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Monday, April 1, 2013

A: Autism Awareness

Welcome to day one of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. The timing is perfect because tomorrow is World Autism Awareness Day. I have shared on this blog before that my 13-year-old son has Asperger's Syndrome. His case if fairly mild but it affects us every single day. We have years of therapy ahead of us but we are very fortunate that his future looks bright; he will most likely live independently with a career and family.

He was diagnosed two years ago and up until then I knew something wasn't quite right but couldn't find the help we needed. There is a general lack of understanding out there for children who have autism, especially the milder cases. My son is not severe enough to require special education services but he also can't handle being in a regular classroom (I am finally homeschooling him). A last minute change in plans can lead to a meltdown most people would only expect from a toddler. He does not have friends. Kids generally like him because he is hilarious but he doesn't know how to interact with them. He is very black and white. I once snuck candy into the movie theater and he cried because I was breaking the law and freaked out to the point I had to take the candy back out to the car. There are many people who question my parenting decisions but it comes down to choosing my battles. They don't live with him and they don't know the little things that can set him off and ruin his day.

There have been many times when I felt hopeless and like he would never find peace and happiness. We have been truly blessed with the resources available to us since we moved and I feel hopeful. Hope is a powerful thing and I want every parent to have hope.

What can you do? Light It Up Blue in one of the following ways:
  • Learn about Autism
  • Wear blue tomorrow (April 2) in support of Autism awareness
  • Click on the button below to learn more about Autism, make a donation, and/or purchase items that support Autism research
  • Purchase Austism Speaks blue light bulbs from Home Depot
  • Purchase blue LED lanterns from Coleman.com
  • Spread awareness
  • Be understanding

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blogging From A to Z April Challenge

As a reminder, please look for me at www.writtenbydonna.com from now on. Thank you.
I've decided that the way to cure my lack of blogging motivation is to jump right in and post every day for the month of April (except for Sundays). A baptism by fire of sorts. Each day will be a new letter (in chronological order) and the topic of the day will start with that letter. My theme is going to be...
My life.
Generic, yes? I figure I know my own life better than anyone else and more than any other topic. The majority will still probably be writing related. So, I look forward to seeing you all here on April 1.
As a treat for today I am leaving you with my favorite alphabet song ever to get you in an alphabet state of mind.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Moving Time

I am moving my blog. I'm sorry for any inconvenience. This site will automatically redirect to my new site. I will continue to update both for a while to accommodate any of you subscribing via this current feed.

Please change everything to www.writtenbydonna.com. Thank you!

That's Inconceivable

True Story #1: We bought a used car a couple years ago. This car came with Sirius radio already running. We had no idea how long we would have this service. Would it be a year? Two days? A lifetime? So we just went on our merry little way waiting for the ball to drop. But day after day I would get in my car and my beautiful Sirius radio still played for me. Until the day I needed it most. My husband had already deployed and I had flown back to Texas to move my household goods into storage and pick up our car. The drive from Texas to Utah is about twenty-two hours. And I was completely alone. I was one hour into the trip when the radio stopped and told me that I needed to subscribe. Seriously. One hour into a twenty-two hour trip. Through parts of the country that have zero radio stations. Fortunately I have a smartphone and I pulled over to a gas station and subscribed right then and there.

True Story #2: About three years ago my husband was deployed (do you see a trend here?). It was December 18 and I was living in Utah. He was supposed to be getting home on December 21. But home was Fort Hood, Texas. The kids and I were going to move back down to Texas on the 19th and hope to beat him there. We already had a house down there because I had gone down a month before to make sure we had a place to live. My sister-in-law, Ruth, was going to take me to lunch. She came to get me and I went out to meet here. As I walked across the yard I realized that I forgot teacher gifts in the house. So I turned around to get them out. I slipped in the mud, slid into the concrete step, tore my pants apart, cut my knee up and felt excruciating pain in my ankle. I had sprained the same ankle about six months earlier so I thought I had just done the same thing.
     Ruth offered to take me to the hospital but I was hungry. I wanted lunch. So I went inside and changed and then went out to the car. During this whole time I could not put any weight on my right leg without feeling like blurting out a million swear words. About halfway into town (we have to drive to "town" to go out to eat) the pain got so bad that I told her just to take me to the hospital. She obliged and I found out I had broken my ankle in two places requiring surgery. I cried and pled to please let me go to Texas and have the surgery there because my husband was coming home and I couldn't let him come home to an empty house. They explained that because of the type of break I could not wait. One wrong move and my leg would completely pop out of the socket.
     So I had surgery on December 19. I have a heart condition so they wanted to keep me overnight. But they overdosed me on my heart medicine while I was in the hospital. Instead of my usual 25mg they gave me 250mg. so I had to stay in the hospital two nights for an outpatient procedure. So it was now December 21 and I was supposed to be in Texas that day. But my husband called and his flight had been delayed until December 24. Yay! I could still make it. The doctors were worried about the risk of blood clots from me traveling so far so soon. I cried and I pled to please let me go to Texas so they gave me shots that I had to inject into my stomach. I hate needles. But I did it.
     I went back and watched everybody else pack up my house and do all the work for me and then my parents, my kids and I started the journey. And we made it about two hours before I got so sick I thought I was going to die. There was an ambulance ride. And dehydration. And C. diff (which I won't detail because it is gross). And doctors telling me I shouldn't be in a car for that long. But I cried and pled to please let me go to Texas. We compromised by staying in a hotel that night to make sure I got better. My husband was delayed too and wouldn't be there until the 25th.
     Then we hit Texas, which had been hit by a huge ice storm. We were driving on solid sheets of ice. It was awful. We woke up Christmas morning in a motel in Lubbock, Texas with no gifts, not stocking, no tree. I felt like the worst mother ever. But my kids were going to get their dad for Christmas so we continued on. We eventually made it to my house at about 6pm and my husband made it home at about 1am. We made it before he did. And it was wonderful (at least I think it was - I was pretty heavily medicated).

