At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

Sunday, June 16, 2019

What Daddy's Do

Father's Day is here,...and Isaac does LOVE his Daddy!!!

But then, husband is a great father to all our three sons,
he's a very selfless man,
always putting his family first. 

Daddy's are leaders.

Planners,...who make impossible stuff,...possible. 

Daddy's are encouragers,
who encourage.

And encourage,...

And encourage,...

And encourage,...

Daddy's are great listeners,...

Daddy's love is boundless,
even to first dibs on funnel cakes,...

Daddy's play frisbee,...

And protect,....

Daddy's clink,...

And protect,...

Daddy's hang out,...

And willingly do even the smallest task,...

Daddy's are always near,...

And tender,...and loving,...and true,...

Daddy's walk beside you on life's journey,...forever.

My Daddy,...Isaac's Granddaddy is in heaven,
and yesterday on the way to the zoo I.I. and I had the sweetest discussion,
when I was explaining about my Daddy being in heaven.
"Oh, he died," said Isaac, but the he added, "But he's alive, heaven."
WOW! Out of the mouth of babes!!!

The fatherless are never fatherless,
even for those who don't have Daddy's in their lives. 

God is a "...father to the fatherless."  - Psalm 68:5


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Have We Been Busy?

Spring 2019 is closing out,...and have we been busy!

Warning: this is a super long post.

This collage is the quick version. 

Now, a little longer take on what our little guy has been up to this spring!

Can you tell it's Louis Pasteur sipping tea at the local library's cultural tea party?
Okay, I.I. didn't sip any tea,...or punch,...or anything else, but he did try or attempted to try everything that was offered,...and that's a huge achievement, he had fun,
but then again,...when doesn't Isaac have fun?

Homeschool has been THE best educational decision for us,
our little guy has thrived,
and LEARNED sooooooo much!!!

Homeschool learning is not just the stuff in books,
how about learning about bread for science credits.
Baking is very scientific, know,
and delicious!

More science at the local library which hosts STEAM classes,
yeah, fun, education,...and lots of learning. 
Eggs, know are THE largest known cell. 

Easter Sunday found I.I. learning about gravity,
if the ball lands on the roof,...
it's ain't coming down without assistance.
Hello,...for safety Daddy was in the spotting position,
but our little guy would have totally skipped up that ladder himself.
I have mentioned before,...I.I. is rather fearless,...haven't I?

Certainly I.I. is not afraid of math!
He LOVES it,...the more worksheets the better,
with all the calculations done in his head!!!

Perhaps not every wedding guest takes books to a wedding, but our little guy does.
He managed to behave BEAUTIFULLY at two weddings this spring!

Clinking cups, refinely,
and very, very, VERY anxious to get the microphone at the reception,
during the speeches.
YES,...our little guy would have made a speech,
but alas, wasn't to be,
a great time was had by all!

How about some puppy love?
Remember Oreo,...our very first dog?
Oreo remembers us,
another alas,
Oreo wouldn't stay in our yard,
and the streets are too dangerous for a curious little pup,
so Oreo went to live with friends in the country,
way,...way,...way,...back in the country where he is free to roam,
and safe from cars. 
Visiting Nanny and Pawpa's farm,
Oreo found us,
although his new home is a quarter mile away. 
What a fun afternoon getting to visit,
we love Oreo,
and Oreo loves us,
and his new family too. 

Speaking of love,...I did mention I.I. loves math,...didn't I?
His mental calculation skills,...are very, very,...VERY impressive.
The irony is these are the very skills,
the public school felt he just wasn't capable of doing.
Right,...that's why we began homeschooling. 
Seriously, not ever limit children,
they will totally surprise you with what they ARE capable of!!!

Keeping it real,...communication is still a challenge,
so is reading.
Kinda hard to stay spot on with reading when apraxia makes it challenging to speak. 
Even so our little guy is ready to blast off with the local library's summer reading program.
Prizes, we come!

No,...that's not a medal,'s a fossil,...and there is a funny story connected.
This was taken just last week while we were visiting Moundville Archaeological Park,
that features ancient Indian mounds, we are taking a chronological approach to history,
anyway we purchased a fossil for our collection,
and then I asked I.I. is a super fakey voice, "Where did that fossil come from?"
Our little guy gave me one of his"don't insult my intelligence" looks,
and pointed to the museum bookstore, "From there." 
Oh yeah,...Mama walked into that one!
Still, we are having success with immersive history,
let us learn, doing. 

