Here is a toast to the completely insensitive (I'll use that description to keep things G rated here) hair stylist at the posh salon next to Carvel. You obviously need a glass of wine.
I am not really a laid back person, by any means, but you make me look like Bob Marley.
When it is free ice cream night at Carvel you need to just accept that things will get a little out of hand.
When my kid bangs on your salon window and then I apologize, that should be good enough. I looked you right in the eye and sincerely apologized for being a horrible mother that can't control her kids for every second of every day. My bad. Your attitude made me want to smear more ice cream on his hands and tell him to go to town on your precious windows.
Even though you told asked me so nicely to get something to clean up the ice cream mess my kids made on the sidewalk, I had to say no. Why? Well first off, it is a dirty public sidewalk! Secondly, they are kids, enjoying ice cream, do you think they would keep it clean? Thirdly, did I mention it is a sidewalk??? They didn't go in your store and make a mess. And lastly:
Why the heck would you put your salon next to an ice cream shop if you were gonna be pissed off at kids and ice cream messes. But I am extremely intelligent, so I understand if that is a tough concept for you.
You must have never been a child yourself and have never been around kids. So it's OK. I'll let it slide.
But I have to tell you, I can't wait till the next time we go to Carvel! If you see adult size handprints of smeared ice cream you'll know we were there!!!
In light of all my recent frustration I decided to join a group of local Autism moms. They call themselves "pizza moms" and that is exactly what they do! We met at a restaurant, which they do the last Tuesday of every month and talk and eat pizza. Tonight was my first night!
It was a great experience for me. A group of women who understand exactly what I am going through. They have the same frustrations and advice. Some of them are moms of older kids with Autism so it is good to see where we are headed. Everyone's kids range in age and degree of functioning.
Most of the talk involved law, school systems, getting adequate services, therapies, biomed intervention, and insurance. I know, sounds awesome (not)! But any parent mom of a special needs child will tell you that our lives consist of this stuff. We spend hours each week fighting, finding services, being on hold, arguing, researching, pleading, meeting, etc. So it really is nice to know you are not alone. Others are going through this fight day in and day out too!
And most moms don't give up! I was feeling a little inadequate listening to some stories and have decided I need to get back on track. As I have said, I don't want Autism to run our lives, but I need to do everything in my power to get Jaylen everything he needs. And get our family everything we need.
Even though most of the women there don't have the financial strain we do, we live in a very posh expensive area, I can still do more. My researching, phone time, and arguing may have to be more than theirs, but it can be done. One mother there just pays everything out of pocket rather than deal with all of it. I mean thousands upon thousands of dollars a month. That is something we just can't do.
So here is to some renewed strength! Thank you for a wonderful evening Pizza Moms! See you in 4 weeks!
Just wanted to give an update to yesterday's depressing post. Things are always better when you get a chance to clear your head!
I was so extremely frustrated for 2 major reasons. One is that I just attended the CT Autism conference ALL day Saturday. I felt good. I had some new ideas and new plans. I learned some answers. And the very next day it all goes out the window. I was trying to be patient and understand where Jaylen was coming from.
Which leads to the second reason. Jaylen pooped in his pants, as usual, which is a whole other area of frustration. I feel like he will NEVER be potty trained. I know that is ridiculous and I am overreacting, but I am just frustrated. By the way, did I mention I am feeling frustrated lately???
So I tell him to go into the bathroom just so I don't get poop on the carpet while changing him. He flips out. Massive tantrum. Not a neuro-typical kid tantrum, a full blown Autism tantrum. I had to restrain him so he would not get hurt. I was just trying to get his pants on but for some reason he didn't want them on. I tried calmly asking him why and redirecting, and all those other good things. But he just continued to thrash, kick, and flail while screaming bloody murder. It went on for about 30 minutes.
During which, and I hate this, poor little Xavier gets upset and screams or even starts crying because he is confused. His brother is so upset and his mommy is so upset and it affects him. An empathic quality that Jaylen never had. I hate the affect Autism is having on Xavier.
