November 01, 2009

Dear Halloween,

Please skip our house next year. The sugar tantrums and highs are more than a poor mother can bear this year. I have learned my lesson, really, and we'll have no need for all your sugary treats, overpriced costumes (and pumpkins), and rebel teenage anst. Just keeping the safety of my children in mind.

Thanks Halloween, and tell Santa I'm drafting him a letter too!


October 21, 2009

Someone Else's Shoes


I'm sorry but I just couldn't resist this video, it's so darn cute. My little 2 year old stomping around in his Grandpa's shoes. And it inspired me, he inspired me, as he always does, to think, what is it like to walk in his shoes? So let's talk typical. What is typical? Because your child hits every milestone right on cue, does that make him typical? I sincerely despise that word now being a mom of a child with Autism. I can tell you because Gabe is not "typical" we never have a dull day, and he is more than amazing for it. He is always learning and growing and noticeably so. I learn to appreciate those milestones much more than my "typical" firstborn's, who's came and went and I simply marked it off the list. A new word is exciting, a shared glance is exhilarating, a day in the sand box building a sand castle instead of pouring sand from one cup to another is just down right amazing!

I try to let the glances from strangers, or even those who aren't strangers roll off my back. For how could they know? I must admit that at the first thought of a Autism diagnosis, my mind went straight to "Rainman". Perhaps if I would've understood the Spectrum of Autism, I would've been more persistent in an earlier diagnosis. How could anyone know that when my 2 1/2 year old is running wildly in my daughter's preschool that is not the product of my lack of discipline (well most of the time), but because he has no sense of spatial awareness. He is the child that always needs the wind in his hair. Literally. He needs that stimulation. Wouldn't we all be better for running and feeling the wind in our hair a little more often, rather than waiting for what life drops at our feet. His perception of the world around him is so very different from ours, sometimes I wish I could crawl into his head and just soak it in; and in the same vein I wish I could just unlock it and show him my world too.

When I think about what makes the hair on the back of my neck stand tall, what might come to mind are fingernails on a chalkboard. To that little boy, someone wearing a yellow (yup, he has a huge aversion to yellow) might be his nails on the chalkboard. Every color, every noise, every sensation, is magnified to the nth degree. I often have to remind my self of that and say, how can I help him through this, and the selfish, terrible part of me is saying (in my head), just stop!

When an adult gets down to his level and says, "Hi how are you, blah, blah, blah, fill in the blank", how do I explain to them that there is a fifty percent chance he may not have even understood what they just said due to his receptive language delay. And he may have in fact heard, "blah, blah, blah".

I wish I knew what was in that little brain, and how I could fix it. Scratch that, I don't want to fix him. I love him in every way and wouldn't change him. I want him to lead a successful, full, confident life filled with meaningful relationships, relationships that connect him with the world around him and allow him to see that the world is more fun hand in hand with a friend than alone and 'spinning'. Don't mistake the last few lines for defeat, I will recover my son. We are on the way to recovery. I have seen some absolutely amazing progress since his diagnosis in May. We go to private Speech and Occupational Therapy, intensive therapy through the school district, listening therapy, and I fill in for all the hours in between. I have seen a burst in language, increased eye contact, less sensory seeking behavior and more "typical" two year old behavior, and our newest milestone engaging in pretend play and game play, and loads of gesturing. He's transitioning so much more easily, tantruming less (although that's our biggie) and will even tolerate sticky and slippery stuff all over his hands and feet. We will be doing an intensive 4 day therapy through Project PACE from Oregon in November. I have only heard the most fantastic and miraculous stories from the group and can't wait! I am so proud of his progress in the last few months, and am hoping to introduce tons of new therapies in the future. We're going to be doing alot of work with the connector, that should be fun in public; good thing he has a mom who doesn't care what people think. For those of you who aren't familiar with a connector, think two belts, one for me, one for Gabe and we're attached. It promotes spatial awareness, and togetherness, if you will. I too love that I'm trading in my sneakers for a belt! I have noticed by cutting back, and I mean WAY back on Gabe's dairy, it has made a huge difference. He only gets about one glass of milk a day, no cheese or yogurt. We aren't in a position to go GFCF yet, but maybe in a year. I've noticed increased eye contact and speech sans the dairy.

Slow but sure I'm figuring out Gabe, I'm learning to squeeze into his shoes a bit more everyday, and he's growing into mine. Love you buddy!

September 09, 2009

Bye soon?

Today Audrey had her first day of 4 year old preschool. I think I was just as excited as she was. I always loved the first day of school. The nervous anticipation, crisp new clothes, nice white sneakers and unblemished loafers. New teachers and new haircuts and another year older, wiser, cooler?

I'm preparing myself for the first day of kindergarten, I think I'll need to heavily medicate myself so I'm not a blubbering mess. But dropping my daughter off at school today was such a catch 22. I was so proud of her, courageously walking into the classroom and greeting her teacher and classmates. Embracing the old, and meeting the new. She was confident and carefree and I loved that she was my daughter. I felt so much pride at that moment. And then...moments later, after the camera flashes and the excitement settling it was time for me to leave. And I didn't want to go. Knowing she would be fine, I just felt like I could sit there and watch her until 11:30 rolled around. Her whole 4 years flashed within moments and I felt her soft newborn skin to her first step, tooth and word. How did I get here so quickly? How did she grow up so fast? I hate to admit this selfishness inside of me wanted her to run to me, beg me to stay and never let go. When our babes are so little, they need us at almost every moment, and then slowly, day by day, they grow more independent from us. And she's only four, I've still got a lifetime to go.

I just love that little girl and am so proud. I love watching her become who she is to be.

September 02, 2009

A New Beginning

As I write tonight, my heart is so broken. I do have hope and see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, but it seems so far off. The last month has been a myriad of revelations, heart wrenching and life changing. My American dream, well, isn't so dreamy anymore. My husband of eight years, today, in fact, and I will be divorcing. He has made choices of which I cannot follow, nor find enough strength to move forward beside him. He will always have my continued support on his road to recovery and my hope is that he will do what is necessary for the sake of his children.

Here again, at 33. Not where I expected to be. I'm trying hard to embrace the fact that I am a single mom now. I hope Paul will find the courage and strength to help me raise these two beautiful gifts from God, because they only deserve the best from both of us. Should that mean just from me, I am willing to take that step. I used to have so many expectations, but now I feel like I'm living more than I have ever before. The wounds are so fresh and deep, and I've no choice but to deal with every thing that comes my way. Procrastination has no place in my life anymore. Sometimes my to-do list seems like cement shoes, and I can't move forward, side or back; but if I can cross one thing off each day, I've accomplished something. Baby steps.

I've had to pack away my Mommy guilt with my belongings. There's no room for that either. I have to focus on my list to DO the best for my kids right now. A few weeks of too much t.v. or snacks will be worth the calm when our life is reclaimed as ours again. Whatever, wherever, whenever that may be. My blog is my soul unleashed, so I feel that these are the things that have been affecting me for the last two months, therefore, I must reveal all. I feel the need to purge. I've purged my material possessions, now I can purge the sadness. I do not want to carry any negativity with me. It will only fester inside me, and allow what I do not want or need to penetrate my spirit. I could sit in a corner and cry and feel sorry for myself. But then I would be missing so much around me. The funny things my kids say, a call from a friend, the joke via email that made me smile. Once again I will reiterate, God is leading me down this path. Never in a million years would I have seen myself here. It is not what I want for myself and kids, but it is my reality. I have prayed so hard for guidance on this decision, and feel at total peace with it. With the Lord by my side there is nothing I cannot do, or that cannot be done.

