Wednesday, July 31, 2013

We Will Make It Through

Today is the day where many just post a simple picture to express something beautiful, something important, something silly - just something and avoid the writing altogether.

Fortunately for you - I'm not one of them!!

Remember how last week I posted about my son and his anger issues? And then I posted about how thankful I am?

Well, right now my son is still angry and I'm not feeling at all thankful.

I am thankful but I'm not.

I'm not thankful for the aggression and anger that my son has and that there is nothing I can do about it.
(post publish edit: yes, there is something I can do about it but I feel helpless and don't know what to do since he lives with his dad full-time and our relationship is not the best of them)

This past weekend Bug was having an issue with Monkey - Monkey knows how to push his buttons more than most.

So in the process of him fighting with his brother, he spills his breakfast in the car, starts crying and then yells at his brother some more than negative things that I would rather not write out because it is just too shocking for me as a mom.

I stopped buckling Baby Girl into her car seat and immediately began to tell him that language like that was not acceptable and he was not to speak like that to his brother (and by tell I mean scream at the top of my lungs - I know, not a proud mommy moment).

He started to "explain" himself and I told him there was no excuse - his response to that was to throw his food at me.

Yeah, that's a first for him.

My heart dropped and tears built up in my eyes because I didn't know what to do.

I did the only thing I could do - I called his father.

He spoke with his father and stayed mad. He said he didn't want to be with me and that he wanted to be with his father but that I was "lucky" because his dad said it was my day and he had to stay with me.

We rode on and the fighting just continued to the point that I had to switch the seating arrangements in the car once again because of him - this time Baby Girl sat next to him.

He doesn't get mad at her. He loves her like crazy. This should work.

It did.

It was a calmer ride to my house.

He apologized once again for his behavior and that he doesn't mean to. I know he doesn't.

It's just a switch that goes on and one that he can't shut down until the blow-out is over.

And when the blow out is over, he looks at his damage and the people he has hurt either physically by a slap or punch, and emotionally by his words - and he feels remorse, and he starts to cry.

And he says he hates his life, and he hates himself.

And I cry - because my boy - who can smile and laugh and make the world a wonderful place has this darkness inside him that he doesn't understand and that is tearing him apart.

His siblings love him still and want to be with him which is good. He has not scared them away. Yet.

I need to talk to his father - we need to come up with a plan.

Our son cannot continue to hurt this way.

He is my world - all of them are - but he is so fragile...he needs more and we sometimes forget that because he is so verbal and such a big kid.

But big kids need help too.

I love you Bug!! I always will and we will make it through this - no matter how hard it gets we will make it through.

In the spirit of Wordless Wednesday - here is my baby as he has grown gorgeous boy.

I'm writing in connection with Shell at Things I Can't Say and the Pour Your Heart Out Series 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Fashion: Just DON'T!!

Okay people, I'm not a fashion person by any means.

My go to wardrobe is a pair of shorts, t-shirt and flip flops.

If I have to get dressed up, its a maxi skirt, cute top and flip flops.

If the weather is cold, its jeans, a t-shirt, a thin jacket and boots or doesn't get that cold in S. Florida.

So when I was on the Twitter today and saw this post
I was reminded of these

The image was of a gummy boot - you can find them here: source

 I saw them at the mall on Saturday....

These boots are the latest in the trend of jelly shoes straight out of the UK.

Their purpose was to be versatile rain and fashion shoe rolled into one handy pair!!

As in the first picture, you can glam them up with a wide selection of funky socks or solid socks to match your outfit! The opportunities are endless.

Of course, if you have to go to a more formal occasion then you have these...

(see link in above replaced image)

They have the perfect shades of black or white to match your evening gown perfectly!!

The sky is the limit with what you can do with these Clear Festival Jelly Wellies.

Can you say Fashion Fail?

I mean, I'm no Rachel Zoe or Heidi Klum but my first train of thought - stinky feet!!!

Second thought - blisters!!

What if you forgot to wash your socks and need to run out of the house and these are the only shoes you can find and are in desperate need of a pedicure?

Oh Fashion/Shoe, just NO!!!

~ * ~ * ~

This is seriously making me consider finding fashion fails on-line and making a series of it - a la the Dose Girls' Pinterest Nightmares (if you haven't seen these - then you're living under a rock and you HAVE to check them out).

What do you think? - if a fashion challenged person like me can find the flaws in fashion then there must be something wrong!

Friday, July 26, 2013

TMI with More than Mommies

Hey everyone!! Today is Friday so I'm making it light and sweet...

If you haven't yet, please check out yesterday's is one of my favorite so far...and then come back here and check this one out ;-)

Thanks to More than Mommies for hosting the TMI series - sometimes, you just want to know the most random things about your fellow bloggers...

If you like this - join in and then join in with the MTM crew at their mixer and Twitter party, so I hope you enjoy and have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Giving Thanks

Recently I came across this post by the adorable Kristen at 31 Million Seconds and it reminded me of the many things that I sometimes take for granted and that I need to be thankful for.

So here goes - I'm sending my thanks and gratitude out into the universe because even in the hardest of times, I have so much in my life that I need to remember to be thankful every day because my life wouldn't be the same if these blessings did not come my way.

