Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Today my handsome hubby turned 28 years young (he thinks he's getting old but I still think he's got a ways to go.)

Ben started feeling a little under the weather yesterday so I was worried that he wouldn't be up to celebrating his big day, but luckily he woke up feeling a little better (or so he says.) Like a trooper he got up and headed of to work (did I mention he has to be at work at 5 am?!?) I guess it was a good thing that he had to work though; it gave Cora and I just enough time to head to the store to pick out a few last minute gifts.

I came home and made cauliflower chocolate cake (Ben loves anything healthy and the recipe actually turned out pretty good). Ben's parents came over for cake and to watch Ben open presents. I say he made out pretty well although he wants to take back half of what I got him. It's ok I was prepared for that and saved the reciepts.

Cora and I got him two new pairs of his favorite New Balance running shoes. He is going to need them too as he is already signed up to run 2 marathons this year. I also got him a nice workout jacket (he normally hates jackets but I think this freezing weather helped him change his mind because he actually really liked it). I got him new pants which he needed desperately and some other workout gear because you can't really go wrong with that. I tried to teach Cora to say "Happy Birthday" but instead she says "Happy Daddy to you." Close enough, right?

After cake Ben's parents offered to watch Cora so Ben and I were able to sneak away for a quick birthday date.

So in honor of Ben's birthday I'd like to share 28 things I love about Ben:

1. He is the BEST daddy. In fact, today Cora woke up and looked all over for daddy. She thought he was hiding under the covers and was really sad when she went to scare him and he wasn't there.
2.He always puts my needs before his own, and lets face it, sometime I can be pretty needy and hard to deal with.
3. He is always willing to help others.
4. He can always make me laugh and is such a prankster. Life with him is always interesting and fun!
5. He works harder than anyone I know.
6. He cares so much about others and is always trying to figure out what he can do to make someone else's life a little bit better.
7. He cares about being healthy and keeping his body in good shape.
8. He's hot. :)
9. He loves to learn about new things and he is always telling me interesting facts that he has learned.
10. He loves his family more than anything and would defend them no matter what.
11. He is always the first to apologize, even if he was right.
12. He's always trying to find ways to make me feel good about myself.
13. He supports me 100% in anything that I want to do and reminds me everyday that I can do whatever I put my mind to. He is my number one fan.
14. He shares my values and beliefs.
15. He takes me shopping (even though he hates shopping) just so he can spend more time with Cora and I.
16. He can fix anything. If he doesn't know how to do something he will research it until he's a expert.
17. He sacrifices so Cora and I can have the best of everything.
18. He more than provides for our family and even picks up random jobs just to surprise me with a little extra something.
19. He has handled the news of Cora's autism so well and thinks that she is the most perfect wonderful gift and does everything he can to ensure she is getting all of the help she needs to make her most successful.
20. Even on my worst days, he loves me and puts up with my crazy.
21. He loves my family and fits in perfectly.
22. He loves to dream up brilliant ideas and is wonderful at creating things.
23.He is a risk taker when I would generally take the safe route.
24. His strengths are my weaknesses and he balances me out perfectly.
25. He doesn't allow people to tell him that he can't do something, and if they try, he will prove them wrong.
26. He makes me feel secure and I know that if anything were to happen he would work night and day to provide for our family.
27. He gets me. He knows all my weaknesses and loves me anyway.
28. He loves God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I am such a lucky girl to have such an amazing husband and I am thankful everyday that he chose me. Happy birthday Hunny, I love you to the moon and back!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Summary of the Last 6 Months

It's been six months since I last blogged. SIX WHOLE MONTHS! I guess you can say I've been just a little bit busy. A lot of stuff can happen in 6 month. One of my goals this year is to blog at least once per month. It's not much, but hey I've got to start somewhere. I think the hardest part for me is trying to think of what to write about that people would actually care to know. When it comes down to it, I just need to write so I can remember the small details that I tend to forget. I guess what I'm saying is that sorry if my blog is a bore, it's more for me than for anyone else anyway.