Here's to a new beginning. My new life. My new labels. Take a deep breath, here we go!

I feel a blog makeover coming soon!

August 30, 2009

You Know You're A Mom When...

-You use spit as a cleaning agent.

-You use counting to three as a means to silence.

-You only shave your legs as far up as needed: thigh for shorts, knees for capris, pants...who cares!

-You've actually written out a check with a crayon, or grocery list.

-Your catlike reflexes evolve to the point of catching spit up.

-You're jealous of your friends mini-van.

-Going to the grocery store alone is the best time you've had all week.

-When you read the paper...oh never mind.

-You lose track of your cup of coffee at least once a day and end up pouring another cup; rarely is it ever warm.

-You haven't had an uninterrupted phone call for at least a steady year.

-You know all the Disney princesses, their prince charmings, their social security numbers, blood types, and pre-princess scullery maid songs word for word.

-You begin a conversation, "you'll never believe what was on Blue's Clue's the other day".

-You can assemble and disassemble a pack n play in NASCAR fashion under 1 minute.

-You've can similarly in the aforementioned fashion, unfold the stroller one-handed while talking on the cell phone and grabbing one of the children darting into the parking lot with your right foot/leg.

-Saying either "I'm warning you" or "last chance", becomes as complacent as "hello".

-You master "the look".

-You actually wear the old nursing bra if you're behind on laundry.

-Will purposely drive aimlessly in the car if the kids fall asleep, so they won't wake up.

-Say, "oh poopey" when someone cuts in front of you in traffic.

-You actually get more accomplished when kids come over for a play date.

-Realize you've been singing along to Wheels on the Bus CD for 5 minutes in the car, and notice the kids aren't in the car with you. (Must have been one of those rare times on the way to the grocery store alone.)

-You have or are experiencing the following side effects: loss of sleep, irritability, frequent memory lapse, impaired judgement without appropriate caffeine intake, super human ability to multi-task, loss of romance in relationship, frequency of ponytail and jammy wearability, feel everlasting unconditional love, find renewed faith in the fact that miracles do exist and happen daily, and lastly discover the secret to life simply by looking into your child's eyes.


August 24, 2009

On Compliments...

Well friends, here we go, another blimp of non-sensical blah-blah-blah on my random radar. I really just have an overwhelming need to jot this tidbit down. Now I have drawn my conclusion not randomly or due to one or two instances, but rather over the course of many years and much observation. Now see if this scenario sounds familiar?

Woman #1: "Wow, you look great. Love your dress!"

Woman #2 (in stunning dress): "Oh thanks, I got it on the clearance rack for $20 at ____insert store here."

Now I am as guilty as any of being woman number two. My point (finally) here is, that women are so often times unable to accept compliments and rather offset the compliment with the cost, the deal, or the ol' "oh, this old thing". Now I just wonder to myself, why? Why are we unable to just say "thank you" be gracious and accept the darn compliment? Is it a self-esteem issue? Do we pride ourselves on looking great on a dime? Are we just deterring the awkwardness? I sat down and thought about it, before blogging here and I have no idea. I honestly think it is ingrained in me from an early age. Perhaps not hearing my mother or peers freely accept a compliment has now evolved into a vicious cycle of nonacceptance. It is just so funny to me because I hear it all the time, and admittedly am guilty of the same infraction 90% of the time!

Well ladies, I say we have to snap out of it; break the cycle. I want to be an example for my daughter and if someone gives me a compliment, it doesn't mean it's up for debate, just accept what they are saying is from their heart and go with it. We allow a bit of self-admiration and then knock ourselves down. I must say my husband used to compliment my looks often. And what did I do? You guessed it, always had to retort. My cheese thighs, big butt, double chin. It was always something. I don't know if I will ever be satisfied with "me" on the outside, but I like the inside. I am trying to teach my kids that very lesson. So shouldn't I cut myself some slack too? God made us all beautiful in his eyes, always beautiful to our partner, always beautiful to our children, despite how much we paid for the dress. If I'm big enough to accept my strengths and shortcomings on the inside, I should sure be able to accept the same on the outside. Maybe and just maybe, subconsciously, as moms, friends, women, we know that what's on the inside is so much more important, that's why we can't as willingly accept the "outer" compliments. Because in the great scheme of things it really bears no merit right?

Or maybe not:)

August 05, 2009

Operator Error

Today, I was just thinking to myself, that I needed a good laugh. Well, as I have been abundantly receiving lately, ask and you shall receive. So my princess diva (hence the pink font color, respectfully) wants to be a singer when she grows up. She is 4 going on 14. Our little boom box, is that what they are even called anymore, finally died awhile back; RIP. No biggie I thought, I'd run right down to Walmart and pick up a new one for twenty bucks or so. Hummm, the twenty dollar boom box/Cd player seems to average in the forty to fifty dollar range these days. Target, Toys R Us, and various other retailers pretty much held firm on that price as well. That just seemed ridiculous to me for a kid's Cd player whose shelf life would be ticking the moment it left the box. Then I spotted the Barbie Radio and Ipod dock, oh and on clearance for ten bucks. Okay, so I downloaded all her favorite songs onto my ipod (which is just really Mela Kamin, Summer in my Soul, Cd) and plugged it in.

Audrey was beyond excited. She is now able to do her performance concerts for any available, but not necessarily willing, audience; and listen to her music when she goes to bed at night. A few days ago we had a large number of young friends in and out of the house and in everything and every room. I heard rumor of a certain 7 year old trying to get the ipod into the dock correctly and saying it wasn't working properly. Luckily, that night I was able to get it working again save one minor malfunction; the volume. Good Lord, if anything why can't the AM radio go to heck, or even the tuner. Well, Audrey still fell asleep to Mela's melodies on full blast. She just needed to listen so badly, volume was not an issue; for her anyway.

The next day, I took the Barbie dock to Grandpa, he's the pretty handy type and thought he could either figure it out, jimmy rig it somehow, or tell me it's broke, I just I would've only been out the ten dollars. So I set up the Barbie Pod and began to explain my problem while turning the dial and saying, " change". Grandpa looked up and down the pink monstrosity, with blinding pink jeweled fluoresce spewing from the flower speakers. He then just busted out laughing mumbling something about how his Alzheimer's wasn't as bad as he had thought. He pulled me around to the other side of the dock and showed me the dial CLEARLY marked volume, I had been turning the dial clearly marked tuning. We got a good laugh out of that one for the rest of the evening.

Laughter is so good for the soul, oh, how I missed it; gotta do that more:)

August 03, 2009

Blogging For Bliss

Today in celebration of Tara Frey's book, Blogging For Bliss, one of the blogs I admire most Artsty Mama, is hosting a blog party. We are posting why we blog, how we came to blog, or why we dare to blog.

Although I am fairly new to the blogosphere if you will, I find it to be so rewarding. It helps me to see clearly, perhaps sort out my thoughts. I'm so often times a speak before I think kind of girl, so blogging helps me to sort through my brain clutter a bit. I started blogging shortly after my 2 year old son's diagnosis with Autism. I thought my blog would soon be renamed the "Autism Times", however, it was quite the opposite. In a life that seemed to be all consumed with Autism and diets and therapies, my posts didn't reflect that. In fact I don't often times post about Autism, not that I don't have anything to report on the matter, but my posts reflect what I feel inspired about at that moment. That was a wonderful discovery! I had found a way to see outside of the bubble I had been living in. To see that I was LIVING. I found myself and my voice in my posting, and I kinda like me.

