Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Bucket List

Summer is quickly approaching- R has just 2 weeks left of school! Although summer is coming, we will still have a crazy schedule- lots of therapy sessions (speech 2x week and occupational therapy/feeding) and of course these appointments are not the same every week. Thank goodness for my Erin Condren Life Planner- I would be lost without it!

Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do this summer, besides therapy and summer school for R. Last year we had a "bucket list" of 50 things to do, and I will admit we only crossed off about 1/4 of the list. We had good intentions, I assure you!

This year I'd like to make another list and be more intentional about completing it. There are a lot of things that are difficult to do with R because of his comfort level and the fact that he loves his routine. We'll be taking that into account this year, and hopefully we'll be able to do a few new things to help him overcome his anxiety about new people, places, and situations. I would love for our family to be able to go out to lunch or dinner at a restaurant this summer. We've been working on that for 2 years now- I think it's time to try. I"m also thinking about the zoo, which we did last year.

What is on your summer bucket list? For those of you with kiddos with Autism, what kinds of activities do you during the summer?

I'll be back at the end of the week to share our list with you! Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Editing Your Story

Remember when you were in high school and you had your adult life planned out? Then, when you got to college, you tweaked it a little, but you still had a plan and you'd be damned if you waivered from it. My plan went a little like this...

Get bachelor's degree {check!}
Get master's degree
Move to a metropolitan area- preferably someplace warm
Travel around the country as a savvy business woman
Get married {check!}
Travel often with my husband
Retire and buy a place on the beach

Sounds lovely, doesn't it? I think so. 

My reality is that I got my degree and got married. I married a Marine, which led me to California spending a lot of time waiting for him to come home from deployment and not being in a stable living situation. I worked as a Program Director for the YMCA and then quit when I started having complications with my pregnancy. Oh yeah, I got pregnant (not in the above plan). With twins. The twins were born and I was instantly a stay-at-home mom. Then R was diagnosed with Autism and it became my life. It just swallowed me up. 

That's not how the story was supposed to go. Nope, not at all. But, it's how it's supposed to be. 

How many of us look back and realize that our story hasn't been written the way we intended? 

I didn't get to do everything on my list. 
My list has changed as my story has been edited. 
But that doesn't mean I still can't do something. 

The way my story has been written has left me with a small amount of time to focus on myself and what I want. I will probably never fulfill everything on my list, and I'm ok with that. But, just because I can't do everything, doesn't mean I can't do something. Just because life took a turn you weren't foreseeing, doesn't mean all is lost. 

I need to remember this, everyday, and you do, too. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

5 Years and Counting

Hubs and I spent last weekend in Savannah, Georgia celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary. I really can't believe it. Some days it feels like it was only yesterday we stood before our family and friends and declared our unconditional love and commitment to each other. Other days, it feels like that memory is much more distant and that it's been much longer than 5 years. ;)

I'm really a lucky girl. My husband is the best. No, really. He is. Not only is he a great husband, but he's an amazing father to our 2 kiddos. He doesn't mind changing R's diapers, or answering KK's crazy, silly, questions over and over...and over again. He'll be the first one to realize I need to get out of the house, before I lose all sanity. He's also the one to wipe away my tears after a long and stressful day. The one who supports me as I try to find my way back into this world, after being so focused on R and his autism for the last  year and a half.

So, we celebrated the fact that he's an awesome hubby and I'm a pretty fantastic wife! In Georgia. Doing absolutely anything we wanted to do. Whenever we wanted to do it. Sleep until 9:00 a.m., and pee without KK invading the bathroom. Eat whenever and whatever we wanted. It was pretty fabulous.

Here's a peek at our trip. I'm sure I'll share more again next week! Happy Friday!

Forsythe Park

We chatted with a woman, in one of the (many) squares, who was making these flowers out of palm leaves. I love, love, love them! If were getting married all over again, I would have them at my wedding! 

 City Market

Eating ice cream, listening to music, and watching the boats float by. Perfect night! 

It's difficult to get my hubs to enjoy Starbucks as much as I do. I was pretty excited when we were sitting in the square with Starbucks in hand, and it definitely warranted a picture of his cup! ;) 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Welcome Wednesday Blog Hop {Guest Host}

I am so excited to be guest hosting the Welcome Wednesday blog hop with Kelley from Haute Mom. It's an easy way to discover some super fun blogs and meet new friends! I hope you'll join in on the hop!

How it works:
1. Follow the hostess, Haute Mom and the guest hostesses. Be sure to leave a comment so that I can follow you back.
2. Follow one other blog (at least.)
3. Link up your blog for all of us to love.
4. Make an attempt to check out at least two new blogs. Don't know where to start? How about the two blogs above you? If you love the blog, become a follower and leave them a comment letting them know.

So link up! You don't have to post about the hop...but you know how we ladies work, the more the merrier. We would love it if you would help us spread the word and help Welcome Wednesday grow!
Haute Mom


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Time Out for Mom: Vacay!

