Thursday, August 16, 2012

Caleb and his best friend

Definition: Asperger's syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects a person's ability to socialize and communicate effectively with others. Children with Asperger's syndrome typically exhibit social awkwardness and an all-absorbing interest in specific topics.

Keep this definition in mind as you read this post. Caleb has asperger's syndrome. He doesn't make friends easily. Most times you can find him on the playground engrossed in his own fascination.....spiders, grasshoppers, snakes (if he can find one) or any other type of bug. Caleb can tell you all about snakes (differences, etc.), spiders, bugs of any kind, and most reptiles.

 I have struggled with his LOVE of nature for many years now. We have recently moved to a rural area with a couple of acres. My kids love it out here....I am not so sure about it.....I have provided my kids with the "normal" kids stuff -- trampoline, swings, bikes, etc., thinking that any trip to the emergency room will be the result of falling from one of the above and not from a snake bite or spider bite.....but instead, Caleb loves spending his time outdoors looking for grasshoppers, walking sticks, praying mantis, snakes (yes he has found a couple) and spiders. I have grounded him many times from looking for his beloved creatures -- so far it hasn't done any good.

The other day, I walked outside to see him playing with a spider....not just a spider but a HUGE ugly spider....I FREAKED OUT....screaming for him to get it off of him and stop playing with it....

As the other kids in the neighborhood leave the area to go jump on the trampoline, Caleb sort of lags behind them and then all of a sudden he collapses to the ground crying his eyes out....

Me: what is wrong? why are you crying?

Caleb: He is my best friend and I miss him already (less than five minutes from me freaking out); he needs me.
Me: Caleb, you can't play with that spider. It could bite you and make you very sick.

Caleb: he isn't poisonous and he won't bite me cause he is my friend.

After this meltdown, we came in to look at spiders on the internet. His "best friend" is an orb-weaver kinda looks like a banana spider....It isn't poisonous and so far it hasn't bitten him.   I am scared to even wish he would find something else to fixate was terrifying to take the pictures of him with his spider (I mean, leg shaking, almost passing out terrifying).

For now the doctor is out....wondering what other terrifying things I will be confronted with by my little boy!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Experiment

I have been reading Cleaning House: A Mom's 12-month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma. Kay Wills Wyma has 5 kids, ages four to fourteen and she asks the reader, " Do your kids expect clean folded clothes to magically appear in their drawers? Do they roll their eyes when you suggest they clean the bathroom? By racing to make their lives easy, have you unintentionallyy reinforced your children's belief that the world revolves around them?" The author was dismayed by the attitude of entitlement that her children had so she put together an "experiment" to clean house of entitlement and introduce her children to basic life skills (like picking up their clothes off the floor and making their beds)and at the same time teaching them many ways that work can be meaningful while also building their self-esteem/confidence and concern for others around them.

  I was hooked after the first, she has five kids and she is on a roll to teach them the value of work in the home and these kids are buying into it (well the younger kids are - the teen is still rolling his eyes and giving attitude). So I KNOW I can implement some of her ideas into my own kids...surely I can teach my two that "cleanliness is next to Godliness." I mean she had a fail proof system -- MONEY -- I mean what kid doesn't want to earn some spending money?????

So following her example, I got two Mason jars and labeled them (one for Caleb and one for Brenden). I went to the bank and traded 3 twenty dollar bills for 60 one dollar bills, split the money between each jar and began my own experiment. I sat the boys down and explained to them the premise behind the money jars: the money had thier name on it but it still belonged to me until they actually earned it. The plan was they would make their beds each morning, pick up any toys on the floor before going to bed at night, take their dirty clothes to the laundry room each night, and for good measure I added "not arguing and no bad attitudes" to the mix (hey you do what you have to do). Every day I would check their progress and remove a dollar if things were not done properly (as well as a child thier age could do things). I would also remove a dollar for negative behavior such as the arguing and attitude. Any money I remove from the jars will go back to me and I can use for it some indulgence such as a pedicure!!!

They were excited about "the experiment" and during the first week they both lost about $3 (not bad since they could have lost anywhere up to $7 for the week). We were on a roll, beds were getting made, clothes picked up, toys picked up and very little attitude. I was impressed at how my boys were handling things!!!