I'm thankful for my children. They have taught me so much every day about being a mom, a better person, and patience. They have taught me never to give up and to keep trying no matter how hard things get. They have taught me that it is possible to love unconditionally and without hesitation. They have also taught me to overcome my fears and to put up a fight when I see things that aren't right. They have also taught me compassion and forgiveness and the ability to just relax and enjoy the simple things in the world around me. I love my littles...for as far as the universe stretches, it still cannot contain the love, admiration, and gratitude I have for being blessed with those 6 perfect pieces of my life.

I'm thankful for Mr. Big. I cannot express in words how grateful I am for having him in my life. Its as if a light was shining my way when I was feeling at the darkest in my life. He is by my side unconditionally  and without judgement. Yet he is honest and straight to the point with me - I needed that.  He has reminded me that I am a strong person who can do anything as long as I want to do it. He has shown me that its okay to cry but then put my big girl panties on and dust myself off and move forward because life is short and there is just too much going on to worry about what I can't control. He has also taught me that love comes in many different forms and I am worthy of it. I love this man more than I ever thought possible. I am so thankful that he loves me and wants me as part of his life.

I'm thankful for my parents. I'm not going to say that my childhood was an easy one and the teen years were no picnic either but its the choices that they made - the good, the bad, the WTF? ones that made me who I am today. Made me the parent that I am and the woman that I have become. Through strained and not-so-perfect relationships, we are finding a way to mend broken bridges and come together, one day at a time. I'm also grateful for the opportunity to do so.

I'm thankful for my sister. She gives me the emotional ass kicking that I need, when I need it and brings me down a notch if I get to thinking too highly of myself. She is rough and harsh and blunt and I love that about her. She doesn't take shit from anybody and is not afraid to do the same with me. She doesn't judge - she just tells me how it is and I know that if I need her, she will be by my side and fight just as hard for me as I would for her - even though she still says that my mom found me in a Wendy's dumpster and felt sorry for me so she took me home ;-)

I'm thankful for my brothers. My oldest brother has always been there to make me laugh and just listen to me rant and rave and go nuts while just blankly staring. He has been one of my biggest supporters and just best friend. He opened his doors to me when I needed him without hesitation. And it also helps he can fix my computer! My little brother has taught me that life is not so easy and that we are all products of circumstance and that we make of our lives what we choose.

I'm thankful for my cousins. My oldest cousin is more like my mother - she has never turned her back on me and treats me like her daughter. Whenever I need a shoulder to cry on, someone to yell at, or someone to make me laugh, she is there. I call her for every milestone, set back, and just whatever moment goes on in my life and she is there - always answering and always listening. I love her to the moon and back! Her daughters, they are my sisters more than cousins. They love unconditionally and even through years of time spent apart, when we are together its as if we have always been together. We share in the joys of family and love and I just can't imagine my life without them in it. My other cousin, she's like another big sister - honest and sweet and just a bundle of laughter and joy - she makes me smile with everything she says, even when she is cracking jokes at my expense.

I'm thankful for my friends. I can honestly say that I can count with maybe both hands how many true friends I have and I don't need any more than those. They have stood by my side during the hardest times in my life and never judged. They just laughed and cried along with me or passed the tequila, wine, or vodka when the time called for it. Even the simple texts or phone calls to just say "hi!" mean more than they will ever know.

I'm thankful for my ex-husband - yes, him too. Because if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have the blessings of my children in my life. I would not have been the mother that I am and the woman that I am today without his contribution to my life; the good and the bad. I just hope that the future will hold a time where we can let the negativity go away with the tide and be in a more positive place for the sake of our children.

I'm thankful for a dear and unexpected friend in the kids stepmommy. Who would have ever imagined? There is no possible way to say or tell her how thankful I am that she is in their lives and loves them as if they were her own children. 

I'm thankful for the opportunities that have been given to me so that I can grow and learn. These opportunities have given me the path that I have traveled, the path that I am on, and the paths that are coming before me. I have learned about so many things and opened my eyes to the world around me. If I had to do them all over again, I would do them the same because the place where I am now, well, I can't imagine a better place to be in.

And last but not least - I am thankful for you, my readers. The ones who sit and read and comment and just "get it" along with me. Who give me little bursts of hope and laughter and don't go running and screaming when I am going all emotional and ape-shit at times.

So to everyone in my life, both past and present....

(The image said  Thank You!)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

So Sometimes I Sugarcoat It

Hey everyone! We've made it through Monday - barely but we made it right?!

So, you see this happy face here?

My happy Bug

Yeah, this is one of my favorite expressions to see on Bug's face.

His laughter and his smile light up a room and is infectious.

He is the most loving of little boys and has more affection than anyone can imagine and he's willing to share it with anyone who wants it.

He smiles when you hug him and blushes when you give him a kiss.

He's my big boy and well, he's just the best!

But there is a downside to all his wonder and merriment.

He has a hard time with anger and aggression.

I don't talk about it much, actually I know I sugarcoat a lot of things that my kids do because I want to focus on the positives of what they do but there are downsides. This is one of them.

Bug has anger issues that are hard to manage.

What triggers them is sometimes hard to determine.

He can be the most loving of kids one minute and the next he is angry and punching his brothers or screaming at his baby sister.

He says he hates having brothers and sisters. He hates his life.

He's even told me he hates me.

He gets so angry when Silly is either having a meltdown or showing his excitement because those tend to be, well, loud. Silly screeches, hums, and more other loud sounds when he is happy or upset and that seems to upset Bug.

When Monkey gets silly and scripts that sets him off too.

When Baby Girl has her diva moments, he's off like a kettle.

When Princess is in one of her 'tween moods - he's erupting.

When Buddy is on sensory overload and flipping out, he is too.

