Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Balancing act

If you're a mom you know what I mean when I say it is all a balancing act.  Actually, dads should know too.  Being a parent is all about figuring out the balance in it all.  Which battles to fight with you toddler, whether or not your one-year-old uses her fork or her fingers, going to bed with that one little car or the huge truck, getting the ponytail in or just letting her hair go wild since we are staying home.

My every day is a balance from the moment I wake up.  My first decision in the day concerns whether or not to let Angel watching Netflix on his iPad because it will make him happy and I can sleep till the sun actually rises.  My second decision is whether or not to let Bella fuss for a few minutes because if she wakes up and Angel isn't in the room with her is a stage 5 meltdown.

My most recent larger balancing act comes in the form of Angel's ABA therapy.  In three months we will be uprooting Angel's entire world to move to Hawaii.  It means changing his home, his routines, and his therapists.  All of his therapists.  I am fully aware of how hard this transition could be for him and I'm praying when it happens I'll be able to balance it with the move itself.  Right now though Angel's junior therapist, the woman he sees four times a week, Mrs. Casey is having legal troubles with our previous ABA center and has been told that she temporarily can not work.  That means Angel doesn't get his therapy.  Here's what I'm balancing with that news:

I'm trying to do as much of the same things he does with Mrs. Casey as possible but I don't have the same materials and that makes it a little difficult.  So I'm balancing my attempt at continuing therapy with my lack of tools.

I'm trying to balance my anger and sadness that my son is being deprived of a therapy he needs, a therapy he has thrived in recently because of someone's petty selfishness.  My child is doing without something that can and has really helped him and that breaks my heart to see him hurt like that and infuriates me to know someone doesn't care about this impact on him.

I'm balancing those feelings with the relief that I don't have to drive him back and forth to therapy because it is physically exhausting and it is financially draining.  I hate feeling like this because I know it's not right but I can't help that little feeling of relief lined in guilt.

Every day is a balancing act for me.  From teaching Angel to share his iPad while teaching Bella that it is Angel's iPad to making another peanut butter sandwich for Angel while making Bella something new to eat.  When you're a parents you're balancing it all and sometimes it's easy and sometimes no matter what you do you'll do it wrong.  The best part though is knowing that while I'm balancing the world on my shoulders I've got two sets of little arms wrapped around me to hold me up.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Did you miss me?

I can't believe it has been nine months since my last blog.  I could have given birth in that amount of time.  No worries though.  I'm still a mommy of two.

Angel turned two and has begun his steady incline of taking over the world with his awesomeness.  Yes, I know he is now only two and a half and I maybe a little biased but he is the coolest kid in the world after all.

Bella just celebrate her first year and has begun her steady incline of taking over the world with her gorgeousness.  Yes, I know she's barely one and I maybe a little biased but she is the prettiest baby in the world after all.

Who will be the conquer?  Well its hard to say but I'm pretty sure it'll be a tie.  They do make an awesome team when they aren't trying to annoy each other.

When you've got a kid on the autism spectrum a lot of your life gets measured in therapies and the little milestones that may be easy to the neuro typical child are huge milestones for your ASD child because you know that maybe they had to work just a little bit harder to master something.  At the same time when you're going through the first year of your baby's life you marvel at all the first she experiences and how amazed she is that she can do them for the first time.

For the last nine months my life has been measured in speech therapies, occupational and physical therapies, ABA therapies and falling more in love with how amazing and perfect my son is.  He is smart, really smart.  He has mastered his iPad and kills at Angry Birds while taking a break from watching documentaries on dinosaurs on Netflix.  He is killer at matching, doing puzzles, anything cause and effect, and he will race you till your legs are jelly, you can't breathe, and you think your heart might stop.  Then demand you run some more.  The words are still few and far between but they are there.  Just recently he has discovered the power in saying "Go!"  And when going down the slide or running through the house that word has a lot of power.  I see the struggle every day.  He wants so bad for me to understand him and him to understand me and I think we do better than most because of our bond.  But that moment I ask him to do something that takes him away from his preferred task I see the struggle.  And I am here to help him through it till we find a way for him to understand the world and the world to understand him.

At the same time my last nine months have been measured in a whole different set of firsts.  Bella has the wild personality.  She is the center of the universe and not in that typical spoiled baby kind of way, but in the way that makes you smile and think she should be the center of it all.  She will try anything and though now only pulls up and side walks she is this close to those illusive first steps.  She absolutely adores her brother.  In fact, I'm pretty sure she thinks he is a god.  He can do no wrong and when he lets her into his world everything for her is perfect.  She is loud and demanding and stubborn and never sleeps but she is also the most beautiful girl in the world.  Though we already butt heads like mothers and daughters will do I wouldn't change her for the world.