In September we finally got the results of Cora's autism testing back. Although I had been mentally preparing for the moment we had a definitive answer, I don't think anything can really prepare you to hear those words. I mean I've never in my life dreamed I'd be in this situation. I always knew that my child(ren) would be perfect. Well, I have taken the time I've needed to refocus and guess kid is perfect. Perfectly Cora, and I don't know anyone else that is just like her. Anyway the test results show that Cora has moderate to severe autism. I don't fully agree with that diagnosis and still believe that she is mild at worst.

Right after we recieved Cora's diagnosis, the State of Utah began taking applications for a new pilot program that offers intensive therapies for autism. They planned on accepting 200 kids between the ages of 2 and 6 so we didn't think we had much of a chance of getting in but we applied just in case. I don't know if you have heard but ABA therapy (which is the therapy this program offers) is expensive. Starting at about $75 and hour on up. Also, most insurances (including ours) are not recognizing autism treatments and will not pay for therapy. Well right before Thanksgiving we were notified that Cora was admitted into the program. Cora also is starting a special preschool in March (also free of charge) that will provide additional therapies as well. This means that starting in two months, she will have 8 hours of therapy per day! This is overwhelming to me and I don't know how any 2-3 year old could deal with this much work but I know it will be best for her. It is proven that early, intense intervention helps treat autism. Her therapists even think she will be mainstreamed by the time she reaches preschool. It is unbelieveable how blessed we have been though all of this.

In other new: we bought a house! It's a cute, LITTLE thing but its ours and we love it. We are still trying to get everything settled but once I have it a little more manageable I will post some pictures.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 25, 2012

Theres not to much to report on here for the Spalding family, but I can't complain. I am glad things are somewhat calm around here for a change! Last Thursday we finished up testing for Cora's autism. I thought that we would have results somewhat soon, but what they didn't tell us upfront, is that after all the testing is over there is an 8-week waiting period to get the final results. We've already waited almost five months, what's two more, right? It is frustrating, especially because everyone keeps asking me what the results are, but it makes sense. Each of the team members involved in Cora's case (I think there are about 8 or so) go over her taped play session, and over our formal interview and come up with a report. After that, the pyscologist (autism is technically veiwed as a mental disorder" goes over all the same things and comes up with an official diagnosis. The good news is that we will know where she is on the spectrum and what we can do to help her be successful. I have no doubt in my mind that she's on the spectrum, I am just very anxious to know where she is and how I can help her. With that said, Cora has been growing tremendously! She has learned SEVERAL new words, although she still sticks to mostly one word phrases. At least we are starting to be able to communicate with Cora! Her occupational therapy is helping a lot too, and Ben and I are learning ways to help calm Cora's tantrums.

Because Cora is starting to communicate better, we are thinking that it is time to start potty-training. Cora's therapists all tell me it is too early for her still, but I think she is picking up on it rather quickly. I cannot wait to be done with diapers!

Ben has been keeping super busy with school and work, but he is doing really well with both as well as helping out a ton around the house. It is great! He has to be to work by 5 am, and this morning he woke up extra early to do all of the dishes before he left. I don't know how he manages it, but I am a lucky lady!

I have been keeping busy with work and chasing Cora. In my free time I decided to train for the Halloween Half Marathon with my sister. We started out cold turkey, and it was painful. We are not even a week in to training and have 11 weeks left! I am just hoping I can stay motivated to train so I don't embarrass myself!

Our family was able to go to Baker last weekend for Miner's Jubilee. Cora went to her first parade and made quite the haul on the candy front. She had so much fun. I don't know what she liked more, all the people throwing candy at her or waving at all of the horses. Cora also got to enjoy way too many free snowcones (maybe that was her favorite part). It's alway nice to get to go home for a few days. Lucky for us, my parents are coming down to Utah within the week to welcome my newest niece! It seems like my parents have been down at least once a month all summer long and Cora is loving being able to see her grandparents so much.

