Thursday's Thoughts

Because my brain is full of jumbled thoughts this morning, I thought I'd subject you all to the chaos and do a "Thursday's Thoughts" post. (It IS Thursday, right?!)

1. We went to Florida to visit my parents two weeks ago. They are inheriting my grandmother's condo in Naples, and were gracious enough to invite us down to visit. Considering about a foot of snow was dumped on the Springfield area that week, we were happy to accept the invitation. (A post with all the pictures to follow... Stay tuned.)

2. The Friday after we came home from Florida, a local church hosted The Great Exchange. It was an awesome event based on the scriptural idea of sharing and living in community with one another. Thursday night, participants were to take gently-used, no longer needed items to the church. We were given a ticket, and then allowed to come again to "shop" the next night. Everything was entirely free (even my cafe drinks, as I was lucky enough to win a gift card in the drawing!) I would love to recreate this event in my community.

I used this event as a GREAT motivation to clean out and declutter. I ended up filing the entire back of our Mazda 5! After the event, I came home with a few clothing items for Chance and me, and a rather realistic-looking doll for Nasko. The doll has been named "George" and has been quite a hit!

3. I've tried to keep the decluttering momentum going, and I've moved into spring cleaning! Slowly and steadily, I will regain control of this house...

4. Nasko is doing very well with school. He seems to be learning lots (he's been identifying letters and numbers more quickly and willingly!) and he's been handling social situations a bit better. Yesterday, he WANTED to go down and play near/with the neighbor kids. Previously when he was in school, he would shy away from the noise and the chaos. I hope this is just the beginning of the benefits of sending him back to public school. Also, he's developed a little crush on his teacher and claims he will marry her. So that's always a good sign, right?

5. I've been trying to keep up with my New Year's Resolutions. (I don't make those things lightly...) I'm not really heading in the right direction of getting 100 blog posts published by the end of the year, but my writing inspiration comes in waves... I'll try to write while the iron is currently hot. Also, I have been successful in reading more. The problem is, I read multiple books at once (one can only read so many pages on attaching in adoption before wanting to detach from this blessed world as a whole...) so it seems like I won't finish anything for a month, and then I finish three or four books in a week.

6. I'm currently reading an advance copy of Jen Hatmaker's new book (Uh yeah, you read that right. More on how the heck that happened in another post...) and I am loving it. I cannot wait for it to be released. Go ahead and just pre-order it. You won't regret it.

7. Toddlers. Oh my gosh. Who came up with the idea of having two of those at one time?! Tantrums and crying and snot and Sesame Street (because it minimizes the crying and snot) and poop and the struggle of sharing and the word "no." That's what my life can be boiled down to these days. Oh, and sweet kisses (but usually covered in snot).

8. I am loving this week's weather. It has been in the upper 50s and lower 60s. In my house, we are pretending it is summer. We've been grilling and playing outside. Edward has been mastering his Amtryke that we received free from Ambucs. His legs are getting much stronger!

9. Nasko is the child after my own heart, as he would live outside if it were possible. He's been begging to wear his flip flips everyday (we've compromised on Toms with no socks this week). He's also been counting down to a swimming field trip that his school is taking tomorrow. This morning though, a look of confusion crossed his face and I made him put on his jacket. He said, "Tomorrow swimming field trip. Mama. Too cold? All done? Make it hot pool?" Poor kid thought the swimming field trip was scheduled at an outdoor pool!

10. As you can tell from that exchange, Nasko's communication has taken a leap forward in the past month or so. It's fun because others around us are noticing as well. We believe this communication leap is related to the following:

During the "ugly" a couple months ago, we started making some changes to Nasko's life, to attempt to help him regain control. One major change was in his diet. I had read recently that kids with autism and other special needs have difficulty with gluten and casein (dairy). A friend suggested putting him on the diet that I have to eat and seeing what happens. I didn't WANT to, so I had been putting off this major change.

Finally in desperation, we started Nasko on his "new diet."  A few weeks in, I wondered if we were wasting our time. I hadn't noticed much of a difference. Then, we went to Scheels on a school holiday. Nasko was AWFUL. I left the store practically in tears because I could not control him. He kept running off (attempted to push a button to start the ferris wheel control panel, for example) and was in-general wild. When we came home and I promptly sent the child to his room to take a nap, I discovered multiple wrappers from Nutrigrain Bars. These bars contain both casein and gluten. Chance had a hidden stash of them, and Nasko had discovered them in the middle of the night. He had complained of a bad headache that morning as well, and now we think that it was all related.

From what I've read, gluten and casein can act just like opiates in the brain of a child with special needs. After chasing an insane Nasko through Scheels, I don't doubt that one bit. At one point, I got in his face to try to get him back under control, and by looking in his eyes, it was obvious that he had no idea what he was doing. I could hardly bear to see him like that.

Goodbye donuts and chocolate. Sorry, Nasko. Hello better speech and happier Mama.

11. Because misery loves company, we decided to try Edward on the gluten free diet as well. He's had MAJOR bowel issues since we picked him up in July, but cutting out dairy helped quite a bit. It did not completely solve the problem though, so we pushed forward with cutting out gluten. This change has helped tremendously. There is still something that sets his body off occasionally (soy? eggs? nuts?) but I'm living in denial because I do not want to cut any more foods out of our lives. I probably should start a food/poop journal (but again, denial).

12. Louis continues in his brainiac ways (I need to write about that soon too!) and has mastered his upper and lowercase letters in addition to his numbers 1-10. He keeps me on my toes as he is hungry for knowledge!

Thanks for hanging in there friends as I spewed my jumbled thoughts onto the World Wide Web...

Fun in the Sun

A Party From Three Years Ago