Hello Autism! Welcome Home | Remembering My Son Is Autistic

Well it’s been to long friends! I can’t believe as I logged on to the blog I hadn’t posted in so long. Honestly last year was so autism friendly that things just coasted along. We had great teachers, great support, & things just worked. In my mind I thought ‘This is it! We’ve Crested!’ I think it has taken this long into the new school year to realize I had tricked myself. I have tricked myself & let others trick me into forgetting my son is autistic. I feel guilty even saying that because I know so many of you have lower functioning kids that you get none of those moments but none the less it’s how I feel at the moment. Don’t get me wrong we still have some great teachers but middle school is hard, impending high school is scary, & life is crazy. We started off with little missed assignments here & there then more didn’t make it home or were turned in half done. Grades fell, social interactions slumped, & I allowed myself to stay in blissful ‘normo town’. The other day I logged in to take a look at his grades to find them spinning downward so I reached out to the special needs staff asking them to take a look & give me some insight as communication about school is not our strong point to say the least. I asked for any missing assignments to be sent to me so we could work together to knock them out. What I got was a big black folder with around 20 front & back pages of work from multiple classes that he had not done. Lost on the way home, finished & lost before they got turned in, didn’t feel like doing them so he tossed them, you name it it has probably happened but it doesn’t really matter in the end.Β I wasn’t as vigilant as I should have been this year so when it was left up to him to get signed up for Robotics club it didn’t happen. He disliked band because he just didn’t fit in & hated all the noise so we dropped that as well.

Now that my eyes are open I realize we have taken several steps backward. Its hard to see it when you’re not looking for it because he is just so happy and positive. Even when we had bully problems he was just positive all the time. When a kid is that content with himself and his life its hard to see problems as they arrive when your rose colored glasses are firmly attached to your face like mine have been.

Our little family has had a rough go the last month or so. Between our car that we owe an obscene amount of money on breaking down & the fight that ensued with the warranty company who considers it a total loss leaving us on the hook for the $$ to a burglary at our home while we slept in the house things have been better. All that being said I had a realization over the last several days that my priorities are out of whack! I’ve been focusing on the problems, the worries, & the un-controllables instead of whats important. Yesterday it rained all 15310971_10211505165128874_2138217549_oday long & we stayed home. We made holiday cookies, watched pete’s dragon, & played video games. It was one of the best days I’ve had in so long. I realized that while I had my rose colored glasses on it was super easy not to see the problems but I also didn’t see some of the good things that were peeking through that I used to foster. He loves making comic books & then he puts them for sale in his ‘Store’ in his room where you can buy them for a couple of dollars so he can earn money. A couple of years ago I would have jumped on that & sent it off to blurb to be printed professionally so he could see his idea come to life but instead I just said ‘Thats awesome buddy’ & moved on with my day. I’m not trying to throw a pity party here… well maybe a little bit but hey, it’s my blog I get to do that… I’m just trying to say it out loud (okay, type it out loud) to help open my eyes and hold myself accountable. I need to be a better husband, a better father, a better special needs advocate, & even a better photographer as I realized I haven’t even been photographing my own kids. I walk in from a work shoot and put down the camera only to let it sit there until I am ready to work again. I guess its just time for re focusing on the things that matter. So this is one of those things. This blog helps me hold myself accountable. It helps me get feedback from other parents who know what the hell I’m talking about. It helps me tell horrible off color jokes that other parents cringe at but other special needs parents belly laugh at because they’ve been in the same shoes. Today is a new day.


Side Note: I thought I would share a few photos of our little moments & adventures since I last updated. Thanks for reading my ramblings! πŸ™‚

Halloween 2016 was a blast

Halloween 2016 was a blast

Zion was electrocuted, Jayden was murdered, & Deano was Slappy from Goosebumps

Zion was electrocuted, Jayden was murdered, & Deano was Slappy from Goosebumps

Proving our kids are just as big nerds as we are this is a pic from our election night party!

Proving our kids are just as big nerds as we are this is a pic from our election night party!

