face of our handsome son, Ethan Daniel Ouellette...and regardless of the difficult days, we love him with all our hearts. God blessed us when He gave us Ethan.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Apple Picking

Okay, so they aren't actually picking apples in these pictures...but do you know how hard it is to wrangle all of these kids out in the apple orchard?? Seriously, this is one of the few pictures where we can see all of their little cherubic faces! Granted Ethan is chomping on an apple that I removed from his sticky little hands...but you can see his face. Besides, kids love it when parents let them sit on vegetables. Not an everyday occurrence you know. This pile of pumpkins provided a wonderful picture spot and the flowers made for an awesome background.

As far as the apple picking went...we walked(chased after the kids in search of the perfect trees)...we talked (yelled through the trees to keep track of everyone)...we picked (apples, leaves, sticks, anything that wasn't tied down)...we had a wonderful time! The only downside was it was too warm for picking apples...no cool breeze...no crispness to the air...very unfall like. However, in true autumn spirit, we took our apples home...and since I haven't perfected the art of a gluten free apple pie yet...we made apple cinnamon ring pancakes...mmmmm yummy!