Ah,...isn't this a sweet sight?
Sniff,...sniff,....I get teared up seeing my little guy doing something he wasn't able to do in the past.
Just check out a couple past Easter posts,...and you'll understand why I am sniffing.
Don't ever give up,...YET is a beautiful word.

Easter 2019,...more learning by doing.
Highly recommend the Resurrection Eggs as a visual way to share the Easter story with children.
The Passion Diorama,...was a miracle,...for one,...I found it in the back of a thrift store shelf,
covered with stuff,...but not ONE piece was broken!!!!
This was at a time where I was totally bewildered by how to share the gospel with our little guy,
as people of faith,...the Bible, and Bible stories are very important,
and at this time our little guy was not open to hearing a story or reading a story or even looking at a book,..but he DID look at this diorama,...he studied every inch,...and lesson learned for Mama:
The LORD will make a way where there seems to be no way!

How about some gardening? 
I.I. wanted a garden?
Good question,...he doesn't yet eat any of the vegetables we planted,
but nevertheless,'s a great learning activity,
more science in action,
so we put in a garden in the backyard,
why haven't I taken a picture of that yet????
Crazy,...since I seem to document everything else.
Our front steps needed some plants too,
so I.I. and I teamed up to get the planters filled,
and it was another sniff, sniff,...sniff moment,
as we really did work as a team,
and that level of social interaction,...once seemed unreachable.
NEVER give up hope!

Shall we hunt some fireflies?
Or lightening bugs?
Fearless hunter was our little guy,
and very compassionate.
Catch and release,...only. 

What to do Easter Week?
We baked bread,...and more bread,...and pizza too. 
Learned a lot about flour, and water, and yeast that week. 

Of course,...I.I. played him some Miracle League baseball!
He's got the trophy to prove it!

How about some field trip snap shots?
See Rock City?
Isaac did,...and one wonderful whirl of a road trip,
that took us to the edge of our state and into another. 

Easter Bunny giggles. 
Okay, our little guy was giggling,
and pleased,...but do note,...he's not standing that close to the Easter Bunny. 
This was from a Special Needs Easter Egg Hunt,
thanks for those who go the extra mile for our children,
it's a wonderful event.

It's not all gardening in the backyard,..
kids on the spectrum are still kids,
gotta have play time!

Note the gloves,
sensory issues are still an issue, 
but they don't keep our little guy from enjoying the world!

And more field trips!
How do you teach a child on the spectrum history?
For us,'s immersive.
Let's begin at the beginning such as Russell Cave,
Native Americans were living in this cave before the Egyptians build the pyramids!!!
How is that for hands on history!!!

Another day trip to Moundville, learn about the Indian mounds. 

Okay,...reality check....out little guy was actually more interested in a little turtle we spotted swimming in one of the mound ponds,
which was created when the Indians made the mounds, 
as they had to get all that dirt from somewhere, than the mounds,
and the museum was waaaaaaaay over any elementary aged child.
Still,...Moundville is now in his base of common knowledge,
and never,...ever,...ever underestimate how much our children take in,
they will amaze you,
which is also why we are so super careful about what our little guy does read and view,
not every book is a good book, nor is every movie a good movie
it's another important lesson he's learned this year. 

Are we yawning because this is a super long post,
or are we yawning because we were up early for an economic field trip,
standing in line with about 200 other people for the opening of Crazy Cazboys store.
It was an hour wait,
yes,...our little guy waited in line,...BEAUTIFULLY
for an hour,
and even got interviewed on Facebook
because he totally charmed the guy doing the Facebook interviews.
Inside the wild and crazy store,
our little guy again behaved BEAUTIFULLY,
and scored some Legos. 

Mama scored tons of expensive science experiments,
for 90% off, you bet we stood in line,
and isn't it wonderful our little guy can stand in an orderly line?
Working on patience,...through therapy,
takes patience,
therapy is never going to be super quick,
but therapy works.

So does I.I.'s outdoor balance.
Been wanting to make one of these for ages,
but until we cut down these trees,
to make room for I.I.'s garden,...we didn't have a place for one.
Super simple, screw, one board,...two S hook,  two wire baskets from the Dollar Store,
and one tree trunk. 

Our first Homeschool Year has ended.
Our little guy did super great,
ALL A's,
you bet!
I.I. did everything required,
with great enthusiasm, I might add,
and has made terrific progress.