And then we have the good moments where he is their best friend and wants to play with them all the time and protects them when other people are being rude.

Sometimes he tries to scold them as if he was the parent when he knows that they are doing something wrong.

Many times you can just find him wanting to be left alone to draw or play on the computer. That is his downtime - that is his release.

We have tried getting him to voice his problems before he explodes. He does it but then he forgets.

Stepmommy has even worked with him to let out his anger on a pillow or cushion instead of at his siblings. It worked for a while but has stopped.

Its as if at the moment that he's blowing up he doesn't know what he is doing. He just snaps.

Afterwards he hates himself for his behavior and in some cases shows remorse.

I don't know what this has to do with his Asperger's.

I don't know if other families with littles like him go through this.

He's such a good kid too. He just does not know how to handle his emotions and his sensory issues all at once.

I remember when he was smaller I could just hold him during these episodes and give him deep compressions and tight bear hugs and it would calm him down. How just holding him and whispering in his ear "It's okay. I love you. It's okay. Calm Down. I love you" would soothe him.

Now, he's so big and strong that my tight hugs are not tight enough as before.

But he cries. I cry with him.

He hurts. I hurt with him.

He tells me he knows its hard to be his mom; mom to his siblings.

I tell him I know its hard to be him sometimes.

My baby is hurting and feels lost sometimes and I'm his mommy and can't fix it.

So yes, I sugarcoat it sometimes because if I don't, I will always be crying like I am now.

I prefer my smiles and the good times. My baby deserves that more than my tears.

I love my Bug - more than the world and universe!

I write this in conjunction with Shell at Things I Can't Say and her Pour Your Heart Out Series. It's usually reserved for Wednesdays but I just had to write this today and get it off my chest.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Turning it Around

I've never denied that I have a short fuse. I always have.

Source: Rants from Mommyland
I was going to write a post about how I lost my shit in the car on the drive down to my house on Saturday but then I realized that all parents do that. Autism families and normal families alike - we all have our breaking points.

This is not to say that we didn't turn our day around and had an awesome day at the beach. I even had enough time to make them dinner at home instead of going through the Wendy's drive-thru. (And by make I mean baked chicken nuggets, instant mashed potatoes and pizza from the local pizza shop that I reheated).

The kids were playing and having fun. There were no melt downs at my house except for the usual sibling rivalry issues.

Silly was being, well, Silly and playing on the computer and laughing. He was all hugs and cuddles.

Bug was calmly watching videos on-line with Princess....they even set-up the lap top on the dining room table to share along with Monkey and Baby Girl while they ate dinner.

Monkey and Baby Girl were playing with their Angry Birds figurines crashing towers and forts while Green Pigs rolled all over the floor.

Buddy even relaxed himself enough to create this...

 (He's associating the drive through the islands into his play time by creating "bridges" for his train)

The drive back to their dad was a bit better. There was some fighting and diva flip outs but well within the normal range. And yes, I'm including myself in those diva flip outs.

The important thing is that we found a middle ground and the kids enjoyed their day.

There are going to be moments where we all snap - its normal, we're human. They are overwhelmed during a 2.5 hour drive, in a car, with all kinds of overstimulation. I can't expect every drive to be a perfect one. I would be delusional if I did.

Their happiness is the most important thing and working hard to achieve that together as a family is what we have to do together right?

These look like happy littles right?

Friday, July 19, 2013

For the Love of Surfing and Autism

Hey everyone!!

Today I'm not here - well, I'm here but my writing isn't (except for this)

Today I am posting at Another Jennifer for her Philanthropy Friday Series about the other love of my life

Surfers for Autism

Please go and visit me here and see what I have written and share the love.

I am turning off the comments on this post so that you can comment over there.

See you soon!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Where's my Bookbag?

Okay people - here is one thing I don't know if I have mentioned before but I'm not just a pretty face!

I know shocking right?!

I'm actually very well educated.

I graduated high school and after some time off (read: raising many many children) I went back to school and got my Bachelor's degree in Business Management.

Shocking! I can actually run a business!!

Though I have to admit that I really didn't learn anything that I didn't already learn in the real world, it was good to know that I had the piece of paper to support my professionalism skills.

It was a grueling time I have to say but I did it and was so happy that when I finished I never wanted to do it again.

That was until I got a bug up my ass and wanted to go back to school but this time I wanted to challenge myself. As if my life wasn't crazy enough to start with, I decided to change my area of study and go for something a little bit more  - complex.

I worked on and completed my Master's degree in Psychology!

Yes, I actually have a Master's degree!! Who knew right?!?

Well, to be honest, my degrees are just sitting collecting dust.

Aside from the fact that I'm an office manager, I really don't use them.

I had all these ideas of becoming a school counselor or working with children with special needs but honestly, that ain't happening.

That's because while I live in paradise - it is not a paradise for the highly edumacated peoples.

I have applied to work with the various centers that are requesting my education but because I don't have the experience I can't get the jobs.

Seriously? Doesn't living with special needs children for 10 years and working hand in hand with doctors and therapists not qualify as experience?

Oh and certification hours, yeah, I'd have to go to the main land for that one.

I tried working with someone local to get hours but it wound up being more of a hassle than it was worth.

So, back to school I go! For something that I CAN do here and I actually always wanted to try but was scared to.

So next week my application goes out to the school and I start on my journey again.

I'm not too old to start something new - and hopefully the new will help me pay off the old student loans!

