One year older…and wiser too! Happy birthday to you, Kyle!

Fourteen years ago Kyle made me a mom!

14 things I’ve learned being Kyle’s mom:

  1. Motherhood is way harder than I thought it would be. But more fulfilling than I ever imagined.

  2. Patience is the key. Patience, patience and more patience.

  3. My plans for my baby boy started out very different. But I have learned that a change in plans can be a good thing.

4. Laughing at life when it’s really hard is much easier on my heart.

5. But a good cry is sometimes necessary. And that’s ok too.

6. Kyle has taught me that prayer is necessary to make through our days!

7. Asking for help is ok. And letting people help me doesn’t mean I am weak.

8. I have learned to sacrifice. And that sacrifice is not a bad thing.

9. Kyle has taught me what unconditional love really means. By forgiving me constantly when I lose my patience.

10. I have learned that through my example of “serving” Kyle, my children are growing up to be extremely compassionate and selfless people.

11. Kyle has taught me to never give up. On him or me.

12. Date night is essential! At least once a week a night out is needed!

13. Having Kyle has taught me to always rely on my intuition. Moms really so know best!

14. I have learned that when I think I have Kyle figured out, it usually means I’m about to be handed a big ol’ piece of humble pie…and a lesson is right around the corner.

Every year I am a little more grateful for the struggles I face being Kyle’s mom. Because I am able to pick out more easily the lessons I learn. Being a mom is my proudest accomplishment. I’m so lucky I get to be Kyle’s mom. 💙Happy birthday to my first born!

Baby, it’s cold outside!

The weather has finally started to feel like fall, here in SoCal (well in the early mornings at least)! To most this means long sleeves and sweatshirts or a jacket of some sort, right? Well, Kyle would beg to differ. 😏

Kyle has always struggled with sensory issues-but clothing was never a huge hurdle, like it is for some kids….until the past few years of course! 🙄 As he gets older he has become so rigid in all areas of his life and clothing is one of those! A T-shirt and elastic waste pants or shorts is what he prefers and luckily most of the year that is completely fine! But the mornings become chilly here and a sweatshirt of some sort is definitely required!

Kyle, the last few years has protested slightly when it came to putting a zip up hoodie on over his preferred tee, but not to the point that it was impossible-and usually by the time he was near the classroom he had unzipped it and off it went. But he wore it for a majority of the time being outside.

This year, has been the worst. Of course, why wouldn’t he add another hurdle his mom has to jump through?! 😂 He flat out refuses a jacket of any sort in the mornings. And trying to force it results in a major meltdown! 😩 But the part that makes me shake my head? He gets out side and shivers and says “coooooooooold!” He even gagged from the cold the other morning! 🤦🏻‍♀️ Dude, wear a jacket!

Soooooo, in talking to Erika, we decided maybe practicing wearing a jacket would help? Cuz, practicing everything with Kyle has seemed to become our go to! Here’s a video of us practicing the first time-it’s not pretty (and we tuck his shirt in like that when he repeatedly takes his shirt off-this way it takes more effort on his part and it usually makes him think twice) and you can see how amazing Erika really is!

We eventually got the jacket on him-I had to stop recording because it took two of us! And then I had to hold the zipper while he went outside to *practice* the steps! We barely accomplished this task but we did it! He was unzipping it before he even made it back in the house though! 🙄

The second video we took a little bit later and he did much better but still doesn’t love the idea of having a sweatshirt on!

And sometimes practicing doesn’t even make our perfect 🤨 (unfortunately) and I have to go to plan B or C or D or E or even F sometimes! We practiced a few more times, only to end it fights! And it was hard to practice when I didn’t have a second person to help! So I decided to try a compression cold proof long sleeve shirt. Hoping I’d trick him into being warm!

Guess what?! It totally worked! So I dress him every morning in a long sleeve compression shirt and a T-shirt over it! And he is totally fine with it! No fighting! No meltdowns!

Having Kyle has taught me so many things over the years. So many! One of them being-think outside the box and KEEP TRYING (even though it can be incredibly frustrating at times)! Eventually I will find what works. Eventually. It always comes back to patience. I apparently needed a life full of opportunities to learn patience! 😂

Our very own bus…well just the stairs!

