Friday, October 7, 2011

Celebrate the little things, because they matter!!

We work all our lives for the big accomplishments.  Promotions, degrees, money, lots of things.  For my son, today it was to learn how to do a button.

Caleb has always done things according to his time frame.  Which means, he didn't do things when he was 'supposed' too.  He didn't talk til he was 4.  He didn't walk correctly until he was 3.  So?  Yeah that made our lives harder, but it also made me appreciate the things he did more.  When Caleb does the little things like say a complete sentence, or learn how to do addition, I celebrate.

Today Caleb buttoned his pants for the first time.  It wasn't easy.  And it probably took him a good 10-15 minutes to get it.  He stuck his tongue out, got frustrated, and asked for help a few times.  I showed him again and again that he could do it.  And he did it.  This is what a look of pure joy looks like after accomplishment.

 This is how happy a kid looks after learning how to do something!  Sure, it may seem small to you and me, but hey the kid can button his own pants!  It's fantastic! 

Celebrate the little things in life.  Now if only I could unteach my toddler how to open doors... :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Importance of Inclusion: Why I am so obsessed and will fight to the death for it.

Inclusion.  The hip word of the 90's.  It was a joyous discovery by educators on how we can include our children in the educational realm, including the ones who are 'different.' 

Where are we now?  Inclusion is a slippery battleground that educators that are in a constant fight for.  You are either for inclusion or you are not.  Inclusion is not easy at times and sometimes it is.

So, what is inclusion?  

Inclusive education, according to its most basic definition, means that
students with disabilities are supported in chronologically age-appropriate
general education classes in their home schools and receive the specialized
instruction delineated by their individualized education programs (IEP's)
within the context of the core curriculum and general class activities.

Inclusion is an effort to make sure students with disabilities go to school
along with their friends and neighbors while also receiving whatever,
“specially designed instruction and support” they need to achieve high
standards and succeed as learners.

Inclusion is very important for social skills.  It helps students with special needs learn how to interact with students who are typically developing.  But stop and consider this.  Did you ever thing that inclusion is important for you typically developing child?  It is SO important for your sons and daughters to be around students with different abilities.  The real world is full of people who are full of different qualities, ones that aren't the same as others, and they are not 'segregated.'  They have different jobs and do different things, but they are all in this world together. 

All I ask of you is to think of this: We are all different.  We all have 'off ' days.  We all have days were we want to scream at people and some of us actually do that.  We're not all that different from the 'different' kids.  All those kids want is to have the same things we have.  They want friends, they want to go to the same classes, they want to grow up and get a job.  Just because they have a special need doesn't mean they deserve anything less.  They deserve an equal education, just like the rest of us. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Think about what you say, it could be hurting more people than you think.

So, you're joking around with your friend.  You say a few words, like retard or stupid.  Harmless.  No one could possibly be harmed by saying a few words.  WRONG.  I want you to think about what you say.  Those words have a deep meaning to a huge group in our community, in our world, and it transcends the world. 

  Look into my son's eyes.  Call him a retard.  Tell me how that makes you feel.  Why do I ask you to do this?  Because full grown adults have done it.  And you know what?  It makes me feel an unbelievable sadness that I cannot even begin to describe. 

When you are confronted with something you do not understand, you are tempted to call it a name, or label it.  Well here's a piece of advice I learned from a reading that I did in one of my classes for school: Stop labeling people.  Label Jars, not People!! 

The world is so full of beauty and that beauty consists of people who are not like the 'normal' that we assign to everything. 

So, the next time you start saying the word retard and stupid, really think about what you're saying.  My son gets called that all the time because people do not understand how to deal with him.  And you know what, that's their loss, because they are missing out of the beauty he has given this world and to me and my family every day.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Learning what I can do: A Warrior Dash Story.

I haven't written in a while.  I took a look back and read some of the things I had written and thought man...I am such a downer.  I want to write something more positive.  Well, here you go.  THIS is MY positive blog.  I am going to try and be more positive.  I want to be a more positive influence on people, instead of coming off as a big fat whiner. 

I decided to do the Warrior Dash.  Well, really it wasn't my idea.  My friend in Kansas City, who I was planning on visiting had posted something on her Facebook page about the Warrior Dash.  I was like WHAT'S that??? 

I looked it up.  You should too!

My reaction was first, NO.  Then I sat and thought about it for another few hours and said, hey I can do that too!  She and her husband were doing the 9:30 am wave and had encouraged me to do the same, but by the time I got to the registration, all that remained was 9 am and 1:30 pm.  I went for the 9 am spot. 

So for the next month, I decided to try and physically train for the thing.  Yeah right, like that's possible.  Let's go find a mud pit and swim through it in the back yard!  Oh my kids would have loved that!  I tried running, which I hadn't really done for the last few months.  I had been doing the Wii Active Fit, cause let's face it.  I don't have a lot of time and that was what worked for me. 

I downloaded the Nike GPS+ on iPhone and started running the first night.  I crapped out after a half mile.  I thought...well I am super screwed now!  But I kept trying to run.  I would go as far as I could and then catch my breath and then go again.  Then the real fun began.  Ever had shin splints?  WELL those are fun...and hurt really really bad.  I got my first shin splint within 3 days of running.  It wasn't bad at first, so I stopped running and just super sped walked.  Then it became painful to walk.  I visited my doctor, who informed me that I needed to stop running and speed walking althogether until I was completely healed.  I asked him if it was safe for me to do the Warrior Dash, and he said no.  I was totally bummed.  I really wanted to do it.