Then came the morning when Caleb got into his head that he wanted mac n cheese for breakfast and nothing else...(I should have just caved and made the mac n cheese since his Aspberger's and OCD were NOT going to move away from the idea) but no, I just tried to reason with him that I planned to take a dollar if he didn't adjust the attitude; the next thing I know he is slamming down $27 on the counter telling me "to just take it, take all of it....I want mac n cheese for breakfast" ummm, yeah the experiment was going south fast. Needless to say we made some compromises and all was back on course or so I thought.

Later that evening we had another attitude problem with Caleb...where eventually, he slammed $3 dollars down and again just said, "take it, it is all I have left, just take it." I am stunned -- not by the attitude, but by the fact that just that same morning he had $27 and I took $1 for attitude, so doing the math...he should have $26 not $3. So I begin to question why he only has $3 and where the heck is the money that should be in his jar (which by the way I placed in their room on their shelves). So I go upstairs to find the jar and discover that it is indeed empty...I look in Brenden's jar, count his money and he only has $7 (I knew I had only taken $3 from him so definitely there was money missing from his jar).....I am starting to boil at this point...there is $40 missing from the jars and I am getting no answers from my boys at this point but I know foul play is amiss. The other thing that concerns me is that the neighbor kids were over playing in their rooms earlier in the day...I am beginning to question if they might have taken the money...surely not...but you never know.

So a trip across the street to the neighbors house to see if they have the money or might help shed some info on what happened to the money...ummm, yes the two neighbor kids had the money alright...

The neighbor kids sold my kids an XBOX and a Playstation 3 for $20 each....the only problem to this was that 1) my kids had NOT earned the wouldn't be theirs until the end of the month and only what was left in the jar would belong to them; 2) the neighbor kids didn't tell their grandpa (they live with him) about the sell; and 3) my kids gave the money to them without getting the merchandise....

My experiment is a total FAILURE!!!!! I have completely failed as a parent!!! My kids have let me down and I have let them down....I am just so disappointed and trying not to become angry at the situation (oh, who are we kidding...I am FURIOUS and I want to beat them!!!) All the while sweet hubby is smiling thinking these boys made a great deal....they bought an XBOX 360 for $20....that is he thinks they made a great deal until I remind him that the boys were out $20 each without getting the merchandise.....yeah, bust that balloon!!!!

I have not given up on "the experiment" yet....I mean if Kay can get her five kids to buy into the experiment then by golly I can too....I only have 2 kids to work on. So we re-group and emphasize that the money isn't yours until the end of the month (that is if there is any left by then!)

For now the doctor is out....wondering if "the experiment" will help remove entitlement from my own home...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Moms know best.....

My tribute to my mom: 
Kathleen Wallace Bisbee
February 2, 1942 - June 11, 2012

One of the first things I learned during my first semester of college at BYU was that I took my mom for granted and that she really did know more than me.  This knowledge continued to grow as I married, moved to California, and gave birth to my mom was the smartest woman on earth...AMAZING!!!   I even named my first born after this amazing woman (Sarah Kathleen).  When I divorced I decided that I didn't want to stay in California, instead I wanted to bring my little girl back to Arkansas so she could know her grandparents....many years later I realize it was one of my best decisions.  Sarah's wedding was one of the last major events my mom was able to be at before she passed on June 11, 2012.  I was blessed to speak at her funeral and have decided to include that talk here in my blog more for journaling than entertainment.  (I will eventually get back to my regular blogging at some point).

Kathleen Wallace Bisbee, 70, of Little Rock, passed away June 11, 2012. She was born on February 2, 1942 in Gillett, AR to Leo Richard and Ella Florine Cook Wallace.   Kathleen married the love of her life, Frank Walter Bisbee August 28, 1959.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank Walter Bisbee, daughter, Robin Freeman and brother, Jack Walton Wallace, she is survived by daughters, Dr. Connie Bisbee Tollett (Cecil) and Marnita Bisbee; sons, Robert Bisbee and Christopher Bisbee; sisters, Dorothy Ritter, Anita Trimble (Eugene), Karen Lee (Roy), Barbara Starks, Lisa Weilacher (Jerry) and Mona Wallace; grandchildren, Joshua Tollett (Erica), Sarah Ratliff Jensen (Nathan), Caleb Tollett, Bryan Bisbee, Bailey West Bisbee, Kristen Bisbee, Brenden Bisbee and Taylor Freeman; and great-grandchildren, Hayden Tollett, Gracie Tollett, Devon Jensen, Ethan Jensen and Jordan Jensen; and a host of nieces, nephews, family and friends.