Gees, if there is one thing to teach your, learn, apply for every and any scholarship you can think of because you're going to need it!

Or there's always a back-up marry rich!! (LOL, no, I don't condone that really I don't but sometimes its just easier!)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kickin' it Old School

It's time to take things back a notch and do things the way they were done in the good ol' days and therefore I am participating in "Old School Blogging: the Crazy Five Edition" hosted by Alison over at Writing,Wishing and Elaine at the Miss Elaine-ous Life

Five Things I Have A Passion For

1.  My Kids

2.  Mr. Big

3.  Autism

4.  Surfers for Autism

5.  Paddleboarding

Five Things I Would Like To Do Before I Die

1.  I would like to actually take a yoga class. I can't stretch - worth my life! And don't tell me that's the purpose of yoga! I have never been able to touch my toes, not even when I was 5 so its not that easy for me!

2.  Own a home. Yeah, that's a big one for me. I want to have something to call my own.

3.  Pay off all my debt. With student loans - it seems like this will never happen! If you can teach your children one thing, its apply for every and any scholarship that they can. Student loans suck!

4.  Finally write the book that has been floating in my head for the past 2 years.

5.  Create autism awareness in my community because it is seriously lacking here!

Five Things I Say A Lot (Parental Advisory warning!)

1.  FUCK!

2.  Like really?!

3.  Seriously

4.  SHIT!

5.  Stop hitting your brother!

Five Books And/Or Magazines I Have Read Lately

1.  The Swimmer's Assistant - by Amber Myers (I actually wrote a review for it here)

2.  Jackpot! - by Jackie Philossoph

3. Wild Mustang Man - by Carol Grace

4.  Crazy Love - by Nicola Marsh

5.  Star Fish - by Nicola May

Five Favorite Movies

1.  Sabrina (Both versions)

2.  He's Just Not That Into You

3.  Swinging with the Finkels

4.  As Good As It Gets

5.  Hope Floats

Five Places I Would Love To Travel To

1.  Texas

2.  Amsterdam

3.  Greece

4.  Australia

5.  New Zealand

Five People I Invite To Do This Meme

1. The Dose Girls

5. Kirsty @ Gone Bananas

Thanks to Kristen @ 31 Million Seconds for inviting me - I love getting invites!!

Okay, I think that's enough ;-) 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Is it safe to drive with noise cancelling headphones? - Autism: Watching YouTube videos of production studio logos on a constant loop all day and every day. Life - Where's the Handbook?

What is this woman talking about with that meme/ecard?

Well, if you're an autism parent, then you'll understand. If not - you're in for a treat!

You see, this is what I am talking about...

and this...

and who can forget this?...

This is what Buddy loves to do when he feels overstimulated or needs downtime.

These videos are what he watches. On repeat. On loop. Constantly. For hours if he is left to his own devices. While he rocks and flaps I might add as well.

This is what I was subjected to on my drive to drop the littles off with their dad.

Buddy was having a rough go of it . It could have been the weather. The intense day of activity. The noise level in the car. It could have been any number of things and since sometimes he is not the best at articulating himself he asked to borrow my phone.

My phone plays YouTube videos. I knew that's what he wanted.

So of course, I let him have it. He needed to release and just break away for a while.

Me on the other hand, I was going into overload. 

Hearing the same sounds over. and over. and over. and over. and over again just sent my nerves running looking for any semblance of sanity.

That was until he stopped rocking and started laughing.

I must have tuned out the sound or something because he was no longer on Logo Loop (as I like to call it) but he was watching this....

Yeah, something about the speedy talk of this insane character just makes him laugh deep hearty belly laughs...those are the best sounds a mother can hear.

Now, listening to Sponge Bob and crew sounding like the chipmunks on crack? Not so much.

Can we go back to Logo Loop? Please? Pretty please?!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Transport Me to Another World Please!

Okay peeps, it's Friday, its the summer, time to relax.

Relax?! What the hell is that? We're moms, wives, girlfriends - relax?! What is that word you speak of Krystal?

Yeah, yeah, I know far fetched concept of just taking time to do something restful and enjoyable while your significant other handles all the insanity that is your household and do something for you.

You deserve it! You drive the little heathens angels around to camp, pool, play dates, therapy sessions, doctors appointments, Target, etc. and you need some time for you!

And I have the best recommendation for it - READ!!

Yes, actually take your Kindle, Nook, iPad, tablet whatever you have formatted to read Kindle books and download The Swimmer's Assistant by Amber Myers. It's awesome!!!.

Click on the image of the book to order on Amazon

Why is it awesome you say? Well here...

Jane, a teacher moves to Los Angeles after losing her job in Texas when her mother (who she moves in with by the way) somehow manages to get her hooked up as the Assistant to gold medalist swimmer Brian Parker.

Well, the story just gets better as Jane navigates the world of being a personal assistant in L.A., Starbucks language, a needy boss, grouchy coaches & publicists, meddling mothers and sisters, and even worse - the oh so perfect and gorgeous girlfriend of her boss; oh and don't get me started on his dog that seems to be out to kill her!

Did I mention that while she stumbles through this new world her views on said boss start to change and maybe his toward her do as well?

This book kept me reading and reading and reading and, well you get the point!

It was easy to read and thoroughly fun and enjoyable. The story line was entertaining and relevant to the world in which we live in today making it easy to follow. The characters were likable and you as the reader can relate to them because they remind you of yourself or someone in your life (Jane reminds me of me and my utter lack of cooking skills).

