I’m sorry….did you say Autism?

“Autism spectrum disorder is a serious neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others. It also includes restricted repetitive behaviors, interests and activities.”

~Mayo Clinic Staff

At my sons 5 year appointment I was hit like a truck with a question from his pediatrician.  A question, while I had somewhat anticipated coming, I was still not prepared for…… “do you think your child may have Autism”.    It’s like being in a car crash.  Time stops, you almost feel yourself coming out of your body and shock inevitably sets in, again no matter how much you prepare for that question.  I think anytime you hear that there is something “wrong” with your child this happens.  You just freeze for a moment and try and process just what has happened.

“Do you think your child may have Autism?”

Our son had been what we thought was “normal” for most of his young life.  A very active, sensitive, caring and daring little boy. But when we finally put him in preschool at 4 it started to become clear there may be an issue.   The teachers began to ask questions about his behaviors and suggesting testing for him.  While I think we had always suspected something we still wanted to “wait to see” if this was just him getting used to being in a classroom, is he just being  a boy or is there a bigger issue.  While some issues did get better others did not. Then when his Sunday school teacher requested that we have a helper in the room when he comes to Sunday school, because she felt it may help him get more out of the lesson to have someone help him one on one, I really began to wonder.  Questions about sensory input, deep pressure techniques, language delay and other things began to circle around and at first I was in denial.  I didn’t want to think there was anything wrong, nobody does.  I began looking online for videos of 5 year olds with high functioning autism and began to see similarities.  Things there that made me wonder even more.  I began reading blog posts and articles about kiddos with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and seeing some similarities and sometimes not seeing them or maybe just not wanting to see them.  Then at his 5 year appointment it came up and it hit like a freight train.  I remember sitting in the doctor’s office nodding and saying that I think we should have this looked at all while trying not to break down into tears in the doctor’s office in front of my son.  My son and I went back to the car to go home and I texted my husband what the doctor said before we left and drove home while he watched Schoolhouse Rock, one of his favorites.

As usual I plunged myself into “let’s get this fixed” mode and trying to find an evaluator, which is a whole other bucket of trouble.  It took an entire week of phone calls with doctors and the insurance company to try and find an evaluator.  Somewhere in that week the dam finally broke and I remember just sobbing wondering how I could have missed this, is there something more that I could have done so my son would have a “normal” life.   I would be fine until someone said the “A” word and then I would just break down in tears for a good week and a half.  But then I remembered what his doctor told me.  No matter what the diagnosis, he is still Cooper.  He is still my fun, imaginative, sensitive and caring little boy who loves science, construction equipment, trains and building with anything he can get his hands on.

“I am different not less” ~ Temple Grandin

So after waiting for a month and a half, biting our nails, trying not to think about the possibilities we were finally able to get Coopers evaluation done (I will write about that nightmare in another post).  Then we had to wait another few weeks for the results to be calculated.  I was prepared when we went in to meet with his evaluators for a diagnosis of Autism, while still holding out hope that it wasn’t.  We sat in an office and listened to the results of all the testing they did, all while waiting to hear the main verdict.  We finally got to the results of the autism test and his evaluator gave the diagnosis I don’t think I even breathed. She did confirm Autism and I cried again.  No matter what you do, no matter how much you prepare the diagnosis of Autism is never easy to hear, my nephew’s wife warned me of this.   So we finished our meeting with the evaluator, while I pondered my son’s future in my mind.  We shook hands and left the office building and headed home.  As I drove home I talked to my husband, some family and close friends about the diagnosis and hearing the encouragement of those voices I began to feel myself gain the strength I needed again. But the one comment that rang the loudest in my mind came from my wonderful mother in law….”he is still our Cooper”.  Yes he is and he will always be and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

 

 

Holy Goats!

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HOLY GOAT!

So if I don’t already have enough on my plate as a work at home mother of three….I decided to add goats to the mix.

 

Why Goats, you ask?

Well my husband and I wanted something small that we could keep nearby in our yard, unlike our other larger livestock, so that our sons could start to learn to work with livestock without the possibility of being crushed.  Now when we got these guys I fully expected them to be like our other livestock and kind of keep to themselves.  But I was very wrong and as a result I absolutely fell in love with our goats.  They are more than just livestock they are members of the family.  They are the goat babies, as my husband says.