So I get healed up, and go back to the doctor and he clears me for running and the Warrior Dash.  Guess what?  I get another blasted shin splint, in the OTHER leg!!  I couldn't believe it!  I had less than two weeks to train for the blasted race and I couldn't run AGAIN!! 

So I didn't even go to the doctor, cause I already knew what to do.  I waited for a week, doing my physical therapy and resting my leg.  It seemed to go away.  I even bought better shoes, thinking that my crappy tennish shoes were the reason I might be having problems. 

Then even more fun happens.  My youngest son comes down with RSV, in the middle of July.  I was like ARE YOU FOR REAL???  RSV typically strikes in the winter.  He was so sick and he was put on a nebulizer for 6 days before we went for a follow up.  When we saw his doctor the first time, they initially told us, no travel.  Then after his follow up, the doctor cleared him for car travel only. 

It came down to that last minute.  But I was able to compete.  We packed our stuff and came down to stay with my parents for a week. 

The Day of The Dash:

Got to say, I picked a crappy day to do this race on.  It was humid and hot.  The temperature was threatening to go to 103 for the day, and who knows what the heat index was of that.  For someone who was used to no humidity and low heat in summer, this was not fun.  But I kept up my energy, ok it was a lot of nervous energy.  I was a big ole ball of nerves.  I paced, I wrung my hands, and I peppered my husband with about a million questions.  I'm surprised he didn't smack me on the head from getting annoyed. LOL

I met some really awesome people on the bus to the dash.  They had just completed the Tough Mudder in Beaver Creek, Colorado.  I was like oh we're from Colorado!!!  Then we got to talking.  I ended up hanging out with them until the race started.  They were very good at keeping me calm and kept me in good spirits the whole time.

Finally when it came time for the race to start, I was very anxious.  At this point, I just wanted to get it over and done!  I wasn't prepared, but I WAS going to do it!  I started out fairly good.  I kept up the running for a while, taking breaks when I needed.  Cause let's face it, I'm not much of a runner right now.  Got to the first obstacle, and I was like hmmm this is pretty easy.  Yeah, don't ever say that.  If you're afraid of heights, this race is NOT for you.  I happen to be pretty terrified of heights.  There were about three that gave me the OH CRAP...I CAN"T DO THIS.  But you know what rocks about this race, the team work.  I was in the back, let's call us the people who don't care whether or not we get a good time, we just want to finish.  I hung out with them for the entire race.  It was awesome, everyone was encouraging each other through obstacles.  There was one, where you had to climb up, then go down a few steps and then slide down.  I was shaking in my muddy sneakers.  I didn't want to do it.  I started chanting out loud: I can do this, I can do this.  I grabbed the wooden slats and kept chanting the whole time, even though I felt like I was going to die.

The guys behind me and in front of me kept yelling encouraging words of support.  They kept saying, Great job!  You can do it!  And you know what I did!  Then came the cargo net.  You had to climb up the cargo net and then turn around and climb back down.  No big deal right? WRONG!  Felt like the blasted obstacles was 100 feet in the air, even though it might have been 20-30.  I started my chant again, and I noticed I wasn't the only one who was scared.  She smiled at me and chanted along with me.  Got to love that team work!

The last two obstacles were the fun ones and some might call them the scary ones.  I had to jump over two rows of flaming wood and then crawl/swim in a mud pit to the finish line.  That was actually kind of fun.  The fire makes you feel like you've accomplished something pretty spectacular.  The mud, well that was just plain fun!  I felt like a big kid.  I stood there for a minute, contemplating whether or not to get in or just dive in.  Yep, you guessed it.  I kind of dived/fell in.  And then I swam through the rest of the way, under the barbed wire to the finish line.  I got me my medal!!

So, what did I learn?  Well you could say I can do a marathon, but I know I'm not ready for that.  I could barely run half the dash without having to stop for air.  What I do know is this: no matter what obstacle I face, I WILL overcome it.  I will fight my fears and I will not let things stand in my path.  I am a warrior now!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Take the time to read this. It may open your eyes or even save your life.

Let me start this off by saying, this is not a lecture.  This is me begging you to take a good hard look at how you are treating your body.  Do you know what you are eating?  Do you know what you are doing to yourself?  Maybe if I tell you my story, it will help you take better care of your body.

I am not the poster child for health.  In fact for about half my life I have been considered overweight, just like lots of us Americans.  So, yes this is partially my fault.  I have abused my body and let it happen.  I didn't think or care what I was putting into my body.  Mostly it was what I could afford at the time.  I didn't think I could afford the fresh veggies and fruits.  I didn't want to cook my meals, I wanted to go out and have a good time.

