My baby made it, guess he isn’t a baby anymore.

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19 years ago today was when the best thing that has ever happened to me occurred. River was born a tiny little perfect person. Pink fingers and white hair and blue eyes that everyone said would change when he got older. It took us years to figure each other out. Me the stupid 17 year old kid who definitely didn’t have shit together and the baby that never liked  much. We couldn’t figure out breastfeeding, I couldn’t figure out how to do it all. His tummy seemed to always hurt, we still haven’t figured that part out. He cried and cried and cried, unless I popped in some social distortion and bopped around the apartment. He changed every moment of my life and every fiber of my being.

River has fought tooth and nail for most of his life. From the horrible “colic” he had as a baby, to the inability to connect with other little kids at 3, the getting constantly penalized in kindergarten for questioning the teacher, getting kicked out of first grade, 2nd grade and third grade for elopement and shutting down. Arrested at 8 because of abusive teachers aides who shouldn’t have had a job with children. It just kept going and going and he just got so lost under autisms weight.

Removing him from school and teaching him at home was a break through, though I could never have gotten my son back without the help of the amazing people at The Childrens Guild Easter Seals therapy program in Salem, OR. I hear they had to close their doors due to budget cuts, which breaks my heart. The program of intensive therapy for River, Me and us as a family unit was what saved us. Teaching me how to help him, teaching him how to help him. All the tools we needed were delivered. No, it was not a cure. We know he will always struggle, but the tools they taught him gave him the ability to live in a world that is unaccepting, unforgiving and gosh darn loud.

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I was told once that I should institutionalize my son. That his aggression would make him a danger to everyone around him. That he would never function as an adult, they said he had no chance of finishing school. They were wrong on all counts. River completed his last final of the year today. He is graduating High School on Thursday.

River still battles his autism. He still takes things rather literally and still has tics that appear when he is stressed. He is more sensitive than other kids at times and he can rarely fly off that handle when pushed. But now, he has the tools to confront those stressors. he knows how to slow his breathing and calm his bodies. He knows that home is safe and always will be.

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River volunteers every week at the local food bank and thrift store.  The experience he has gained from working there has helped him grow immensely. He goes in and works like it is a normal job. They understand him and his needs and they support and encourage him. He is corrected firmly and kindly when he struggles. He has learned how to handle the stress of a job, which gets him pretty close to other 19 year olds maybe even past some in my opinion.

Today, my baby boy. The child who saved my life, turns 19. He may not be ready to leave home and take on the world, but he proved all those jerks wrong. And that is pretty dang cool in my opinion.

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So thank you to Easter Seals. Thank you to the amazing teachers at LRA. Thank you to The Action Center. And thank you to every single person who has impacted our lives. We love you and we thank you.

Now if you are in the area and know us, come party at the park with us Saturday. This boy deserves to be celebrated.

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Where did we go?

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So, I wrote up a big post about how I wasn’t going to let people get to me. I said I was going to bring back my blog. Then I didn’t post again. So here is the deal.

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The day after I wrote that, my landlord showed up and informed me he was putting the house on the market. So I was once again preparing to be forced to move and find a suitable home for me and the boys. Of course I was devastated. As I covered last year, moving and uncertainty and autism do not mix. Plus River was devastated as he is graduating this year, this week now. I also did not want to bring all of that back onto the web and receive more criticism for the way I live.

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Recently my landlord changed his mind and asked us to stay. He asked if we would be willing to have a small rent increase if he pulled the house off of the market. I of course jumped on that. We can pay a little more each month, it won’t add much difficulty to our living situation. I am employed now and we are getting by.

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Choosing to live a life and share it with strangers is difficult. You open yourself up to criticism. I don’t have a thick skin. When things started falling down again, I pulled back. But we are back to good and that is where we shall stay. So thanks for sticking around and reaching out to those who asked after us. I will be here again. In fact I am writing a second blog as I write this one. 🙂 so…… Stay Tuned!

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Hello Strangers

Hello again. I know it has been a long time. The last seven months have been busy, emotional, wonderful and stressful. Ok so basically they have been normal. 🙂

We have settled into lives in the new house. The kids love the space and being so close to school and friends and the park. It has opened up more opportunities for our family and that has been nice. I have been so busy that half of what we own is still packed in the garage though.

Sky and I being goofy.

Sky and I being goofy.

I am going to be perfectly honest. I haven’t updated the blog in months mostly because of the wonderful commenter who tried to shame me. She failed in making me feel ashamed of asking for help. She did, however, make me want to pull back from opening myself to it happening again. That attitude was letting that persons poison win and I no longer want to do that. I need this blog. I need to be able to share my feelings, fears and pride with the world. Even if noone reads it. I need a place to put it. There is so much more to our lives that I can’t express at home.

So, moving right along. This is where we are.

River is in his senior year of high school. This has so many mixed emotions involved in it. He is struggling with realizing the school year is coming to an end. He loves his school and hates change, so I know how hard the end of the year will be. Also involved in this is preparing for public engagements.

River at the Vancouver Menorah lighting for Chanukah. The last time he had a highly successful public outing.

River at the Vancouver Menorah lighting for Chanukah. The last time he had a highly successful public outing.

