Our Family

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

Monday, November 26, 2007


Moments ago I was doing a math lesson with Ethan. It lasted around 20 minutes, which is pretty good for him. We were working on pattern recognition...and until the last 5 minutes he did awesome!

One of the great things about homeschooling for us is the ability to work one-on-one with Ethan for a short period of time. It also allows the other kiddos to have some independant play time without their big brother taking over.

Well, Miss Rebekah...oh so quietly...did some independant play of her own...

...yes, she climbed up there by herself!

...yes, those are dirty clothes that have yet to go downstairs...so of course she would play in them!
...and yes, I win Mother of the Year as I photograph her toppling out of the basket!
p.s. she's okay!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I recently read a post on a friends blog (entitled Happy Thanksgiving) about how stressed out she was preparing a gluten free Thanksgiving dinner in a gluten home. I can't tell you how much I appreciated her attention and dedication to providing this meal all because of her love for this one person in her family who has Celiac Disease. I am constantly amazed at how far some people will go to make sure the food they are feeding their loved ones is safe for them to eat. To these people I say Thank You!!

Having said that...we were in a different situation this Thanksgiving. Our home is 100% gluten free. Everything we make and consume in our home is safe for everyone to eat. It is our belief that our children should have a place where they can eat whatever we have in the house comfortably without the constant fear that it might make them sick. It is also our belief that they learn how to deal with food situations outside of our home.

Ethan is really good at mentioning his gluten free status. He will usually ask whomever is giving him food if it is gluten free, even if he knows the answer. Joshua on the other hand, is an opportunist who will sample anything if it is in arms reach. Knowing this, we made a plan for our Thanksgiving.

Last year we had our first gluten free dinner in the safety of our home. This year, however, we were invited to share in a large family feast...on my husband's side. The Ouellettes have had several large family Thanksgivings over many years. The last one before this was about 8 years ago, a month after we got engaged.

Mike and I discussed it and decided the best way to approach the meal this year was to cook our own Thanksgiving dinner the night before. So, we cooked the turkey, all the fixings and dessert all day on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, we made up three round tin plates with the whole meal, wrapped them in tinfoil, and packed them into a cooler so we could just throw them into the oven at the clubhouse where we were meeting. We also packed gluten free brownies, as well as eggnog. That morning we also had Mike's immediate family come over for a gluten free breakfast. We made a bacon and egg quiche, coffee cake with cinnamon icing, apple crumb pie, and blueberry muffins. Eating that late in the morning took away the need to stuff ourselves on any appetizers before the meal, since we wouldn't be able to eat any of them anyway. (My sister-in-law was kind enough to make up a smoked fish platter without any crackers or dips directly on the plate. She checked the labels carefully to be sure that all the fish she was placing on the tray would be okay for us to eat...thank you!)

So, we were able to sit down with the entire family, and not have to stress about what we were eating. It was not only easy, but incredibly tasty!! Even my husband, who was a little leery about doing it this way, was impressed by how well it worked out. He even suggested that maybe we should do it like this for any future large gatherings. (Plus, it gave us lots of own turkey leftovers which in my opinion is one of the many great outcomes of preparing a Thanksgiving feast!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rebekah too...

Last night I had this thought..."hey I forgot to mention Bekah's health stats too!" So, before the "trolls" (people who have nothing better to do than read random blogs and post rude comments anonymously) can tear me apart for being a bad mother...again...I have Bekah's health notes.


This little girl is growing just fine, which is why she wasn't included in the medical update. She isn't under the doctors care...weird! :) She did just have her 9 month check up, even though she is 10 1/2 months old! (Ya, pedi offices aren't always on time with these things, and since I do only one immunization every three weeks instead of all at once, it doesn't really matter.)

Anyway, she weighs in at 16lbs. 8oz and she is 27 1/4" long, (2 ft. 3 1/4 inches). That would be 10th percentile for weight and 25th for height!!! I know...not only on the charts but double digits!! Other than cutting teeth, she hasn't really had any problems. She eats, sleeps, and is in general just a happy baby! And since I neglected (bad mom) to post her info with her brothers, l will post another picture of her.

This is a "fresh" picture, taken just a few moments ago! Enjoy

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Medical Update

We haven't done a medical update in quite some time. This blog has become a great place for us to document the day-to-day life of our family as we live and grow with ALL of the many joys and hardships that come along with just being a family.

So, here it is.