The book takes you out of our current moment in life and transports you to L.A., to the life of a woman that we would all want to be but don't admit to ourselves. I couldn't put my kindle down because I just wanted to continue reading and seeing what happened to Jane next.

It is the perfect book to sit down in the corner with and break away for a moment and just well, relax and smile.

I had the pleasure of emailing back and forth with Amber Myers about her book and she agreed to answer a few questions for me and I thought I'd share her answers with you!

1) How long have you been writing?I've been writing since I was a little girl. I think I was about 8 or 9 and I suddenly was very inspired to write. I grabbed a tiny notebook and wrote and wrote. When I was younger I mainly wrote about big families. I'm an only child and always wanted to be part of a large family.
2) Was the process to write and get your book published a hard one?Yes, it was hard for me to finish my book The Swimmer's Assistant. Sometimes I wonder if I have ADD because I'd write some paragraphs and then wander the house. And sometimes I'd get the dreaded writer's block and have to sit and think for a few days. Sometimes ideas would just hit me when I was out shopping and I had to hurry and write it on my palm so I wouldn't forget. Getting published was easy enough only because I used the Amazon self publishing program. However, it's still my dream to have my book in paper form so I can actually hold it.
3) Did any of the characters represent people in your life? Yes, a lot of the characters represent people I know or come across. For instance, the main character Jane has a lot of the same personality traits as I do. Brian is a mix of Michael Phelps with the temper of Tiger Woods. I remember watching Tiger throw a fit on the golf course and I thought, "Hmm, what if a swimmer acted like that too?" 
4) What was your inspiration for writing the book?My inspiration for writing the book started when I watched Michael Phelps win all those medals in 2008. I was thinking what his life must be like. Then, as I stated before, I saw Tiger Woods throwing a tantrum on the golf course and I sort of made a character from that. I wanted to pick a profession that isn't really written about much. Basketball, baseball, football, etc, those are the ones people tend to know about. Swimming doesn't seem to get as much attention unless it's during the Olympics and that bothered me. Also, my son loves to swim so he also gave me inspiration.
5) Do you have a favorite character that you enjoyed writing the most?I enjoyed writing Jane. I'm not exactly like her but we share a lot of the same traits. For instance, we both don't understand how to order from Starbucks.
6) Is there a sequel? If not - where do you think your characters would be now? If there is - any hints?Yes, I am working on a sequel. I'm still looking for a proper plot though. I have some ideas that I'll use, but no real plot yet. (She gave me more details here but well, it hints at the ending of this book and well, you'll just have to read it to find out - after you read it then you can email me and I'll let you know what she said- yeah, I'm sneaky like that)
7) What do you want readers to take away from your book when they are done reading it?I basically hope that I can make my readers laugh and to escape from the real world a little bit. If I've accomplished that, I feel I've done my job. I don't expect to write the next great american novel. I simply want to make people smile and feel good about what they're reading. 
8) Do you have any advice for anyone looking to write their own novel?My advice for people who want to write their own novels is to keep at it. Don't get discouraged. It's tough work! If it wasn't, everyone would do it. Everyone gets stuck at some point. Just don't give up. I've nearly given  up so many times and I won't allow myself to. Sometimes you'll stare at a blank screen for hours but other days the words will just flow. 
You have no excuse not to read it because honestly its all kinds of awesome and it's only $0.99 so come on - hand the leashes reigns over to your hubby/wifey/boyfriend/girlfriend/dog/cat get a glass of wine and sit down and read - you'll be glad you did!

Oh, and when you're done, go check out Amber's blog - she is all kinds of wonderful and fairy dust wrapped into an Air Force Wife-Mom of Two-Just Adorable Red Head!! (Yeah, she has red hair and her name is Amber! How cool is that?!) That's her blog button - isn't it cute? >>>>

I can't wait for the sequel and I can totally picture this as an indie movie - hmmm...hey Amber, one more question! If this was a movie, who would you cast as your set of characters?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Vlog Post #1: Reflections on "Look for the Light"

Okay, so this is my first ever attempt at a video blog post - oh boy!!

I hope you enjoyed it! It really took me like 30 tries to get it done!!

Post "PUBLISH" edit: OMG!! That face!! I just saw the video thumbnail -horrible!! Tried to change it and can't - oh boy!! LOL

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

But I don't have autism

Again with the autism - I know! Gees!!

But bear with me please.

This Saturday I had the littles with me and it was a great day!

Aside from the fact that traffic sucked, the beach that I wanted to take them to was closed because it was full, the drive to the new beach was longer, and there was rain on the way to said new beach and Buddy was freaking out saying "make the rain stop!" it was a great day!

I am loving that my children are finally opening up to me again and finding their rhythm with me after so many times of ups and downs in the past few months.

I am able to breathe and just spend time with them and have fun.

But then there are moments like this that made me pause...

As I was playing with the kids at the beach, you know, the whole grab your slippery little sucker by the hands and drag them through the water on their back kinda body surfing thing (Silly LOVED this - he was all laughter and giggles!) I mentioned to Princess that I think Silly would love to go surfing - that actually all her siblings might enjoy it.

She gave me this weird look seeing as the beach we were at the highest the water went was to my mid-thigh (at my 5' enormity that is not that high) and the waves were well, non-existant.

I proceeded to tell her that there is a group called Surfers for Autism that has kids like her brothers surfing and that they come to Key West but do more of a paddle board event. She said "Yeah, that sounds cool. They'd like that"

I was all happy that she agreed - this NEVER happens. She's 11 people, you know I'm right!

