"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

Friday, October 21, 2011

City Dog, Country Frog

The week before starting our school year we did a cute project with our friend Princess, that I wanted to share with all of you.
I try to get Sassy and Peanut to the library at least once a month.  It's a good time to socialize with other kids, as well as learn about borrowing and returning books, and how the library works.  They both get to pick out one book to borrow.  The first week we went to the library, Peanut chose a book called, "City Dog, Country Frog."  The book is written by Mo Willems and illustrated by John J Muth.

This is a great story about "City Dog" who moves to the country and meets "Country Frog".  They become friends and teach each other different games they like to play together. (I won't tell you the rest...I don't want to spoil it!)  This is a great story for my children because it teaches them about friendships and sharing interests with others.  We all loved the story and we ended up reading it every day that week (and sometimes twice!).

On Wednesday when Princess came over to play we decided to make our own City Dogs and Country Frogs.  I had found a cute craft on DTLK Kids to make paper bag animal puppets.  We made frogs and Dogs, and then played with them!
Here are the kids painting their frogs.

This is Peanut and Sassy's finished Dogs and Frogs
The kids all had fun making this craft.  They got to paint, and glue.  The only problem was they wanted to play with them as soon as they made them, but the paint was still wet!  What did I do?  I kept them busy with a snack and a movie and I went to work carefully (VERY Carefully) drying the puppets with a hair dryer!  Needless to say, the kids were very happy they were able to play with their puppets once their movie was done.  I hope you have fun with this book as much as we did!!

God Bless,
Mommy Provost

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Our piece to the puzzle.

It was a pretty grey looking day in late August.  The clouds were all but covering the sun.  I pulled our minivan up to the first available parking spot in our church's parking lot and started to unload the two kids.
My husband works on the Media Team at church and usually leaves the house an hour or so before we do, so I am usually on my own with the kids.  I get Peanut out of the car first, because he is much easier to manage in a parking lot.  As I was unstrapping Sassy, while keeping sight of Peanut in the corner of my eye, I heard him make a little gasping noise and then he disappeared from my immediate vision.  I quickly clipped Sassy back in and turned in Peanuts general direction.

He was crouched on the ground looking closely at something on the pavement.  I reacted quickly, because he occasionally still has issues with Pica.  He usually is crouched down in this manner to find a little something on the ground to put in his mouth.  I bent down and prompted him to stand up.

"Mama!" He said in an excited tone.  "My piece!"

"What?" I asked

"My puzzle piece!  It's the missing piece to my puzzle!"

I looked down as he opened his small hand to reveal a puzzle piece colored in different shades of blue.
The whole thing took me by surprise, and at first I didn't know how to respond.  I felt like there was something almost profound occurring.

"Yeah! It's my missing puzzle piece!  You found it mama!  Oh thank-you!"

Peanut then lunged forward and wrapped his arms around my waist squeezing tight.  He looked up right at me making eye contact only a mother engrossed in the world of Autism can truly appreciate and asked,
 "Can I take it with me?  I'll keep it in my pocket."

"Sure you can." I said.  "Just be careful not to loose it."

Before he picked it up off the ground, I stopped him and told him we should take a picture of it.  He agreed and I used my phone to snap a quick picture.  He flashed me a big smile, picked it up, and tucked the puzzle piece in his pocket.  We went on with our day, business as usual.  That night I sat and thought about the irony of my son telling me that I had found the missing piece to his puzzle.

Autism is a very complex disorder, and is very different from person to person.  There are many challenges to overcome, and many people use a puzzle, and sometimes more specifically the puzzle piece, as a symbol of the disorder.  There are many pieces to one person's puzzle.  Autism for one person is different from another.  There is varying levels of function, which can be very deceiving.  Some people with Autism may be considered "high functioning" but are never able to live by themselves, because of a difficulty in another area of their lives, such as safety awareness.  As you can see, when it comes to Autism, there are many pieces to the puzzle.