I got pregnant with my first baby at the age of 20 and had him at 21.  I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  That was the first time I had even heard of what diabetes even was.  I didn't really care.  I was a young kid who was having a baby.  I did manage to have a healthy baby, but my body was a whole different story.  I had not really taken any of the nutrionists advice, blaming it on cravings and so forth.  I have to admit, being put on a diet when you're pregnant is a really hard thing to do.  I was very heavy by the time after I had Caleb, nearly 300 lbs.  I don't have a lot of pictures of that time, nor will I ever show people what I looked like.  To me that was the dark days.  I was fat and ashamed of it. 

I yoyo dieted for the next several years and then had another healthy baby, Christian, and I was lucky not to have gestational diabetes.  This time I was very very careful about my diet when I was pregnant.  My doctor tested me 7, yes I said 7, times for gestational diabetes.  But I was able to be careful and not have it this time.

A few years went by and I stopped caring and honestly, I let myself go.  Things with my oldest son were getting hard to handle and I didn't put my health where it should be.  I got pregnant again.  I was tested again for gestational diabetes at the beginning of my first trimester and was already positive for it.  That was not a good sign for me.  Again, I was extremely careful with my diet.  But this time, my body didn't seem to care.  I was put on Glyburide for a month, which made me crazy, and then moved to insulin.  Now, that's a fun time right there.  Who wants to stick a needle in their stomach when their pregnant four times a day?  NOT ME!  But I had to do it.  And not only was I taking all the medication, following the diet, but I was constantly being hospitalized of high blood sugar, low blood sugar, etc.  I was a nightmare.  I can't tell you how glad I was when my youngest son was born.  It meant no more needles, no more insulin, and no more diabetes....or so I thought.

When you have gestational diabetes once, you are at risk for developing it down the road in the future.  Many people can hold off for many years.  Well, not this girl!!!  

After my youngest son Cole was born, I continued to follow the diabetic diet, with a bit of a more carefree attitute.  I thought, this might be something I might get in the future, so I need to prevent it now.  I started eating better.  We all have our bad days and I had a few.  I exercised a bit more, but my weight was still significantly higher and not where it needed to be.  I had a BMI classified as obese.

When my husband deployed in July 2010, I decided to use that opportunity to get healthy while he was gone, as a sort of surprise for him.  I took a before picture and then looked at it.  I can honestly say, that had some major shock factor for me.  I didn't really think I was that heavy.  But now that I knew, it was time to get to work.  I started walking with a friend when I could and when I couldn't, would load up my youngest two children and drag them up the hardest walking path I could find.

The weight slowly started trickling off.  I started at 234 when my husband left.  When you are on a 'diet' one of the hardest things is watching the weight fall off.  To me, it doesn't fall off fast enough.  I'm impatient, I like to see results of my hard work.  Because I was under the watchful eye of a doctor to see if I was starting to head into the diabetic stage, I was going in every two to three months to get weighed and get an A1C done.  My doctor was determined to make sure I wasn't going to cross into the lines of the diabetic stage. 

In May 2010, I had a warning flag.  My A1C was 6.0  That is considered pre-diabetic.  The problem is, nothing else was pointing in that directions.  Usually with diabetes, you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol.  My cholesterol was 91.  My triglycerides were 31.  That's WAY low for someone with that high of an A1C.  So, I was sent to the military diabetic clinic aka disease management.  They said I was doing all the right things and to come back when I had numbers that pointed at pre-diabetes or diabetes.  Way to be helpful right?

A year passes, I've dropped down to 184 and haven't felt this healthy in a long time.  I am still considered 'over-weight,' but my doctor is convinced that I am no longer in the pre-diabetes range or even close to it.  So, he runs a bunch of tests.  Then a few hours later I get a phone call, and that's pretty insane when a military doctor calls you.  They usually have you make an appointment and talk about what they're going to do.  Mine called me and wanted to talk about it.  I was a little shocked and angry and pissed off.  I had literally worked by butt off and if felt like for nothing. 

My numbers this time were not good.  In the span of a year, my cholesterol had nearly doubled going from 91 to 178.  My triglycerides had tripled, even though its still low, going from 31 to 103.  and my A1C was back up to 6.0.  I officially can be called pre-diabetic.  What's the icing on the cake?  Well let me tell you, I am only 0.5 away from Type 2 diabetes. 

My reaction was rage, anger, sadness and wanting to scream at someone.  All at the same time.  Yet I stayed silent.  What good was that going to do me?  So I vowed to be even more vigilant.  We cut out even more of the canned stuff and switched to 90% fresh stuff.  If we can't get it fresh, we do frozen.  I was bound and determined to get my numbers back down to the 'normal' zone.

So today I had to go into the diabetes class.  I have been to these classes before.  When you have gestational diabetes, they send you to several classes to teach you how to eat, the bad fats, etc.  This was no different.  I felt like I was listening to a recording that I had already heard and yep I was bored. 

The one thing that I didn't know that I found out today was that I'll never be able to beat this.  I went to the diabetes counselor after the class was over.  She and I had met several times before, and she knows I know this stuff like the back of my hand.  I told her what I was doing, diet and exercise-wise so I can get out of the pre-diabetes range and go back to the normal area.  She looked at me very strangely and that's where my final shock of the day came.  "You can't ever go back.  Your pancreas is like a machine.  It can only do so much.  When you are pre-diabetic, you've essentially burned it down to a 50% range.  Once you're pre-diabetic, you will always be pre-diabetic.  This is for life.  Our goal now is to keep you from going to diabetes as long as possible"  Didn't expect that.  I tried to argue my way out of it, saying that I've done all this and that...but she continued to say the same thing. 

