When God doesn’t listen

IMG_6884I never thought I’d be a special needs mom. In fact, the thought of that used to absolutely terrify me. I remember when we were trying to get pregnant, reading about all of the things that can “go wrong” and just begging God to give us a healthy child. Praying that I’d rather have no child than one with special needs. I was clueless, and honestly, I make myself a little bit sick. I was absolutely terrified of having a kid with a disability. To the point where I literally cried daily when I was pregnant with Knox, just worrying about him. Looking back, I am so glad that God didn’t listen to me. I’m so glad that Knox is here. Because really, I was the one with the problem, not him.

I had no idea what it would be like, and how could I? I was close-minded and had no personal experience with anyone with special needs, aside from seeing them every once in a while out in public. I just didn’t know. In fact, I had no idea. That’s not to say that I don’t wish Knox could instantaneously be rid of Autism forever- because, yes, that would be fantastic for him to not have to struggle. BUT the fact that he has Autism, doesn’t make him any less of an amazing kid. It doesn’t make me want him any less. If given the choice, I’d choose him exactly as he is, every single time. Because knowing him is so much better that not having a clue.

Autism is a weird thing. It makes me furious one second, makes me laugh the next, and right when I think I have it figured out, it says “Ha! No you don’t!!” This has been a super crappy parenting week at our house. Knox is getting in trouble at school for the first time ever, and he’s being defiant at home, as well. There’s been lots of running off, swatting, kicking and even spitting. I don’t know where this is coming from because Knox normally has the best disposition ever. He is highly stubborn, and my only thought is that he’s just reaching an age where the frustration over his communication skills has pushed him a little over the edge.

AlIMG_6856so, I think he just plain misses me. I work full-time, and by the time I get home, I have two hours with him before he goes to bed. Most moms know that the hours between 5 and bedtime can be “the witching hours” where your kids lose their minds and cause you to lose yours, right along with them. I feel like so much of my evening time with Knox consists of disciplining him, and it makes me feel awful. My guilt eats me alive, sometimes. I tell myself that I need to be this great parent, do lots of fun outings & activities and spend tons of quality time with my children. But then reality hits, and I feel like all I have to offer them are a couple of worn-out hours of my life, where I’m no fun to be around at all. There have been a lot of tears lately (mine) and yelling (me) and hitting (Knox) and frustration (everyone).

And the thing is, there’s no magic answer. There’s no perfect solution. Parenting is always hard. I don’t care if you stay at home, work full-time, have ten kids or one. Being a parent is the hardest job on the planet. Adding any sort of special circumstance only compounds the stress. I’m learning in all of this, through this hard season, that all I can do is pray and ask for God’s help in all of this. To seek His face and just bury myself in His Word. To pray that I don’t screw this up too much. To pray that God removes the guilt from my spirit. To pray that God revives me and gives me the energy I need to keep up with this kid. And to pray a prayer of thanksgiving that He knew all along just the boy He was going to give me.

Because even when it’s hard, Knox is worth it all.

 

 

Crockpot Chicken Quesadillas

I know what you’re thinking. How do you make a crispy, golden, delicious chicken quesadilla in a Crockpot? Well, you don’t. I mean, you do, but just the filling. The crispy part comes later! This is one of my favorite, super easy weeknight dinners. It’s also budget-friendly because it uses black beans to stretch the amount of chicken you need:

Super easy Crockpot Chicken Quesadillas- quick and budget-friendly weeknight dinner! Kids love this, and so do the adults!! From mycoffeeiscold.com

Ingredients:

Crockpot Filling 

1 1/2  to 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken (tenders or breasts are fine)
1  (14 oz) can of Rotel (I use mild for the kids)
1  (32 oz.) can of black beans (the big can or two normal 16 oz. ones)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Quesadilla

Prepared filling (above)
Shredded Queso cheese or your favorite queso dip
Flour tortillas
Butter

Directions:

Dump everything for the filling into  your crockpot. Cover and cook on low heat for 4 to 6 hours until chicken is falling apart (if you need this to cook while you’re at work all day, use frozen chicken to keep it from getting too done).

When it’s done, take two forks and shred your chicken. This should be very easy to do! Drain the excess liquid (keep a little for flavor). Check your seasoning and adjust, as needed.

It will look like this:

IMG_7133 Now, for the quesadilla making.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Rub butter across the bottom to coat. Lay your flour tortilla in the pan.

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Add your cheese to half of the tortilla.  If you’re using a queso dip instead of shredded cheese (our country grocery store doesn’t have block queso, so I do this sometimes) keep it in the center of your tortilla so it doesn’t run out. Top with your filling.