Erika and I were brainstorming about the bus a month ago because we were STILL having a lot of issues with getting Kyle on and off the bus (especially at school)😩Brainstorming means we broke down every single part of kyles process of getting on the bus (and off-because he struggles there too-sometimes).  Erika observed him getting on and off the bus both at home and school (seriously, she is THE best). We tried to figure out where we could tweek the process to help him better transition. After a few days, Erika suggested that we build a staircase similar to the bus to have Kyle practice walking up and down. The reason for this? Kyle struggles with depth perception and stairs sometimes cause him anxiety (what a surprise) and the bus stairs are quite steep (whoever came up with a “special bus” with steep stairs is dumb-in my opinion)! So she thought maybe practicing would give him more confidence and perhaps eliminate one of the anxieties he faces with getting on and off the bus! I thought it was genius! And was willing to try it-or rather willing to beg James to execute our idea!

I was super excited and told James about our idea! 😂 He as usual hopped on bored (after a little convincing)and was ready for the challenge! My in laws were coming for the weekend and my father in law is handy and loves a good project! So when they got here I shared my vision with him and he and James were off to Home Depot, measurements in hand! Dave was super excited to help and sacrificed most of that weekend to helping James build this giant staircase!


These two guys were googling how tall each step was on the bus to make sure they got it as similar as they could to the bus! They made a few trips to Home Depot (Cuz what’s a project without more than one trip)! And it came out perfect. I am so grateful for both of these men in their willingness to sacrifice a weekend to help Kyle. It meant more to me than they both probably knew.

If you have ever wondered what a (not horrible) day of getting Kyle on the bus looks like check out this video. It’s crazy how similar it is!  Resistance, spitting, crying and of course taking off and throwing his shirt are all signs of his anxiety. This was the first attempt after they finished it!


Then we tried it a couple hours later and the next video is similar to a good day (a really good day-which are far and few between) of him getting on and off the bus!  And he even had an audience!              

We have been consistently having him practice on the stairs for almost a month.  He is getting better and better.  It seems that with practicing the stairs and having the bus show up 20 minutes earlier so Kyle can load first before all the other kids are outside (and well before the gen-ed kids are dismissed) has made a difference in how Kyle is transitioning on and off the bus.  It is still not as smooth as I’d like, but I’m trying to see the big picture-and he has made A LOT of progress since that first day of summer school.

To some, making an elaborate staircase seems silly and a bit extreme especially when there’s a possibility it won’t even help!  And maybe it is..  I have come up with my fair share of failed projects in many attempts to help Kyle.  But I will continue to come up with big and small projects  because if it relieves even the slightest bit of his anxiety, it’s worth it.  Right, James?!

Til we meet again….

Jen and I met in junior high. I remember seeing her the first few days walking the halls and thinking how pretty she was. Not only did she have an outward beauty but she had this inward confidence that shined through whenever you saw her. I always admired that about her. Her kindness towards me always made me feel good and we became fast friends. 

High school started and the end of freshman year we had become close friends. We shared a love for school spirit and soon after she joined ASB, I of course did too. By the time our sophomore year ended we were inseparable. We were no longer just Jen or just Kate. We were known to almost everyone as Jen and Kate. We did everything together. We had the best time together. My favorite high school memories include her in them.  Late night sleepovers. Pep rally planning. Painting our faces for football games. Ditching classes in the ASB room! Mr. Parker! Long summers at the school preparing for freshman orientation! CADA CAMP! BFC! PNC! Letter writing and passing them back and forth! These are all engraved in my heart. 

As most lasting friendships do, we had seasons. Seasons of hard and seasons of great. But no matter what we always made sure we kept in touch. Most of the time when we weren’t as close it was because she would tell me I was making a bad decision and I would get mad and pull away-she was almost always right about that bad decision though. 🤦🏻‍♀️ She taught me to know and value my worth. She taught me to have expectations and it’s ok to wait for them to be met. She taught me that I was worth the wait. 

Jen taught me through her example how to be a friend. How to love your friends. Truly love them. She was there for every good and bad milestone in my life. When I had Kyle on thanksgiving day, she was the one who brought me thanksgiving dinner in the hospital. She is the one that advised me not to give Cody the middle name Blaze! 😂 She was the one who I called first after that day I got Kyle’s diagnosis and I listened through my tears as she reassured me that I could do this.  She was the one who drove all the way to Las Vegas to help pick me up off the floor when my first marriage had failed. And helped build me back up for years after. She was the one who told me I was an idiot after I said “James was too nice”, and told me that’s the kind of guy I needed and deserved!! She’s the one who has always been there. And now she isn’t. 