Hopefully my next post won't be so boring, and maybe it will even have some pictures of my new niece! :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Autism Testing Round 1 and Other News

Finally, after waiting for 4 months, we were able to get Cora in today for the first part of her autism testing. Well, the appointment was actually for last week, and after a huge mixup her appointment was canceled. Long story short, they offered to put her back on the waiting list for the testing, and that just wasn't going to work for us, so Ben and I found some people with decision making power and got Cora in for today. Thank goodness. Not only do I think I would have gone crazy having to wait again for Cora's testing, we really need to get it done as soon as possible so we can expand Cora's services and get her into the classes that are vital for early intervention.

So today was the first half of the test. Basically they just had a bunch of structured and unstructed play time just to get a feel for Cora. They taped the whole sessions, but Cora didn't seemed to mind the camera. She did great. She played just like normal, which I was glad because sometimes she likes to put on a show for strangers. She only had a few small trantrums, but I am glad she did because they need to see what I'm dealing with on a daily basis. Luckily for them, they got the very mild tantrum. I go back in for part 2 of Cora's testing on Thursday. For that session, they sit down and grill me with questions for 2 hours. That should be interesting. Needless to say, we don't have a diagnosis yet. I am hoping we have a definitive answer by the end of the week. Who knows? I am not doubting that she has autism, I am just anxious for her to get the help she needs and curious as to where she falls on the "spectrum". They did however tell me this much, Cora is smart. Very Smart. Ha, tell me something I don't know. You can't fool that girl. She has this weird way of taking everything in. I mean details, details, details. She acts like she is not watching, but she always seems to find where I hid the "no nos". She watches as I make things work, then she makes them work herself. She's amazing.

The thing with autism that I am having the hardest time with is that it doesn't present itself until your baby is a little older. I mean up until Cora was about 20 months, we thought she was perfectly normal developmentally speaking. Up until that point she had hit or even exceeded every developmental milestone (which is impressive given that she was a premie). The all of the sudden someone suggests that our perfect baby isn't perfect. Luckily for us, we still think Cora is perfect. She is improving and learning everyday, we will just have to change how we teach her and help her develop. Thankfully we live in a time where autism reasearch is expanding and that we have access to early intervention that will most likely help Cora to be "mainstreamed" by the time she gets into school.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pleasant Grove Strawberry Days

This last weekend we decided to take Cora to her very first carnival, and she had a blast! Ben and I had a really good time watching how much fun she was having (although watching her on all of the rides made me extremely dizzy)! It was a perfect day.

We wanted to take her on the ferris wheel, but it cost $6 a person, and that was just not going to happen, especially because we didn't know how well she would handle being up so high.

This was Cora's very first carnival ride. She is so tall that she got to go on all of the kid rides, and she was so excited about it!

Cora's very first time on the carousel. She has quite the obession with horses, so she was so excited the we let her ride them. This was her favorite of all the rides and she rode it several times. I just love this picture of her and Ben!

Look at that smile on her face!

After all of Cora's carnival excitement, she got to go play with Grandma and Grandpa while Ben and I went to the rodeo, which I failed to get any pictures of.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Bit About Autism

One of the most common things people say to me when I mention that Cora is (most likely) autistic: "I would have never guessed. She's way too smart to be autistic." Yeah, that's what I thought too, before I became educated on what autism is and it's symptoms.

I'll be the first to admit that before I was made aware of Cora's condition, I had heard of autism, but never really knew what it was. I thought I had a general idea, but really I had no idea. In fact, at Cora's 18 month appointment when her doctor first mentioned that he saw some red flags, I thought to myself, "There is no way Cora is autistic. She would look autistic if she was, right?" Seriously!

Anyway, at Cora's 18 month visit, I pretty much dismissed our doctor's concern, figuring that Cora was just a late talker. It was after that 18 month check-up that we decided to get Cora enrolled in early intervention and speech therapy to help aide her in talking. She started speech therapy in November, and come her 24 month appointment in March, she still had not improved. By this time, I was finally starting to get concerned about Cora's development, and even brought it up with her Early Intervention Developmental Coordinator. Her coordinator reasurred me that she had dealt with several kids with autism, and Cora certainly did not have autism.

