Friday, December 10, 2010

Advent ponderings

"Prepare the way of the Lord!"  Depending on where you are at in time this phrase could have multiple meanings, The head of the house, the lord of the manor, the king of the country. For the past 2000 years it has a more significant meaning. In a little town a boy was born. His coming was foretold for many many years. But the people did not notice.

Some people in power were watching for Him, and thought they would set a trap. But he slipped through their fingers, and His parents found their way to a strange country, and there they hid. After a while they came back home, and the rest as they say is history. I am sure they had wonderful birthdays, nice simple little family get togethers, simple food, simple gifts. with always enough to go around.

Now when I look on how things are now I wish, hope, and pray that my kids will understand a nice simple little Christmas. Now when we were first married we did not have alot.. of kids that is... or money for that fact, but we were able to make gifts for all of our family by hand, we took inexpensive plastic wine glasses and filled them with candy. We made picture frames, and I foud an artist fungus ( I was working in the field at that time) and I traced an animal on it. But now after years of "rich" Christmases we are about to hit one that will have to be a simple one.

I guess I could rage, rage, against the machine. But I don't think so. Now having 7 kids this is going to be a minor miracle for us to pull off. But I have faith that we will be able to keep everything going. Don't judge me because we are fortunate to have 4 of our 7 kids on the Autism spectrum and will be able to "fool" them with small gifts in big boxes. We will be scouring the used bins are our favorite video game store, and we will probably be burning mix cd's of their favorite kids tunes in my ITunes library. But this leaves us in a bind for our older typical kids, but I guess the older 2 will be happy to have tuitions paid or cosigned for for the next semester. Ok I am going to rant not but rage against the machine a little here. Colleges cost too much. There I said it, also FAFSA is a joke. I mean my wife and I are making a fantastic living according to the Federal Government, and according to their messed up calculations we are able to afford 20,000 dollars plus for our 2 oldests kids to attend the colleges of their choices. Now we will never deny our kids the choice of the school they want to attend, heck I went to one of the most expensive schools out there for Forestry.

Well I guess I have babbled on for long enough... As this advent season progresses please remember that Christmas begins on December 25.

Friday, November 26, 2010


For my friends who follow me on Face Book you saw my post about what I am thankful for, my God, my wife, my kids, my family, & my country in that order. And it is the truth. Also I posted pics of what I was cooking there.

Our day of thanks was full of lots of fun, cooking, caring and sharing. We were blessed with having all 7 of our kids at home (for most of the day). Turkey went into the oven a little late but it was fully defrosted and I did not have to give it multiple cold water baths before popping it into the oven.  Now I had forgotten to pick up my supply of Bell's Seasonings  which I use for every turkey I cook so the improv was on.... fortunately I had a different seasoning packet available which I used for the bird & the gravy stock. Next came the sweet potatoes & apples, then the stuffing, and then the green bean casserole. Now my wonderful wife had made the final grocery dash on Wednesday but was unable to find any cranberry sauce... don't worry we got the last 2 cans from our local convenience store, but she did pick up a bag of fresh cranberries, and I actually made home made cranberry sauce. In the mean time my youngest daughter made 2 cheese cakes and I had made a blueberry crumb pie the night before, so dessert was covered. All through the cooking Peter kept coming into the kitchen and announcing "Happy Thanksgiving, is the turkey ready? "  So then I made the rolls and Lynn made the mashed potatoes ( I do not make mashed potatoes as good as she does) and the bird was ready! I set it on the platter to rest under the turkey tent and I went to making gravy. Get the table ready and lets eat. Well let me tell you this was one extra special and fun Thanksgiving, great food, fun dinner conversation, lots of laughter.

Now I have to wonder how long this will last. 1, 2, 3 more years. It kind of sucks when your kids grow up. They don't seem to need you any more. But that means we did our job right... right?

And the answer to that is a resounding YES! I am VERY, VERY, VERY, proud and thankful for my older children. In this world where your kids are lured and swayed by so many outside influences, I am happy to report that my older kids keep surprising me with how "good" they are. Let's just say my wife and I (to a small extent) have done well. And for that I am really, really, thankful.

I love that my self taught cooking skills and the ones passed on to me from my Mom, Grammy, & my Dad, can be used to bring my family to the table to enjoy what the Creator has made possible.

God bless all of you that read this. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh yeah we are wired differently

As I check the latest news on the web I come across a headline that grabs my attention...."Gene associated with Autism may alter how brain functions".

WOW!!!!! Glad the scientific world is catching up with the parents in this instance. I know that seems a little bitter but as most of us on the inside of Autism know our kids have are wired differently than our "neuro-typical" kids.

Now this gene is present in many people through out the world that do not show signs of ASD but may have had some other learning issues through out their lives.

Ok I am done venting, so let's look a little closer at what the gene actually does. The CNTNAP2 gene is the gene that is associated with a higher risk of ASD, but it also ADHD, Tourette's, Schizophrenia, and other language issues. Now in the frontal lobe the brain functions that reside there are motor skills, language recognition and other learning functions. What the study is showing is the frontal lobe may be"over wired".  I guess that this could lead to sensory and information overload on a scale that we can not imagine, and that our kids can not explain. Which would be an explanation regarding some of the meltdowns we see.