This has been a long time coming. Hubby and I are leaving for vacation early in the morning! We have never spent even one night away from the kiddos since they joined our family, so this is going to be interesting for all involved.

Boy, does my mom have her work cut out for her. My kids are no joke- they take every ounce of energy out of me, and one of two things will happen for my mom. Option #1: They will be complete angels and my mom will wonder what the heck I complain about all the time. Option #2: They will be themselves and my mom will be super exhausted come Monday afternoon. Good luck, mom!

I can only imagine how M is going to feel about this. I think she's under the impression that Nana is coming for a weekend sleepover- with all of us. This morning she was saying, "No mom! Don't go, don't go! Stay here!" as I was leaving to head to the salon.

Good thing we're sneaking out super early, so I don't start sobbing before we even get out the door. Oh, there will be tears. As much as I'm looking forward to a long weekend away with hubby (Lord knows we need it), I'm a little sad about leaving the kiddos.

Well friends, enjoy your weekend. I'll have a full recap of our travels next week!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Hindsight is 20/20. We all know this. Last week I surprised myself- giving advice and sharing my experience with another mom who is just beginning a journey of her own to figure out if her son is touched by ASD. Even if your family isn't touched by Autism, read on. The message can pertain to any family facing adversity or challenge.

I knew in my heart months before an official diagnosis was given to R, that it was Autism. There was really no doubt in my mind. I started grieving before the diagnosis was given because I was scared as hell. Your world is turned inside out and upside down before you even hear the words or see it on paper. Some try to pray it away. Some make excuses as to why it "couldn't" be Autism. Some believe it certainly could not happen to their child. Guess what? All of that is normal.

Here is a snippet of a few things I wrote to this awesome mama. I think some of us could use a reminder, and there may be some of us who may need to hear this for the first time.

"I struggled for a long time and there are still days that I struggle. If there's one thing I've learned on this journey, it's that Autism isn't a life sentence. They just view the world through different lenses, and we have to adapt the way we approach parenting, education, and just life in general."

I surprised myself with my "wisdom", and realized that I've come a long way since those months before and after R's diagnosis. Some days are hard- really, really hard. There are also so many days that are amazing- full of smiles, accomplishments, and pure joy! 

When R was diagnosed, my world came crashing down. I felt like he was served the death sentence because we had a list of "nevers" in front of us, and all of a sudden the identity of our family was changed forever. In those early days, I thought this meant that everything we ever wanted for ourselves and our children was thrown out the window. 

The dreams we dreamed when I was pregnant with the twins are still dreams, they are just a little different. We've had to do a little tweaking, but we don't ever rule any dreams out. I hope some day my husband is able to take R to a football game, teach him how to throw a baseball, and do all the "boy" stuff dads and sons do together. These things might take a little longer to happen, but that's ok. I believe deep in my heart that they will- we're just on a different timeline than a lot of other families.

I will never hold either of my children to a lower standard- no matter the challenge. I believe everyone is capable of doing what they want to do, you just have to believe. Believe in yourself. Believe in your children. Believe in your family. It may not be easy, but do it anyway.

Every family faces challenges- big and small. The challenges we face on a daily basis can have an effect on our goals and dreams, but we should never dismiss them. You may need to take a detour to get there, but you can get there. I promise.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Don't let comparison steal your joy"


Who's mom cried during an IEP meeting yesterday? R's mom! Yep, that's right- that would be me. R just turned 3, so he is moving from Early Intervention/Help Me Grow into the school district (he is already part of the preschool program there, it's just a "technicality" now that he is 3). So, during the last three weeks, they have been conducting a bunch of assessments and yesterday I received the results of said assessments. 

R's teacher started talking and I pretty much lost it. I was staring at a paper of percentiles and developmental ages and my heart sunk. It sinks every time I have to go through something like this. There is just something about seeing these results on paper and having someone speak them out loud. Severe. In just about every category, my son fell in the "severe" range. This shouldn't be a surprise to me- when he was first diagnosed in January of 2011, he was diagnosed as "severe". He was re-evaluated just a few months ago as "severe". Now the school is saying "severe".

A year ago, all I could focus on were the numbers, percentiles, labels, and comparisons; Autism masked the image of my son in the months following his diagnosis. The days and months following the diagnosis were a struggle. It was hard to find the "good" in all of this, and I held a lot of anger inside. 

There came a point in time where I embraced the diagnosis. I started believing this wasn't a life sentence for R. Now, I am able to focus on R just as he is. Rejoicing in the progress he has made. Hopeful for his bright future, and ready to take on another day. Living in gratitude that he is happy, and (for the most part) healthy. 

I am so proud of R and the progress he has made. He has the light back in his eyes after being lost for so long. The comparisons, percentiles, and labels do not define him, and they never will. 

I will not allow comparison to steal my joy.