I still don't know exactly what set Jaylen off or what I could have done differently. I am tired of jotting it all down and trying this and trying that when in the end, there are still so many problems. Don't you just get so worn out?
I guess that is why the puzzle is the perfect icon for Autism. There are no set answers. This is a massive complex puzzle that no one will ever truly understand. But I am not giving up. This is just an off couple days and a bump in the road. I will be back to planning, researching, and trying things again soon. Thanks for all the support. And it's good to know I am not alone.
Oh, and PS, I am not even going to do a Slimdown Sundays this week because I didn't lose any stinkin weight again! Wonder if my stress level has anything to do with that??? But I promise, I am going to pull myself together and get back on track.
I am going to take full advantage of using my blog as a diary right now; FULL advantage. I am fuming and need to get this out. It should be Slimdown Sundays, but right now, I just don't care about anything. I am sure I will regret posting this later.
I am tired.
I am tired of the tantrums,
I am tired of the screaming,
I am tired of the yelling,
and I am tired of the stimming.
I am stressed beyond stressed.
I am tired of trying to figure this out, trying to find the answers, but still feeling like I am getting nowhere.
I am pissed off.
I am angry.
I hate Autism.
Yes, I am very down right now. In an hour, I will be back up to myself, but right now, I am frustrated and needed to get it off my chest.
Ladies and gentleman, this is Autism at it's finest. This is the really real side of Autism you don't hear about.
****Congratulations to the winners, Kerry, Nicole, and Elana! I sent you 3 an email. Thank you to everyone who entered, I wish I could send a copy to all of you!**** *** Update! Nicole at Help Mama Remote, who was a winner, said she had just planned on commenting not really entering and wants the book to go to someone who could really use it, i.e. an Autism family. So thank you Nicole, you are too sweet! So congrats Janine, you are a winner now!*** Happy Autism Awareness Month!!!
I was given a copy of My Brother Charlie by Holly Robsinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete to review. I am also very excited to announce that 1 of my readers will win an autographed copy of the book and 2 other readers will win a copy of the book! 3 winners, how exciting!
Holly Robinson Peete (you know her from the TV show Hangin with Mr. Cooper) has used her celebrity status to promote Autism awareness and advocate on behalf of families affected with the spectrum disorder.
She and her 12 year old daughter, Ryan Elizabeth Peete, wrote My Brother Charlie based on their experiences with Ryan's twin brother, RJ. Their story is intended to "help share awareness about Autism with other children who have been touched by it in some way."
As a parent of one child on the spectrum and one Neuro-Typical child, this book was incredibly meaningful. My husband and I consider how we will explain to the boyswhat Jaylen having Autism and Xavier not having Autism really means, and how it will affect each of them.
The first thing I noticed were the illustrations. Shane W. Evans created vibrant pictures with few distractions. Simple picturelike paintings make it easy for kids on the spectrum to focus.
Holly and Ryan have a great way of describing how kids on the spectrum are different. The details are spot on and areexactly what I see in my children. I love how they explain the family always knew something was different about Charlie, as most Autie parents and siblings do.
There is no sugar coating in this book. The family is noticeably concerned as you can see in their sad and angry faces, and from the words they use. But there are cheerful descriptions of the good times surrounded by Autism. The siblings have fun together and love each other in their own way. In fact, you get the feeling that Autism has made their relationship more meaningful.
One of my favorite parts of the book is when they describe Charlie's attributes. He has some special skills and obsessions, as most kids on the spectrum do. Once again, this part was significant to me and will mean so much to my boys when they are older. Jaylen has some amazing talents and skills in certain areas, and has many obsessions and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) tendencies. They also send the message that being non-verbal is OK. That is so important for kids with Autism and for kids who know others who are non-verbal.
It was very obvious to me My Brother Charlie was written by people who have had first hand experience with Autism. Even the last illustration of the twin siblings doing a puzzle speaks to anyoneaware of the nationally linked Autism symbol. The disorder truly is a complex puzzle.