I've also had my own personal struggles, some of which I am still battling through.  I have had my good days and my bad just like anyone else.  I'm deciding now that maybe it's time for a new beginning, a new and improved me.  Stronger, braver, ready to take on the world kind of me.  I'm hoping to share more of the journey with you.  I hope that you'll tag along.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

This is 34

I still can't believe it despite the fact that its been true for almost a week now.  I'm 34 years old.  I can't believe it because there are days I don't feel that old and days I feel much, much older.

Ten years ago I was living in Florida and living the crazy life of a young woman in her twenties.  I was having fun and my only thoughts toward the future was that I wasn't getting married and I wasn't having kids.  I wasn't putting much thought into what I would be doing either.  Who would have guessed how different things would be.

So this is 34 to me.  I'm a mother of two who has too much to do and not enough time to get it all done.  I don't eat right, don't get enough sleep, haven't bought myself new clothes since Bush was in office, never seem to get my house clean enough, do laundry at least every other day if not every day, get a hair cut once, maybe twice, a year if I'm really lucky, maybe wear make-up less than that, live in my flip flops because shoes and socks take too much time to put on, and wonder where the girl who wanted to be an author went too.

To me, 34 means being a mother to my almost two-year-old son who has autism.  It means days spent doing therapy either at home or in centers.  It means doctor appointments and repeating one word 7,000 times a day in the hopes that Angel will repeat it.  It means constantly getting him to stand up straight, don't put things in his mouth, don't hit erratically when he gets even the slightest bit upset, and treating that single word he finally says like he has figured out the meaning of life and the whole word should celebrate.

To me, 34 means being a mother to my four-month-old daughter who thinks she is fourteen.  It means days of washing the same bibs I washed yesterday because she drools so much from teething.  It means bottles and formula and cereal, moving her from the bouncy to the swing to the Bumbo to my arms every five minutes because she gets upset she can't just do it all herself.  It means encouraging Bella when she shakes her rattle or reaches for her bugs or just smiles the most beautiful smile in the world because she sees her mommy.

To me, 34 means being a wife to my soldier.  It means washing his laundry, picking up his shoes, making dinner, unloading and loading the dishwasher, and sweeping up the dirt his boots track in.  It means knowing he will miss most of his kids' appointments and mine and wondering what time he'll be home at night and if he will be called away in the middle of a holiday.  It means hearing him leave at 5:30 every morning for pt, the scratch of Velcro on his uniform when he takes his top off, and knowing the first thing he wants to do when he comes through the door every day is kiss me.

To me, 34 means life is nothing like I expected it would be, but being grateful for the journey and the outcome.  Tim McGraw has a song about his next thirty years.  I might borrow the idea for a moment.  In my next 34 years, I'm going to enjoy watching my kids grow up and conquer the world, see new exciting places with my husband, and learn that sometimes being the best for everyone else means do what's best for me first.  In my next 34 years I'm going learn if the girl I use to be is still inside the woman I've become.

Happy birthday to me... a few days later. :-)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Life is full of milestones.  As a parent you begin to take notice of the typical ones.  The first smile, the first time they roll over, the first time they sit up, crawl, stand, and walk.  The first word, first sentence, first time they point to something or ask for something, and the first time they say I love you.  From that very first moment it is all about milestones for your children, but there are milestones as a parent too.

That moment when you find out you're expecting, the first ultrasound, the first heartbeat that sounds like a washing machine, and that moment your precious baby comes screaming into the world.  That's just the first nine months.  There's also that first night you survive getting up every couple of hours, that swelling in your heart when that soft little head lays against your chest, and that first bath when you have managed to keep the baby above water but soak yourself.

So many milestones and we take so many of them for granted.  Notice them, as many as possible.

Lately I've noticed a few and I'm so grateful I took the time to catch them.  My baby girl, my Bella boo, is reaching and grasping.  She loves to beat up her butterfly on her car seat, smack the bugs attached to her bouncy seat, and shake her rattles until she forgets how to let go.  My itty bitty baby has become aware of her surroundings and is interacting with them.  I'm so proud of her and can't wait to see what new thing she figures out next.

I've also noticed that my snuggle bear, my Angel has accomplished so much recently.  In fact, today alone we had two huge accomplishments.  The first being he mimicked Mommy saying ball.  He's never done that before and I was so proud.  There was lots of encouraging words and clapping and cookies involved.  The second was that he passed his target goal of commands.  Commands being his attempt at communicating be it vocally or with signs.  A "normal" child his age has 900 commands a day.  Angel's target goal in a four hour period is 50.  When his ABA therapist left today Angel had 57 commands on the counter.  For most moms this may not seem like much but to this mom is it a huge deal.