So I was even thinking to myself that she is old enough to volunteer now and I told her "Hey, you can even participate if you want."

Her response "But I don't have autism."

She's right - she doesn't. But she does have PDD-NOS (click here and I don't give a shit about what the DSM-V says, she was diagnosed prior to it being published so she's "grandfathered" in).

The thing is - I don't think she knows it.

I know we have told her when she was younger but I don't think she has grasped it or refuses to; its hard to tell.

She has overcome so much in her life that I don't really know what to say to her in response to this.

I'm not going to deny it - she has gotten so much better that you can barely tell she has PDD-NOS is there but when placed into new situations, you can see it. Its part of who she is and I don't know what the future holds for her.

She might be learning more and more techniques to cope with social issues through her social groups/counseling at school (soooo thankful for those!!) and her growing up might be a factor too - I just don't know.

So what do I do? Do I tell her? Do I just let her grow up and thrive as she has been doing? Do I risk a set back? Do I risk her being angry or upset with me?

I don't know what her father has told her on this since we initially told her a few years ago - does he think the same way that I do? I don't even know how to approach the subject with him!

Or am I overreacting and should just sit and be happy that my child is starting to be more of a child as she deserves to be and I shouldn't put a diagnosis in her head to limit her?

When does parenting get easy?

This post in in connection with Shell's Pour Your Heart Out Series at Things I Can't Say. It's about what you want to write - it's personal. It's time to just let out what is bothering you, creeping in the back of your mind - it's time to Pour Your Heart Out! Check out today's links here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Different, not less

I am an autism mom.

You all must be like "Duh! We know that already can you move on to something new please?"

The reason why I am saying this is because to be honest, somehow I knew I was going to have a child with a  "disability."

I know it sounds weird but somehow I always knew I was going to be one of those moms.

The thing is though, I had hoped that it would be a child with Down Syndrome.

I don't know why really but I still remember thinking to myself that if I were to have a child with a "disability" that I wanted one with Down Syndrome..

I thought it was a "disability" that was physical and that everyone generally understood and the children seemed to live relatively normal lives aside from the medical complications of soft palette, heart conditions, etc. 

I guess I thought that if it was something that could be easily identified or seen then I could deal with it better. I really don't know my train of thought in thinking this because I had been around many children with many different kinds of "disabilities" but for some reason, Down Syndrome is the one that stuck in my head and heart. It was the one that I was okay with.

I didn't get the Down Syndrome diagnosis though, I got autism instead.

I have to admit that when all the tests were done and my children were born and Down Syndrome was not told to me - I was a bit disappointed because, like I said people "knew" Down Syndrome they didn't and still don't "know" autism.

You can't see autism unless you really look for it or have an open heart.

I am writing this because yesterday I was watching The Memory Keeper's Daughter

and in watching it I was reminded of my thinking from long ago and where I stand today as a mom.

Its amazing what we think of and how our minds work to what we think is acceptable. If I was to have a "different" child, I would want one that is "socially acceptable" - how stupid could I have been?

I was blessed with children - autism or not - they are perfect. They are my children. The children I was meant to have.

While there are days that are harder than others and moments where I just wonder how I do it or if I can continue to do it, I just look at them, at their pictures and fall in love all over again and know that yes, I will make it through and that tomorrow is another day.

I was walking with a friend after watching the movie last night and she mentioned something...

Her husband had commented to her that after he saw me with my children that he was amazed at how I do it. That I have so much patience and that I am so good with my children, I don't stop - I just keep going.

Well, thank you. But its because of them that I am this way - they have taught me so much and I don't think I would be the mother that I am today if it were not for them. They have opened my heart in such a way that, well, I can't imagine having another life - ever.

So yes, four of them do have autism. Princess has PDD-NOS (that's another post I'm writing in my head as I type this) and Baby Girl is anything but "typical", but they are my children.

They are different than what I imagined - but they are not less. They are perfect.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Seriously? WTF?!

Okay, I know that we live in a country that supports freedom of speech and press.

Heck, if it weren't for those freedoms so many of us would not be able to blog like we do and get on our soap boxes every now and then about things that bother us or just to vent about the trials of being parents as well as laughing at our idiocies and even more, sharing the pleasures of being a family and the good times with those we love....I know, run on sentence but I'm on a rant right now.

So I get it when mommy websites come out and write point of view articles on certain topics of discussion like child abuse, news articles involving children, celebrity gossip, and news events from the perspective of well, a mom.

Point of view articles are fine and great but what I don't get is two posts on the same site posted within days of each other that are completely contradictory and honestly, one of them is dangerous.

You see, the site that I am talking about is CafeMom and the section I am talking about is TheStir. I read this a lot because some of the posts link up to actual news stories that interest me. Other times they write about the Kardashians and other celebrity gossip that is a good takeaway from the day but this is just insane....(bear with me)

On Thursday, July 4th, CafeMom's "the Stir" published this post 10 Reasons Leaving Kids in the Car During an Errand is No Big Deal.

WHAT?!?!  I don't care what the reason is - you do not leave your child in the car!! The post details the following as just some reasons its okay to do so:
 - If its not too cold
 - If its not too hot << REALLY? REALLY?
 - The danger is exaggerated
 - If it makes them happier

Huh? If its not too hot?!? Temperatures in a car, even with the windows cracked open, are extremely hotter than outside. I should know this - I drove around without air conditioning in my car for months!! Just sitting in the parking lot waiting for Mr. Big to give him some coffee in 83 degree weather with the wind blowing I was sweating bullets. Imagine a child!!