It finally settled in when I was walking to the car.  I will always have this.  I will always have to constantly monitor every single bite of food that I put into my mouth.  And you know what?  I'm ok with it.  This is motivation for me to stay healthier and do better for myself.  This is my body's way of saying, "HELLO???  TAKE CARE OF ME!!!" 

I implore you to take care of your body.  Please don't abuse what you put into it.  This is not a joke, the complications from diabetes is death.  Do it for yourself, do it for your family!!  

Monday, June 27, 2011

It's all about perspective

Christian is a talker.  And when I say talker, I mean the kind of talker that I sometimes want to wear ear plugs.  The child goes on and on and on and on and, ok you get the picture.  He asks a 100 questions an hour, and sometimes I think he likes the sound of his own voice.

I heard something that really bothered me last weekend.  The boys and I are walking around the store killing some time, so we don't have to go back to our un-airconditioned house, when I hear a woman tell her child she wishes he would just shut up and some other words that I won't repeat. 

I look at Christian, who is looking at the display of Pillow Pets, telling me that he likes this one and that one and that Caleb this and that and I think, why would anyone wish their child would not talk?  Why would you not want your child to fully express themselves?  It is a gift that you should treasure.

Caleb didn't fully speak until he was 4.  He had a lot of problems with his speech and was non-verbal until about 4.  The speech therapists didn't even think he would have speech at one point.  But he did, and even today it is very immature for his age.  But it is a gift that we treasure.  When Christian started talking, I was amazed and I still get a kick out of his range of vocabulary.  He says some of the most amazing things.  When I'm talking to people or his doctors, I tend to get the oh well that's typical speech.  I have to stop them right there.  I have had to point blank say, I don't know what a typical child is, Christian is my first and I am truly enjoying it.

So, if I could say anything to that woman in the store who was yelling at her child to shut up it would be this:
Lady be grateful for your child's ability to speak.  You have no idea how hard it is without that.  You should always treasure their little comments, even if they are not something you want to hear.  A child's voice is a miracle and should be treated as such.  Answer all his questions, because you never know when that voice could disappear.  You never know if you may never hear a sound from your baby's mouth.

Treasure your children's words.  Treasure their questions, even if they drive you crazy.  They truly are a gift that you would never understand until you didn't have it.   

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just have to push harder, fight harder...that's all I can do

The last year has been hard for us.  Deployment, health problems, lots of fun stuff, but we've gotten stronger as a family.

The fight to push harder, fight harder is going to get harder.  Caleb's appointment with his doctor this week was disappointing, and crushing to me as well.  I have poured therapy down that child for years and years.  But unfortunately its not doing what we want it to do. 

The news we received was that Caleb has regressed significantly and is getting more 'autistic.' Yes, I put quotes around that word, because I don't use that word.  I don't like the implications of the word 'autistic.'  It's like saying Autsim is all he is, but it's only a piece of him. 

We have to get a complete and new re-evaluation of Caleb.  That will be done, either next month after we've finally gotten into a developmental pediatrician, or when we go back to see her in December.  Let me tell you something about waiting lists while I'm at it.  Caleb has been on a waiting list for a developmental pediatrician since we moved to Colorado.  That's 2 years people.  Just imagine trying to see your doctor and needing to see your doctor now.  There is such a high need for doctor's who can do this stuff.  I wish there were more!

After hearing the news, my mom was with me and was trying to draw me out of the funk I was in.  I can't explain it.  It's hard for even me to express the amount of crushing feelings I am having.  Part of me is screaming with anger, saying why didn't I do more, push him harder.  Part of me is sobbing with grief, as I am watching my little boy slowly slip further and further into himself.  The biggest part of me is resolved to try even harder.

Most of you who do know me, I am a fighter.  I don't back down from a fight.  When people told me Caleb would never talk, we got him to talk.  You tell me my child won't do something, that's like a challenge.  And I love a challenge. 

The biggest thing I ask is for you to pray for us.  I could really use that right now.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Deployment is ending. So what have I learned on this journey?

My husband is coming home.  It's only a matter of weeks or days now.  I am very excited, but it's also given me some time to think about the last year.  This year has been hard, really really hard.  In fact, there were days when I wanted to throw up a white flag and surrender.  But you can't do that.  You have to go on.  As an Army wife, we have to stay strong for the soldiers overseas, our families, and ourselves.

But it's not always easy. 

There are those days where I wanted to sleep in, where my husband would take over, get the kids ready for school and say, just hang out in bed.  Yeah right...that didn't happen for a year!  And I'm ok with it.  You sleep when you can.

Then there are those nights when you have to mentally tell yourself to stop thinking about all the bad things that could be happening.  What happens happens.  You have no control.  I stopped watching the news.  Except when the government threatened to shutdown.  I should have never watched that.  It just made me crazy.

There are also the nights when you feel so alone.  You want to curl up to your husband and tell him how much you love him.  There's no one there but an extra pillow and you and your thoughts.  Those thoughts compile on top of each other until you're just bursting into tears.  Sure, I'm not a touchy feely person.  But there are nights when I just need a hug or want to be held by my husband.  When you have to miss out on that for an entire year, it takes its toll.  It sucks. 

