• autism,  cross-country,  Education,  motherhood,  post high school

    J is now 17

    It’s freaking me out a little bit, because that question I’ve gotten from so many people for years, YEARS (like when he was 5 with a freshly official autism diagnosis) of “what do you expect his life to be like as an adult” is just one year away. I’ve had the luxury (luxury? can that exist with an autism diagnosis?) of putting that question off for years because most days we’re just trying to figure out what the next few hours are going to look like. But October 5 has come and gone and here we are! Yes, I know that “adult” is a loaded word (when is one truly…

  • anxiety,  autism,  cross-country,  high school

    Fergus Falls and Easter Eggs

    Most people love to find “Easter eggs” in their favourite TV shows and movies (“…hidden references, inside jokes or clues placed in movies, television programmes and video games…secret love letters written by the show’s creators to their eagle-eyed fans…messages [that] aren’t usually obvious and sometimes it can take a die-hard fan to spot them.”). It’s sort of a Sherlock Holmes game we get to play as viewers. It’s a game to test how savvy or observant you are: Can you you see the one object in your movie that’s in all the other stories or movies in a series? (Like The Pizza Planet truck in almost every Pixar movie). And…

  • autism,  cross-country,  motherhood,  teen years

    Stories Between the Pictures

    I look at the calendar right now and I’m in denial that we’re in the last week of September. I still feel like I don’t have a handle on the kids’ new school year. We’ve had rough start. But we’ve had a lot of great moments too. So many times we go online and we scroll through Facebook and Instagram and look at all the highlight reels of everyone else’s life and forget that there’s a lot of action that goes on behind the scenes. If you look at a lot of the pictures in this post, you’ll see a lot of great and fun things that have happened to…

  • autism,  cross-country,  mental health,  motherhood

    This week I cried over running shoes

    Wednesday night, hours after J told me that he was going to handle the first day of school (only after I assured him that it would be a stupid idea for his principals to have a fire drill on the first day of school), I sat in bed and cried over his running shoes. “His pronation is worse in those shoes,” I bawled to Steve, “he’s had them only four days and he looks like he’s going to sprain his ankles he’s wobbling so much in them. I know if we don’t get his shoes fixed right now, he’s going to get injured, and he’ll only be able to run…

  • autism,  cross-country,  high school,  teen years,  track

    Still behind, but still moving forward

    Wednesday afternoon before track practice, a reporter and a photographer from the local paper met with J to ask him a few questions and take a few pictures for a story featuring J, his autism, and his running experience. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. J’s not much of a talker–at least a talker that stays on topic. J and the reporter met for about 20 minutes and it was a bit of a struggle–J couldn’t give him any great quotes to use for his story–but boy, J is a million times better at small talk than he used to be. I don’t get to watch him…

  • autism,  cross-country,  high school,  teen years

    Measurable Success

    Even though J’s XC season is over, he’s had a lot of XC excitement this weekend. Saturday we were able to head out to Jamestown to cheer on the State runners (J’s high school came in 5th at the State level!!!) and yesterday the team had their recognition reception. I always come out of J’s XC recognition reception a little overwhelmed emotionally. I’m not saying that I’m feeling a million different emotions, I’m just feeling a lot of big emotions. I think the biggest feeling I came out with was that of gratitude. I’m so grateful for the kids on J’s team. I’m so grateful for the coaches that mentor…

  • autism,  cross-country,  high school,  teen years

    My kids get more than 17 seconds

    This weekend Steve introduced the kids to one of the most inspirational sports movies of all time–Rudy–and while they both really enjoyed it, W was a little confused as to why Rudy, who had worked so hard at school and at practice, wasn’t ever able to play in a game until the last college game of his senior year. And even then he only got to play for 17 seconds. 17 seconds. After all of the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears of every single practice, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger  only got to actually play 17 seconds of a real game of college football. After all of the heart and sweat our…

  • autism,  cross-country,  high school,  teen years

    Support Squad

    I talk a lot about J’s XC team and the amazing boys and coaches he gets to hang out with every day. I haven’t really talked about the parents and families of the kids who run XC. They’re pretty amazing too. This Saturday was EDC–where all class A schools in Eastern North Dakota run against each other. It’s a pretty big race, with lots of kids and schools (11 schools I think?). It’s also one of the biggest races for the kids hoping to go to State. The parents of both the boys and girls teams worked really hard behind the scenes to make this meet really special for the…

  • autism,  cross-country,  high school,  milestones,  social skills,  teen years

    16

    Birthdays and autism can be a really rough combination. Birthdays for kids on the spectrum can be a sensory overload circus. (I have years of videos and pictures of J covering his ears and crying at not only his birthday parties, but W’s too.). Milestone birthdays are rough on parents because it’s another one of those reminders of all of the things your kid isn’t doing. When W turned 14 in August, we threw her a masquerade murder mystery party. I even made homemade stuffed shells and bought rosemary rolls from Breadsmith and cheesecake to make the dinner part fancy schmancy. She prepped for that party almost a full month…

  • anxiety,  autism,  cross-country

    Willmar with a Side of Poutine

    At around 5:00 Saturday night J, Steve, W, and I sat in a Wendy’s in Alexandria, Minnesota. Actually Steve, W, and I sat at one table. J sat at another table, insisting he eat by himself. We weren’t going to push eating together as a family. J had cleared the two biggest hurdles that have consumed his mind since Labour Day weekend–exit 55 and 67–on the way to his Willmar, Minnesota meet and he ran a good race. We weren’t going to force him to be at the same table as a box of French fries. J has a phobia about French fries. It doesn’t permeate to all potato-related foods.…