7 Quick Takes Friday - January 28, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. Thank you all again for your supportive comments to my last post. I plan to head to our local library this weekend and get some more resources on autism (the Sears parenting library has an autism book, yay!). Knowledge is power, and I'm feeling a bit better about things now that I've done some research. More good news is that Elanor has already met one of her physical therapy goals -- her PT called me yesterday to let me know. Go Elanor!

2. My grandma Violet arrived safely for her annual winter visit (although she got the time of her flight wrong and almost didn't make it -- eep!). The kids love having her with us, and I appreciate that she distracts them for me. :) I've actually managed to cook dinner four nights in a row! I think that's some kind of record for me.

3. Speaking of dinner, I have a fabulous recipe for fresh green beans that is always a hit at our house (at least with Collin and I -- the kids, of course, will barely touch them. I made them last night for Grandma Violet, though, and she loved them as well). I probably make it once a week: Seasoned Green Beans. I buy fresh green beans and make them with a steamer basket. They are so incredibly yummy!

4. We went to the Phoenix March for Life last Sunday and had a great time. The weather was sunny, but windy. We went to the Mass for Life at St. Francis Xavier and then walked from there to the Steele Indian School Park, where the pro-life rally was held. There were lots of great speakers! Afterwards, we met Bishop Olmsted. What a wonderful man. He blessed our children and then said to those standing around us, "The family is the nucleus -- this is what it's all about." I told him that we also had two children lost to miscarriage who were in heaven praying for us, and he hugged me and said, "Yes. Yes, they are!" It was a great moment.

5. I read "Unplanned" by Abby Johnson a few days ago. I started reading it before bed and stayed up past midnight to finish it -- I just couldn't put it down. It's a great book and I think she treats both sides of the debate very fairly.

6. I received a belated Christmas present from a friend a few days ago that included a $15 gift card to Amazon.com. I used it to buy the Tangled soundtrack, and I still had about $7 left so I started browsing for another album to purchase. I found Put on a Happy Face by Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastix. What a great album! Dick Van Dyke, acappella music, and Disney songs; what more can a person ask for?? Plus, it's very family friendly. I love it!

7. I am, come hell or high water, going to mail out Christmas presents this weekend. I have put it off way too long. (I made an iPhoto slideshow to include with all the gifts in lieu of Christmas cards, and haven't had the chance to export it to iMovie and burn DVD copies yet. But I AM going to do it tonight, by George.) We're going to go have dinner tomorrow with Collin's paternal grandparents and I want to give them a copy, so it will be good incentive to get it done.

My daughter has autism.

I think I'm ready to blog about this now.

We had another meeting with the special education department at Elanor's school last Friday. They've been testing her for the last few weeks, and the meeting was to go over the results of their tests. The final diagnosis, given her global delays and other signs, was autism (mild to moderate).


I have to admit, I got weepy. It wasn't exactly a shock, as they'd mentioned the possibility at our previous meeting, but it was sort of hard to swallow.

The good news is that they said she was very bright and lovable, and kept reiterating what a joy she was to work with. They're confident that she will make excellent progress once she starts special ed classes (she will be pulled from her regular classroom for 90 min/day for academic assistance and speech therapy, and she'll also be getting some physical and occupational therapy, about 30 min/week).

Now, a request: I know next to nothing about autism and I'm looking for resources. Specifically, if there are any Catholic resources, I'd love to know about them. I feel much more in control of a situation if I've educated myself about it. I've scoured our library's digital catalog and have a list to take with me to the library this weekend, but I'd appreciate recommendations as I don't really know what's reliable and what's not at this point.

For the record, I've already decided to disregard pretty much everything Jenny McCarthy has written. There may be a link between vaccines and autism, but I tend toward thinking the link is due to aborted fetal stem cells and not thimerosal. On the other hand, we have refused all vaccines made with aborted fetal stem cells since the day Elanor was born. I think she might have gotten one by accident at some point, but by and large she hasn't received any. She's never had the MMR, for instance, since Rubella is one of the unethical vaccines. Yet, she has autism.

I'm sure there's a genetic component. I know next to nothing about genetics, but I wonder if a history of mental illness in the family (which we have, in spades -- Collin has bipolar disorder, for example) predisposes someone to autism. As far as I know there aren't any other cases of autism in either of our families, but, as Collin pointed out, there are a lot of autistic tendencies -- and who knows about relatives who may have had it back when it was infrequently diagnosed?