We accept both of our children as the perfect creations of God that they are, but we also want the best for them.  In order for us to achieve that, we need to help them reach their full potential, just like any other parent.  Our hope just may be a little different from the "typical" family.  Instead of hoping my child grows up to be a Doctor or a Lawyer, I dream that both of my children can live on their own and care for themselves when my husband and I are gone.  For me, this means we need to figure out the missing pieces to our children's puzzles.  That involves helping them to be as healthy as possible.  Autism is not just a neurological disorder, but is also a biological disorder, causing issues with bowel function, immune system function and energy production to cells.  This is why we utilize the expertise of a DAN! doctor and bring them to a chiropractor.  Our children now suffer from less bowel issues and pain and can focus their energy on their therapies to teach them how to talk, socialize, and learn important life skills.

The blue colors in this puzzle piece speak volumes to me.  According to Living Arts Originals, the color blue has many meanings.  Wearing blue can symbolize a person as living an analytical and practical life (Autism anyone?). In art, blue is used to show perspective, and is considered calming.  The missing piece to the puzzle, would in fact relax us because we would know that everything would be okay with our children.  It would definitely give us perspective.

Blue is also associated with freedom and strength.  Our strength and freedom come from God.  Without him we would be nothing.  Without him, we couldn't be successful on our journey.  Knowing this, I think God let me find this piece to the puzzle for a reason.  Finding it, gave me a new perspective.  Our hope, our strength, our peace and our future, needs to come from God and nowhere else.  God has the missing piece needed, we just need to get out of the way and allow him to to place it in our puzzle.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."      
Philippians 4:6-7

Monday, October 10, 2011

When Peace Comes in the Rain

I felt a small twinge of guilt as soon as I sat in the drivers seat of my husbands car.  Every time I leave my children, even if for an hour, a small part of me is filled with worry.  I miss them; I just want to hug them, to hold them, to hear them, to smell them, to remind them that I love them.  I knew that on that day what was best for them, was for me to be gone.  They were with Daddy.  He had his instructions for therapy and school activities and I felt confident he would carry them out just as asked.  Now that I have taken on virtually every aspect of our children’s care and development, we (my husband and I) had decided we needed to make “Mommy Days” more frequent.  Mommy day is a day where mommy is banned from the house to go off and do something else not child oriented.  My last mommy day had been last December, and was cut short due to another one of Peanuts high fevers.  I have already learned the valuable lesson that if I am to care for my children to the best of my ability, then I need to first take care of myself and so off I went in search of relaxation.
 It was nice to be driving a car instead of a minivan.  It was much more comfortable and almost “normal” feeling.  Driving in the car alone, for me, is therapeutic.  I can put the music I like on as loud or as soft as I want and I can sing to my heart’s content.   I approached the highway and I relaxed back into the seat and turned the music up.  As I drove towards my most beloved place on the planet, the grey sky began to open up and the rain began to fall.  It has rained on every Mommy day I had ever taken and every time it is disappointing that I can’t get clear skies on “my day”. 
This time, I decided I wasn’t going to let the rain effect me.  If it rains, it rains.  I’m going to make the best of it.  The rain began to fall even harder and I ignored it and pressed through.   I was able to find my way up to the coast with only one phone call to my husband for directions.  The rain began to lighten as I rounded a corner and I opened both windows.  The smell of the salty air filled my lungs and I could feel my stress just melt away from my soul.  I parked the car, sat back, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath.  The overpowering roar of the ocean filled my ears.  With each exhale, all that pressure I had sitting on my shoulders fell away.  I was at peace.
The ocean is my friend.  I can remember as a little girl coming to the ocean with my parents.  We would go on days when they knew the weather would cause particularly turbulent waves.  I’ll never forget sitting on the rocks and watching the powerful water crash against the very rocks we sat upon.  I’m not a beach person, I’m an ocean person.  For me, it cures illness, heals broken hearts and chases stress away.
I got out of the car, stretched my leg and walked down the stairs to the wet sand.  High tide was imminent but there was still beach left to walk on, and I was going to be sure to walk on it.  I like to take the quiet times in life to talk to God and reflect.  I was definitely overdue for this quiet time.  I took off my sandals, let my feet hit the sand and began my walk on the beach with God.  The breeze was light and refreshing.  I walked along the water’s edge.  The water was surprisingly a comfortable temperature.  The seagulls walked along with me watching ever so carefully to be sure I wouldn’t be a source for their next snack.   I took my time and walked for as long as I could.  Because of the rain, there was barely a soul around.  No crowds, no people, no stress.  It was just me, God and the waves.  The rain gently fell but yet somehow seemed to roll from my sweatshirt down to the ground.  I lost track of time, lost in such a comforting feeling.   
As I’m writing this, I am reminded the poem, “Footprints in the Sand.”  Many are familiar with this world famous poem, and it is by far my absolute favorite.  I have a copy of it up in every bedroom of our house as a reminder that God is there.
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.  In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.  This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord, “You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”  The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”                                                                                                                                              