The bottom line is that Autism makes the siblings different. Not worse or better in any way, just different. And their relationship is strongly built through and around the disorder. I would recommend this book to children ages 5 and up. The subject matter is a little too sophisticated for children under 5, especially those with special needs. But this will be a must read in my house in about a year. It is one of the best children's book dealing with Autism I have seen.
1 winner will receive an autographed copy of the book and 2 readers will win a hardcover copy of the book. You can also purchase the hardcover book here for $16.99
***Become a Google Follower of my blog and leave me a comment saying you did with a quick note on why you'd like this book. (mostly because I am nosy and want to know!)***
Extra Entries: I am going to keep this short and easy for those of you who are not professional giveaway entrants! These giveaways can get very confusing (at least for me they do). Just do one or all of these and leave a SEPARATE comment for each one you do!
*Become a Facebook fan of Mommy To Two Boys here (1 entry)
*Become a Facebook fan of my Home Business here (1 entry)
*Subscribe to my blog by email - right over there on the right sidebar (worth 2 entries so leave 2 separate comments!)
*Add my button with my two perfectly adorable guys to your blog (2 entries, don't forget - 2 comments!)
This giveaway is open to anyone in the US and Canada. It begins on April 22, 2010 and will end on May 2, 2010 at 9 pm. Three winners with valid entries will be selected at random using random.org. The winners will be announced and each must respond with a current email address within 48 hours to claim. Otherwise, another eligible entry will be chosen. Good Luck!!!
I was not compensated for this review. These are my own honest opinions about the book. Family Photo Courtesy of Chris Voelker, VoelkerStudio.com
We had company over yesterday so I just didn't have time to write about it, but I lost another pound this week. Which is great, because I wasn't as disciplined as I should have been. I am starting to hit a mild motivational plateau. It is not the program, or anything else except me. I am not nearly as motivated as I was.
I have lost a bunch of weight, feel good, look pretty good (if I do say so myself), and am having trouble seeing the rest of the bigger picture.
What is that picture you ask? Oh, just another THIRTY pounds! I am not even halfway yet. And this is not about being a size 6, it's about a healthy weight for me. A weight that will guarantee I have done everything I can to keep myself alive as long as possible without major health issues.
That looks a little jumbled, but I am down to 195.5.
1 more pound to halfway! 1 more pound to 30 lost! I can totally, totally do this this week!
I just got back from the Dr. with Xavi. Because I had been "mom of the year" and called for his 15 month check-up about 3 weeks late we were scheduled to see a doctor I don't really care for. My favorite doctor requires planning to get in to see. Gotta love that military healthcare!
We were waiting in the room and in walks my fave doc! He said the other guy was sick so he was filling in. We went through all the usual stuff, concerns, measurements, questions, etc.
Then it was time for vaccines. He looked me right in the eye and said, "don't worry, I know." Although he doesn't agree with me, at all, he understands. He gets it. He knows all about Jaylen and knows how I feel.
But this time he said he wanted to give me more advice. We talked very openly about the risks of having no MMR. He said there is a small outbreak of mumps here in CT and explained how serious mumps and measles are. He was in no way pushy, just giving me his opinion and medical advice.
I have yet to check out mumps in CT, which I will definitely do this weekend, but I am now deep in thought over this. So I am asking for advice! Do I risk Autism or mumps? I know it isn't that cut and dry, but...
With Jaylen, something was "off," as horrible as that sounds from the very beginning. But so many of my Autie mom friends, in fact all I have talked with about this, have told me their child was "normal" and then after a vaccine got sick and then the onset of Autism began. Please DO NOT misread this! I am in no way making the link, or trying to say MMR shots or any other vaccine cause Autism. But I do know that many moms do feel that vaccines brought on the symptoms of Autism. And as a mom, that is hard to take. I would hate to give Xavi, my "normal" son, that vaccine and then not be able to take it back!
That is my biggest concern. I still daily wonder what caused Jaylen's Autism. I know, it is probably genetic and nothing any of us did caused it, but you would have to be a pathological liar to say that as a parent of a child with Autism, well, at least a mom of a child with Autism, you NEVER wonder about that painting you did while pregnant, that tuna you ate 2 days in a row, that shrimp you had at that sketchy buffet, etc.