A few months ago, I was thinking about how difficult it is to have friends being Kyles mom. Maybe that is partly my fault. It gives me anxiety to think about how Kyle will react to people coming over or how he will react at someone’s house. So it’s easier to just not open myself up to having people know Kyle in person or know that part of me in person! My blog is an easier form of letting people into my world😉But I never had that anxiety with Jen. Not ever. She loved me and she loved Kyle. No matter what mess he made at her house (and there were so many 🤦🏻‍♀️)or what fit he through (and there were so many of those too)she always had us back for more. She never made me feel like I was a burden. Not ever. She loved us unconditionally.

At jens 30th birthday party-which was amazing just like every party she ever threw-we were in a different season and not as close as we were in pasts but she pulled me off to the side and she said (she may have had some drinks in her, but alcohol brings out the honesty right??? 😉), “I know we aren’t as close right now but I feel like we will always be soul mates, if there’s such thing as a friend soul mate!” Then we laughed and I told her I felt the same way. As soon as I was told of her passing I immediately clung to this conversation. I love Jen. She means so much more than the words I am writing. I don’t think Anyone could understand the depth of our friendship. And that’s ok because I know.  I feel it.

Jen being gone still doesn’t feel real. And it definitely doesn’t feel right. My heart aches. It aches for Bobby. It aches for Bryce and Leah. And for her family. It aches for me. This world is definitely not the same without Jen. And I’m sure it will take time for the pain to subside.

 I feel incredibly grateful for the friendship I had with Jen and will forever cherish the memories I share with her. I am grateful for the things she taught me by being my friend. Although Jen being gone is so painful,  I am comforted in knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, I will see her again. Till we meet again…Jen and Kate forever. ❤️

Grief.

I remember the day the dr confirmed what I already knew-Kyle was different, and he would be different for the rest of his life. I physically ached and felt as if something was taken away from me. This wasn’t what I wanted for my son. This wasn’t what I wanted for ME.  This was not in my plans. I felt sadness. I felt pain. I felt anger. I felt fear. It was the first time in my life that I felt grief. 

I am genuinely happy and feel blessed that God entrusted me with Kyle. I really do. But I would be dishonest if I didn’t admit that grief creeps up on me at times-mostly when Kyle should be hitting a milestone…and reality slaps me with how truly different Kyle is. And I grieve for the son that was ripped from me the day that Dr kundell looked me in my very wet eyes, and changed my world forever, by telling me Kyle had fragile x. And 6 months later-autism was added. 

Kyle is smack dab in the middle of  puberty 😩 and turning into a young man. A man. It’s hard for me to even write that. I have tried not to think about this happening but a new reality is being forced on me. And it’s hard.  Tonight was especially hard as I went through his night time routine. It was hard to brush his teeth and see traces of facial hair appearing on his upper lip, and know that he will never experience learning how to use a razor by himself. It was hard to see the physical changes that are occurring as I bathed my almost 14 year old then had to help him get dressed because he can’t do it himself. It was hard to have to put deodorant on for him because he lacks the motor skills to do it on his own. It was hard tonight knowing I had to lay next to my almost teenage son for 20 min in order for him to  relax enough to fall asleep. It was hard to hear from Justin that homecoming is fast approaching and knowing Kyle will never experience a date or heartache or love. I’m grieving for the independence that Kyle will never have and the experiences he will never have.  He is turning into a man phsically but his mind is still that of a 3 year old (or younger) in many areas. And it sucks.

Sometimes in these moments of grief I find myself feeling like my life is unfair. That Kyles life is unfair. And maybe it is. But I know grieving is an ongoing process-at least for me it is. And it’s ok for me to feel these things. 

I’m LDS (mormon 😉) and we believe that through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we will be resurrected and our minds and our bodies will become perfected. I find such comfort in this.  I KNOW that Kyle will one day have a mind and body that are in sync-Kyle will become perfected. Not in this life. And that’s ok. Even though I go through seasons of grief, I am able to live everyday with the knowledge that someday Kyle will wrap his arms around me and SAY the words, “I love you, mom”.  I know all that I experience being Kyles mom is preparing me for that very moment. And boy do I look forward to that moment, cuz I know it will be worth the wait. Until then I will allow myself to grieve when I need to grieve.💙

Jinx 

I should know by now that whenever I post about how great things are going with Kyle it’s usually followed by a bunch of crap days. Ugh.  I should be happy that we had a whole week of great days! A whole week of Kyle getting on and off the bus no problem! And I am happy. But also discouraged and disappointed that this week he’s had 3 progressively awful days! Today being the worst. 😔

Janine followed Kyle off the bus this afternoon and had the look. The look that Kyle had another rough time getting on the bus to come home! She explained he sat down in front of the bus and refused to get on! At one point she was crossing her fingers that the bus didn’t say “see ya, we gotta go!” Then I got a text from shanda: 


After he got in the house, his day continued to be rough-he gave me a hard time with every single transition! Going to grandmas! Getting into the bath! Going to bed! It was a rough night! I can’t tell you why. I’m not sure. That’s the frustrating part. What is different from last week? 