But you know what I learned?  I learned that I can take just about anything.  I had a good support system, thanks to my two closest friends, Linda and Sueanne, who helped me the most throughout this!  They always listened whenever I needed to talk.  My family was pretty helpful as well.  I don't always get along with them, but we do ok. 

Then there's all the craziness that I had to endure.  From my health, to my kids constantly getting sick or going to the emergency room, or dealing with my son's possible loss of hearing.  I have managed to deal with it all.  This deployment has made me a stronger person. 

I am very glad it is over and cannot wait to have my reunion with my husband!!!  We're counting down the days!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Another obstacle my family endures...yet we muster on.

I lost a little of my hope today.  I usually look on the brighter side of things.  I have been through worse.  Today I felt blindsided.  Today was Christian's final hearing screen.  This was supposed to be the last hearing test we were to deal with after all the ear infections, after all the ear surgeries.  THIS WAS IT!  I was excited.  We were done!  We got to the hearing clinic early, as expected with all military appointments, and waited for the hearing screens to begin.  The right ear was perfect.  Then, the left ear showed a big flat nothing.  When you put the ear thing (I'm not sure what it's called) in an ear, the ear drum is supposed to show a little curve, kind of like a lumpy bell curve.  Christian's left ear registered nothing.  It was flat-lined.  The doctor's eyebrow raised, she re-administered the test.  That set off warning bells in my head.  CRAP...this is not good.  Another ear infection, I thought.  Maybe it's nothing.

Then the additional testing began.  She looked deeper in his ear.  She was looking for something...something that I didn't understand.  I thought we were finished.  I thought he was in the clear.  Finally she was done.  Christian was such a pro throughout the entire screening, turning his head, laying still, and doing whatever she asked.  I was very proud of him.

The results are not good, she said.  There are two things that could be going on.  First possibility (the one I'm praying for) is that he's blown another hole in his ear drum from an ear infection.  That can cause hearing damage, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.  The second possibility is that he has complete and total loss of hearing in his ear.  That is what stunned me the most.  I'm not ready to believe that.  I know there is some great technology that we can get for kids with hearing loss, but after all this time, after all these surgeries to preserve his hearing.

I sat in the car, not really sure how to react.  This battle isn't over for me.  I will be damned if I give up without a fight.  Even if it turns out he has complete hearing loss in that ear, we will fight on.  But I'm still horrified, devastated, and in shock.  I am scared.  This is a new thing for me and I don't know what to do.  I honestly felt completely without hope for a few hours.  I wanted to scream at God and yell.  People tell me all the time, God only gives you what you can handle.  I'm like seriously?  How much more can I handle?  It's one thing after another after another after another.  I feel like an egg with so many little cracks.  One more crack and I am going to explode all over the place.

I pick myself up, call a few people, who help put my mind at ease.  I can deal with this.  I am in shock, but I can deal with it.  I am a strong woman, who has been given a life that not many people could handle, and yet I muster on.  I must pick myself up off the ground and hold myself up for my children, my husband and my family.

The initial shock is over and I have in my head what the plan of action will entail should the unthinkable happen.  Hearing loss isn't the end of the world.  It sucks, but it isn't the end of the world.  Please pray for my family as we walk this very nerve-wracking journey. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Branching out of my comfort zone: Trying New Things

This is really hard for me to admit.  And it makes me feel like a bad parent.  I don't like trying new things with my children.  I don't like taking us out of our comfort zone of what we do for 'normal' activities.  So far its worked for us for the last 9 years.  But I got to thinking, I am really making a mistake.  My kids are missing out on experiences that they'll never get back.  I am missing out on those experiences.  I don't like blaming Caleb for not trying new things, this is all on me.  I am scared of what will happen with him when we do it.  Don't get me wrong, I am proud to have a child with Autism.  It has given me a calling that I never thought I would ever find.  But it does have some drawbacks for us as a family on occasion.  We can't just up and go do things whenever we want.  We have to prepare.  Those preparations can take on the upwards of hours, days or weeks, depending on the situation.    

I got invited to take Caleb and the other boys to a baseball game.  I'm not going to lie, my instincts SCREAMED no.  But with all the thinking I had been doing lately, I decided, let's give it a try.  And I prepared him for several hours.  I showed him the stadium, I talked about what a baseball game was, I talked how we would have a picnic lunch.  He was prepared.  About an hour before we left, it set in for him.  "I DON"T WANT TO GO!"  He screamed at me.  This is normal for him.  He gets very upset when being taken out of the comfort of his home or put into a new situation.  He goes through phases.  First we scream, then we get very antsy and beg not to go, and finally he accepts it and pouts.  

We got to the car and I keep hearing him ask me, can we go home?  It is nerve-wracking and breaks my heart that this is so hard for him.  It's just a baseball game!  I hear my 4 year old son Christian reassuring him, Caleb, its going to be so fun!  That child is so good at helping calm him down.  There are days when I don't know how I could be so blessed with such a mature child. 