And if I go through with this, because I know mumps and measles is not something to ignore, and Xavi starts to show Autism symptoms I don't know how I would deal with it. Obviously I would be strong and do what I need to do, but the guilt and wonder of whether or not the vaccine did it would be extreme!
Right now he and I have a connection, not more or less LOVE, I never had with Jaylen. That sounds harsh, but it is the truth, and I do not want to lose that! But I obviously do not want him to get a horrible disease either.
So fellow Autie moms, what is your child's story? Was he/she born with Autism? Do you blame a vaccine completely, or just for the onset of symptoms? Do you attribute it to something else? Do you vaccinate now or not?
And moms of kids without special needs, I want your advice too! Were you scared to vaccinate? After having a child go through the vaccine process OK did you relax and never let it cross your mind again? Or do you still worry something could happen? Do you vaccinate all your children on the recommended schedule?
****** NOTE: I am not trying to start a huge argument over vaccines in any way! You know I have had horrible experiences with that. If you want to tell me my kids are a parasite or that I am not a scientist, please just click that little X at the top of your internet page and leave. But if you are willing to give me your honest opinion about this subject then please, please, I would love some help.*****************
Three weeks ago, yes I said three, my best blog friend in the entire blogosphere, Jen at Autism, The King and I, gave me the Happy 101 Award. Thanks Jen! Even though I am late, I know you understand and "ya know I love ya" which now that I think about it you may not get. That is a reference to Braveheart, which is about Scotland, not Ireland, so scratch that.
I am required by law, just kidding, to write 10 things that make me happy on a daily basis. I am gonna see if I can get creative here since I have written things that make me happy before.
1. When my son climbs into my bed in the morning and I smell the coffee I set to auto brew the night before. Don't get me wrong, I love my son, but at 6 AM the coffee is really important too!
2. When my little guy isn't wearing pants. I love babies in diapers. (this picture isn't him in just a diaper, but it is hysterical)
3. Taking the boys to separate gymnastics classes. I get one hour a week devoted solely to each of them. No computer, no phone, no TV, no brother. Just an hour with J and an hour with X.
4. Books. I am surrounded by books. Even though I find little time to read.
5. Paying off debt. When I decided to up and leave my teaching career we got into so much debt it is insane. I mean, massive, out of this world credit card and loan debt! And now we are a few measly months away from the finish line of the digging out process. Never again...never again.
6. Sparking flavored water. Just tried it this week. Instant obsession.
7. A great thunderstorm.
8. Warm sunny weather. We have been playing outside, going for wagon rides, and going to parks like mad! And I love the chirping birds - after 6 AM!
9. When my boys belly laugh. This video has bad quality, but the sound is the important point.
I am supposed to tag 10 others to share, but I am only going to choose 2 ladies who I know might like to share!
It's ok. I fully expected it. I had such a great week last week, almost 3 pounds, and I was not disciplined this week. On Easter we had too many goodies, which would have been fine, except for that one horrible diet destroyer...
They called to me from the fridge all week. The Tostitos with Gaucamole, the Feta dip, the cheese danish roll thing my sister brought, and the Easter candy. Oh god the Easter candy.
The one bright side is this, I could have been a lot worse, I mean a LOT worse. This Easter compared to last Easter, is not even a comparison. I ate 1/3 the amount this year. So overall, I am still proud of my healthier lifestyle and good conscious decision making.
This week I will get back on track hard core and lost those last 1.6 pounds to get to my halfway mark!
As most people know I have been doing Jenny Craig. I will talk more about that program in just a second, but there is really no secret. I have never believed in, or had success with, any sort of weight loss gimmick. The 2 times I have been very successful at losing weight there were 2 key things.
1. Less calories in, more calories out. I tried the fat counting, the carb counting, etc. But really calories has been the best for me. So I eat less calories throughout the day, and try to expel more calories (this is the part I striggle at). I have a pedometer and shot for 10,000 steps a day. Which ends up burning about 500 calories! Moms, if you have little ones I guarantee you come close to this on a regular basis without even knowing it.