One of the things that I remember most about my mom as a child was how well she could sew.  She had 3 daughters to sew for and she actually loved sewing for us.  I remember the one and only time as a little kid actually buying clothes from a store….I was about 6 years old and getting ready to start 1st grade, so my mom took me to Sears to buy new dresses for the school year….after that she didn’t buy clothes…she sewed them.  She was a very talented seamstress….everything she made for us looked as though it had been store bought…as I got older my friends would ask me where I bought that dress/shirt or whatever and I would cringe and say “my mom made it”….they were so impressed but I really wasn’t ….I would beg for a store bought clothing item of any kind.  By the time I was in 6th grade and getting ready for junior high, I really wanted some real blue jeans (not the kind my mom made for me)…so she told me if I could save for at least half of the cost she MIGHT help me with the other half….I eventually made enough money with some help from her to actually buy that first pair of blue jeans.     She eventually had to give up sewing due to the loss of eyesight.   However, she loved to watch Marnita and I sew our quilts and things.  She wasn’t shy about telling us that a quilt block looked terrible b/c of the colors chosen but she would also tell us which blocks she liked. 

It was through her abilities as a seamstress that she could really disguise the fact that we were really poor while growing up.  We always had something new fairly often through her sewing or she always managed to scrape up any money needed for special occasions to do things with our friends.   Growing up I never knew I was poor and it wasn’t until many years later that I realized all that she sacrificed so that her kids could have something.  My mom LOVED Elvis Presley, and had an opportunity to attend his concert when he came to LR.  I remember her talking about it years later and I asked her why didn’t she go when she could have, she replied that the ticket was $10 and if she spent the money on herself she was afraid that it might be needed for the family and then she wouldn’t have it….so she choose not to go.  

My mom started working outside of the home when I was in the 1st grade.  She would work in the evenings so my dad would be home with us at night and eventually she switched to working days.   She never taught us to use an alarm clock…she was our alarm clock.  She would walk into our rooms singing to us each morning to get us up for breakfast and school.   And she was a phone call away in the afternoons when we returned home….the phone would start ringing as we walked through the door….she would ask us about our day and then instruct us on what chores we needed to complete before she got home.   There were many times she would come home extremely tired from being on her feet all day and one of us girls would meet her in the doorway with a request for a new outfit that we absolutely had to have by Saturday for some kind of dance or super Saturday or whatever it might be.   Usually our requests were made on a Tuesday or Wednesday of the same week.  She never said “why didn’t you tell me this last week” instead  she always would say, “let me see what I can do” and then she would bring home a pattern and some fabric then begin cutting out and sewing.  I always knew that outfit would be finished in time for me to wear on the day needed but what I didn’t know until much later was the price of that outfit… mom staying up late at night then getting up early to go to work --- standing on her feet for 8 hours----coming home to finish cooking dinner that I started ----then setting up that sewing machine and going at it again into the late hours.

My mom grew up in the small town of Gillett, AR.   At some point she met this marine who was on leave visiting his own family in this small town.  She and the marine started dating and eventually fell in love.  She was a teenager and had to wait for the marine to complete his service and once he did he came back to this small town and swept her off her feet….this is the sweet shortened version, but this small town girl and the marine decided to elope.   I could say they lived happily ever after and basically they did, but there were some bumps in the road and sometimes there were huge potholes in the road, but they met the obstacles with determination and continued on and their love for each other continued to grow deeper and deeper.    My dad was my mom’s best friend.   They did everything together and went everywhere together and they held hands while doing so.   My dad always told me that “mama comes first”. 

My mom faced many trials during her lifetime.  And for the most part I think she handled them with a somewhat positive attitude.  I don’t remember her ever laying her head down and giving up.  She always did what she had to do to get through them.   One of the biggest trials she faced was when my dad had a motorcycle accident which put his leg in a cast for a very long time.  Because of this he couldn’t work for over a year or longer which really affected our family finances and dynamics.  In the beginning my mom worked her 8 hours then went to the hospital to spend a couple of hours with my dad who was in tremendous pain, and then she would come home to her kids and all the things that went with having 5 kids at home.