Now that we have some confirmation to what we have always expected how can we use this information to bring our children out of their shells, what new methods of teaching can we learn from them to help them to adjust to our world with out retreating into theirs. One way that is available to us in this day and age is the technology advances that are available to us. The computer and it's close relations ( Ipod, Ipad, PDA, Gameboys et al) are proving to be a great way for our kids to learn and communicate with us. My 9 year old is currently using a web based typing program from the BBC called Dance Mat Typing . It is free on the web and teaches them in a very soft way on using proper keyboarding techniques. This is a great way for our kids to learn to put on "paper" what they are thinking. Another great tool that we have found is the IPod Touch, you may think that this is just a fancy music player that can play games, and yes it is that and so much more. Now the wonderful people at have developed applications for use on the touch screen hand held devices that are changing PECS programs with their application IPrompts, you can create your own picture stories, choice tables, schedules, and countdown programs to assist you child in learning their routine, making and communicating their choices, and much more. We purchased it for our "1st" grader for his school IPod Touch. Another great function we have found with this tool is the ability to use it to redirect and entertain our kids on long car trips, you can and I have down loaded feature length films and TV episodes for a fairly reasonable price at the ITunes store.  A word of caution here for your ITunes store account, make sure you are using a password that the kids do not know or can figure out, otherwise you may find receipts in your email for all the seasons of their favorite TV show.

Now with the current pace of technology I am very hopeful regarding the future of our kids and how we can help them adapt to our world much easier than they ever were able to in the past.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Second shift, second thoughts...

Did you ever do something that you thought would be good for your family, but as time goes by it starts to tarnish and it actually begins to be detrimental to your family and starts to wear on you also. Now I have always been a bit of a night owl, I have always been

able to be up late going to sleep sometimes as late as 3 or 4 in the morning and getting up the next day and functioning at or above par. This has come in very handy especially with our 7 kids, being able to burn the midnight oil if they were fussy or if my wife needed a good night sleep. I am no hero but there is something nice about sitting up with your kids watching a late baseball game or a particularly good movie, or reading them a story until they crashed in my lap on the recliner with me following soon after, waking up a few hours later with a stiff neck and sore ankles ( long legs feet always hand over the foot rest of the recliners) and crawling off to bed.

About a month ago I agreed to start working the second shift at my job, a little more money and a ton less BS than the day shift. And the quiet, oh how I love the quiet. I do my job, listen to my pod casts, and the 8 hours were flying by until the new school year started, and all of the kids are out of the house by 8:30 am and I get to take a nap, but I am finding it harder to get up and get going on the projects I have planned. I even skipped a job interview today, I hope I will be able to reschedule it but if not, shame on me. But the biggest issue is my kids, they miss me and I miss them so much it hurts. Now 4 of my kids at home now have Autism like I have explained before, and they don't really understand why I am not here just that I am not here. And it is really really putting a hurt on my wife. These are things that I just can not abide with, so In the future you will find that I will either be back on first shift at my current job or I will be with a different company. Please keep me in your prayers while I discern what path God wants me to follow, and thanks.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I know it is not fall yet but my 9 year old Peter,ever the observant one, has declared it officially fall because it is September. This is also while he is stripping down to his skivvies and asking to go in the pool, which he did at least 4 times today. Now I know that with his incredible memory Pete will go places, but currently I am ever surprised at what the boy comes out with. He will make wonderfully cute comments like "now I can think like a girl" from The Fairly Odd Parents cartoon, as we are walking into a store. But tonight he just once again blew my doors off by asking me a question when I came home for dinner. I was at this computer looking up something for my wife Lynn, and while I was searching I brought up my Itunes and checked for new podcasts, he walked over to me and asked if I was looking for "have mercy on us, and on the whole world". Now I have 2 Divine Mercy pod casts in my Itunes feed, but he does not know that the line comes from the chaplet. I did once have EWTN on when they were showing some of their children's programming and I think one of the shows was about the Divine Mercy, but.... that was 5 months ago. I do know if you walk into my house and say" For the sake of His sorrowful Passion" you will get the response " Have mercy on us and the whole world". Now I have been growing in my devotion to the Divine Mercy from Jesus through St Faustina and will be looking for ways to bring it further into my home. As St. Faustina said "Jesus I trust in You."
Have a nice Labor day every one, we are off to my parents house to celebrate their anniversary.

Friday, August 20, 2010

1 week to go.

One week from today ( it is Friday now) will be one of the hardest days in a parent's life. Dropping a child off for the first time at college. At least we don't have to put him on a plane, alone to fly to the other side of the country. How do you get the mini fridge there? But that is a different problem. Now as a family that has a little autism in the house this is gonna be a MAJOR change. Our first diagnosed Peter (HFA) has attached to Kevin and will be the one that notices the change the most. Remember Kevin made the dinner last night? Well Peter saw what he was doing and asked Kevin what he was doing, & he was told that he was cooking dinner on the grill and Peter said "oh you are a Dad now". Well that is the kind of wisdom that Peter is known too come out with allot.
But back to the issue at hand,my son is off to college in 1 week and we are soooo not ready. Fortunately we have friends & family near by so we have that going for us! Well the DVR is calling and the ball game is on so good night.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

August 2010

Well here I am keeping the semi-annual blog going... been so long I forgot my password. Well seems I have got that figured out. Since my last post 15 months ago I am the happy owner of an Ipod Touch, keeping me sane at work, really, really, really would like an Ipad, but as my Gram would say " if wishes were horses, beggars would ride". All too true, but isn't is sooooo pretty.
I am now on 2nd shift 3 to 11:30 so during baseball season I am getting great use out of my DVR s don't tell me who won! 2nd shift has some other complications that have come up, like who is making what for dinner. Most days I am able to get dinner started before I leave for work, today though I had our oldest son Kevin make the entire dinner. A nice London Broil cut cooked o the grill, his first, he stared the charcoal, prepped the "steak" and cooked it, although with a couple of texts from me. He also make a side dish and dinner was on the table at 6:05. Yum!
Well ballgame is on, need to pay a little more attention to it. See you all soon