2. Motivation. PLain and simple. You must hav that desire to do it. And I think that is true of anything in life. I have grown 8 or 10 of my nails recently, which is really hard for me. I haven't had nails since I was 9! I am rockin' my home business, and I am losing weight. And all of those things are happening out of a pure desire to achieve my goals. I have tried losing weight too many times to count. But the times I have been successful hae been different. I really, really wanted it. You can't make yourself want it. You will know when it is the right time and things feel different. For me this time, it was health. I was becoming obese. I saw my life getting cut short. What a great motivator.
Shannon, a friend from when I taught way back in the day in FL, at Blite not Whack asked, "Do you mind sharing some of your healthy snack choices? I am always looking for ideas!"
I would love to share. It is all about finding what works for you! For me these are some essentials:
dried fruit (all different kinds),
Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters (so good!),
Veggie Straws (especially Rosemary & Olive Oil flavor),
100 Calorie packs (I love the cupcakes in chocolate and coffee cake),
Fiber One Bars (chocolate, mocha, and caramel)
Jello Mouse Temptations (so rich, a perfect treat)
And Shelley, who is also on a weight loss journey of her own at I'm Still Standing expressed concern over me doing Jenny Craig since she didn't have too much success there.
First off, I am not being paid by Jenny Craig to say good things about them! I just love the center I go to. They are an amazing group of women who are full of energy and caring. I was welcomed with open arms. And even when I don't buy a lot of their food, as in not spending money there, they are still that helpful. I bought an entire year of "counseling" because I knew it would take some serious work to get me where I want/need to be. 20 pounds for $20 or some other deal wasn't gonna cut it! That was the expensive part. Then I started out strictly on their meal plan for about 6 weeks. That was hard! Not because it was out of a box, or not good food, but it was 1/3 of what I had been eating. I had to cut down my calories and my portions a ton. Eating out of a "box" is so necessary to get your portion size under control. After my very successful first 6 weeks, I started to back off the plan a little and start adding in my own things. A few meals and different snacks was a good change up. Now it is a matter of just making sure that when I make my own food it is still those sensible portions.
And I have to say, their food is excellent! I love almost everything I have tried. There are a few meals that are just not filling to me so I stay away from those. And they have a few meals that are basically the low calorie version of what I make for the kids; mac & cheese, penne with sauce, ravioli, etc. That is really helpful so I eat mine and not theirs! The best part........the DESSERTS!!! Nestle makes Jenny Craig's food, yes that's right, Nestle. So you can only imagine what their chocolate cake, brownie, and cheesecake taste like. Dreamy! Not really low calorie or fat, just the perfect size.
I would love to answer any other questions people have. I am all about helping others if they are interested in getting healthy too! Let me know what I can do to help you out.
I am very sorry I have not been blogging as much as I'd like lately, but there is a good reason. I have been having a ton of success with my home business; hard work paying off! It has been keeping me incredibly busy. I have even stopped watching TV! Which for me is big.
But I do want to talk a little about Autism awareness month:
I am going to CT's Autism conference on the 24th and the guest speaker is Temple Grandin! I can not be more excited about that. I will blog all about it, I promise.
I was contacted by a publicist for Holly Robinson Peete who's son is on the spectrum. She recently wrote a children's book, "My Brother Charlie." It is written from a little girl's point of view describing her brother's Autism. I just got the package today and I can't wait to read it and write my review. And the best part is...I will be hosting a giveaway and the winner will receive a signed copy of the book! I did one tini giveaway about 2 days after I started my blog and quickly decided that that was NOT my thing. But this, I could not pass up. A chance for one of my readers to win a book on a subject near to our hearts by a celeb who is out there advocating for Autism...priceless (well, more like, worth the work it will take to do the giveaway!) So keep your eyes peeled for that!