At Cora's 24 month appointment, her doctor expressed deeper concern in Cora's development (her doctor also has a daughter with autism and is fairly knowlegeble about it) and requested that she get evaluated. Soon after, we had a meeting with the autism specialist at Kids on the Move. Within half an hour of visiting with her, she told me that she was almost positive that Cora was on the "spectrum". Since that time, we have seen a few other doctors to get a 2nd opinion, and they all believe that Cora will be diagonosed with autism. When I first heard the news, I hoped and prayed that they were all wrong. At that point we signed up to have Cora evaluated for an official diagnosis. The four month waiting period has seemed like an eternity, but as we have waited, and as I have become more educated, I can't wait to finally know for sure.

I can't wait to finally be able to explain why Cora has frequent melt downs over seemingly small things (like when she doesn't like the shoes I picked out for her to wear). Why she doesn't usually respond to her name, or acts like she ignores everything. I can't wait to explain why she is OVERLY shy and doesn't want anything to do with strangers. Why she likes sleeping in dog beds. Why she is obsessed with certain inanimate objects. Why she screeches super load when she wants your attention. Why she only eats about ten different foods and won't even try anything else. Why she has to have her schedule. Why she doesn't talk.

It's alway frustrating to me when all people think about when they think about autism is disability, because autistic kids have so many great things about them. One thing that I love about Cora is that you can show her something once and she remembers. For example, every time we go to Costco, the people that check your reciept always offer to draw a smilely face on her hand. Everytime we leave Costco, before we get to the doors she always sticks out her hand awaiting her smiley face. She does not do this at any other store. Its the cutest thing! Cora also loves to put things in order. She's really good at cleaning up because she doesn't like when things are out of order or messy.

The greatest thing is when Cora learns a new word, or learns something for the first time. I feel like we are super aware, because it is a big thing when she learns something new, after much practice and repitition.

Please take the time to become educated about autism by visiting

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22, 2012

Do you see my fresh new page layout ? Yeah, I needed some motivation to blog as I have been a COMPLETE slacker the last few several months. I am probably talking to myself because who continues to follow a blog thats been on a 6 month hiatus? Seriously, I haven't blogged since Christmas. What the heck, you would think I was busy or least that's my excuse. Needless to say, a lot has been going on in our family since Christmas time. In January I started working full-time for my cousins company. I was really loving my part-time gig I had before, coming and going whenever I pleased, but it was really nice having a full-time pay check. Plus, I got to take Cora to work with me everyday which was a major bonus!

Ben also started going to school part time in January at UVU. He did great in his classes for Winter term, and he is right back at it for the Summer semester. From here on out the plan is for him to go to school year round, as that is the only way that he will get done an any sort of timely fashion. I am so proud of him, though, as I know it is not easy to manage school, a full-time job, a wife, and a two year old. So far he is juggling things great. He has even settled on a degree, computer science (if only I could force him to go and change his major for what I hope is the last time!)

In March we celebrated Cora's 2nd birthday. I am not sure how I feel about this two-year-old business. It seems like the moment she turned two, she turned in to a complete monster. She definitely keeps us on our toes, thats for sure. At her two year check up, her doctor expressed some concerns, because Cora still does not talk, and was behind in several other learning benchmarks. We had her seen by a few other doctors, all who agree that she has high functioning autism. Since that time, Cora has been involved in intensive therapies (occupational, speech, and developmental) to hopefully help teach her some of the skills that she is lacking. We haven't made too much progress on that front, but we are hopeful for the future. In three weeks Cora has the official testing for an autism diagnosis (we've been on a 4-month long waiting list).

Also in March, I was offered a job opportunity that was too good to turn down, so for March, April and May, I worked full time for my cousins and then would come home and work several hours each night for my new part-time job. In May, my part-time job turned into a full-time job offer, one that paid double what I was previously making. Plus, I got to work from home. I know it seems like an offer I couldn't turn down, but it was actually a very tough decision for me. Luckily I have a very supportive husband who told me that it was my decision to make and he would be happy as long as I was. Ultimately I chose to take up the new job offer and I am loving it! It keeps me busy and I feel like I am learning new stuff everyday which is great.

I am sure there have been other updates for our family the last several months, but really, I am finding it hard to remember what happened yesterday (thus the reason I really need to keep up on this blog). Hopefully I will have more pictures and exciting things to share in the near future!