We get to the ball park and the moaning and groaning begins again.  He doesn't want to get out of the car, it's too hot, I want to do this and that.  Again very typical Caleb when he's upset or thrust into a new situation.  But we soldier on.  We meet up with my friend Linda and discover we can't bring food inside.  OOPS!  So it's an impromptu picnic!  We grab a seat on the ground and pull out our lunches.  Caleb is very happy to remember I have packed his favorite: PB&J.  Christian doesn't really care, he just wants to go inside.  Cole is more interested in eating rocks. 

So after we've had lunch and gotten our sunscreen on, we get inside, get our cool new piggy banks and programs.  We find our seats and have a seat.  We didn't realize it was going to be SO hot.  It was 98 at the warmest part of the day.  Glad I packed lots of water, the one thing they allow you to bring in.

We made it to the top of the 7th inning before we felt that the kids had had enough.  That's an incredible amount of time for Caleb to be put into a situation like that.  The stadium was fairly crowded, it was hot, and it was a very over-stimulating situation for him to be put in.  AND I have never been more proud of him for how he did.  He really was interested in meeting the mascot and we chased him a few times to try and get his autograph.  We'll try again next time. 

This really taught me that my son can do more, that I can expect more.  But more so I learned that I don't have to be afraid of what can happen in a situation like this.  I can deal with the stares, I can deal with the snickers, I can deal with the name calling.  I am not afraid.  I just need to be less afraid of the unexpected, which is something I have yet to master. 

Below are a few highlights from the game:

Lesson for me: Don't be afraid to try new things, what happens will happen!            

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just for me: Making time for myself.

I admit it, I am not the best at giving myself a break. I am a yes girl. When someone asks me to do something, I not only do it 100% but I try to go beyond that 100% to make an even bigger difference. I love helping people. It's is why I am in the field I am in. I love the fact that if I can help one kid with special needs then I have made a difference.

I think the time has come for me to dig a little niche for myself. At the end of the day, there is not a long that I do that is for me. Ok, well maybe not completely. I do happen to watch some tv shows like Greys Anatomy and Criminal Minds, etc. I don't have any hobbies, because I feel it is taking time away from my children. And now that I have another child who is possibly going to be in the special education system next year, I had a MAJOR break through. I do too much.

So, I took into account of what I need to do for myself. I watch tv, oh boy is THAT exciting. LOL but that's not something I can live for. Its not something to get myself out of bed every day. What do I love to do? That was really hard for me to think about. For the last 9 years, my entire world has centered on taking care of my children or addressing Caleb's special needs. For me that is my entire world and I do adore what I do. I can't see not working in special education. Special education is a part of who I am.

And then it came to me. I love cooking. Tweaking recipes, creating recipes, looking over recipes that have been done and deciding if they're really worth keeping, etc. I love to do it. I mean at one point I was considering being a chef. I just got burnt out. So I decided. I was going to cook and blog about my recipes. But not just any recipes. These recipes have to be healthy, kid-friendly, and easy to make. Most recipes fail in one category of my mandatory requirements.

So for the next year, or even 6 months, I am embarking on a cooking/blogging journey to find great tasting recipes that a kid will eat and a diabetic won't go into a diabetic coma from. Feel free to join me under my new blog: Healthymom Recipe Reviewer. I would love for you to tag along on my journey!

Monday, February 14, 2011


How do I explain how simple progress can means to me? Little things make me estatic! I wish I could make the world understand how we take things for granted. I may whine and complain and fuss, but truly I am very blessed to see some of the things that I have seen in this lifetime! I celebrate accomplishments that many people said I shouldn't be celebrating, but I have a few words for them: WHY NOT?? Life is meant to be celebrated! Below is are a few things that I have been celebrating through progress!

My Weight: Most of my life has been a struggle with the bulge, and I know I'm not alone in that. I don't want to be supermodel skinny, besides that's just gross! I want to be healthy! I want to be around to celebrate my children's children and so on and so forth. Losing weight has been one battle after another. My health is usually not affected, but since my husband deployed, I've been fraught with children being sick and so on. So, it has taken a beating on my body. These last few months have been a major battle that I have not lost. I have slowly began losing weight. My goal weight is not something I will reveal, nor will I tell what my weight is. My goal is just to get to where I need to be. I have lost a few pounds and have been tracking it weekly. So far so good! I may make my goal before my husband comes home!

(Pardon the pedicure people, I'm a single parent!)

My Children: My children have always been the most important thing on the Earth to my! I have learned many things about them from just raising them. My oldest has been a prime example of why I cannot and will not ever take anything for granted. He has been a joy to watch grow into who he will be. Mind you, his development has been one battle after another. Caleb did not speak until he was 4 and he had many physical developmental problems, which he still experiences today. But I choose to celebrate his accomplishments, instead of mourn that he is not like other kids. I celebrate that after months of trying to get him to gain weight, we are up to a whopping 70lbs! I celebrate that after months of struggling to write his name, he finally can do it! I celebrate that he is almost to double digit addition. Sure, other third graders his age are doing things that he is not, but I don't care. My son is doing what many people told me he would not.