If it makes them happier?!? Really?!?! Our children need to follow rules and just because something makes them happy it does not give them a pass to sit in a car unattended. I don't care how old you are. You are with me - you go with me.

The danger is exaggerated?!?! What?!?  I would rather not risk the life and safety of my child because of an "assumption" that things are safe. Times are scary now and always have been but people are not as responsible and the sense of community has been thrown out the window so it is more dangerous. You can't count on a good samaritan to report anything that seems suspicious because they don't want to get involved. Sorry, my kids go with me so I know they are safe in my care.

Okay - to get to the point of the contradictory posts, just this morning I came across this post Mom Arrested for Making 5-Year Old Hide Under Towel in Hot Car While She Shopped.

Scratching your head now?

Apparently the mom must have read their previous article from Thursday and thought it was okay to leave her child in the car but was still worried so had her son hide under a towel, you know, just in case.

So on the one hand there is a post saying that its okay to leave your child in a car and on the other hand there is another post condemning a mother for doing exactly what their previous post said?

Now I don't know if the mother in the latter post actually read the former but still...the Stir...get it together and stay on the same page!

When are people going to learn that our children are not toys or inanimate objects that can be left alone unattended?

While we may have been left alone when we were younger or you are just stepping in to Starbucks for 5 minutes and can see the car from the store - all it takes is 5 minutes. Remember the little girl who was taken from her mother's shopping car and held at knife point until the attacker had to be shot for fear of him killing the little girl?

While this case yes was an extreme case - we cannot be under the veil of "it will never happen to me" because I am sure that mom never thought it would.

We are here as parents and need to protect our children no matter what costs.

Its interesting, last weekend I took the kids to the beach and it was really windy and the waves were strong. I was keeping an eye on the kids and on them like white on rice. Bug even told me "Mom you are being too overprotective today!"

Well, I had to leave the beach earlier than usual because it was just getting too rough - the waves were just intense and the wind was picking up - not worth the risk. So, on the drive back home after everyone was tired and saying how strong the waves were he admitted to me "Mom, being a parent is hard - you were not being too overprotective today. You were just trying to keep us safe."

It's my job - to keep them safe.

So when posts like the one posted on Thursday come out saying its okay to let our guard down for just a "few minutes" it makes me worry.

Those "few minutes" can cost much more pain and anguish - is it too much to ask?

I'll get off my soap box now but I'll leave you with this short but adorable little video clip of my littles dancing

Friday, July 5, 2013

More than just a princess

I was going to write a post in response to my post earlier this week when I  posted a video and asked that you all watch it.

If you didn't watch it you should. It is moving and inspiring.

But instead I am writing about this....

You must be all - what the heck?

Well, really its simple! Our girls can be more than just a princess.

I saw this video and was quickly prompted to check out all that is Goldie Blox because I have to be honest, while Baby Girl is truly the most princessy of princessy little girls I have ever met...she gets bored...of HER toys and wants to play with her brothers' toys.

Yes, their train sets and cars and their building sets.

Why should she only be exposed to things that revolve around Princesses, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of babies? Because honestly, that is what most little girl toys are all about.

Yes, toy marketing gurus do package some "gender neutral" toys in pink but there is more that can be done.

I saw this on the Goldie Blox website and loved it...

Engineers are solving some of the biggest challenges our society faces. They are critical to the world economy, earn higher salaries and have greater job security. And they are 89% male. We believe engineers can’t responsibly build our world’s future without the female perspective.
GoldieBlox offers a much-needed female engineer role model who is smart, curious and accessible. She has the potential to get girls interested in engineering, develop their spatial skills and build self-confidence in their problem solving abilities. This means that GoldieBlox will nurture a generation of girls who are more confident, courageous and tech-savvy, giving them a real opportunity to contribute to the progress made by engineers in our society.
It’s 2013. It’s about time we opened our girls’ minds beyond the pink aisle at the toy store. It’s time to build a new story so our girls can help build our future.

Awesome right?!

I'm not going to deny that I love it that my little girl likes to get all dressed up and look pretty because well, she's a girl and we girls like that. But I also want her to know that she is capable of anything. I want both my girls to know that.

Princess is well, not much of a princess; don't let my nickname for her fool you. She is a unique child all her own and I am so glad that Baby Girl has that role model in her big sister. But I also think toys like these will foster Baby Girl's creativity and realize that girls can be anything.

And yes, I know that my little girl is just a little girl and I should let her be a little girl but what is wrong with giving her options right?

I think this sums up the idea of Goldie Blox the best (from the Goldie Blox press kit)
Goldie Blox is a female engineer. She’s not a nerd, and maybe she’s not a genius. She’s just a creative kid who likes to invent.
She tinkers and builds and isn’t scared to fail. Because she never gives up. She loves to construct things. Delightful things! Things that rotate and swivel and connect. Things that solve problems. Things that make the world a better place.
Goldie Blox is a role model. She’s not afraid to pick up a hammer and build whatever she dreams up next. This doesn’t make her a tomboy, she is just…herself.
So when you close your eyes and imagine what an engineer is supposed to look like…there is no mold. Why, that engineer could be you!
So go ahead and build with Goldie. You won’t believe how fun engineering really is!
Sure, it’s not always easy. You have to use your brain.
But when you try and try and finally figure it out…it’s pure magic!
You can be anything. Go anywhere. Once you learn how stuff is made, you can make it YOUR way.
You can build your story. 