 Kyle has always struggled with transitions. Always. If there was a magic pill for this setback,  I’d pay a million dollars and it would be worth every dollar. Seriously. 

I’m trying to remind myself not to get discouraged. Not to be disappointed. But it’s hard not to be. I’m trying to remind myself of all the progress he has made. I’m trying to remind myself that he is smart and stubborn and his mind works so much differently than mine. I’m trying to remind myself to try to be patient. I’m trying to come up with different ideas for shanda and Janine to try at school to help them help him through this transition everyday. I’m trying to remind myself that progress is slow with Kyle but it’s still progress. I’m trying to remind myself to not give up on the bus-that taking him everyday will be much harder!  I’m trying to remind myself that I can do this! 

One day I feel like I’ve got this whole autism/fragile x/anxiety thing down. I feel like I am an expert-I can handle any curve ball Kyle throws at me. The next day I feel like I don’t know what the heck I’m doing-I’m at a loss at what to do or how to fix a behavior. 😏

I need to remember that things will be ok. They always end up being ok. It will take work. It will take more bad days. And lots more good days. But things will be ok.  2 years from now, 1 year from now, even 6 months from now-I hope I read this post and marvel at the progress Kyle has made. 

Grateful for small things, big things, & everything in between! 

Before Kyle started high school my hope was that he would have teachers that loved him quickly. Teachers that appreciated Kyle’s unique personality and were able to see past the behaviors caused by his extreme anxiety.  Teachers that understood him despite his inability to speak.  Teachers who treated Kyle with the respect he deserves.  I know that once Kyle trusts that you have his back (so to speak), and he feels like you “understand” his needs/wants; he is a million times more likely to cooperate with you. I prayed daily that Kyle would be given the teachers that would be able to provide this for him. 

We are a little over two months into Kyle’s high school journey, and I can say his team of teachers have exceeded my hopes and my prayers were definitely answered. They have all gone above and beyond in every way to make not only Kyle feel like this is where he belongs-BUT they always reassure me and let me know how much they care for Kyle. 

Kyle is doing much better getting on the bus-as long as james is home! He definitely has his established ‘getting on the bus’ routine. But he still is struggling with the transition once he is at school and getting off the bus. His (amazing) teacher, Shanda called me a few weeks ago and asked if she could come over after school one day and observe Kyle with Erika. She wanted to try and  get some ideas on how to help Kyle better transition off the bus from Erika or myself. So at the beginning of the month she came over on a Wednesday (after school when she could be at home with her own family) and spent a good two hours talking to both Erika and myself. We bounced ideas off each other. Then set up a morning Erika could go to the school and observe the behavior to offer more support to shanda and her team. 

Seriously?! You guys. How lucky am I to be surrounded by a team of people who love my son this much?! I feel like I am so fortunate to have such amazing people loving my son. Amazing people helping my son every single day, as he processes this big change. This job isn’t easy but I am so grateful for people who do it-and love doing it. It makes this moms anxiety a little less. 

As Kyle has gotten to know his teachers a little better, and beginning to embrace the new routines-he seems less anxious. He seems happier. The other day, Janine had gotten on the bus before Kyle walked out the front door-mind you it’s dark when he gets on the bus at 6am 😴. Kyle didn’t see her but saw her car. He kept pointing at her car and refused to get on the bus until she poked her head out of the bus! She gives him the comfort his anxious mind needs. Then he smiled and happily got on the bus! Moments like this make my mom heart happy. 

Last week Kyle had a whole week of Janine getting off the bus saying it was a great day! A whole week of good days!!!!!!! He was even transitioning on and off the bus much better-with some of the ideas Erika had suggested! And shanda sent me a video of Kyle walking to and from The gym which he had been struggling with. 👍🏼 I was so happy watching it!

I knew that this was going to be a really hard change for both of us. And I knew we’d make it through. We always do. But I’m sure glad he has made progress and we are pretty much past the really hard! I’m grateful we are having more good days and not as many bad days-which we still have-he walked off the bus today with no shirt and Janine saying she wasn’t sure what his deal was but he was a punk today 🤦🏻‍♀️. Mostly, I’m grateful for his teachers that love my boy even through the bad days and are definitely an answer to my relentless prayers! I can’t say it enough-special ed teachers, especially Kyle’s, are amazing human beings. 💙 ​