Although my mom worked full time she always managed to be on the sidelines for our activities.   She spent many days watching her kids play ball of some sort.  As each grandchild came along she continued sitting on the sidelines cheering them on in their sports. 

My mom had a love for travel combined with a love of history.  Since we didn’t have money for vacations she did the next best thing…we traveled Arkansas and learned Arkansas history in the process.  When we actually were able to go on a real vacation she didn’t take us to Disney World….we went to places of historical importance and learned more history….one time we were going to my cousin’s wedding in Illinois…..this was not a simple trip to a wedding…she managed to squeeze in more American history and church history with a side trip to Nauvoo (which wasn’t the Nauvoo it is today).     Eventually my mom was able to travel to all 50 of the United States and DC.  There is a lot of history across this country and she managed to show a lot of it to us as we traveled with her.  AND, we finally went to Disney World with her but we were adults at that time!

My mom loved spending time with family.  We spent many holidays in Gillett with her sisters and parents.  Later in her life she and her sisters would plan a “sisters weekend” where they would usually go canoeing together.  They also traveled Arkansas together and eventually went beyond the state line to other places.  

When someone passes this world, we have a tendency to focus on all the good things about that person.  My mom had many good qualities about her but she also had her own share of faults as well.  She wasn’t a perfect person but in our eyes she was the closest thing to a perfect mom.

I feel truly blessed that I was able to spend so much time with my mom.   As adults we became friends.  We laughed together, we cried together, we commiserated together and we enjoyed her life together.  Just this past Saturday morning as I was at their house (sewing and watching college baseball) my mom shared a dream that she had the night before.  She told us that she dreamed she was dressed in white and was with my dad.  She said there were many people there in white as well and that she and my dad were getting married in this big ceremony.  She told us that my sister Robin was there with them but she couldn’t understand why we weren’t there for this big day.   I think my mom was being prepared in some way to make that cross over from life to death.  I know that she is at peace now.  I know she is with my dad and my sister, as well as her parents and others.  I know there was a celebration of her homecoming there just as there is sadness here of her leaving.  

Mom, you are missed so very much.  Thank you for all the life lessons you taught us.  Thank you for your support when we screwed up.  Thank you for laughing with us and for crying with us.  Thank you for the sacrifices you  made for each of us.  We love you always.

For now the doctor is out, remembering what a wonderful mom she was blessed with.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Depression kills.....but life goes on....

I live with depression. Usually it is controlled with medicine but sometimes things happen that even with medicine it can't be controlled. Such as losing my mom in June.

I made it through the funeral arrangements with lots of support around me but eventually the people leave and it is just you and the depression....grippling, draining, and overwhelming. The first two weeks I sat on my sofa staring at walls and crying. My kids basically took care of themselves. I have since moved on to just sitting and staring....not so much crying. I have ventured out a couple of times to do some absolute errands but if I can pawn them off on sweet hubby I will just to avoid life.

The ironic thing about depression is that you are literally dying inside out while everyone else is living their lives around you. So I have finally decided that I have to live ...I have to move forward....if not for myself I need to do so for my kids and sweet hubby. So I am blogging again...this time not for entertainment but for journaling.

   I miss my mom. I miss talking to her. I miss seeing her. I miss her laugh. I miss my mom. Part of me is so angry that she is isn't fair, it isn't fair, it isn't fair. Yes, I know the principles of the gospel, yes I know she is in a better place, yes I know, I know, I know....but it doesn't compute right now when I miss her so much. I question why did she have to go when there are so many "stupid, law-breaking, murderers, etc, etc" out there that are NOT contributing to our society and they live on....I know the gospel oriented answer....the Lord needed her more and her time here was done but I need her too and my family needs her.

Each day I set a goal for I will sew for 30 minutes to 1 hour; or today I will cook something; or today I will go to the store; or today instead of letting voicemail answer I will answer my phone myself and talk to an actual living person and hopefully tomorrow I will have the desire to join the living once again. Today my goal was to start writing my blog again. I did it. Tomorrow I will take another step into the living world.