We continue to see Dr. Hofley every 6-8 weeks to keep an eye on the weight gain and growth pattern for both boys...but especially Ethan. Well, great news...he's still on the growth charts! Last time I posted their medical update Ethan was in the 1st percentile. Well, now he's on the 2nd percentile!! That's right! He actually gained almost 2 lbs. since his last visit! He is now a whopping 31.3 lbs. of soon to be 5 year old!! The more amazing stat though is his height...he is now 38.7 inches (3 feet 2 inches)! He's actually in the 5th percentile (I think) for that! He can now wear 4T pants...well mostly. He still has several 3T pants that fit him. It's amazing how many people will ask him how old he is and if he doesn't answer right away they will say "I bet your 3yrs old right?" He is just that tiny! I don't care though, his appetite has improved by leaps and bounds. He has become a walking stomach that desires food almost any time of the day! Yipppeee! His only meds. now are Prevacid for stomach upset, and the laxative that he's been on since he was 18 mos. old. We are hoping to continue to wean him off of the Prevacid, but will keep him on the laxative until he potty trains...which isn't happening yet.


What a charmer! That smile has rescued that tiny tyrant from many a punishment!! :) This little man is doing well too. He is still in the first percentile even though he gained almost two lbs. since his last visit as well. He is now at 22.5 lbs! His height has improved as well...at 31.7 inches (2 feet 7 inches) and that puts him in the 2nd percentile for that. The doctor is very impressed with the improvement as most kids lose weight or don't grow much during the summer months leading into autumn due to their outdoor activity level and lack of sitting down for meals. Lucky for us our kids are grazers...they eat many more little meals during the day than actual sit down 5 course meals. I've also switched to using coconut oil instead of olive oil or butter in most of our cooking now which adds essential fatty acids to their diet. Plus it's just tasty! The only med. that Josh is still on is Prevacid for possible reflux. The good news is that we haven't had to nebulize him since we removed his 12 oz. of whole milk a day from his diet. We'll see what that does for his weight gain, but at this point the struggle and inevitable fight from Josh when we nebulize him just isn't worth the calorie intake from the milk. We are finding other ways to up his calorie intake right now so we'll see if it makes a difference at their next appt. on December 31st.

Friday, November 09, 2007


It has come to my attention that most people in the Autistic community refer to their children as non-typical or non-neurotypical verses "abnormal". This means that they often refer to "normal" children as typical or in some cases neurotypical children. Why the difference?

NORMAL - conforming with or constituting an accepted standard, model , or pattern; esp., corresponding to the median or average of a large group in type, appearance, achievement, function, development, etc.; natural; usual; standard; regular.

TYPICAL - having or showing the characteristics, qualities, etc. of a kind, class, or group so fully as to be a representative example

In other words, for me, to "be normal" means you are accepted by the general public in all of your behaviors and endeavors. So, to be abnormal, would mean you aren't. However, if you classify children as typical, you aren't stating an acceptance level on any part of it. Instead, you are pointing out that although they aren't part of one type of group, they are in fact just part of another. It doesn't matter whether it is accepted for the good, bad or otherwise they just represent another group.

Why the frustration??

This morning Ethan has decided to act very much like his 2 year old brother. He is taking toys away from Rebekah, just because he wants to play with it right now. He has been throwing more and more physical tantrums over VERY small things like whether or not he is allowed to have more juice. He will "play" Tupperware next to Rebekah not with, just because she is doing it and gets upset when she takes a bowl away from him. Yet, when he's playing blocks, she better not dare to take one from him. He has no concept of age difference. We don't have any other toys in the house except toddler toys because Ethan is such a destructive player, he will break anything he plays with. We also don't have anything that is "age appropriate" because he won't play with it "appropriately". It instead becomes part of a big pile of stuff that he has to constantly load and unload into piles with his trucks or crash into.

He is not a typical soon-to-be 5 year old. So, when someone tells me, "Oh he's just being a normal kid"...I get frustrated. I get angry...because in the day-to-day stuff his behavior is anything but "normal". It's typical...for him...because he has Asperger.

Monday, November 05, 2007

First Day of School

Are you confused?? Well, don't be...this IS his school. We are officially signed up with the Seton Home School program for Kindergarten. Today was his first day of school, so we took a picture to mark the day.

Although he won't be 5 until next month, we decided, with the advice from Seton's counselors, to start Ethan's K program now since the program allows for two years to complete it. See, one of the many reasons we decided to go with Seton is because of their special education department. They know what Asperger Syndrome is and have found many of these students who are in the program, do exceptionally well...without the special ed. program. That's the beauty of homeschooling...you can do it at your child's pace. So, we started the program now, even though he doesn't need to be enrolled, according to the state laws, until next fall.

So, far...he LOVES it. Tonight before bed he asked if we would do more school tomorrow!