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Fold over.

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Flip it once the first side is brown. It should look like this when it’s ready.

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Eat it!! Serve with salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro (<— do it) or whatever else you like. Enjoy!

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Disney Recap #3: Epcot

Our second full day was, by far, the worst day of our trip. When Trevor and I visited Disney for our honeymoon, we loved every single park. However, we knew that since we were vacationing with little kids, we needed to decide which parks had the most to offer them. We figured we’d do Magic Kingdom twice, but since Epcot had two “Finding Nemo” experiences, we decided to go there. Horrible, horrible mistake.

Now, let’s just get this straight: I love Epcot. It may be my favorite park at Disney- I LOVE the World Showcase with all of the different countries, and Soarin’ was one of our favorite rides. Brody did not agree with this love. Nay, dare I say, Brody despised Epcot with every fiber of his tiny little self.

Our first stop was at “The Seas with Nemo.” This was great. Knox and Brody loved the ride, they loved seeing Nemo and Dory and the whole cute little story.

IMG_6479 IMG_6480 IMG_6484 IMG_6491 IMG_6497Then, we decided to go to “Turtle Talk with Crush.” It’s an interactive thing where the sea turtle, Crush, talks to the kids. It was super cute, but Brody had already started his conversion into a nightmare child, and Trevor had to take him out. Knox was interested, but it didn’t hold his attention well- I think that’s just because of his communication skills, though. After talking with Crush, we walked around the aquarium which they both also liked.

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This is where things got fun. The sun was rising quickly. It was about 10:30. It was at least 125 degrees at this point. Sweat, everywhere. Places I didn’t know could sweat were sweaty. Brody hates to sweat. There was no Mickey to be seen, and Brody was under the impression that all the land was filled with Mickey Mouse, so he was getting pretty ticked. We tried to visit a few of the countries, but the only country Brody wanted to see was Magic Kingdom, so that didn’t appease him much. We finally gave up and decided to get an early lunch in China. Brody hates China. The restaurant wasn’t open so we had to wait in the gift shop. Brody hates gift shops. We finally were able to go in the restaurant. Brody hates restaurants.

This was Knox right before he took the fancy pitcher of soy sauce and poured it all over the table.

IMG_6517Trevor got the boys food from America but forgot a very American condiment Brody is addicted to: ketchup. Brody hates french fries without ketchup. Then, amidst his on-the-floor meltdown, our food arrived. Brody spotted sweet and sour sauce and deemed it ketchup. He was happy for five, glorious minutes.

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It’s all a bit blurry after that because I have mentally blocked out the immense embarrassment that followed. There was screaming. Oh, the screaming. Loud screaming. Sweating. More screaming. Oh, and screaming. We basically ran for the exit at this point, sweating all the while. I was praising God that we had driven ourselves and paid $20 to park so that we were able to leave immediately instead of waiting on a bus. The afternoon ended with this:

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At this point, Trevor tried to go home and vowed never to return to Disney World again. I talked him off the ledge, and instead of driving home, he went to the gym and burned off some frustration. That night, we ate dinner at Benihana, the Japanese steakhouse in our hotel. That was pretty fun for the kids to watch. This is Brody’s signature face, in case you haven’t noticed yet:
IMG_6532 IMG_6539 IMG_6542Then, it was time for bed. And a break. We decided pretty early on in the Epcot debacle that we were having a pool day the next day!

Next up: lazy pool day, Downtown Disney fun… and another epic Brody meltdown (of course)

Disney Recap #2: Magic Kingdom

Sunday was our first full day, and the day we visited the Magical Magic Kingdom! Our hotel offered a character breakfast which we happily attended since every character meal at the park was booked up (literally, every one). I was so glad we did this because it was less crowded than the character meals at Disney, AND it gave them a chance to have some close interaction with the characters. I was really surprised at how few of them we saw in the parks this time. They had Minnie Mouse, Pluto and some country bears (which I had never seen before), and the boys loved them. Knox and Brody’s faces looking at Minnie are so ridiculously adorable.IMG_6328 IMG_6339

This picture of Brody kills me. It’s when he first saw Pluto come into the room, and he absolutely erupted into unparalleled levels of cuteness.

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Knox immediately yanked Pluto’s tongue because of course he did.

