At Christmas Husbandface and I came up with the great plan to go to The Ranch in Florida for The Rodeo. We drove in Thursday and Friday we spent the morning teaching Ethan (finally) and Owen to ride a two wheeler. Then it was rodeo time. My cute 8 & 11 year old nieces were not only in the drill team performing but also starring as Barrel Racers as my 4 & 5 year old nephews showed us how to mutton bust like pros. Even Owen and Ethan got in on the action catching greased baby pigs and earning money in the process. Bampa flew in for the occasion and it was such a fun, amazing weekend. Nothing like playing in the dirt and horse back riding to give you a perfect weekend getaway.
Since Ethan received The Harry Potter books for christmas and needs a little, ummmm.... coaxing and... let's call it modivation, we decided to make the kids a deal. "Read Harry Potter Book 1- we'll take you to "Harry Potter Land". After all, we'd be there anyways, right? So of course my kids dutifully read everynight for months. Even Owen gets in on the action and the kids start taking turns reading to eachother. It was adorable.... Fast forward to reality and being in a new place and unfamiliar people around and the crounds and the not-so-according-to-regular-schedule of a rodeo and come Saturday no matter how hard my 10 year old Autistic sweetheart tried he just couldn't hold it together. There were lots of tears of no big deals, lots of disobeying and rule breaking and lots of meltdowns and frustrations. Doug and I have noticed that the first day we are somewhere new he coasts on the excitement, day 2 and 3 tend to be autism centered and rough and by day 4 we're back to smooth sailing and we have our happy son back. The problem with that is 4 day weekend trips, no matter how fun they are, it's always hardest on him and he's barely adjusted before it's over and we're headed home. We had planned on visiting Universal Studios on Sunday and come Saturday night, Ethan flat out said he didn't want to go if there was going to be too many people there (which in his mind is more then 10 people). So we broke the news to his siblings... as hard as they worked and as sad as they were, they realized that yep, let's do what we have to in order to make Ethan's life a little easier. Sunday morning we went to church, had lunch and played games... according to schedule. We still had a relaxing ,perfect weekend and my kids still had fun and played with cousins and made memories to last a lifetime.
And I learned something... we are an Autistic Family... and we may plan and have fun things scheduled and they might not always work out according to plan... but that's okay! My kids have actually embraced it and set thier expectations and listened when I break up fights or remind them of eachothers differences and needs. We may not be able to take the kind of vacations that others do but, this is our life... unpredictacble, unorthodox and perfect for us.
Sincerly and lost under a pile of weekend laundry catch-up,
PS- did you know baby pig poop stains clothes and the smell doesn't come out even after two washes?