I want my daughter to build her own story, her own way. The world is at her fingertips.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!!!

Hey everyone!

I'm taking a break today from writing but just wanted to wish you all a Happy and SAFE 4th of July!

Thank you to all the service men and women who continue to fight for our country day in and day out in order to maintain the independence that so many fought for so long ago.

I raise my glass you and all my fellow Americans today!!

Oh, and Uncle Si says "Hey, Jack! Happy 4th of July"

(It was a picture of Uncle Si holding flags and a funny headband)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

"Look for the Light"

Shocking but this time I'm not going to "talk" I'm going to ask that you listen.

Listen to Karen Walrond speak about...well, you'll just have to watch and listen...


Tell me what you think in the comments...I'll follow up with my comments in a separate post!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Change of thought....

I started writing a post this morning about morning routines and how I found it interesting that while Mr. Big is reading the news on his iPad I'm just checking my Twitter feed and my Facebook page.

It was kinda witty and weird because well, I was writing it at 6:30 in the morning and how alert can I really be at that time right?

Well, as I was proofreading it and going back and forth on my work email, my FB pages, and dealing with customers I came across this image posted by Spectrum Superstars.

It made my heart sink because of my children. It reminded me of so many days in the past and what they have gone through.

As I began to read each line I started to think...

I am the child who doesn't go on playdates.
True - Out of my 6 children, I can only say that 2 have actually gone on REAL playdates at the homes of others without me or their dad or step-mom. But, they have all been part of playdates. You see, I don't consider playdates in the traditional sense as playtime with friends of the same age at another friends house. Heck, the most recent one was the glorious day at the pool on Mother's Day weekend. Playdates are any play time with anyone who wants to play with you. So, in this sense - all my kids have been on "playdates" with friends who come over to visit. They play with children and adults alike.With family and friends at gatherings. They socialize and have their own playdates in their own way so I call that a WIN!

I am the child who is never invited to Birthday parties.
Well yes, the only ones who have been invited to Birthday parties are Princess, Bug, and Baby Girl, but honestly, that's not a bad thing. They get antsy at birthday parties. There's too much stimulation going on for them. Between the balloons, the music, the different foods and smells, and the people and the cake...don't get me started on the CAKE! its too much for them. So its okay because the Birthday parties for family that know them they are good and they know what to expect so its not so much of a struggle for them or us. Wait, did I say birthday parties for family? Yes? I'd call that a WIN too!

I am the child who is left alone in the playground.
There was a time where this was true. I used to worry when other kids would not play with my children but then I realized, they have each other. They play with each other and they love it! Yes, now as they are getting older other children do curiously come to "inspect" them but honestly, if they stay and play great! if not - their loss. Silly and Buddy sometimes prefer to be alone anyways and will walk away from the noise and other children. When they want to play with you, they will initiate it in their own way. So, yeah, sometimes they are ignored, sometimes not, and sometimes they ignore others. As long as they are smiling and having fun that is what matters so I call that another WIN!

I am the child who is always picked last on sporting teams.
I am not going to deny it - I suck at sports! Aside from Princess, my kids are technology geeks. Don't believe me? Here's a picture of them while we were at the park while Princess was having soccer practice...
See the kids in the background? No? Look up and turn around!! 
Not one iota of interest in sports. Baby girl was more interested in posing like a model ...
Don't ask about her foot! That's one of the weird things she does.
Doctor's say she's "fine" - whatever!
So I'm not too concerned in whether or not they are always picked last on sporting teams because I know they would rather not be there.

I am the first to be blamed and the last one to be listened to.
I don't know about this one. I haven't experienced it much because while yes, my children do try and blame one another and others have tried the blame game too, I always ask questions and I know my children and what they are capable of. My children are also awesome in the sense that they will admit when they do something wrong and will even try to tell me their reasoning behind it so the are listened to. Even in school we get wonderful reports about them and any behavioral issues or complaints are addressed with question and answer sessions to the best of their ability so we always try and hear them.

I am the child who has AUTISM and I want to be accepted, included, and treated just like you.
I agree with this 100%!!! They do want to be accepted, included, and treated just like everyone else and it is my responsibility to make sure that they are. Unfortunately I cannot control others in the world. I can just try and teach them a little bit and let my children speak for themselves when something is going on that they do not like.

My children are very lucky that they have each other. They are growing up and finding their own voices and finding their own way through the lives that they live every day. They touch the hearts of those who want to be with them and who take the time to get to know them.

I know that this is not the case with many children on the spectrum.

And it crushes my heart and my spirit to know that.

This is not right and not fair.

As a community we need to make the changes and the differences in their lives that can be positive for them and for others. We also need to teach our children to be who they are and not shy away from it.

It is easier said than done. I know. But its possible.

With love, patience, and time, our children will no longer be judged based on their autism, but the type of people that they are inside, including their autism.

So, I'm just trying to look at the bright side of things and in a way, teach my children to do the same.

The more we recognize the positives in our lives, the better we can handle the negatives.

Writer's Note: While I know the world is not all roses and butterflies, trust me, I know more than most....I do know that if we continue to live in a world that focuses on the negativity, we will no longer be able to see the good things. Yes, my children will face unknown hardships in the future but I hope that the way that our "family" tries to teach them will give them the courage and strength to make it through because they will know that there is something good to look forward to, no matter how small it might be.