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After breakfast, we headed out. The boys were very excited because we were going to “Mickey Mouse’s Castle”… they have no clue who Cinderella is, so we made it relevant for them! We took the hotel’s bus, then the monorail into Magic Kingdom. Brody thought the bus was a ride (bless him) and said “Brody ride it, the bus! A ride!” He was hilarious. My mom and stepdad were on this trip, too, hence Knox sitting next to people other than us!

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Knox loved the monorail, too.  Even though we’ve been telling them all about it, they were both pretty surprised when we walked into Disney World. You can’t really explain the hugeness of it to a little person! They stared at the castle and the busy Main Street U.S.A. and didn’t say much! We did not get a good picture of all of us in front of the castle because we are us.

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After our failed photo attempt, we were off to the Dumbo ride first because our kids LOVE that movie. I never cared about it as a kid, but they think it’s great. We had ZERO wait, which was fantastic. Going in September was definitely a good choice as far as crowds go. There are always crowds at Disney, but it’s nothing like the summer time. They re-did Dumbo to include a huge indoor playground that you can play in while you wait. We ended up going back inside after we rode to play there, and Knox was fascinated by it.

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This was Knox’s face 75% of the time. He was so interested and studied everything!

IMG_6416Then, we went around and rode some other rides like “It’s a Small World After All” (<– the boys’ absolute favorite ride), the Winnie the Pooh ride and the carousel.

IMG_6435 IMG_6440 IMG_6446Those kids love a good carousel ride. Then, we took a break and ate some lunch before riding more rides. We did the Jungle Cruise, Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride, Pirates of the Caribbean and some other stuff that I am forgetting.

We let the boys choose a special souvenir that day. Knox chose a cute Dumbo, and Brody chose Goofy aka “Goopy.”

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We stayed until about 4 and it was well past time to go. Brody was totally finished, and honestly, so were the adults. We were all sweaty and tired and needed a shower! Our first mistake was taking the ferry back to the parking area. MISERY. It was blazing hot and took forever for everyone to load.

IMG_6470The worst ever was waiting for the bus. We had JUST missed it, so we waited over 30 minutes in the 90 degree weather for the next one… with no shade or cover at our stop. Yes, we were all pretty done by then. We eventually made it back to the hotel and cleaned up and ate some dinner at “Rocco’s Tacos” before calling it a day.

After doing a full day, we realized that 1) we needed to take a nap break for Brody after lunch if we wanted to keep our sanity, 2) we were never taking the big ferry again and 3) we were never taking the hotel’s bus again.

Next up: the worst day of the trip: Epcot day. Dun, dun, dun!

 

 

 

Disney Recap #1: The Ride

Every time someone asks me “How was Disney?” I respond with “it was the least relaxing vacation of my life.” Because that’s pretty much how it was. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? The drive down there was surprisingly great- the kids did really, really well with just a couple of minor meltdowns. And up until the last hour, I managed to stay in the front seat.

Our first meltdown belonged to Brody (of course it did) who had a fit because I wouldn’t turn the pages of his tractor book for him. It’s blurry because he was thrashing like an alligator while screaming at me “TURN IT DA PAGE!!!” No thank you, I don’t believe I will.

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Meltdown #2 belonged to Knox who did NOT want to watch “Finding Nemo.” He wanted to watch the screensaver on the TV, instead.

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We started out just driving, trying to hold off on using the DVD player until we had to. We made it about an hour before we busted out the first goodie bag. Those things definitely worked!! I wish I had made another set for the trip back… oh, the trip back. You guys. Don’t even. Anyway, they were very happy with their little toys and goodies.

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We drove about four hours before we had to stop for lunch. We stopped at a random Chick-fil-a in Georgia to eat and stretch our legs. It was also pouring down rain, monsoon style, which was lovely. I always enjoy getting drenched in a torrential downpour then sitting in wet clothes while I drive for an eternity.

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When we were about an hour away from Disney, Brody had enough of the drive. He was getting belligerent and just generally obnoxious in the back seat. There was crying, yelling, throwing, etc. So, I did what needed to be done.

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And I stole one of their lollipops because I needed to reward myself for sitting in the 11 inch space between those huge carseats for an hour. It was not worth it. However the crying did stop, so I count that as a victory! When we finally arrived at our hotel, we checked in and decided to go on a walk to Downtown Disney- we stayed at the Hilton right across the street (we had extra magical hours and bus transport to the parks, which was nice), so it was a very short walk. Knox passed out, and we sweat ourselves to death before deciding to go back to the hotel for dinner and some rest before hitting the Magic Kingdom the next day.

IMG_6281 IMG_6286 IMG_6292 IMG_6314Next up: Magic Kingdom day!

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