We had a day on a party bus...with a stripper pole...okay maybe I should have skipped this one as a highlight

We had a day on a party bus…with a stripper pole…okay maybe I should have skipped this one as a highlight

Thanksgiving was fun, gluttonous but fun

Thanksgiving was fun, gluttonous but fun

Our elf on the shelf came back & since we have a new cat our youngest one had to give the elf a warning

Our elf on the shelf came back & since we have a new cat our youngest one had to give the elf a warning



High Functioning Halloween

It’s that time of year. You think it’s hard to get a kid with Aspergers to decide on what toy to buy, what they want to eat, or other menial decision? Then you just can’t wait for Halloween when you get to hear 4,377 different ideas on what they are going to be, how they are going to be the best version of that thing (accurate down to a T), & also how they are going to….wait….I think this new idea is better let me tell you all about it!! Yep!

That is really the only down fall of this holiday season because everything else is 100% awesome! As long as you can avoid reasoning with people over why the thing they are handing out doesn’t really constitute Halloween ‘candy’ & they should really be more prepared next time but you know what, that dentist down the street needs to be put in his place for handing out floss anyway! Go get me a butter fingers you uppity tooth fairy!

So far we have gone though a couple of ideas but nothing to elaborate yet. All three kids are SUPER into gravity falls right now, its like their soap opera! So my wife & I are trying to get them on board with a full family gravity falls themed costume. I’ll be grunkle stan, my wife is Mable, Jayden would be Dipper, & then there is some contention over the other two boys. The little one wants to be Waddles the pet pig & Zion is leaning towards Ol’ Man McGuket. Yeah, if it comes out it will be soooooo awesome! BUT if the kids flake I’m thinking of surprising them by making a Dalek costume & coming in with it on that day but we’ll see. I used to envy the parents of NT kids who would just run to the store & pick up an off the rack generic Spiderman costume but now-a-days it’s almost like a challenge to blow other kids costumes out of the water. (Yeah, I’m THAT dad) Last year’s Doctor Who, Demon, & Werewolf were pretty rad so I can’t wait to see what comes out of all the chaos this year.

Here is a look back at a few of our costumes over the years:

doctor who halloween costume




Nerdom Reigns! D & D Comes To Our House


Well, we staved it off as long as we could. Dungeons & Dragons, yep we’ve gone there! Its aaaaalllllll over people, it’s done. We watched Gravity Falls & when he saw the mock version of it Β he looked at my wife & said “wouldn’t it be cool if that was a real game!” So she let the cat out of the bag & he did some googling. The next day we had a home made cardboard D&D with hand drawn characters. It was just to damn cute & it felt to good to see him so excited about something that is NOT video games or on YouTube so she loaded him up and headed to the comic book store. Who knew the game was $70 but once he saw it it was to late! Now the entire family is in on the game & we spent this evening after dinner playing. Sam snapped a few photos that I couldn’t help but post up to share. Not my cup of tea, I’m more of a Tetris man myself but totally worth it to see how much fun he was having throwing zombies at us.11880307_10207520314390096_796858852_n 11857508_10207520308949960_1929784177_n 11851174_10207520294469598_1671036382_n 11853846_10207520294429597_949101028_n 11868684_10207520324110339_1849399364_n 11857568_10207520294069588_205897066_n

A Day in Photographs | Focusing On Family

We have been working a lot, it’s easy to do when you are self employed. It’s so cool to be able to travel to new parts of the country photographing weddings at beautiful places. Your business gets just a little popular & it’s super hard not to want to please everyone that asks you to do work for them but so goes life, we have to start turning away some jobs because otherwise your family life suffers. That being said my wife & I both committed to scaling back, re-centering, & focusing on being successful at home as well as at work instead of putting all of our eggs in the work basket. This not only means working less & more efficiently but also doing more one on one things with the kids, doing different things as a family, & of course taking more photos of them just hanging out. We photograph weddings for a living & one of my favorite things about that is the photojournalistic style we bring to it, just capturing it as it happens, moving away from the classic super posed photography. We both wanted to bring this to our home life so Samantha picked up the camera on our day off & used the day to document our stay-at-home mulligan day that we dubbed our ‘no work mental health day’. Take a peek!