They are the most entertaining, loving, social and crazy little animals.  They cry when they want attention and because they are bottle fed right now they are on a schedule just like a baby.  As a matter of fact my husband says I bought them because this is the first time I have not been pregnant in a couple of years.  LOL! He may be right. 🙂

So what can I tell you about our goat children?  (The logistics)

Gus (aka Augustus Maygoat) and Gertie (aka Gertrude) are mini Nubian goats so they will get to be roughly about 50-60 pounds (vs a standard goat which can be 150+ pounds).  These two specifically are half brother and sister and came from a wonderful lady in Elizabeth, CO. My BFF Jen and I went off on this adventure to get these little goat babies in my mini-van one frosty February day. Mini vans….not just for kids!  They are a milk goat and Gertie will be bred so that we can milk her after she matures (roughly about a year old).  We do have a “boyfriend” for Gertie coming next week named Moose (more on him when he gets here).  They are a social animal so if you ever decide to try and get a goat you MUST have two or they get lonely.   You can’t really substitute any other animal to be their buddy like a dog, they really need a goat buddy. They do like to eat weeds and are great lawn mowers because they just snip the tops off of the grass and don’t eat all the way to the ground like cattle. The goats milk is supposed to be really rich and creamy (I have only had store bought goat milk…it was good).  It is naturally homogenized so it does not separate like cow’s milk does and we can use the milk to drink, make soap, lotion, cheese and butter.  Milking will be a new adventure for me so stay tuned…that will be interesting.  I anticipate a lot of spilled milk….no crying. 🙂

The Fun Stuff!

Aside from the logistics these little goats have the most amazing personalities. They play with the kids and me when we are running in the back yard.  Just last night Gus was hopping and jumping and running around with my sons and me as we were playing “racing” around the yard.   They hop on my back, they eat my hair and they love to cuddle up with us while we sit out in the yard.  They are truly an amazing animal.  We did have them in the house for about a week and a half after we bought them to keep them warm while it was snowy and cold but that quickly became ……well…. really gross.  Goats are not really great at potty training.  Plus it goes against their nature.  They like to forage and eat and while they do that what they ate before generally comes out the back end.  It’s a whole “circle of life” thing.   But they do stay in our yard so they are with us all the time and are such an amazing part of our family.

Should you get a goat?

If you plan on getting a goat, make sure where you live allows them.  There are a number of urban areas that do allow a certain number of goats and/or chickens for the urban farmer (I will warn you that when they do “baa” they can be quite loud and you may get a noise complaint).

 

If you do get goats make sure to get two so they do have their goat buddy. Also, if you plan on getting goats make sure you have time to take with them, more than just dropping their feed and water in their pen.  Goats can be naughty and can be escape artists.  Just like dogs, if left to their own devices for too long they can be destructive.  But if you socialize with them regularly they become attached to you and they don’t tend to wander or be as destructive.  Besides, with their little personalities how could you not hang out with these little clowns? They really are unlike any other livestock I have dealt with in my verey short livestock experience.


So that is the story so far.  There is much for me to learn, I am no expert by far.  But I can say without a doubt these little floppy eared goats have captured my heart and become a fun addition to our family.  BAAA!!!!

Much love!
The 226Mommy (and the goats)

 

Springtime on the farm

So as you can see in my About page we have a small small piece of land out on the plains of Colorado.  It is a beautiful place, made that way mostly because my mother in law and father in law have the most amazing green thumbs you will ever see.  Better Homes and Gardens would be amazed at some of the
gardens around our property. But my favorite time of year is the time of year that is fast approaching.

SPRING!!!!

Spring on our little plot of land brings new excitement with each day.  Baby chicks in the warming pen, the anticipation as we wait for spring calves and the arrival of piglets.  Mom’s seeds starting to grow in thier little containers, praire grass turning from the sandy brown that it has been for so long to a beautiful green.  The kids start getting spring fever and want to be outside in the dirt.  The birds have returned and greet each day with thier song, thunderstorm season is around the bend and life….well life springs out everywhere bringing new hope.

Spring holidays are among the best and soon we will be getting ready for St. Patricks day and Easter and gathering family around the table to share in the love and laughter and the joy of being together.  The food will be amazing and the company even better.  Spring is not the only thing I love about our farm but the love, support and caring of all of our family.  Family is such an imporant part of our life and something we don’t take for granted.

I love springtime on our farm….it is my favorite time of the year.  I wish you a wonderful and joyful spring!

Thanks
Dawn
The 226 Mommy