More adventures ahead,....

Those adventures include a change in this website,
and opening a brand-new website,
and hopefully a Youtube channel as well,
as those field trips are too much fun to keep to ourselves. 

Never fear,...I.I.'s adventures will be continuing. 
At 42 Degrees is ALL about him,
but the new website will be ALL about education,
as we will we sharing a lot of our lessons,
work pages,
reviews on curriculum,
and just helpful stuff,
lots of it free,
well all of it will be free,
paying it forward,
it's our turn to help others. 

Until we post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

What's It Like Mothering A Child On The Spectrum?

What's it like mothering a child on the spectrum?

Can you swim?

Yes? No? Never mind,...just pretend you can't swim and you've been ordered to water ski. Intuitively if one can't swim,...then one certainly can't water ski,...yet nevertheless you've been thrown into a lake with your only lifeline a tow rope hitched to a speed boat,...and zip off you go!

Thump,...thump,...thump,...gurgle,...gasp,...thump,...thump you go at super sonic speeds being continuously dunked by the crashing wake as you hang on for dear life.

Forget screaming for help, can't breathe long enough, and your only thought is keeping a grip on that tow rope,...every few seconds it feels like it is slipping.

In the boat,...folks are screaming,...some are offering instructions, some encouragement, but with all the water in your ears you can barely make out the confusing noise,...and to be honest, really don't care. Your heart is breaking, you are scared and confused,...utterly exhausted,...and utterly unable to let go of that tow rope,...lest you drown.

Is it like this for everyone when they first get an autism diagnosis? I don't know,...but I will never pretend not to have been devastated by the news. No one,..absolutely no one wants their child to have challenges,...especially such serious ones.

Some people liken the experience of learning your child has special needs to being dropped in a Rabbit Hole, via Alice In Wonderland,...and that's not a bad analogy your world is certainly different. But then remember,...Wonderland was kinda weird, but kinda wonderful, too.

Back to that speedboat, seems heartless,...zipping you around the lake of life,...but it's useless to rail against reality,...some things just are what they are,...and you do find that the tow rope is faithful to hold; it never frays against the elements.

Eventually your grip on that tow rope gets stronger, has no choice, but to strengthen. Are you skiing? Nope, but you're hanging on with your head above water,...and you kinda get use to the thumping wake so you can kinda avoid the head-water. Also the speedboat seems nearer now and you can hear instructions from others who have gone before you,...and the cheers from loved ones help,...they help a lot.

Make no mistake it is an exhausting experience,...learning to balance and juggle and somehow pull those ski-laden feet around to the right position. It takes strength,...and unfortunately it takes time for muscles to strengthen,...but guess what?

One day you actually get to your feet.

Of course you wipe out, but you're astonished to discover you can actually tread water,...and when that tow rope comes around you willingly grab it. For your child's sake, are going to learn to ski,...and it doesn't matter how many times you wipe out,'re getting back up. You've had a glimpse of the lake view,'s amazing.

The wind in your hair,...the freedom of the waves,...and you marvel that you ever feared this extraordinary experience. 

Eventually your turn is over,...but you're not leaving the lake. You will NEVER leave the lake,...nor will your child,...but that's okay,...lake life is not so bad: different,but wonderful.

Believe it or not but you're going to find yourself in the boat where you will scream instructions,...and encouragement to others,...knowing they can't hear you,...and don't really care,...but nevertheless need your presence in the boat,...because those first few days, and weeks, and months,...and even years,...can be a rough ride.

Our little guy was worth the ski lesson,...a thousand times over. We're not exactly in the boat yet, but we've definitely learned how to get to our feet and lean back on that rope of faith. Without faith,...there is no way we would have made it this far.

Mothering a child on the spectrum is definitely an exercise in '...walking by faith, not by sight."

Thankfully early on we learned that two choices were before us: delight or devastation. Trust me, is so much easier to be utterly delighted by what our child can do now,...then be utterly devastated by what our child can not do,...yet.

Yet is a lovely word, full of promise.

Special needs children have,...ta dah,...special needs,...and so do special needs mothers.It's a different world, would be disingenuous to suggest otherwise. However,...different is not less,...typical kids and their folks go to the lake as well,'s an awesome place,...especially when you eventually learn to water ski.

P.S. check out that happy little face at the top of this post,...that sunshine smile makes every day,...every single day,...worthwhile.