My family and I are facing a lot of trials right now, and perhaps this should be the time when I blog the most; to find clarity. There will be so many changes to come, and I'm okay with that, maybe even a little excited.

Blogging IS bliss, release, truth (good or bad), and perspective. Thanks to all of you who blog and who read my blog.



August 02, 2009

To Be Loved

Over the past few weeks, I have be overwhelmed by the amount of unconditional love I have felt. So many people have opened their hearts to me and my family in our time of need, as Paul is once again in the hospital. I have had no needs, because they have all been cared for without me so much as asking. My house was packed up and moved, there was a garage sale, bountiful supply of food, and money. My family and I have found shelter, physically and emotionally, in the loving arms of our friends and family. All I have to give is my thanks, which will never be enough. But please to all of you who gave of your time, finances, or said a prayer; know that you will always be in my prayers. My memories of the this time will always be hard, but I will be comforted by the memories of the support I've felt and DO feel.

With sincere gratitude and love,

July 21, 2009

In The Still Of The Night

So, I've been absent from the blogosphere for a few weeks. My previous post was even more telling, perhaps foreshadowing even, now re-reading it weeks later. I posted Curveball at about 1 am that Monday morning July 6th. At 3am my cell phone rang, and a frantic woman was on the other end of the line screaming that my husband had just been in a terrible car accident and was laying half dead on the interstate. I have never felt as much panic, fear, and sheer helplessness in my life. I heard the ambulance arrive and the paramedics talking to him, only clinging to the words of the kind bystander, "hon, this is bad". I phoned everyone within a 20 mile radius to come to my house immediately and planned on hitching a ride to the hospital with the first to arrive. My life flashed before me. My daughter had waken, and at 4 years old, could see I was visibly shaken. Tears ran down her cheeks and she kept asking why Daddy was hurt. After my phone calls I quietly sat her down and explained that Daddy had been in an accident but was on his way to the hospital and I was going to go be with him. I tried to pretend like everything was going to be okay, and we said a prayer for her Daddy. As I sat there impatiently staring out the window waiting for the headlights of the first arrival, Audrey disappeared. I soon found her in my bedroom and asked what she was doing. She said, "making your bed for you Mommy". Such a sweet angel girl. A smile found it's way to my face through the fear. This was all going to be okay.

My sister arrived to stay with the kids (who has been my rock through all of this). My brother in-law arrived shortly after and we left for the hospital. When we arrived, Paul was being wheeled into surgery, and I was allowed to see him for just a moment; but that moment was all I needed. A physical touch, a confirmation that he was indeed alive. He had sustained some major head injuries, repaired during surgery. He had also fractured his ribs, pelvis, ankle, and spine. He was in an induced coma for two days and on a ventilator.

I never went to see the remains of the car. From what I hear, not much is left. He had apparently fallen asleep at the wheel, rolled the car several times before being ejected onto the interstate.

God has given me such courage through this time. Paul is now out of the hospital, has a funny haircut(by Audrey standards), some real bad scars, a cast, some knocked out teeth, and alot of pain. He, by God's grace sustained no brain swelling or damage. He's walking without the use of a walker now, climbing stairs, and getting himself dressed. Praise God! We thought we were going in the right direction, but God put Paul flat on his back to make sure it stayed that way. I will never be able to thank God enough for sparing my husbands life. For protecting his body, albeit broken, in time it will heal. This experience has had such a great impact on our lives already, it is bound to provoke tremendous change and momentous beginnings. The outpouring of support has been phenomenal. In fact, my next post is already in the works thanking my friends, family, associates for their kindness and generosity.

Despite the mounting circumstance that seems to be coming in form of waves these days, I will continue to be thankful. I will continue to thank God for my life, my strength, and for new possibilities. Through him ALL things are possible.

July 06, 2009


I know that life is full of hills and valleys, but it seems as if I've been laying low in the valley for some time. I've been wondering, praying, when the upswing would come. I feel like now my family and I are yet again at another crossroad. So many of those in life. I often sit and make my pros and cons list, weigh my options, hope to navigate the best possible outcome. But now at 33 years old, I have stopped, and am looking at my life and just thinking, this is not my life. I am mourning the life I was supposed to have at 33. I think only just now have I realized that I'm living my dream life, instead of really embracing the life that is.

I have shifted my perception. Why when life doesn't go perfectly, is it bad? Gabe's Autism diagnosis was shocking and momentarily devastating, but not bad. In fact I feel truly blessed that God chose me to be his Mom. I know he wouldn't have done so, if he wasn't going to give me the strength to handle it. I know with certainty that I am here on this earth to affect the diagnosis and treatment of Autism in a major way, if only to be a part of my son's. Haven't quite figured out how yet, but I'm in no rush. Gabe is first priority. Our connections and communication is growing exponentially and that fills me up. In fact, makes me smile; I am smiling now.

My husband and family are at a point in our lives where we could crumble. We could simply throw in the towel. And to some it may look as such. My husband's 10 year run as a small business owner has now come to an end. We can no longer survive in our dwindling economy and can no longer trust the network of associates who are now looking out for number one. We will be saying goodbye to the home where we were engaged, became a couple, and welcomed our two beautiful children to with promises of swing sets and BBQs.

Failure, it would seem. But as I type I am thinking that this has to be God's will. He is steering us to a place where we could not follow on our own, and he is now leading us. I am trying desperately to be obedient to his will here. I am trying desperately not to feel sorry for myself. I am trying desperately to hold it together. And so far, I am. I am not going to fight what I have no control over. That is a frivolous waste of energy.

And so I am thankful: my children and family is healthy, I have supportive friends and family, I am loved, my pantry is full, my air-conditioner is working, I have found peace in my circumstance.

I know this will all pass, a new chapter will unfold, with greater blessings than I could ever dream. I now release my dream, my visions of what should or is suppose to be. I will just be and that is going to take courage. The courage to be me. The courage to hold my head up high and take the failure and mourn it and move beyond it. The courage to be ourselves is so very hard. Be vulnerable. In this state I have found the most love, most encouragement, most grace. I hope when we are back on our feet, I will still have the courage to be me. Courage to share my circumstance without fear of judgement or criticism. I hope I will be able to be a source of encouragement for others, for my children, to show that life is not always by design. We are not in control no matter how strategically we plan or prepared we may be. Curve balls happen, and happen often. But I think I'm finally batting them away.

June 24, 2009

Water Baby

This is how I've been keeping my 2 year occupied at 4 o'clock, or when all my other tricks don't work. I turn on the hose and let him go! He performs the same routine (go figure) of filling up a bucket, dumping it into another bucket and then pouring it on himself. Gabe is borderline obsessive with water; thank goodness he finally stopped playing in the toilet. The toilet issue just about killed me, I can be a bit over obsessive about germs and hand washing, so to find my toddler using bath toys in the potty almost pushed me over the edge. Suffice it to say, our tub-time toy collection has widdled away considerably; no amount of bleach could erase the super bugs I was creating in my mind. Bit off the beaten track there. The hose will keep this guy busy for a good hour, give or take a snack break or tractor ride here and there. It has been nice in our recent heat wave, but I am not looking forward to my utility bill next month! An update of our visit with the D.A.N doctor should be posted this week, very excited about going forward!

June 23, 2009


Outside my window...are welcome clouds hiding the sun, and making the 100 degrees a bit more bearable.

I am thinking...I need to clear out the unhealthy relationships in my life, so I can focus on the positive nurturing ones.

I am thankful hubby, who gives me space when I need it; no questions asked.