My son has been having an increase in anxiety lately. His teacher has noticed it too. We can't pinpoint the reason, but it is very noticeable. When I drop him off if a teacher doesn't take his hand almost immediately he starts to stim (explanation for our non Autism moms: repetitive actions like flapping) and tear up. We signed him up for soccer and when my husband was showing how to play he got very upset, started crying, and said it was too hard. And the other day he got extremely emotional and weepy when my sister said "forty-seven" and he wanted her to say "four-seven." He was yelling "don't say that!" at her over and over.
But, as you know, we do not let Autism run our lives. In fact, I used to blog a lot more about Autism, but there is so much more to our lives than that, so I don't enjoy focusing solely on that. It took me some time to realize I need just a little bit of other stuff in my life. Not a lot, but at least a little. Like my weight loss. It is completely unrelated to Autism.
Dear Sergeant who answered the phone at Manhattan Police Headquarters at 1 AM Saturday night,
Thank you for being oh so polite and comforting when I told you my husband was standing on a scary corner of Manhattan at 1 in the morning staring at the spot where his car had been a few hours before.
Thank you for not paying attention so that I had to repeat, "he is at the corner of 11th and West 18th," 15 times.
Thank you also for just repeating to me 15 times, "do you want to file a stolen car report or check with the pound on Monday?" each time I tried to ask a question. I just love how you kept cutting me off so I couldn't ask anything, but only do one of your 2 only outcomes.
No really, thank you. Because we didn't accept your rude and careless answer one of my husband's bandmates stepped in and made a million phone calls to finally track down the car, which had been towed. My husband had made an error reading a sign. Who knew that no standing meant not parking at all. We both thought it meant no pulling over to load, unload, or idle for a few minutes.
I understand that you must be incredibly busy, trust me, I do. I taught Kindergarten for 6 years. I have been in the heat of battle too. But maybe from now on you could keep the attitude at a minimum? Especially when a mother of 2 has been woken up from a sound sleep to be worried about her husband while knowing her kids will be awake in a matter of hours and then she will have to be "on" for over 14 hours. Just a thought.
Thanks again, you are all too nice and caring!
The lady you were a complete jerk to who called frantically at 1 AM Saturday
Today I am a guest blogger at one of my best blogger friends Nicole's Help Mama Remote.
I am a guest for Motivational Monday so pop over to visit me there and see what motivates me! If you read my last Slimdown Sunday you know that I am up to 28 pounds lost. So heading over to my guest blog to see what has motivated me to do it makes sense! See you there:
I went to Jenny Craig a day early this week since they are not open on Easter Sunday. I was a little nervous because that meant one less day for weight loss. But I felt good, like I had lost some weight this week.
And I was right! This week I lost 2.8 pounds. Bringing my total to 28 pounds. 2 more till halfway! I wasn't very strict, just stuck to what I knew was healthy. I kept my portions down, even when cooking my own meals. I tried several new low calorie snack options which satisfied me.
My life no longer revolves around food. The 2 times I was really successful at losing weight food took a back seat to many other things. For example, I used to never leave the house without some sort of snack or at least a plan of when I would eat again. Now, I have a much healthier outlook and know I will eat when I am hungry. I will make or get a healthy snack or meal when the time comes. Not that I am not prepared! I will bring a healthy option if I know I will need something ahead of time.
The other day I left the house to bring Jaylen to school and a half hour later thought, wow I'm hungry, and realized I had forgotten breakfast! I am not saying I forget to eat (this was a very rare occurrance where I was running around all morning), but that for years that scenario would never have happened. My focus was so on food and my meals were a huge, huge part of my life. Now I eat for what eating is intended for; to sustain life and nourish my body.
And I have to say I am feeling good and noticing changes. I am down 2 sizes and have had to get rid of many clothes. That's right, I am not tucking these away for, "when I get fat again," I am donating them.
PS: If anyone notices the time on this post, yes, it's correct. I am posting this at 1:50 AM while waiting for news from my husband. He was playing a gig in the city (NY) and called around 1 to tell me his car has been stolen. He is standing at the corner of 11th and West 18th with a ton of drum and DJ gear. Thank goodness his best friend, Uncle Damon is coming to his rescue. Good night!