About Me

I am the proud mother of 6 children. 5 of our children have autism. We do not feel our world has ended, but just begun. We do not chelate, intervene biochemically, give shots of any kind, practice ABA, etc. We treat them as we treat any humanbeing. We treat them with kindness and respect and expect the same from them. They are exceptional children.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Tonight at 7pm Central time, they will be reairing our Extreme Makeover Home Edition episode. When it originally aired in February, we had 75 people here with us....the builder and his wife, teacher's, therapist, the local ABC station, neighbor's and many friends. Also, my mother.
I have been thinking all day about how my family's life has changed so much from the door-knock day on December 10, 2006.

1. We have an amazing new house and furnishings. We were blessed to have been given Jimmy Jacobs as our home builder. He put so much love into the building of this house. He is a man of great faith, and it is impermeated in our home.
2. We have less debt. Not debt-free by any means, but much less debt.
3. We have great new people in our lives. This is good for our family. You see, we don't have many family members involved with our family. My sister is overcome with her own life...we had a falling out a couple of years ago. Long story...no need to bring it up right now.
My brother comes over for holidays..that is probably a good thing. My mother is great, but she is 70 and can only handle so much.
Patrick's family has never been in the picture since his Daddy died in 1997....that was his lifeline to his family.
We have made our family. This includes many people who were "hand-picked" so to speak. These are people we have met through fate that we have invited to be in our family. Lucky for us, they have obliged us with their amazing presence. These are all kinds of personalities. These are people who bring light and joy into our home.....that is what we needed.
4. We have been exposed, so to speak, to other's who seek our advice on parenting. I love the limelight....my husband does not. He gives me the microphone....I take it willingly.
5. Our children have become a year older, and with that they are showing us amazing gains in their personalities and their lives. They are more confident with their peers and happier than they have ever been. Kiernan has decided that "more, Mama" needs to be his only Phrase right now...it gets him what he wants.

There is absolutely no way we could ever thank everyone involved with our Extreme Makeover. From the first set of producers..Quintin and JD...to the second...Andy...to the third...Herb...to the fourth...Mark. From the amazing design team of Ty, Tanya, Paulie, Eduardo and Paige. From all of the many, and I mean many, behind the scenes producers and directors, gaffer, gofers, caterers, lighting, makeup, etc people who gave up the week before Christmas to make our home.
To the people who put up our Christmas tree and Christmas lights so we could have Christmas.
To the many restaurants who donated gift cards and year long meals....extremely grateful from this mother of 6.

What you will see, or have seen is 45 minutes of a miracle...but in reality it has lasted all year long. You will see the things that were chosen to be on television. You will not see the many hours we spent with ski instructors in Crested Butte, Co. You will not see the way my children were skiing on the first day in Colorado. Note: my children were skiing..not their mother.
You will not see the over 1000 persons who labored night and day for 106 hours to get a house built for a family they did not know. We have since received a behind-the-scenes documentary about the build of our home. The interviewed many of the people who worked on our house. These people were a gift to us.

To this day, I get stopped at least once a day and told that we have an amazing family.
I knew this all along...
Now I am happy to share it with everyone else.....AGAIN.


Anonymous said...

I just saw this for the first time last night and wanted to wish the best for you and your family. Your kids looked like they really had a blast skiing and I wish they had shown a bit more of that. Our family enjoyed last nights show, our nephew has autism and now in his teens is doing very well, I remember for the longest time he did not speak at all but now he makes up for it... usually very loudly at a wedding, LOL, but we all understand.. have to explain to those that dont that he isnt being rude that is just how he is. That is what we all strive for, to be loved for who we are, not what others expect us to be.

God bless you and your family, take care.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the show! I had missed the Feb run so was glad to see it. I have a dd, age 4, dx with Asperger's. I read several blogs by moms of kids on spectrum and it inspires me!

I am wondering what in the house do you like best in the new house? (that really helps with concerns with autistic kids) Do you recommend anything for someone building a home?

Have you encountered any neighbors/locals who are annoyed you were lucky recipient?

Just curious. (((hugs))) for the hard part and big pats on the back for all the great advocacy you are doing! xo, Missy

Dadof6Autistickids said...

We enjoyed it again.

Your story was our inspiration to step up and see what we could do to help others. We've received a little limelight so far and it looks like the light will be getting brighter soon.

Our family situation is somewhat similar. Besides my step-mom and brother and sister-in-law our local family doesn't come around much. We wear them out I'm sure as they are the only ones that babysit for us, about every 1 1/2 months or so.

My wife's parents and my mom live in Minnesota and we are here in Utah. They help when they are able, from a distance.

We still feel quite isolated in our way too small rental house. It may be a bit pathetic, but we hope for help to have a home of our own someday.

We are becoming involved in more Autism events, schools, etc and we hope to acquire more friends that REALLY understand.

VJ said...

I "googled" extreme makeover blogs and found yours. I'm so glad to read through your gratitude for the gift that was given to you. Recently I was part of the Minnesota home makeover and found it to be an awesome experience. Being able to set aside my own trials and stresses to work for someone else was in some ways a freeing experience.

When I was teaching in the classroom a couple years ago, I had a child who was later diagnosed with Asperger's. The school I taught at was his third in three years. Because he was undiagnosed at the time, he was labeled a troublemaker. (The kid was in 2nd grade when I had him.) A little research led me to believe what was REALLY going on and was able to deal with him appropriately. It was my first experience in dealing with Autism and its associated disorders.

I saw your episode when it first aired, and as always I had the kleenex close by.

The episode I worked on is supposed to air November 25 - a two hour special.

Take care

Laura said...

i tried to find a way to contact you without leaving a post but this looks like the only way

I recently saw this episode of extreme makeover. i noticed that many of the behaviors your youngest song exhibited were similar to that of my 4 year old cousin. my cousin is actually one of a set of triplets who i lived with for some time after they were born. he has had many difficulties and is receiving therapies but as yet, i don't believe they have diagnosed him with anything....or, more accurately, he has been offered several different diagnosis. I work with preschoolers now so these cousins are always on my mind and particularly him. I was just wondering if you might be so gracious as to contact me and maybe give me a little more information about his diagnosis. i don't know a lot about autism but i know that it can present in different ways. it would really mean the world to me if you could contact me. my name is Laura and you can contact me at ellewinkle@gmail.com.

your family is so blessed with all the love you have. and if i do not hear from you i wish you all the best.

peace, love and happiness :)

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