From the kitchen...I'm scrounging because I don't want to go to the grocery store in this heat; which is exactly the same thing I said yesterday.

I am signature uniform, khaki Capri's with a ribbed tee-shirt.

I am creating...a gift for a wedding.

I am pick up my daughter from VBS in half an hour.

I am reading...Engaging Autism, by Stanley Greenspan.

I am hoping...for some answers, but trusting God will reveal them when I am able to handle it.

I am son playing trains.

Around the house...there is so much to do, I don't know where to start. Laundry maybe.

One of my favorite when I see Gabe doing or learning something new which reassures me therapy is worth the $155.00 an hour.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Vacation Bible School, Lots 'o therapy, two play dates, packing Audrey for a trip to Wisconsin, getting ready for my trip to D.C.

June 20, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

Now who can turn down an award? Not me! I gratefully accept. Thanks to MaggieMae, A Walk on The Happy Side, for the Honest Scrap Award. Now anything with the word "scrap" in it is immediately appealing as I am a tried and true scrap-a-holic. But as MaggieMae explained so eloquently in her blog, it also means "sharing honest fragments of our lives in a way that touches other people". That's hands down better than scrapbooking any day! I do really try to be quite honest in my blog, in fact to my own detriment at times. But I really have appreciated all the positive feedback I have received thus far. I know I am a grammatical nightmare, but a few people have told me when they read my posts, they hear ME speak. I do have to write how I speak, which is not much better, heehee (I mean heehaw, spellcheck doesn't recognize heehee, see what I mean) so bare with me folks. So far, I've just loved blogging, it has been such a point of release and catharsis as our family is facing some uncertainty about our new "normal". I believe it will still be better than I could ever dream, and make the journey more meaningful as we maneuver the bumps and pot-holes if you will.

So there are a few rules I am to abide by in order to receive the award:

1) Say thanks and give a link to the presenter of the award:

Thank you, Maggie Mae,

2) Share "ten honest things" about myself.

I think I really bared a whole lot of myself in my "Guilty Pleasures" post, so check it out if I don't satisfy with a few more.

I am a hopeless procrastinator, but I thrive at crunch time. Maybe that's why all my posts are always drafted in the midnight hour, when I should be sleeping and know it! In fact, I should be doing the sink full of dishes as I write, but I'm blogging. And, as most of you can attest, it is a rarity that you will receive a birthday card, gift, etc. on time if it requires a trip to the post office. The post office though is a whole other animal, I despise going, very hard with the kiddles. Not an excuse I know, so happy belated birthday, shower, graduation, (insert holiday); you all know who you are.

I love clipping my coupons! I do get a rush from saving a couple hundred bucks a month. See, there is a glimmer of thriftiness in me!

I'm a list maker, big time. I have lists for my lists, which, I usually procrastinate. But you name it, I have a list for it. Groceries, cleaning, meals, to-dos, packing, what's happening in 2020, there is a list.

I know I'm a good friend. Not a doormat, and I've not always been a good friend, but I think I'm there now. I really cherish my friendships and feel as women we need them as much as air to breathe. I want to make people feel supported and good about themselves, what better way to be a steward to Christ's likeness.

I like to gossip. Although I have really been praying for God to help me out with that one the last couple of years. I wholeheartedly try to stop myself if I get going. Sometimes it's just too easy. That is a huge character flaw for me, but for alot of people also. Usually, I'm not spreading it, but I don't stop it when I hear it; that's just as bad.

I HATE my tattoos. Both of them. This will make my Momma proud, here ya go ma, and all the others, here's your "I told you so" moment. Get it out of your system. I hate them so much. Oh 20. All I can say is, someday I will have them removed, perhaps when the lotto money comes through. They have no meaning to me really, never did, just my rebellion. They just don't go with my pearls and sweater sets.

Most often times I feel like I'm just spinning as a parent. I don't know what the hell I'm doing. Excuse my language, but totally necessary. That is a hard thing for me to say, especially when people tell me what a good Mom I am. Why? Because I have a special needs kid and am seemingly holding it together, because I play with my kids, because I feed them well? What makes a good parent anyway? The m-o-m word has so many definitions, connotations, boundaries, values, disciplines, how can we say what is a good one or not. Could I be a "good mom" to someone else's child? I feel like I could go on and on about this one, so keep your eye out for a post soon.

3) Present this award to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me. Okay, here's what I've got, I'm a newbie, I don't follow even a handful of blogs yet, but really love these.

Take a Walk On the Happy Side, ( I'd have given it to you if you didn't already have it:)

Diggers and Dumpers, (totally honest, utterly hilarious, very cute)

Make a Joyful Noise, (thanks for always encouraging me and believing in me)

Artsy Mama, (gorgeous shabby chic inspirations galore)

4) Tell those 7 people that they've been awarded HONEST SCRAP AWARD and inform them of these guidelines in receiving it.

When you've linked back here to claim your award and check out the rules copy and paste it back to your posting place -- if you feel like displaying your trophy and carrying forward the good will -- update it with your own answers and publish away...

My fellow bloggers, don't feel it's necessary to accept and follow the guidelines if you choose. It was fun for me, and a way to say I enjoy your blogs and you encourage me to be more creative, more daring, stronger and hopeful. Thanks.

In Someone Else's Shoes

Alrighty, here it is. The Jon & Kate Plus 8 entry. You knew it was coming, I warned you! Here it is on the eve of their BIG announcement. What will they do next, divorce, counseling, continue the show? Honestly, I hope they just finish out the season and be done with it. The last five years have really been such a roller coaster for them. It just seems somehow along the way they got derailed. By money? By fame? Who knows, not my business to know or to judge them. I can't help but think 5-10 years down the road when they have these tapes to look back on and consider if the ends justify the means will they have done it the same all over again.

I'm really starting to get upset at all the finger pointing and criticism they are receiving. Have they made poor choices? Yes. Is this good for their kids? Don't know. But golly, haven't we all made poor choices in our lives? Thankfully it hasn't been made for the world to see. I know some will argue, that is the price for a reality show, or fame. But should it be that way? It just saddens me that they have let it come to this.

I can't possibly imagine having 10 mouths to feed. What would I or wouldn't I do to provide for them? Did they choose it? Yes. But I agree with their decision not to "selectively reduce". I can't imagine a world without little Alexis, Collin, or Aaden. If you can find a way to send 8 kids to college without having to burden them with paying for it, or buy them new clothes, instead of hand-me-downs, or take family vacations that you never thought possible, would you? I have to say it would be tempting. How do you just stop? When IS enough, enough? I struggle with that everyday. When you suddenly notice your life has spun out of control, your marriage is broken, and you can't live a "normal" life ever again; where do you go from there? I can't imagine the complexities of the decisions they are facing. Everything came from such a good place and somehow got turned around. Isn't that human nature? Aren't we all guilty of that? I applaud them for their honesty and "realness". I mean how many people would actually have the guts to really be themselves, to really let the world know who you are without caring about the judgement. Don't know if I could. I think I would constantly be censoring myself. But good 'ol Kate, she just let 'er rip. I really respect her for that. And despite the criticism she gets for it, that IS what made the show popular, because she was just herself.

It angers me to hear other mothers judging her parenting. That just chaps me to no end. Other Moms should be the MOST supportive of each other. This all of our first times being a parent and we're all just doing the best we can. I have to think she is doing the best she can. If my worst parenting moments were caught on tape, geez, well we've all been there. We all damage our kids in some capacity no matter how much we try. Kate is caught in the same struggle I think every Mother faces, their liveliness and calling and happiness, and your kids. It is such a fine line. As Mom's we ALWAYS put our kids happiness first, despite our own. Then if we are selfish for a moment and embrace our own happiness, we're ridiculed. Being a Mom is hard. There is no happy ground, there is no having it all. I think I'll blog about that another day. But does it really make you feel better as a parent to berate Jon and Kate's parenting?