Today he had a practice presentation for his senior project. He has to talk about volunteer work he did this year and its impact on his life. He came directly home from school very upset after his presentation. Instead of staying for the day of open studies, he made the choice to walk home and let himself decompress. Seeing him so overwhelmed is very hard. Public speaking is never going to be easy for him. Upside, he got through it. He said he broke down in tears a few times and got flustered, but he made it through. So this week I will be drilling him on it all week to get him really ready for the official presentation next week.

River has been going to youth group at the church on Wednesdays too. Which he chose to do on his own. He enjoys it, but admitted to me this week he doesn’t really talk to anyone there. I hate that he still has no friends no matter what I do. He just doesn’t know how to approach people or how to interact with people who approach him. He tries though and I couldn’t be more proud.

Mr. Man turned 18 last summer, so he got to vote.

Mr. Man turned 18 last summer, so he got to vote.

Sky is flourishing. He loves going to school and being with his friends. He has taken up writing fanfic and creating his own Minecraft skins and artwork. Sky joined 4H and is raising guinea pigs. He loves animals and enjoys getting to be around other kids. He is thinking about joining scouts with his best bud too.

Little dude got a new hair cut.

Little dude got a new hair cut.

Little dude still has alot of anxiety though. His health is still a problem that we are working on. That will probably always be the case though. The kid is tough though and I know my little fighter will come through it all.

As for me, I am still continuing my schooling. Getting good grades and trying not to get burned out. I am providing childcare full time for my friends two kids and that is alot of work.  I also am involved with my book club Fangirls Read It First. I review books, edit other members reviews and help run the public Facebook page. It is fun and a good outlet for me that has nothing to do with my kids. We all need something like that.

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So I aim to have this back up and regular. our little family will continue its growth. We won’t lose sight of our goals even when autism, money issues and life in general kick us down. We are fighters and we keep going.

Blessings

So, the house came through. The place that I thought we weren’t getting is ours. Papers signed and key in hand. We move in this weekend.

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The kids are very excited and much will need to be done to be ready. All the chaos brings its own level of stress especially for the little dude, but knowing that this will be over and settled soon makes it easier. We are so thankful to everyone for the prayers and support.

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Always Love,

Domoni

Having a night.

Feeling pretty defeated right now. The house hunt is not going well and time is ticking away. We had a place where the guy made me feel like I was going to get it but then tells me there is an applicant ahead of me and he approved them. I feel toyed with. And considering how I got into the house hunting situation that isn’t a great feeling.

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Our littlest Thalia will be going to her new home this week 😦 🙂

Our situation just sucks. It is near impossible to find someone who accepts cosigners. Apartments really don’t like it. I just don’t make enough money to do it alone though. I am starting to get really scared and desperate. We will probably end up living in the camper. That isn’t a horrible thing, except the age of the camper means parks wont accept it for monthly stays. So again we have to find somewhere to park it.

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Eph getting tired with his pup Lovely waiting on a house viewing that didn’t work out.

I am struggling to stay positive. The kids are having a hard time too. Ephraim has been crying off and on for the last hour and I can’t even figure out why. Today was pretty easy for him, he just hung out with Grandma, but now he is an emotional wreck headed for meltdown city.

Which is only going to get worse over the next few days. We are starting to thin the herd here. Yesterday I put word out to rehome our tortoise shell kitty and a friends grandma is going to be giving her a new home. Tonight, I have to put it out there to rehome Ephraim’s kitty stormy. He is not thrilled by this as you can guess. Every conversation we have had about that has gone very badly.  My parents are taking on the chickens, so that is at least one worry that I don’t have to deal with now. Eph was not a fan of getting rid of them wither. I hate having to break my kids hearts over and over again.

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these two have been near inseparable since we got her.

This whole thing just sucks. In less then a month, we will most likely be homeless. That is how it is looking right now. I am bouncing back and forth between anger and despair. This is not how children should be raised.

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Eph is pretty angry at me about having to let her go 😦

We had River’s social security review today. The transition over to his own file now that he is 18. I was pretty nervous about that, but it went well. Now we just have to wait and see if they are going to decide that because he is 18 his disability has suddenly disappeared, because yeah, that is how autism works didn’t you know.

We are still trying to figure out Ephraim’s disability and we just started the process of getting me approved to provide childcare for a friend. If that all goes smooth, I will actually have some money coming in and wont be so stuck. but of course I can’t make any of that happen before the deadline for moving is here. So it doesn’t really help right now.

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oh yay

I am tired of crying. I am just so tired. My birthday is in less the 2 weeks. So hey universe, could you please cut me a break.

Always Love,

Domoni

http://www.gofundme.com/Dreaming-of-home

Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Re-Evaluations Oh My!

As a mom, I feel so much for her. As a person, I wish I could offer her more then my support from afar. Maybe if you view my page you can pop over and send her some support too.

I Heart ASD

So here we are at the end of summer. School is about to start and we have come to a crossroad. Should we put our son in a private pre-k class, which is free, and see how things go or should we put him in a special education pre-k class in the public school system? Or should we go ahead and enroll him in kindergarten and have him placed in a special education class? Enrolling him in public school also means more evaluations.

We are afraid that in public school his abilities may be overlooked and his disabilities will be the main focus and attention of his teachers. On the other hand, we are afraid that if we put him in private pre-k his inability to focus will be too disruptive to the other students. The last thing we want is to put him in a situation that sets him…

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