Christian has been an interesting child to watch develop into a little man. He is constantly challenging me for authority and reminding me why I do in fact love my kids so much. He has been my fast developer. Between 6 months and 8 months he sat up, crawled and then started walking. At 1 year he was starting full sentences. This child never fails to amaze me with some of the things that come out of his mouth. Some of the funnier things that I have heard are he asking me to move the dark so he can see his mountains. Or if we're shopping in the store, he'll see something and tell me to put it back because we have it at home and we don't need it. He's definitely going to be an onery one. Oh wait he already is! His tenderness for his brothers melts my hearts, and his stubbornnes for causing trouble makes me want to pull out my hair! This one is going to drive me batty!

Cole has been a very cute little monkey to watch develop. He has changed in many ways and I am definitely interested to see how he will continue to grow. He adores his brothers and calls for them when he wants them: Bathers. He likes to scream Mommy whenever he sees me, which is totally cute and annoying at the same time. But I have to remind myself, what if he didn't talk at all? What if he didn't say anything? I am lucky that I have a child who is verbal, after having a baby who was not for a very long time. Just today, he took a tenative step towards walking. He was so excited about it, but not nearly as excited as his big brother Christian who yelled at the top of his lungs MOMMY HE'S WALKING!!!!

My Marriage: So marriage is hard work. It's not some little love story where you fall in love, and everybody lives happily ever after. Marriage is work. I wish someone had told me just how hard marriage was, so I would have been a little more prepared. We were so naive when we were dating. It was fun and games and then after marriage comes the hard work.

Don't get me wrong, I love being married! I love my husband very much! I just wish someone had told me how difficult it would have been. Marriage is about sacrifice and love and sadness and happiness. All sorts of emotions that I never thought I would feel. We have made it almost 10 years and I am definitely looking forward to another 50!

So when you get upset that your not losing weight, take a few steps back and think what could I do to fix it? When you're not making good grades, think about what you could do to improve it? And if your child is not on track, celebrate the person they are, not the person you want them to be!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Did that REALLY happen??? Some days I can't believe it!!!

I had a bad day last week. And when I say bad day, it was truly brutal. I had a bad reaction to medication that caused my hands to swell up so badly that one of my rings, my engagement ring that I had proudly lost weight for, was stuck. I tried EVERYTHING to get it off. And when I say everything, I mean everything. I tried soap, stuck my hands in ice (well, we didn't have ice, so I used snow), I even stooped to using windex. Nothing worked. I tried to ignore it, but the swelling continued.

I did some research to try and find out where I could have it removed without doing the most damage. The jewelers I called all claimed they could have it off in 10 minutes. They lied. My engagement ring has a super thick band, so it wasn't coming off with their cheap blades. They suggested I go to the ER or the Fire Department. I didn't want to spend 4 hours with all three of my children in an emergency room, just to have my ring cut off.

So we had a nice impromptu field trip to the fire department. The kids were excited, except Caleb who didn't want to do anything but sit and read. Christian couldn't even contain his excitement. There is something about 4 year olds and their fire engines. Its pretty cute.

Anyways, we get there and I, already embarressed about what I need to do, asked if they could cut a ring off my finger. The fire man was absolutely polite to the core. He had us come in to the immaculate station and told the boys they could have a tour of the station when we were done. As he went to fetch the blade, a younger, I'm assuming a rookie, fire fighter came up to Caleb and said he was going to cut my finger off. I looked at him in horror. Caleb looked at him with his big blue puppy dog eyes and burst into tears. I didn't know who to comfort first. The poor fireman was beside himself trying to comfort Caleb. I explained to the poor guy that Caleb had Autism and they took things very literally. The fire fighter nodded and looked horrified. He apologized and kept repeating we are not going to cut your mommy's finger off, just the ring.

I finally calmed Caleb down, who became amused with the sticker the fire fighter brought him. The ring cutting was pretty simple and then the kids got their tour of the station.

I am not upset, because the poor guy thought Caleb was just a regular kid who would understand he was joking. I even laugh about it now. Its just one of those moments where you go: Did that really just happen??? I guess someone needs to give the fire fighters some sensitivity training or something...but wow, there is no words to describe THAT situation. It was just NOT my day!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Walk the walk, talk the talk, live the life!

I am done. That's right. I am done. I am finished with discrimination. I am finished with people giving me the stink eye for my child not acting a certain way, talking a certain way or looking a certain way. I am done living up to other people's expectations.

This weekend I had the fortune; and when I say fortune it might not look that way to others, of having my child called a brat and that I should beat the crap out of him for his behavior. I smiled and looked at the person and said he has Autism and is having a meltdown. My initial reaction was wanting to claw their eyes out with my nails, but I am a better person than that. All three of my children were watching my behavior and if I want them to act a certain way, I have to model that behavior. The person who called my child a brat rolled their eyes and stormed off. My middle son, Christian, who is extremely protective of his brother told me that that person was making bad choices by being mean. And who am I to disagree? That person was making bad choices. But here I am, telling my son that we can't tell others that they are making bad choices, because they are responsible for their own behavior. I am telling this to a 4 year old. He nods his head and understands. This totally blows me away.

Back to what I am talking about. If you are going to say you will treat all people with respect, please do. Don't look at the mom with the screaming child, thinking OMG, their kid is SUCH a brat!! Think, maybe that kid is having a sensory overload. Or better yet, don't think anything. Smile and remember that the next time you judge someone else's kid, it could be you next. It could be you with the screaming child in line, getting the dirty looks and the blatant stares.
I love my son truly and will always defend him to the death but please people BE MORE RESPECTFUL!!! That is all!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Menu Planning and other random thoughts!