These are the milestones that make up my days.  All those precious ones that are occurring in Bella's first year.  Every tiny new thing she does that makes my heart swell is so amazing.  I'm so proud of her and so in awe of her as she explores her new world.  She makes me want to pull all my hair out some days but she is still my favorite daughter, still the most beautiful girl in the world, and still one of the loves of my life.

All those amazing things Angel accomplishes in overcoming the obstacles of autism make my heart swell as well.  I am so proud of how much he has learned and succeeded at in this journey.  I'm so proud of how proud he is at everything new he is learning to do.  There are moments I wish he could just tell me what he wants or how he's feeling but he is still my favorite son, still the most handsome boy in the world, and still one of the loves of my life.

Life is full of milestones.  For your children, for yourselves, for everyone.  Take the time to notice them, to celebrate them.  They are all amazing and that are markers in this journey we call life.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


So in my household we don't really do the whole turkey Thanksgiving thing. Growing up the fourth Thursday of November meant three things. Turkey and football and falling asleep. Well, I don't really like turkey and football and without the first two I never did the third. So it became the holiday I could live without. As an adult it came to mean it was time to put up the Christmas tree and start celebrating the season. It's not that I wasn't thankful for things in my life. I just never associate them with that one particular day.

This year is different. This year I'm thankful for so much I have to share it with the world.

I am grateful for the obvious being my husband and my kids. Nick has always loved me for exactly who I am and called me beautiful for the start. Angel and Bella are the two perfect things I have ever done in my life. I know my entire purpose in being is so I can be there mother and love them the way they love me.

I am grateful for my parents. They always find a way to help me even when they are struggling themselves. They love my kids like no other grandparents have ever loved grandkids before. There is no better Grandpa, Nannie, or Mom-mom in the world.

I'm grateful for my sister and my awesomely perfect niece. Though we don't talk as often as I'd like because of our lives I know my sister loves and supports me and when I really need her she is there. As for my niece, she's an endless smile for me because she is beautiful and smart and will always be Auntie's Monkey.

I'm grateful to the army. Though they get on my nerves and drive me crazy every chance they get I'm grateful my husband has a job every day, that we have a home for our family, and that they provide such great insurance so that my husband, myself, and our kids get everything they need to be healthy.

I'm grateful to Savannah Perinatology for the amazing care I got the 36 weeks I was pregnant with my Bella Boo. My baby girl was a handful from conception and they made sure she was healthy right up to the day she came 3 1/3 weeks early.

I'm grateful to Live Oaks Children's Therapy and Ms. Kristin for helping Angel with his speech therapy. Every week I notice him attempting some new word or sign and that makes my heart swell with happiness.

I'm grateful to Chatterbox Pediatric Therapy and Mrs. Kimber for helping Angel with his occupational therapy. Every time my little boy looks into my eyes I'm overjoyed at the progress he has made.

I"m grateful for so many little things as well. I'm grateful for the way Bella smiles when you look at her. The way she babbles and ohs and ahs endlessly as if she is telling you the greatest story and you have all day to listen. I'm grateful she sleeps through the night so that I can too. I am grateful she is a happy, healthy baby girl despite her early entrance to the world. I'm grateful for the way Angel smiles at me from across the room because we've made eye contact. I'm grateful for his love of books and how he spends hours playing with them, turning page after page. I'm grateful for all the endless hugs he gives me because I know some parents aren't that lucky. I'm grateful for his autism because it's made me realize that even if his life might be harder than most kids it will be the happiest life because he loves and is loved. What more could a child ask for?

I'm grateful for the strength and the patience and the heart that is require of being a mom and a wife. For the ability to never go without anything I actually need. For the chance to live so close to Savannah so that I may enjoy it when ever I like. For my dishwasher since I hate washing dishes. For Lieu, who may not get the attention she deserves all the time but is still the best dog in the world.

I'm grateful for my life because it is mine to do whatever I wish with and it is such an amazing life. What more could I ask for?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Three months ago I brought into the world a beautiful baby girl who weighed 8 lbs 3 oz, was 19 1/2 inches long and had a head full of black hair just like her big brother. In the last three months I have learned a great deal about my Bella Ann. She is strong. She's been holding her head up since the day she was born. She is alert. She see everything I do. She is active. She moves constantly and never sleeps. She has an opinion. She talks all day long. She is happy. She smiles at me every time I look at her and my heart swells with how much I love her. She is my diva princess because as far as Bella is concerned the world revolves around her. Though there are moments she makes me want to pull my hair out and put her on mute she is my perfect little girl. I wouldn't trade her or change her for anything in the world. She is exactly who she is meant to be and because of that I am the mother she is meant to have. I know in years to come we will but heads. We will disagree and there will be those dreaded moments when she says she hates me. She is and always will be my perfect little girl though. She is the love of my life.

