Thursday, November 29, 2012

Who is Team Ethan?

Someone recently emailed me with this great question: "You always seem to talk about 'Team Ethan'. Who is that? Who is included in Team Ethan?"

Well, when I refer to Team Ethan, I am talking about all of his teachers, therapists, doctors, co-ordinators, friends and family. But to break it down even more....other than family & friends....there are 26 people currently on Team Ethan!!!

1 Pediatrician

1 Preschool Teacher
2 Preschool Teacher Aides
1 Preschool Speech Therapist
1 Preschool Occupational Therapist
1 Preschool Librarian/Family Activities Director
1 Preschool Case Co-Ordinator

10 Therapists at Easter Seals Preschool....Developmental Therapy, Speech Therapy, Behavior Therapy, Occupational Therapy
1 Easter Seals Receptionist who Ethan LOVES to talk to!

1 Children's Pastor
1 Children's Pastor Associate
1 Early Childhood Co-Ordinator
2 Sunday School Teachers
1 Sunday School Class Aide

1 Swim Instructor

That's it! Isn't that awesome!!!! Now there are also MANY family members & close friends who are extremely vital to Ethan's progress as well.....but I think of them more as Corey & I's support team! They pray our family, encourage us when we are down, offer babysitting for those much needed breaks, ask questions, are interested in Ethan's progress, and add wonderful ideas & tools to help us parent Ethan. They are our "unsung heroes," and our family would not be where we are today without these people!

So, when I refer to Team Ethan, these are the people I am thinking of....and many other professionals have been on & off the list as Ethan has passed different stages. This list changes as he changes. New people come into our lives & others, sadly, leave our lives. But that is just another reason why I love this blog. Our family is able to stay connected with those who have touched our life (via living with autism), and they will always have a special part in my heart. We will NEVER forget any of you, even if we are no longer a part of your daily life.

There are no words to express what you have done for Ethan and, in turn, have done for us. Together, you have worked miracles in our child, and we are forever grateful to each of you. I can recall moments of celebration as well as frustrustion with each of you as we were trying to help Ethan the best we knew how. Glenda, I can remember you coming to my home as we decided what therpies Ethan needed, and how we celebrated that doors were opening for him. Katie, I remember you helping us work through Ethan's sensory diet while he was on the floor of your room kicking & screaming. You were so calm & encouraging, and the knowledge you gave us has been invaluable! And I have memories similar to this for each person that has ever worked with Ethan, and helped us how to really LIVE with autism.

So, even though I casually mention you as "Team Ethan" in my writings, you are VERY near & dear to our family, and we are so blessed to have each of you in our lives. GO TEAM ETHAN!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Peace In the Midst of Sadness

My beloved Grandpa passed from this world on November 10th, and....thankfully.....I was there with him in his last hours. I witnessed this cherished man depart from this earthly world and enter into God's hands. It was so peaceful and beautiful.

My grandpa was a man of GREAT faith. Thankfully, this is something that I and so many others in my family share with him. I KNOW from the moment he took his last breath that he was with our Savior, and there was a celebration in Heaven. I KNOW that my grandpa was hearing what I long to hear when my time comes, "Well done Good & Faithful Servant!" And I KNOW that this goodbye will not be final.....we will see each other again some day because we both have a deeply personal relationship with Jesus. And this is my comfort & peace.

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. - 2 Corinthians 5:8

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:16

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!..." Matthew 25:21

In the last moments of his life, many scriptures & songs came to mind. I remember reciting them to encourage my grandpa as he was "actively passing." Our entire family spent many moments singing to him uplifting songs about heaven & going home. And moments before he took his last breath, I was sitting beside his bed reading the Bible to him until we realized that the end was at hand.

All through my Grandpa's last days while we were gathering around him, the song I'll Fly Away kept running through my head. Especially the line, "Just a few more weary days & then I'll fly away. To a home where joy shall never end, I'll fly away." We were experiencing the weary days, but soon he would fly.

Once my Grandpa had gone to Heaven, this is the only song that is on my mind....I Will Rise. I am so thankful that my Grandpa & I shared our faith. It isn't something that he could pass down to me, but I had to find it myself. However, his Christian example was like no other, and that is an unbelievable heritage that I do hope to pass to my Ethan. Thank you, Grandpa, for your Christ-like example that you showed me. I will strive to do the same for my future generations with God's help.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Goodbye for Now, Grandpa

I will be taking some time off this week due to the passing of my Grandpa. Ethan & I would visit him weekly ever since he moved to a nursing home in our city. His absence will be greatly felt in our home.

Rather than write a post about my Grandpa, my cousin has done this for me. :0)

My cousin, also named Ethan, keeps a blog ( about his life as the father of Quintuplets and their older sister. You may have even viewed their recent show on TLC, Quints By Surprise.

He has written a beautiful post about my cherished Grandpa, so I will just share that link with you. All I have to say is, "Ditto." Thank you, Cousin Ethan, for your words....Generations.

I will leave you with a few pictures of my Grandpa with his family. We will always love you, Grandpa!

Me, my cousin Grace, my cousin Jenny & my sister Rachel with our Grandpa.

Grandpa's Midwest Family

Getting a picture with my Grandpa: my nephew & niece & my Ethan.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ethan Sandwich Game....Good for Proprioceptive System!

Recently, I have noticed that Ethan is needing more & more heavy work during the day. If he doesn't get a lot of this on a daily basis, he is extremely restless, more clumsy, and doesn't sleep as well. This summer it was quite easy to get in a daily "workout" because we had a pool in our backyard that we would swim in almost every day. Even when the weather got cooler, my husband would take Ethan outside on our large trampoline & jump for a long time. Now, however, it's darker earlier & getting colder so all of our outside things are becoming less & less dependable for us to help Ethan in this area. We do have several things inside our home (jumping on single trampoline, helping with housework using "big boy muscles", etc.), but Ethan seems to be getting bored with all of these things in our home. So, we have started to be a bit creative....

One evening when my husband had been gone all day & I was at the end of my rope with Ethan, I came up with a new game.....Making an Ethan Sandwich. Often, Ethan gets all of the pillows & blankets from all over the house & makes a big pile in our living room. He will jump on this pile, hide under the pile or even roll around in the pile....all good for his proprioceptive system. So, here's how it started....

After a day that seemed to never end.....we've all had them, right?......this mommy needed a moment to myself. So, I put Ethan on his iPad, and snuck off to my bedroom for 5 minutes of peace. Pretty soon Ethan made his way back to me. He crawled up on the bed & began to gather pillows for a pile. Knowing that part of his issues for the day was that his body was needing input, I started squishing him slightly under a pillow...something that we do a lot with our living room couch pillows. Ethan loves it & needs it. Well, to turn it into a game, we decided that the pillows were bread & we were making an Ethan sandwich.

I think because he is getting bigger, he is needing more pressure than previously, so that meant more weight than just one pillow. So, we added more pillows.....and labeled them as pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, bacon, ketchup, and other sandwich toppings.

Ethan loved it! We played this game for at least 45 minutes, and often times Ethan would just lay still once the sandwich was made.....a sign that it was working. So here are some pictures of our Ethan Sandwich game. Cheap, easy, and it worked! Ethan has asked to play this many times since. You can see how much it relaxed him in the pictures below....especially the one with his legs sticking out the back. A couple of times, I thought that Ethan had fallen asleep because he was so still! So, if this is something that your kiddo's system craves, try making a sandwich! It's delicious!!!!