For now the doctor is out.....sitting on her couch and crying once more because I miss my mom.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Are you a bucket dipper?

Wow, it has been a LONG time since I have blogged....I have let too many things get in my way.

Today as we were riding home, Caleb and Brenden were "fussing" in the back seat. 

Caleb to me:  Mom, Brenden is a bucket dipper.  He keeps dipping out of my bucket.

Me:  What do you mean?  You have a bucket with water in it?

Caleb:  I have an imaginary bucket on top of my head.  When it is full I am very happy but when people dip from it then it makes me sad.  If my bucket is empty then I am really mad!

Me:  How do people dip from your bucket?  

Caleb:  They say mean things or talk bad to me.  Brenden is calling me names and that is dipping from my bucket.

(Brenden in the background is discussing how "stupid" the imaginery bucket is).

Caleb:  You are either a bucket dipper or a bucket giver and I am a bucket giver. 

Me:  That is great but how does one become a bucket giver?

Caleb:  You have to be nice to people and say nice things to them.  Mom, you have dipped from my bucket sometimes.  Even dad dipped.  But Brenden is dipping a lot right now.

Me:  Oh my gosh, I am so sorry that I dipped from your bucket.  I will try to be a bucket giver to you.

Later at dinner we had another discussion about the bucket and how we can be givers instead of dippers.  By then Brenden was open to having his own bucket (and I know he needs his filled to the brim). 

Obviously, my 7 year old did not come up with this analogy on his own.  I am thinking it is something used at school in his class.  But either way it has me thinking about other people's buckets and how easy it is to be a bucket dipper.  I hope this family can work more on becoming bucket givers instead. 

For now the doctor is out....checking for holes in my own bucket and filling up both of my boys buckets....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Trying to catch up on some blogging.....

Utah Vacation August 2011

Happy Traveler!!

Caleb and Nathan

Riding the chair up the mountain

pull me!

Nathan and Sarah

Caleb and Dad playing at Nickel City

the tickets won!

The loot from the tickets!

After so much work to earn the tickets we all needed a reward and frozen yogurt hit the spot!

Bridal Veil Falls

Before heading up to SLC we stopped by Bridal Veil Falls so that Caleb
could play in the water for a little while. 

After a short time, Caleb was ready to get out of the stream....he was freezing!

We stopped by our friend Randy's Firehouse Sub to eat lunch. 
 It was so fun seeing Randy after 30 years!

Heading home now ....resting at a Wyoming rest stop!

For now the doctor is out......counting down the days until the next vacation!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

May 1st, 2005......gone but never forgotten....miss you dear Robin

The year 2005.....I call it the year from hell.   It was the year that I lost my sister in law due to cancer.  It was the year that marred my daughter's graduation from BYU.....I got the phone call from sweet hubby just minutes after Sarah graduated to let me know that his mother passed away.....we left Provo asap and headed back home to LR only to get the call from my aunt to let us know that one of my uncles passed away as well.  Wow....what a day.    I saw and talked to my sister, Robin, for the last time at my mother-in-laws funeral...I wish I knew that would be the last time I would ever talk to her....I would have said so much more.  Robin passed away suddenly the following Sunday (May 1, 2005)....we got the call while on our way to my uncle's funeral....needless to say we didnt' make it to his funeral, instead we turned around and headed to Mayflower so we could be with Mike and Taylor and try to make sense of what was happening.   Later that year we lost my dad, and 3 weeks later his brother.  Then to end the year Sarah lost her own paternal grandfather. 

The most painful of all of this was losing my sister.   She was young.  She had a little boy who needed her.  It took me a long time to sort through my anger over this.  Why?  Why did she have to leave us?  Finally, my knowledge of the plan of salvation broke through my pain and gave me the very much needed comfort that all is well.....and, that families are forever.....that someday I will see my sister again.....that someday when I see her she will be whole....without any pain, without any sickness..... to read my first post in remembrance of Robin go here.

So this year on May 1st, I will be spending the day with my mom and my other sister (Marnita).  We will be working on a special quilt to honor Robin....a quilt that we will give to Robin's son, Taylor.  Then we will go to the cemetary to visit her grave.   We will share stories of Robin and we will remember the beautiful woman that she grew up to be and we will probably shed a tear or two because we miss her so much.

For now the doctor is out.......remembering.