I will pray for them, as I have been that they can find their way back to the path God intended for them. I have to think he made this all possible in the first place. Our struggles are meant to strengthen our faith in God, they deepen our roots with him. Good luck John & Kate, I'll be watching.

June 19, 2009

Eat My Peas

My rollercoaster ride through motherhood so far has had its ups and downs, like any. Crazy exhilarating ups and deep dark lows too. My two children are polar opposites, and have been since birth. A text book baby girl and 21 months later a ‘colicky’ and most often times unreasonable boy. So many nights I would fall to my knees feeling like I was at the complete end of my rope and pray to God to give me strength. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to get through this alive, and I still had 18 years to go! But I’ve had some help along the way, and some words of wisdom that have put my journey in perspective, even now, at what I’ll someday refer to as the beginning.

Audrey was your typical baby; she did everything on cue, just as the 12 books on parenting I read said she would. If we hit a bump in the road, that’s all it was, a bump. Looking back, I remember her “witching hour” as a baby, 10:30 every night for about half an hour, she cried. But she just needed to cry. The rest of the day, she was easy going, potable, friendly, curious and social. Later when my son arrived, I had the same expectations. When the crying soon passed an hour, then two, inconsolable often, non-responsive to the textbook parenting tricks I had prided myself on mastering; I started to worry, and not to mention doubt my mothering abilities as a whole. So I rocked, sang, bounced, snuggled, shushed, patted; and Gabe still cried, he still does mind you, and he’s two! Since I was nursing I even changed my diet upon my pediatrician’s recommendation thinking it was something I was eating. Still to no avail, I relented and took him in to the pediatrician. It has to be colic I told the doctor, he’s inconsolable. Sleep deprived and on the verge of throwing myself from the nearest stairwell, I’ll never forget his heart shattering words. “It’s just his temperament” he said. “Some babies cry more than others and he may grow out of it; he may not.” The doctor must have thought I was looking at him crazy eyed, because he just grinned and said, “Is your husband there to help?” Now what was I going to do I thought to myself in a haze? I came to the pediatrician that day looking for answers and not only didn’t I get one, but I also didn’t like or want to accept my alternative. God please help me. Prayer answered. A week later a package arrived in the mail from my pediatrician’s wife, and consequently a friend. Eat Your Peas for New Moms. The first page listed her phone number and said if you need to talk I’m here, no advice, just to listen. When I got to the page with the quote…“When the baby keeps you awake all night, remember you’ll have a lifetime to catch up on your sleep. But you’ll never have this night with your little one again.” I must have reread it fifty times. That night sitting in the rocking chair with my crying babe, I echoed that verse over and over again. And it really helped. I think I looked at Gabe differently from that night on. I accepted his tears and screams and realized I loved him no matter what and we would get through this. As I had learned with my oldest, time slips away too quickly and before you know it, the rocking and bouncing and snuggling dissipates; so I cherished it.

Now Gabe is two, the temper tantrums never receded; he has the full-blown kicking, throwing whoppers and I sometimes feel as though I’m going to lose my mind. And then I chant the mantra, I’ll never have this day again. When my four year old wants to play princess dress-up for the 20th time of the day and I see the laundry pile growing and the dishes calling, I quote the verse. I’ll never have this day again. When the corner has been visited more minutes than on my hands in the first hour of the day, I recite the mantra; I’ll never have this day again. I know I’ll recite this quote even into old age and God-willing about my grandchildren. It calms me, because I know it’s true. And so often in motherhood it is rare to come across absolutes.

Have I lived this day with them to the fullest, made them smile, told them I loved them? Those are all things I can do tomorrow, yes, but I’ll never be able to tell them those things yesterday. We certainly can’t be there for every moment and yes, the dishes and laundry have to get done eventually; but I consciously make time and take time. Didn’t Jesus also tell us this too shall pass? Now looking back, my be-draggled aura gone, my eyes are no longer bloodshot from my own tears; and I only remember holding him, rocking him, smelling that just from heaven scent. I’ll never have this day with them again, so I’m going to stop writing and go play with my kids.

June 16, 2009

Technology Empowers Me

Technology empowers me to diagnose myself, a family member, or acquaintance with 50 different life threatening illnesses by simply inputting my symptoms and answering 10 short questions. By the way, I'm fine.

Technology empowers me to not have an actual conversation with anyone face to face or even have a phone conversation, yet I know everything they did that day, how they are feeling and what they are doing next.

Technology empowers me to save 5 minutes by sitting in the drive thru, rather than walking into the joint.

Technology empowers me to render math useless by not having to ever balance my check book because I can check the balance daily online.

Technology empowers me to share photos rather than printing out triples.

Technology empowers me to have a need for better anti-virus protection.

Technology empowers me to set my journal aside.

Technology empowers me to become the "expert".

Technology empowers me not to have to have wrinkles, fat, or glasses if I choose, and if I can afford.

Technology empowers me to have way more options than a person should have.

Technology empowers some to find true love.

Technology empowers others to find stalkers.

Technology empowers me to "go" to school, without actually stepping foot in it.

Technology empowers me, but the sunsets look better off screen.

Thank you Anna Johnson

Life is good. We need a fence in the backyard, or, a fence would be so lovely and helpful; we'll put it that way. So, we priced them out, and backyard fence just wasn't in the budget. Wholly moley! I need something that is not climbable or escape-able, durable and never needs to be repainted. Tall order! That pretty much leaves vinyl fencing, which was about four grand. So I just figured I'd keep my running shoes on and forge through another summer chasing my darling boy so he doesn't run into the street or out of the yard. Because as some of you know, Gabe's a runner. So no rest for the weary. Or so I thought...

The kids and I were over at our friend's, the Johnsons, and I could've screamed with delight at my discovery on Anna's back deck. They had built a gate off the deck, so no little toddlers could wander off, as well as, put down foam block padding so little feet don't burn on the hot wood, and a sandbox on top of that. Doesn't take much to make my day! While were there Gabe played for a good hour out there. He loves the sandbox! So I duplicated Anna's design somewhat. I put down the foam, moved our sandbox up to the deck, moved the kiddie picnic table up, and for now just put a gate up until Paul builds one. It could be awhile. On warmer days I just cover the sandbox and put the water table or kiddie pool out. Now all I need is a screen door and we'll be set. I can watch Gabe play while I make lunch/dinner, because that my friends, is the witching hour. It has really given me some much needed sanity. I much prefer that than defaulting to a video to appease them.

So Anna, this blogs for you! Thank you for sharing your idea. I hope it helps some other Mommy's out there too. Now, I just need a bigger deck, hee hee. Oh, and did I mention Paul loves it too because he doesn't have to rotate the sandbox to various spots in the yard to keep the lawn nice. Happy Mommy, happy Daddy, happy family.

June 10, 2009

10 Guilty Pleasures

The hardest thing about writing this post was not thinking of 10 per se, but not naming 20! But you know, you've got to find those small things in life that keep you going. Sometimes an honest days work for an honest days pay just doesn't cut it. There has to be something that gets you through without getting you through to AA. I decided just to bare it all and write it out, then on days like today, when I'm a bit on the crabby side, it MIGHT not seem so bad. We all like to wallow in self-pity just for a minute so we have an excuse to do something that makes us feel better. So here goes nothing.