To EVERY mother out there

may God bless and keep you!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

What Autism Is Like - For Us

Oh, it April already? Boy has our little guy been busy this year,...Mama too, which accounts for the long lapse in posts. But here we are again,...April 2019,....Autism Awareness Month. 

Do YOU know anyone with autism,...aside from Isaac, that is?

If you've met one child with Autism,...then you've only seen one span of the Autism Spectrum. 
Yes,...individuals are that diverse. 

Our little guy has a double dose: Autism and Apraxia,...which is a speech disorder that basically means you can't say what you want to say when you want to say it. Not that Apraxia or Autism slow our little guy down,...a second. 

No one expects their child to have Autism. No one wants their child to have Autism, but it's a reality in our life,...and get this folks, ain't the end of the world. 

Autism is many things,...some of them are wonderful. 

How about shout out to folks who pitched in to make a dream birthday trip for our little guy a reality. 

 How charming is our little guy?
Well,...the TSA agents were eating out of the palm of his little hand. 
That's charm!

First plane ride?
It was a BLAST,...our little guy didn't turn a hair. 
To him it was all an amazing adventure. 

Three guesses where we went.

That sunshine smile says it all. 

 Ah,...children with Autism,...are still children.
They like video games as much as anyone,
and roller coasters.
I haven't mention before our little guy is fearless,...haven't I?

Dark, fast, high,...roller coasters were nothing,
but Autism is unpredictable.
Cause our little guy was not uber thrilled to meet any Disney characters,
but that wasn't a bad thing,...think of all the time we saved not having to hunt down photoshoots.
Can't figure this stuff out,...and it's a waste of time to try.
We just go with the flow,...if our little guy doesn't want to meet Buzz and Woody,
that's not the end of the world. 

Disney's special needs program was AWESOME,...after checking into guest services,
we waited for NOTHING.
Thank you,...Disney.


 The Mickey waffles were awesome, too!

Trust me, was a life changing trip for our little guy.

What a way to celebrate your ninth birthday!

Aside from our awesome Autism tee-shirts (Thank you Aunt Darlene and Nanny),
and registering into guest services,...we never mentioned to anyone our little guy
has Autism, wasn't relevant to our vacation.
It rarely is. 

We work around what challenges there are very matter-of-factly. 

Like the STEAM class at the local library.
I.I. still doesn't do "sticky-gooey"  unless he absolutely has to,
and then it's like "Let's wash our hands,...super quick."
It's not a big deal,...plenty of people don't like to have sticky hands. 

Our local zoo offers free classes for special needs children,...and it's been a great experience for our little guy. His friends are his friends,...and it doesn't matter to him if they are typical or have challenges that he can understand. 

That's one of the gifts of Autism,...
our little guy doesn't have social hang ups,...he loves everyone!

Thankfully most people accept our little guy as he is with all his uniqueness. 
No,...he's not a typical nine year old. 
He's Isaac,...and he's perfectly good with that,
if you're not,
that's YOUR problem.
Another gift of Autism.

Therapy is not for the impatient, takes time.
LOTS of time,
but it works. 
Doctor visits with no drama.
Thank you,...therapy!

Learning to drink Green Smoothies because they are good for us.
Thank you,...therapy.

Therapy is not just once a week,'s every day,...every situation. 

It's learning how to be part of a team. 

How to finger paint without getting your fingers dirty,
which is QUITE an accomplishment!

It's learning how to become a part of group.

And celebrating achievements. 

It's new experiences,...

And overcoming fears.
YES! Our little guy now loves ice cream.
Only took nine years. 

It's maturing,...and growing,
and learning how to play.

It's being patience with developmental developments.
Only took seven years for our little guy to play with this truck his late grandfather gave him. 

It's becoming a part of the community.
Picnic at the park, anyone?

It's being comfortable in your skin,...

It's learning to give to others,...

For us,...Autism is just a part of life,
it's not the biggest part,
nor the most important.
It has challenges,
but those challenges only make our little guy stronger,
more accepting,
and loving toward others. 
Us, too. 
That's not such a bad thing. 
Our world needs more unconditional love,
and the sum total of Autism is:

Love me as I am,
because I love you,
as you are. 

As people of faith we know God doesn't make mistakes,...our son is 'fearfully and wonderfully made,' - and for that we are truly grateful!

Until I post again,...God bless and keep you!