Don’t forget we are now doing a web show over on YouTube & if you or someone you know happens to be getting married jump over to our other site Hibben Photography to take a look at our work…Yeah, shameless self plug! πŸ™‚


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Reflecting On Mothersday

I don’t talk about this much but with mothers day being last sunday its been on my mind a lot over the last several days. When my oldest two sons biological mother & I split up it was rough. I knew I had done the right thing for all three of us but trying to figure out how to do things as a single dad with two kids, one of whom was just a few months old, was challenging. I had a lot of help from my family while I juggled shifts at the ambulance station as an EMT with grave yard shifts at the police station as a 911 dispatcher. The kids rarely saw their biological mom so it really was just the three of us & a lot of visits to grandma’s house.

DSC_3862A friend of mine from high school was getting married & when I got the invitation I decided to go, I won’t mention that I unknowingly wore all black to their wedding! πŸ™‚ At the wedding I ran into so many people I knew & ended up getting a lot of the ‘How you doing buddy?’ conversations. Samantha, now my wife, & I ran into each other not knowing both of us were divorced as we had been couple friends with our ex spouses years earlier. I just remember it being so nice that someone understood a little bit of what it was like to go through what I was going through. Granted she was 3 years younger, in her very early twenties at that time, & a cool chick living in the city so she didn’t know about being neck deep in kids but she did know all about how it felt to be betrayed &, lets be honest, pretty bitter about relationships. We sat talking about everything from what happened in each of our marriages to what we had been doing the last several years, to talking about the kids. Hind sights 20/20 neither one of us realized just how good it felt to be around each other until on the drive home. I tried to play it cool & wait the appropriate amount of days (according to the sex in the city unwritten rule book) then I sent her a message on MySpace…yeah, MySpace. I’ll spare you all the mushy details but it wasn’t long after that I realized that all women are in fact NOT evil! I know, who would have thought!?! It was a very…very short time later before we both popped the L word it was all over after that, I was done. When you find someone out of your league who you are with out a doubt sure is way to good for you & for some reason they love you back…lock that shit up! πŸ™‚

SAM_7283The reason this has all been on my mind around mothers day is how much these kids have been through, good & bad. They were born to a mother who, without going into it to deep here, just wasn’t equipped to be their mother. I remember having a conversation with her about how I wanted full custody & she replied ‘Take them, I don’t want them.’ After she was gone & I sat on the couch in my super crappy apartment in the ghetto I just remember thinking about how hard things were going to be & how different life was going to be. I thought about how hard growing up with just me was going to be for them & how I would never let another person in to our little tribe. I think back to that time sitting on the couch when I strong but weak, brave but scared, & sure but totally unsure. Flash forward to this mothers day, all these years later, when we celebrate the woman who was a fun loving 20 something who gave all that up to move in with three stinky boys & make a real family out of us. We have a son together who is just as perfect as the other two, we own aΒ successful business, we are together pretty much 24/7 but are still best friends, & despite my adding of several…several pounds onto my midsection over the years I am still somehow found attractive by this woman who remains so far out of my league that every time she says ‘I love you’ its like I won the lottery. How much life changes. No matter how hard things are, if you don’t know what to do or where to go, even if things are broken in your life its crazy to me how everything can be changed by love. I really appreciate her even though I don’t show it enough. I really love her even though I don’t show it enough. I really appreciate her & I’m going to show it enough from now on.


Okay, so you’ve read this far so I also want to say thanks to all of you who have been watching our new web show on YouTube. If you haven’t taken the time to check it out please do! We will be posting them regularly, it’s been really fun. We talk about whats going on in life, we answer questions people leave in the comments for send us, & also I let Jayden talk about a bit of what he is into so there is always going to be some Doctor Who, MineCraft, & Yu-Gi-O talk on there as well.