1 Facebook. I used to be the girl that made fun of everyone for spending so much time on "FB" and My Space, and often said, "I'll never do it". Okay, I did it, I cracked. The peer pressure got to me and get this, now I'm bullying other people to do it. I love it. And must say I check my facebook page a minimum of twice daily. Sad, yes. But really I have got back in touch with so many people from my past (that I wanted to), and found it so much easier to stay connected to those around me. Facebook is as fabulous as texting. I just don't have the time for a phone call to "chat" only to be interrupted 30 times. I must admit, I did need a quiz intervention at the beginning, but I've weaned myself off of them and am finding my way to recovery.

2 Reality T.V. I'm like a moth to a flame with that junk. I can't help myself, it's like crack! It's not even that interesting. I guess I find the mind numbing-ness of it all soothing. Watching someone else's life unravel doesn't make your day look so bad. And I have to say the over-salted beef stir fry I made looks pretty darn appetizing next to what they are "asked" to eat on Survivor. Finally a few months back I realized I was watching "Rock Of Love", if you don't know, don't ask. I had to take a step back and think of all the other things I could've been doing, instead I was watching a bunch of bimbos pudding wrestling. Yup, seriously. I canceled cable the next day. Hence, facebook, blogging, etc.

3 Jon & Kate Plus 8. It should be in with number two, but I love it so much, it needs it's own number. I struggled with putting this one in, but HAD to, and here's why. I have watched it from the beginning, over 100 long episodes ago. Two people raising sextuplets and twins, wowza! Nothing got in the way of my JK+8 Monday nights boy! Of course recently they have been in the tabloids and I will say they have changed and I do wish they would cancel the show, for the sake of their family. It just steams me, and one day they may get their very own blog post venting my frustration. Paul says if I really want them to stop filming, stop watching. Okay sounds simple enough. Not possible. No matter how sad it makes me or how angry I get I am still watching at friends or family's houses or downloading the most recent episode on itunes. Totally a guilty pleasure...or addiction?

4 Chocolate. I don't think that beauty even requires explanation.

5 Slim Jims. I love Slim Jims. A trucker's delicacy. They are the nastiest things ever, but so delicious! I once read the ingredients and swore off slim jims forever. Anyway, I blocked it out of my mind. And jeez, what is going on with the dead bodies at the slim jim factory? I will have to investigate that further. Snap into a slim jim!

6 My label maker. If it's in a box, bag, folder, or Tupperware, you better believe I'm slapping a label on that baby.

7 Clorox Color Catchers. Okay, I know. But I do get a thrill when I reach into the washer pull out the color catcher and it "caught the pink shirt". I cannot help myself, I throw one of those things into every load. Reds and pinks get two. Finally I realized that you can reuse them if they are still white when they come out. I will make a run to Walmart at 9pm to get more color catchers if I'm out. Clorox, bravo.

8 Target. Who doesn't love Target? What is it about going to Target? We all go, we all admittedly spend WAY too much money there, but we sure don't feel bad about it. I still can't figure that one out. The buyers for Target are way underpaid. If I had a dime for every time I've said, that's sooo cute in Target. SuperTargets are even worse! They should really just paste my head on the bullseye.

9 Karma. It is a b*&$@. Really have to be honest here, that I am a bit amused when it comes around to the deserving. Ain't gonna lie.

10 Caribou Coffee. There is something about that five dollar cup of coffee that I just can't replicate in house. So when I do get to treat myself and get a spendy cup o' joe, I do it up. Whip cream, chocolate covered beans, double shots, the works. It is a very satisfying cup of coffee, love my turtle mocha.

June 09, 2009

Pieces to Gabe's Puzzle

Okay, so Autism is described and represented like pieces of a puzzle. Every kid is different and unique, and every child might have Autism because of different triggers. For example, just like pre-dispostition to diabetes; if you gain to much weight and are obese, you may trigger diabetes. The belief is that Autism is not caused by one thing alone, but many contributing factors, genetically and environmentally. Since Gabe's diagnosis, I have been on a mission to put his pieces together to get him the best care possible. I don't care if he ever "recovers". Well I do, but not that he would totally lose his diagnosis as some kids have with many interventions. All I want for Gabe is for him to be happy, be able to have and maintain relationships, and be able to live independently as an adult, and preferably stop being such a punk from time to time. From the beginning there has been so much information thrown at me about why and what to do and not to do. I think that it's every parents journey to find their own way, they know their children the best, so only they can decide. And I tell you moms out there, listen to your instinct, DO NOT wait it out because "he's a boy" or "some kids are slower than others" or "he's the second child". I failed Gabe there...but only for awhile, I still have no doubt we got him diagnosed early due to my perseverance. Diagnosis is hard when they are young because language is such a huge part of the diagnosis. In this blog, please note these are my opinions based upon the medical, genetic and biological factors in my son. It does not hold true for all kids.

I truly, truly believe vaccines are a great thing. I do believe however, vaccines partly caused my son's autism. Not one particular vaccine alone, but that there were so many in such a short time period and Gabe just doesn't have the ability to expel all those toxins. Because there are toxins in those shots people, formaldehyde, mercury, thimerosal, fetus, brains, you just don't want to know. As of 2000, the Thimerosal (50% Mercury) formulation was LOWERED and they increased the aluminium, however, guess how many stockpiles there are and really aluminum is not much better. If we have enough Tamiflu to vaccine the entire US population; well there you go. No law required them to be taken off the shelf. So, unless you know which companies use Mercury and Thimerosal and if your doc uses those's a shot in the dark, so to speak. If you're interested in a copy of the shot ingredients and manufacturers for each vaccine, I can get you one if you contact me. Almost all flu shots and tetanus shot still contain Mercury as a preservative by the way; ask your doc for Mercury and Thimerosal free. The vaccine schedule should be changed, less shots over a longer period of time. Our kids went from getting 10 vaccines in 1983 to 36 vaccines in 2007, that's a 260% increase. Also the rise in Autism (1 in 150 kids), ADHD, ADD, Asthma and Allergies has skyrocketed! I went back and looked through all our home video from Gabe as a baby to 20 months old, because honestly I could stop there. I did in fact see a clear regression at 12-16 months. Loss of language, eye contact, sharing, emotional connection was clearly all there. Then I found my light bulb moment. One week before his 1st birthday (and the huge round of shots they get a one year) he had his first ear infection, a double at that. So he was given antibiotics, the normal course of the kiddos antibiotics is 10 days or until the bottle is gone. That most certainly overlapped his shots! I had no clue you are not suppose to get vaccinated while on antibiotics. From that point on he's had 8-10 rounds of antibiotics for constant lingering ear infections. Okay, so then I set out to figure out why Gabe was such a bear as a baby. Often inconsolable and grumpy, still needed alot of swaddling and hugging (those sensory issues) very early on. When I was pregnant with Gabe I had a flu shot and a tetanus shot. Now, the docs tell you to limit your fish intake because of the mercury level, but they'll inject it right into your bloodstream! Another very important piece to his puzzle is his genetic disposition. Kids with ASD can have two types of family trees. The Methylation Tree (basically methylation is how well you excrete toxins in your body), often poor methylation in a family can be traced to Alzheimer's(aluminum on the brain), Dementia, Bipolar Disorder, ADD, Depression, Alcoholism, and Constipation. Check, we got some of that. Okay, second tree, the Common Auto Immune Tree, where the body is basically attacking itself and results in, Celiac Disease, Graves Disease, Lupus, Diabetes, Leaky Gut, MBP antibodies, Addison's Disease, Thyroid Disease, MS, Inflammatory Bowel disease, and Chronic Fatigue. Check. Boy Gabe was in trouble from the get go. This would've been a sign that his body was not going to be able to expel toxins as well as other kids might. That too includes pesticides, gasses, and other environmental factors. Kids with Autism share alot of the same characteristics and tendencies, but some signs they share that most don't know about are: Allergies, Reflux, GI inflammation, Constipation, Diarrhea, Recurrent ear infections, and sleep issues. So alot of biomedical doctors are finding that by treating those medical issues naturally and safely with diet and supplementation, kids are regaining speech, sleeping better, interacting with others and some are finding their way out of diagnosis. That's where you'll hear about Jenny McCarthy's son. He was diagnosed with severe autism and she sought biomedical treatment and he lost his diagnosis completely.