Mary Stevenson, 1936
 I thought about our lives and how greatly they had changed in the past couple of years.  As I thought and walked, I watched as my feet left their mark in the cool wet sand.  God was, and is with us always.  He has carried us through our toughest times.  There were times when we accepted and acknowledged his help as well as times when we didn’t.  Those stubborn times were the times that we would finally find our way back to Gods intended path and then we would look behind us to see His way was the easier route.  We could have made things easier if we had just listened to God instead of trying to do things “our way”. 
Mommy day was in September.  I never had any intentions to write about it here.  I am writing about it now because of this: I left the beach that day and returned home with a new feeling of peace and I have continued to hold on to that peace.  The peace was not as a result of getting a day off, or because I spent the day at the ocean.  I felt peace, because I LET God give me peace. 
We all deal with our own stressors and struggles and so that is why I share this will you.  We all need peace, but in order to reach that peace, we first need to listen to God and what he wants for us.  Let go of what you want, and listen to Him.  In times of trouble, let him carry you.  Talk to him, pray, listen, and follow his guidance.  I can guarantee you won’t regret it, because even when it rains, God can still help you to find your peace.
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ.    
Philippians 4:6-7

God Bless!

Mommy Provost

Monday, October 3, 2011

Recipe find: GFCFSFEF "Pop Tarts".

My latest recipe find may be my best one yet! Gluten free, Casein free, Soy free, Egg free pop tarts!  I will say that Pop Tarts are definitely on my list of "foods missed since eating healthier".  I recently discovered a blog called, Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom.  I fell in love with her site because of the variety of information on her blog, as well as the meal plans she shares every week.  It's nice to have someone to help map things out for you when you have a time crunch.  She links all of the recipes used in the meal plan too so it's very easy to plan your meals.  2 weeks ago as I was exploring her blog, I discovered an easy recipe for Pop Tarts and I HAD to try it. 

Of course living in New England with unpredictable weather caused me to delay making them. (We had a warm front and I didn't want to heat my house with my oven.)  At the end of last week it cooled off a little and I couldn't wait any longer, so the kids and I gathered all our ingredients and made our Pop Tarts.  I love having the kids help out with the cooking, and they love helping too.  It may be messier but it gives them a sense of pride when they eat the finished product and is a great learning opportunity as well.

We followed the recipe almost exactly. 

Pop Tart Recipe

We used organic apricot jelly as our filling.  We didn't have any colored sugar on had so we made our own.  I took 3 tbsp of granulated organic sugar and added 3 drops of blue India Tree Natural Food Coloring and used my fingers to mix the coloring into the sugar.  We then brushed the tops of our Pop Tarts with Almond milk and sprinkled the sugar on to the tarts.

Our finished Pop Tarts....YUMMY!!!!!

These were a hit!  They were gone in less than 2 days (I may have had something to do with this!).  The crust nicely browned on the edges and tasted just like an original Pop Tarts!  I can guarentee we will make these again and it made it's way into my binder of "keepers".    A BIG thanks to Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom for sharing this yummy recipe.  There is a Goldfish recipe I saw on her site I think we may be trying next.