I decided to start menu planning last week. I get tired of going to the store, usually with three children in tow, and don't have anything that works together. Then it's back to the store for more money spent and less things that go together. Well, after years of doing that and wasting money, I decided I'm going to plan our weekly dinners, allowing two days of leftovers and one day that we can go out, or have sandwiches.

The first week was exciting, I planned several meals that I thought would be a hit with the kids. Boy was I wrong. I made my first pot roast, and only Cole and I loved it. We made party potatoes and that seemed to go over rather well. Finally I made cheesy chicken and dumpling soup. I loved it, the rest of the bunch was rather disappointed. So I was determined in my quest to make more items that the kids would like and that were healthy.

I got this awesome crockpot book for Christmas from my mom and have been putting it to use more than I ever thought. I seriously believe the crockpot is one of the greatest inventions for parents who have little time to cook and want to make great food, instead of eating out. I found some fantastic websites as well. I plan on trying many different recipes until we find some versions that work for the kids. If just two out of the three kids like them, I consider them hits!

This week, I've planned for four meals: Creamy chicken and wild rice, Bbq pulled pork sandwiches, baked ziti with sausage, and Lasagna. I also thought I'd make some healthy desserts, since my type two diabetes won't allow for most. So for that I'm making cinnamon candy applesauce with vanilla ice cream and black bean brownies. I'm hoping the brownies turn out well, because they are all that I can eat! No flour, no dairy and soy free! Here's to hoping this week is better for that then the last!

I also have planned a major change in my workout routines. I've decided to work out at least 6 times a week, giving myself Friday for a milder workout (with yoga) and Sunday as a day off. I really want to lose as much as I can before my husband comes home for R&R. I want to give him a BIG shock!

In other news, Cole has gotten his 8th tooth, with several molars appearing to be in the beginning phase of pushing through. His tear ducts are still blocked and his ear infections don't appear to be clearing up. I am hoping he doesn't have to have surgery, but we'll deal with that when it comes to it. The little man is also getting braver about standing on his own and walks on as much furniture as he can pull up on. I'm so NOT ready for walking or running. He likes to dash across the floor and to the stairs, where he turns around and gives me the most onery look before he starts climbing. This child is going to be a little stinker! His 1st birthday is also in 7 days! I can't believe he's so close to that already!

Caleb's sleep-deprived EEG shows no indicators of seizure activity. This is fantastic news, as in October he had a complex partial seizure. We still have one more test to do to completely rule it out, but so far the results look promising. He's determining what he wants to do at the YMCA as some after school activities. So far, we've narrowed it down to karate, lego club, and swimming lessons. I'm really wanting to branch out on what he does.

Christian is doing well lately. He had a great first semester of preschool and we're looking forward to the rest of the year. He's also deciding on what he wants to do at the YMCA, he's really interested in gymnastics and legos as well. Swimming lessons did not go well, because his ears really are sensitive to the water. We've tried ear plugs, but so far nothing has worked. His birthday is also coming up, his is in 9 days. He's going to be 4! I cannot believe how fast he's growing. It seems like yesterday that I brought him home from the hospital. When I asked him what he wants for his birthday, he wants a watch. A watch? What 3 going on 4 year old wants a watch for their birthday? I guess mine! He also requested I get him a green Zhu Zhu pet. We'll see what he gets when that time comes. I'm definitely enjoying seeing him grow up!

Graduate school starts in about a 10 days, and I'm ready to get back in the mix. I had some thoughts about putting my education on hold so I don't have to take out any more student loans, but I don't want to do that. I really want to finish this degree! I want to be able to make a difference with kids with special needs!

Well I hope all is well in your worlds! Enjoy life and live it to your fullest!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I told myself I would get this mess under control! I made a huge step the first day and was able to get most of my kitchen under control. I came upon the second day and realized I was in WAY over my head. This clutter keeps piling up, more and more, until I feel like I'm drowning in our stuff!

I've looked for several different solutions to help me get through this mess that we have collected. Some of this is really hard for me to throw out. We have nearly ten years of stuff that I can't quite seem to part with completely.

I stumbled upon this website, A suggestion from a facebook friend, who follows the program, led me to this site. I was blown away. Who only spends 15 minutes a day to declutter their house? That doesn't seem like enough time to get it done in a timely manner. She told me she does it in 15 minute increments with a break in between each increment and to only stick to one room per day.

This is a really great suggestion, because honestly, you can get SO much done in 15 minutes. I cleaned out my entire fridge in 15 minutes. I think that if we don't take breaks, we could go crazy with how overwhelming it is!

My mission is to finish decluttering my house by early February. I would like to be done with it now, since I am a little bit of a impatient soul, but I am willing to put the work into getting this done! I want to live without fear that my whole house won't collapse from the piles of junk that we have. (Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration) I would love to be able to be organized so once my husband gets new orders, we can move a lot easier, without having to worry about how we're going to manage to get all this stuff to our new place or state.

Wish me luck on this journey of decluttering my house! I'm ready to stop, but I know I must push forward!