My thought is as a mom, there isn't anything I wouldn't try or do to help my little guy. I am worried for the future. Almost 75% of kids with Autism also have seizures, that usually peaks around 3, and I'm gonna nip that in the bud. What do we have to lose besides never knowing? The never knowing would be the worst part. And if it doesn't work, so be it, we'll continue to find other paths to take. I will not give up and think that drugs and therapy are his only options. So little is known about Autism, we are on our own to figure alot of things out.

We are hard at work at therapy 4 days a week, and just met with a Biomedical Doctor specializing in Autism therapy today. I'm very excited to go forward. She is writing a recommendation for Paul and I to discuss, it will involve alot of tests and some big lifestyle changes. The bad part is insurance does not consider this "treatment" and pays for NOTHING! If this works, I will make it my life's work to get the insurance companies to pay for biomedical treatment. I'll keep ya posted, thanks for reading.

June 08, 2009

Fired UP!!!!

I am fired up today people!!! Today I was going to blog about Gabe and my new findings through my research, but that may be for tomorrow. Also to peak your interest, tomorrow I take Gabe to a D.A.N. doctor (Defeat Autism Now), they specialize in the biomedical treatment of Autism and the symptoms, not just putting a band aid on it. But what's really got me steaming is House Bill 875, The Food Safety Modernization Act.

Incase you didn't read that long boring bill (I did, snooze) here it is in a nutshell. Without really saying the words "organic", it would basically put small organic farms out of business. The bill says that the government would regulate the food supply using the most recent scientific and technological data, "science based standards", and product to make produce overall safe for the American people. So all farms, even in our own backyard gardens, would have to use pesticides and herbicides under government regulation. That is just absurd! Shouldn't we have the choice? Look, I'll take my chances. Now, a tale of two strawberries, one grown in an organic field, free from chemical agents, the second helped along from seedling to grow with help of chemicals (not alot of work involved there). Considering both berries make it to market, I would conclude that the organic berry would have tons more nutrients than the chemically assisted berry. Why? It fought off bugs and disease on it's own, that's a strong berry! I would rather face the organic hazards than put pesticides into my body. I'm very sensitive to them. I can taste the difference in an organic tomato, apple, cucumber and pepper. As a family we can tell also. If we for some reason have to eat non-organic produce, Paul and I have both noticed our stomachs get upset and we get headaches and don't feel good. We have to listen to our bodies and fix the problems, not just take another medication to relieve the symptoms!

What even gets me more steamed is that the bill was introduced by Democrat Rosa DeLauro. She just happens to be married to Stanley Greenberg who works for Monsanto, the biggest producer of herbicides and genetically engineered seeds, and lobbying hard for this bill to pass! Bit of a conflict of interest aye? So Monsanto profits either way, putting the small organic farms out of business, or regulating them to use their products. It's starting to sound alot like pharmaceuticals isn't it?

Science is a great thing. But to what end? Fill our food with additives, fillers, dyes, chemicals and pesticides so we all get cancer so in turn we have to ingest even stronger drugs and chemo therapy to kill it. Whether you are on the "organic bandwagon" or not, shouldn't we have a choice? I don't want the government to decide what I'm eating because they think it's for my own well-being. If the government really cared for the well being of Americans and the food we ingest, fast food would've been outlawed long ago.

I wrote my state representative and senator, now if Coleman and Frankin could settle this thing once and for all I might have someone else to write, but that's another topic:) I will include links at the bottom of my blog of how to contact your State Representative and Senators.

June 02, 2009

Parents Beware

The "play" kitchen. You mommas and daddies out there know how we all feel about that "pretend" kitchen. I loathe it. There are no words to describe my feelings for it. Well bonfire comes to mind. It is a kid mess magnet. I clean up more plastic food off the floor than real food off my kitchen floor in a year. And not nice plastic food mind you. Chewed, germ-infested, smashed bananas, pies, eggs , more than you could ever imagine. Oh no, you can't just buy the produce pack or fruit pack. You get the whopping 350 piece food kit complete with canned goods and cardboard Ol El Paso Taco mix boxes. Those by the way lasted 2 days. And the play kitchen just isn't complete without receiving one jumbo food box from each grandparent along with the complete utensils that will easily serve 90.

Every morning the kids empty everything out of the little kitchen, without fail. Do they play with it? Gabe, never; he lives to dump. Audrey, occasionally a full-blown stuffie picnic is looming. I really only give the kids a third of the junk to play with and box the rest away and it's still too much! The chewed up french fries and beans go right to the trash, my rule is you chew, you're through, and right to the garbage. But I think secretly that Rubbermaid boxes multiply the items within. It's true, clothing, toys, Christmas ornaments, and plastic kitchen food and accessories.

To keep my sanity, I had to stop cleaning it up throughout the day. The worst is when you've just cleaned it up and turned your back and hear the dump. Count to 10, then 20, then 30, oh walk away so the child lives. Now, I only clean it up at night before bath time, and truly I try to get the kids to help. But if I made them clean it up alone, they'd be cleaning up food for an hour; crazily throwing everything into the cupboards only to spill open soon after.

There was a time too, when Gabe got himself trapped inside the sink of the play kitchen. I thought it was mighty hysterical until I couldn't get him out. Frantically, I called Paul to rush home, keeping Gabe occupied with chocolate donuts and a video, and we stripped him down and buttered him up and pulled him through. Kitchens are not for climbing. If we would've had to use a saw to free him, I wouldn't have been terribly distressed.

Bless my sweet well meaning parents for getting Audrey that cute little kitchen, and the 350 piece food set, and 90 serves none utensils, and power pots 'n pans combo pack, and potholders and aprons; I do appreciate your intentions. And now that I think about intentions...I know you're laughing at me. Payback, well I probably deserve it.

So here's my word of warning to all parents to be, just say no! Resist the play kitchen, they make them cute, like puppies, be strong. Otherwise if your dead set on it, I'll give you a real good deal on a slightly used (and buttered) one complete with slightly chewed, mystery gooed plastic food.

June 01, 2009

The Tide Turns...slowly.