What is the point of these two stories? Sometimes when I'm reading a book so much crap is getting thrown at a character that I get fed up and just want to scream, "That much bad stuff doesn't happen to one person!" I feel like the author, in an effort to create conflict, just throws every bad scenario at a character and hopes we will go along for the ride. Yes, there is conflict in life. Yes, sometimes it comes down heavy. But if there is too much it becomes ridiculous instead of believable. I would not believe my two true stories if I had not lived them.

So, how do we balance creating conflict without creating an unbelievable level of conflict? Any ideas?

Also, to go along with the title of my post, you should totally check this out: 17 Things the Princess Bride Taught Me About Autism Parenting

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Um, Yeah

I didn't do too well with my goal of posting here once a week. Maybe I should aim for twice a month instead. Or just not make a goal and post when I have time.

Since I last posted life has been crazy. I have never been this unmotivated to pack and get my house in order after a move. Usually by now everything is out of boxes and put away and pictures and curtains are properly hung. This time I have only unpacked the basics and I am surrounded by chaos and crap (future band name: Chaos and Crap?). I am going to get it done this week though. I said it in public now I must get it done.

To add to the craziness I decided to start homeschooling my 13-year-old son. My daughter is still in public school so I have two schedules to work out. My son has Aspergers and has been bullied his whole school life. It was already starting here and he just couldn't cope anymore so we decided to pull him out and try this for a while. So far it is going really well. He has much less anxiety. However, it means I have much less free time. I have not written in over a week and I need to polish my first chapter for the LDS Storymakers first chapter contest. I only have ten days to get it ready for submission.

Overall, I just need to organize my life and my brain and all will be good. If any of you have some extra energy or motivation, please send it this way.

Once again, I hope I am back here next week with a post that doesn't involve complaining. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


It has been a while since I have been here. What has happened in the last two months? Well, we spent a month and half in Utah before moving and we are currently living in a house full of boxes that need attention from me. I hate unpacking even more than I hate packing. I am too much of a perfectionist and I spend too much time thinking about the exact placement of everything I own. So it takes a while to get settled. Plus my husband was home from November 3 until January 15. He has never taken more than two weeks off of work. To say that this was a little too much together time would be an understatement. I love that guy but I need my space, my quiet, and my writing time.

What's in store for 2013 around here? Well, my goal is to write a blog post every Tuesday. We will see how long that lasts. Also, that women's fiction I have been working on? I need a break from it for a little bit. Instead I'm going to be working on a middle grade fantasy. This is a book I feel like I need to write for my kids and so it is more of a priority. It is the one that is haunting me at night and calling to me all the time! I may peek in on the women's fiction if the mood hits but it is at the point where I need to step away to appreciate it again.

Anyway, that is my quick update. I will hopefully be back next week.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happy Belated Captcha Craptcha Day!

A while back I read about Shelly's hate of the dreaded captcha. You know, those annoying little "words" to prove you are a human on websites? Yeah, those. I hate them too so I knew I had to be involved in her blog hop. However, I did not count on how busy I would actually be this week so I didn't get around to posting in time. But I am here now. If you want information about how to remove captcha from your blog visit Shelly here.

So, my husband got back from a year-long deployment 11 days ago. I left the kids with my parents and came down to meet him. At first it seemed like it would be really fun, kind of like a second honeymoon. Well, we were partly right. It has been fun. But I miss my kids and my husband still has to work and we have been running errands like crazy. I'm still just so glad he is back. Now I just can't wait until we are all together again under the same roof.

Part of what we have had to do is deal with this:

When a soldier arrives at a new duty station the Army issues a bunch of crap to them. Then when it is time to leave they have to find all that crap and turn it back in. So we have been going through bags and digging through our storage unit to find all the missing pieces. We have found most but we are still missing a few items (among them a pair of cold weather pants worth $350 - yowzer). The best thing about all these items is that they use their own kind of captcha system. They call these things horribly odd names with item numbers that don't make sense. So we get a 4-page list of items with odd names and item numbers and then we need to find all that stuff. Well the items aren't always marked and if they are they aren't marked the same as on the list. And then we have to clean it. And then we have to go stand in line for hours to turn it in (well he goes and stands in line for hours while I read and nap in the car).  It is fun stuff. And it has taken many days. And I'm sick of it. But we are almost done and then things will be better and I will have time to write and blog again.
Until then, just say no to the captcha.