Almost two years ago I brought into the world a beautiful baby boy who weighed 7 lbs, was 20 1/2 inches long and had a head full of black hair just like his mommy. In the last two years I have learned a great deal about my Angel. He is kind. He will bring me his favorite toys to hold all the time. He is smart. He will do something until he figures it out. He is handsome. He gets complimented every time I take him somewhere. He is loveable. He will come over for a hug at any random moment and want to be held for as long as you will hold him. He is determined. It is his way or no way and that's all there is to it. He is happy. He smiles at me every time I look at him and my heart swells with how much I love him. He is my snuggle bear because as far as Angel is concerned there is no better place to be in then in my arms. Though there are moments he makes me want to pull my hair out and put him on mute he is my perfect little boy. I wouldn't trade him or change him for anything in the world. I know in years to come we will but heads. We will disagree and there will be those dreaded moments when he says he hates me. He is and always be my perfect little boy though. He is the love of my life.

My children are my world. They are everything I have ever done right in my life. Nothing and no one can tell me they are not the perfect little people I know they are. Even their flaws are perfection to me because their flaws make them who they are.

All that being said I learned soemthing today that changed how I see my son.

Today sitting in a little office with a very kind doctor while my son played with his racecar and my daughter slept in her carseat my perfect little boy was diagnosed with autism. He falls on the spectrum between low and moderate and because we caught it so early the doctor has high hopes that with therapy he will make a great deal of progress. Along with referrals for ABA, language therapy, continued speech therapy, occupatonal therapy for daily activities, and Babies Can't Wait the doctor said the best thing he had to help him is the mom who loves him so much she knew to get him help early, the mom who knew him so well she knew something was differenct about him, the mom who knew no label in the world could ever change how much she loved her little boy.

I'm that mom. You see that diagnosis did change how I see my son. I don't see him as autisc now. I don't see him as flawed. I don't see him as "special." I don't see him as having something wrong with him. What I see when I look at my perfect little boy is a perfect little boy who is stronger then his mommy, braver than his daddy, and more perfect than I could have ever imagined because he was given this mountain to climb and I know he will conquer it.

Today I don't mourn my child getting a label, being grouped with others to be called flawed, or being somehow less than any other child. Yes, I'm sad because I know this means his life will be harder than that of most kids his age, but it doesn't not make me love him any less or view him as less than the beautiful, perfect gift he is to me.

I still have a million questions. I'm still no sure what all this means for my son and our family. There are two things I do know though.

My kids are perfect and I love them completely.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I am NOT a bad mom!

I am so tired of hearing I'm a bad mom. No one ever actually says the words but they sure do like to make me feel like I am. Why? I have no idea but maybe it's because I actually like spending time with my son. When I'm with him he makes me laugh all the time. Just watching him play is amusing sometimes. Seeing him express himself and explore and the way he grins and wrinkles his nose are so funny to me. I laugh at and with him every day. Not to mention the affection I get from him. I love the way he snuggles when I first get him out of bed and the way he will randomly walk up to me and hug me in the middle of playing. Who else in the world is going to give you such unbiased, unconditional love, right? Then there is watching him grow up. Every day I see him do something new, discover something he can do that he never could before and I am so proud of him. Nothing about my time with my son is ever mundane or taken for granted and every day with him is the most amazing blessing to me.

Especially when I think back on how long I waited for him and how close I came to losing him. He is such an amazing gift that I genuinely enjoy every day of my life and I know that he loves being with me as well. Being his mom is the reason I was put on this earth.

So Angel gets my undivided attention daily. That means if he cries I'm there to determine if he needs a hug or not, but I'm still there. So if he's "whining" it's because he knows I'll be there whether he is hurt or just wants attention. It also means that no one will watch him the way I do so I won't leave him with just anyone. It doesn't mean anything to me if you like your co-workers and they have 8 kids. Their kids aren't my kids and just because I won't trust my son with anyone doesn't mean I'm "one of those moms." It means I actually care about who my son is being left with. I'm also not going to just leave my son with someone so I can just sit at home alone and do nothing. He is not a burden for me to get rid of. He is my child.

Yes, I have days where he gets on my every last nerve, but I'm human and so is he. I'll still take those days over not having him at all.

Angel is not an "asshole" or "whiney" or a "Momma's boy." He is my son, my child that I brought into this world and who is the love of my life. I am not "one of those moms" that is paranoid about how the world is going to treat her baby. I am Angel's mom and I will spend the rest of my life putting him first in every decision I make just as I do with Bella.

So instead of assuming I'm a bad mom because my kid loves me and I love him maybe you should consider whether or not you're a good parent if you don't think you're as lucky as I am. Either way keep your opinions of my parenting to yourself.