We started with the new Occupational Therapist, Erin, today. Still at the same place, we were just working with the owner until Erin's schedule opened up. Still a hard day? Absolutely, but we made some fantastic progress. Gabe still spent about the first 20 minutes fully screaming, but Erin let him regulate in the "rice" box (basically a sandbox filled with dry rice), and chill, so he was in heaven. Pouring rice from one cup to another, an autistic kid's dream! We made some good progress in the rice with eye contact and sharing, and Gabe actually fed a plastic cow some rice (with some prompting) that's HUGE. He has had no pretend play in any capacity, so that was a big step. I have also been wearing the connector, it is what it sounds like, Gabe and I both wear belts connected by a thin rope during the therapy. Sounds like a harness but the reasoning behind it is great. Firstly, he realizes spatial awareness, hard for autistic kids, they tune out much that is going on around them; this will hopefully help in the running off department. Please God, help in the running off department! Although it does detach if he pulls away to hard, so he doesn't get snapped back or anything. Secondly, it will promote understanding that Gabe, Erin and I, are sharing an experience. We are hoping to draw him out when he plays, share in the emotion and feeling of play WITH another person. So for now I wear it, and will wear one at home during my therapy sessions with him, and then when he builds trust with Erin, she will wear it and I will observe. We also did some brushing, taking a soft brush to his legs, arms and back, to stimulate the skin receptors when he's angry. We did some muscle exercises to help him regulate as well. So I feel we had a great session, still very difficult transition time, but I'm interested to see how it goes on Wednesday. I can tell that he likes alot of it, he is just stubborn and thinks he doesn't want to be there. I feel like I'm learning so much. It's really just a whole new way of play, following his lead, not directing the play or even commenting or asking questions; he is responding very well to that treatment. That treatment model is called the DIR or Floortime model, which I'm currently reading about in the book Engaging Autism, by Greenspan.

I am so thankful for everyone's support and prayers. I please ask you to keep Gabe and our family in your prayers as well as the doctors and therapists that work with Gabe.

May 28, 2009

Time For Goodbyes...

The last of the baby clothes are finally gone. Whew, relief for the newly acquired space I've obtained; but there is a tinge of sadness too. It was so nostalgic going through those bins of clothing, oohing and ahhhing again over the pink ruffles and frills and the cute duckies and baby shoes. I think I had a memory for each outfit, and now my kids are growing, faster than I ever imagined, it was like a gymboree scrapbook! Now all those darling outfits have moved on to other homes, to other kids I love, and who will make new memories in those outfits.

So now reviewing my first paragraph, I think I have come to a realization. I don't think it's the clothes. Maybe it's the fact that I'm closing the door on expanding my family, saying goodbye to never being pregnant again, never holding that newborn for the first time, not seeing that first big smile. It makes my heart sad. Now if you were to ask me at any given point this year if I were going to have more children, you would've received my blanket answer, my heart says yes, but my brain says no. And I can give you quite the argument to back it up, we'd need a bigger car, we don't have the time, financially ludicrous with this economy. Then why is it so hard to convince myself?

Thinking and doing are two different things. Thinking of the bunting babe cooing and sweet and having the screaming babe and lack of sleep are different things. I know my family is complete and I feel very content and blessed. But maybe it's just human nature to always want more. I don't know, it has really stumped me. I suppose I never really had an inkling about how much I would love being a mom. Maybe because I love it so much, I want more of it? I feel so selfish thinking that. There are so many women out there who want that opportunity and never have the chance.

I think now, I've made peace with my longing, and can just let it be a sad goodbye. Closing the door on a chapter of my life. Closing the door that my kids aren't babies anymore. And that's okay too, I'm enjoying every step of the journey. I'm looking forward to a new chapter, not knowing what's on the next page, hesitant but anxious. LIFE IS GOOD.

So long baby number three.

May 27, 2009

What I know for sure...

Oprah always asks her celeb guests this, so I thought I'd sit down and think about what I REALLY know for sure.

  • That God exists and shows his greatness and faithfulness to me everyday if I choose to acknowledge it.

  • That I am not who I used to be, but am still working on who I am to be.

  • That I am consistently amazed and blessed for how much strength I have.

  • That sometimes to my own detriment, but entirely necessary for my sanity, I cannot keep my mouth shut when something is bothering me, or on my mind. The ol' adage "better left unsaid" does not apply.

  • That you can't change people, they have to want it for themselves.

  • If you put yourself out there it pays off 50% of the time, big time, making it so worth it.

  • That taking on others problems and negativity wears on my spirit.

  • That it is most definitely better to give than to receive.

  • That I will never be able to say no to chocolate, um, make that sweets.

  • That I am not attracted to men with mustaches or beards, could be Brad Pitt under that stache, but I'm not having it.

  • I can't sing worth a lick, but wish I could.

  • I am a good mom.

Ask and you shall receive...

Well, poor Gabe had another hard day at Occupational Therapy today. Really it was only his second session, but he screamed and cried the entire time, even with me right there with him. It is not going to be easy, but I'm learning alot. At the beginning and end of each session the kids have to change clothes. We had to bring some play clothes, because sometimes they get pretty messy with the sensory stuff, sand, shaving cream, playdoh, and food. He actually helped us get him dressed which is a good thing, even though he cried through it all. I had expected a full-blown tantrum!

I want to just scoop him up and comfort him when he's like that, but the OT said to wait to comfort until the end of the session, otherwise I'm reinforcing his behavior. He wanted to leave, and couldn't and he was mad. Up to this point holding him tight and rubbing his back has been the quickest way to alleviate the screaming and tantruming. It's going to be a long and loud road from here on. I will be going from a 20 minute tantrum to being fully engaged in what could be up to an hour of crying; for each episode mind you. This is going to require a lot of prayer for strength, but keeping in mind this is progress, hopefully I'll stay on the right track.

I thought that I had resigned myself to the fact that people are always going to give me dirty looks because my two year old is having a complete meltdown in Walmart because he is completely over-stimulated. That they don't know though. There is always going to be someone saying, "control your kid" under their breath, or spank that kid, or that kid is a brat, or the lovely your ruining my Walmart time glare. But I always knew okay 10 more minutes and this will pass; but now what? Is Walmart a thing of the past for Gabe? Maybe. Maybe when I'm a little stronger. I'm not sure if I'm ready to handle that just yet. Moms I really encourage you the next time your in the store and see another Mommy with her kiddies having a meltdown to say something supportive to her. I can't tell you how much that has meant to me in some of the hard moments. A smile, a pat on the shoulder, or just a "hang in there mom", has really made all the difference sometimes.

Paul and I also asked our Speech Pathologist and Special Ed teacher if we could bump up his school district therapy to 2 days a week instead of one. They had to of course confer with the supervisors, because that is basically unheard of. Well, win one for us! Thanks to our awesome speech path. Jenny for advocating for Gabe, he will start 2 days a week next week! I'm lovin' the little victories!

May 26, 2009

When you get to the end of your rope....

"When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."
-Franklin Roosevelt.

Isn't that the truth, I think most of us couldn't let go even if we tried; so we just tie a knot and hang on for dear life. Isn't it funny how life can be so utterly frustrating at one moment and you just wonder, "how did I get here", and the next can be completely filled with contentment and happiness? I hope that's the way God planned it, because it happens to me quite often.

Can you believe I am a blogger now? Much less stressful on the hand than your old standby journal. And, you don't misplace the computer nearly as much:) My reasons for my madness are as such: to find release, to remember, and to document. I enjoy writing, so this was a very natural course for me to take, a good and fast stress reliever. Since I too, am an avid scrapbooker who rarely has the time to scrapbook, I will be able to pull from the blog all those wonderful little memories that won't get forgotten in the day to day. And finally, I want to document our journey with our precious Gabe. Since his autism diagnosis a few weeks ago, I have heard how important it is to journal his progress or setbacks, so here goes.

We are now approaching summer, which came around too slowly and will be gone too fast. As my calendar fills up daily, I wonder when will we enjoy the "lazy" days of summer? But there is always something to fit in, or do. Gymnastics and dance and therapies and appointments. But I plan to make sure we are at the beach as much as possible! It's bound to be exciting no matter what we do! These days are the ones I need to burn into my mind forever and save for the
winter days of 10 below.

Here's to blogging!