I have to admit I'm rather grateful we're not homeschooling because I simply would not feel equipped to help Elanor in the way that she needs. I'm thankful that she goes to a good school with a very competent special education staff.

At any rate, please pray for us as we embark on this new journey with apprehension but with faith and trust in God. I know He will be with us every step of the way.

7 Quick Takes Friday - Pro-Life Edition

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. It's "Ask Them What They Mean By Choice" Blog Day! Please participate if you can. There are several other pro-life activities this weekend, including Marches for Life on both coasts as well as the Phoenix March for Life, which I plan to attend. In the spirit of the day, I'd like to present some of the best "choices" I ever made.

2. Elanor Mary at 9 weeks, 6 days:

3. Elanor Mary at 20 weeks:

4. William Joseph at 8 weeks (it was an abdominal ultrasound, so you can barely make out the little peanut, but he's there!):

5. William Joseph at 20 weeks:

6. Violet Elizabeth at 8 weeks:

7. Violet Elizabeth at 20 weeks:

7 Quick Takes Friday - Jan 14, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. First I was sick, then the kids were all sick, then Collin was sick, and now Elanor's sick again. Can we get a break??

2. My work has implemented more flexible scheduling, a Godsend considering the above. In exchange we're all pitching in to do a bit more overtime, but that's a fair trade-off -- especially if it leads to even more flexible scheduling (e.g., being able to work from home a few days per week).

3. I think I'm ready to bite the bullet and get one of those automatic litter boxes. I just keep forgetting to clean the cat's until it's too late and she's gone ahead and pooped on our carpet. (Bad of me, I know...) I'm thinking of this one, if I can convince Collin to spend that much on a litter box.

4. I can't wait to get and read Unplanned! I'll probably order it on Monday, when I get paid.

5. We're also planning on going to the Phoenix March for Life Rally on the same Sunday my grandma arrives (convenient, as we need to go to that part of town that evening to pick her up from the airport).

6. Re: the above, my grandma Violet arrives for her annual winter visit next week! I can't wait!! The challenge will be getting the house clean before she gets here, especially with sick kids. Our Lady of Perpetual Laundry, pray for me... ;)

7. Uh oh, baby's crying, better end it with my favorite picture from Disneyland:

Have a great weekend!

Six years ago today...

...at 12:20pm (CST):

Can't believe she's six already! I wrote a post in her honor at the Catholic Phoenix blog.

Prayers for Peace

I am saddened and deeply troubled by the recent shooting deaths in Tucson, Arizona. My heart goes out to all the injured, and to the families of the victims killed. I especially pray that Congresswoman Giffords is able to overcome her injuries and fully recover.

There are several articles over at the Catholic Phoenix that are well worth reading:

The Political Evil of the Tucson Shooting and the Political Courage that Must Meet It

Judge John Roll: God doesn’t bring you to a point in order to abandon you.

As difficult as it is, I also pray for the gunman and any accomplices he had. May they come to realize that hate is a festering wound further exacerbated by the poison of violence. May they come to know peace, goodness, and God's love, and come to repent of the crimes they committed yesterday. May they receive the justice they so richly deserve.

In that spirit I offer these two prayers for peace.

Prayer for Peace by Pope John XXIII

Lord Jesus Christ, who are called the Prince of Peace, who are yourself our peace and reconciliation, who so often said, "Peace to you," grant us peace. Make all men and women witnesses of truth, justice and brotherly love. Banish from their hearts whatever might endanger peace. Enlighten our rulers that they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace. May all peoples on the earth become as brothers and sisters. May longed-for peace blossom forth and reign always over us all. Amen.

Prayer for Peace by Pope John Paul II

O God, Creator of the universe, who extends your paternal concern over every creature and guides the events of history in the goal of salvation, we acknowledge your fatherly love when you break the resistance of mankind and, in a world torn by strife and discord, you make us ready for reconciliation. Renew for us the wonders of your mercy: send forth your Spirit that He may work in the intimacy of hearts, that enemies may begin to dialogue, that adversaries may shake hands and peoples may encounter one another in harmony. May all commit themselves to the sincere search for true peace which will extinguish all arguments, for charity which overcomes hatred, for pardon which disarms revenge. Amen.

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