at home mom, Intro into our family, Uncategorized

This One’s for My Mom

Screenshot_20170513-080555.jpgMy mother has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. She held me when I was little and called me her “sweetheart”, dressed me up in poufy dresses and frilly socks, took me dance lessons and recitals, added to my collections of Barbie dolls and Precious Moments figurines. She baked cookies for Santa with me and took me to school carnivals. She sang with me in the car, took me to see my first concert, taught me to love Garth Brooks and George Straight. She helped me through my first breakup….Though all of my break ups. She stood up for me anytime I was bullied, taught me to stand up for others, and made multiple trips to my school to defend me from dress code violations (yes, there was glitter on my pants and no, I still don’t tuck my shirt in or wear a belt). She taught me that black is our best color, we can gradually go blonde by consistently adding highlights to our hair, and we don’t have to dress provocatively to be noticed or to fit in. She knows when I’ve been crying, just from my “hello” on the phone. She has always allowed me to tell her anything and she’s never judged me for my poor decisions. Anytime I call, she answers. Anytime I need help, she offers. She’s my rock in the toughest times and I love her so so much!

Mom, I just want to say thank you for 30 years of exceptional motherhood. I am so ridiculously lucky to have you! You are my rock and I would be nothing without you. Thank you for being a smart, strong, hard working, and beautiful example of what a woman should be. I can only hope that I can be as good of an example to my kids as you have been for me. I love you with all of my heart! Happy Mother’s Day!

Autism, Intro into our family

Autism Mom Looking for Encouragement

The holidays are usually my favorite time of year. This year a new set of challenges have made for a very difficult holiday season. My family and I are staying in a hotel for almost 2 weeks while we visit family for Christmas. Now 2 adults and 3 young kids in a hotel room is stressful enough on it’s own. My son Tommy is Autistic and is what some people call a runner (I like to think of him as more of an explorer). He will try and leave without an adult and he will just keep going. As you may have guessed, I now wake up constantly during the night in a panic thinking my child may have gotten up in the middle of the night and disappeared. On top of that, now my autistic child is in a new strange environment and his sleep patterns are all out of whack. 3 days in a row now I have either not gone to bed until 2 AM or I have had to wake up at 4:30AM after getting almost no sleep because that is when he chose to get up for the day. We have been up since about 430 this morning. By WE I mean Tom and I. My husband and other kids are still sleeping….in the same room…..with my yipping explorer and his loud iPad. Needless to say, now my husband (who NEVER gets up with Tommy or stays up with Tommy) is not a happy camper either because his precious beauty sleep is being interrupted. Instead of trying to help he is just critizing me for being on my phone. Yesterday was no better either. It consisted of a full day of trying to keep my son from sticking his fingers in his mouth while my husband drove us all around in the car ( as if we hadn’t all been in the car for hours of traveling for 2 days before that). Oh, let’s not forget how I almost had a meltdown of my own in the line at a chocolate store we visited. My son has a very hard time standing still (unless its in front of an iPad) . I just wanted to take a short tour of the chocolate factory which only lasted about 4 minutes because Tom couldn’t stand still and not yip ( there was an echo in the hallway so he just had to get in a couple of loud screams of course). I can’t tell you how many times I have had a complete stranger tell my kid to shhhhh. Seriously?!?! I don’t know you lady!!!! Don’t tell my kid what to do when I am standing right there. Then, I was standing in the line to buy some chocolate and Tommy couldn’t stand still or stop putting his hands in his mouth and I felt like the entire store was just staring at us. I was seconds away from crying right in front of everyone and the lady in front of me in line let me go before her. She will never know how much that saved me! Always be kind to strangers!!!!!!! Anyway, I could really use some encouragement in the next few days because I am having a very hard time getting in the Christmas spirit. So, comment and share and comment and share again! If you know the struggle I want to hear from you.
Thanks in advance!

Autism, Intro into our family, Uncategorized

Autism: Before, During, and Immediately After the Diagnosis

When my son Tommy was about 18 months old his grandmother came to visit us. While she was there she mentioned that she was concerned with his development and we should take him to the pediatrician to have him checked out. I am so thankful that she spoke up and told me she thought something was wrong. At the time I didn’t think there was anything wrong with him. Some kids take longer to talk than others. My older son had taken a long time to talk. Once she explained her concerns I could see them too. He never came to you when you called his name. Most of the time he wouldn’t even act like he heard you. He had stopped looking at your face. He never spoke. You could clap your hands right next to his ears and he wouldn’t even turn his head. His great grandparents had also noticed his differences and their guess was that he may be deaf. So to the pediatrician we went. Now, I think it is important for you to know that we were at the pediatricians office at least 2 times a month back then and all the times we were there the pediatrician never once expressed concern for Tommy’s development. Maybe that is what had given me a false sense of security about Tommy. I assumed if there were a problem that the doctor would tell me. He hadn’t said a word about anything being wrong with him. Once I told him of our concerns he was immediately on top of it. He referred us to a handful of places to have tests and evaluations done. We had his eyes checked, his hearing checked, a speech therapy evaluation, an occupational therapy evaluation, a physical therapy evaluation, and finally a visit with a neurologist to review all of the testing. The whole process took about 6 months and not once would anyone tell me what was suddenly obvious to me, my son was Autistic. When this all started I wasn’t even aware that Autism existed. I consider myself to be an extremely intelligent individual (and so modest) and I didn’t even know it existed before God showed it to me.
About a month into all of the testing I was flipping through the channels and I landed on a movie called Mercury Rising. This movie has been around since the late 90s and I never had an interest in watching it. I had heard the title of course but I had no idea what it was about. I don’t even know what it was that made me stop on that channel. The movie had basically just started and I was watching this adorable little boy sit in his special needs class and act just like Tommy. Well, he was a lot more advanced than Tommy but he didn’t look at people when he spoke and he was really into this puzzle book that his teacher gave him. Eventually the movie reveals this genius child has Autism and the plot begins! I knew then that my son was probably Autistic. It was my “ah ha” moment! I searched autism and came upon the Autism Speaks website. This was my first look at Autism. I found out that it was a spectrum and that the abilities of people on the spectrum ranged based on where they fell. I found out that some kids speak and function almost normally in society and that others never develop speech and may even end up in assisted living facilities. You may be wondering how a supposedly intelligent person spent 20 something years not knowing about Autism. My theory is that God chose not to reveal it to me until it was the right time. Had I known sooner I may have been able to have him diagnosed sooner. I can remember now seeing signs as early as 9 months old but at the time I didn’t even know they were signs. It may not have made a difference at all though. I was told by multiple people that most doctors wont diagnose a child as Autistic until after their 3rd birthday . Tommy was diagnosed by a neurologist at 2 years old so he was already diagnosed earlier than most children at the time. I feel like God chose to keep Tommy’s condition from me as long as he did because he knew we never would have had a 3rd child if we had known before that Tommy was Autistic. I was already pregnant when we started looking into Tommy’s development . Once I knew it was Autism all I wanted was a confirmation and to know that he wasn’t on the severe side of the spectrum. When I asked the therapists that we’re evaluating him if they thought it was Autism they wouldn’t say. I was told that it could be because his older brother did all of his talking for him or that we may not have given him enough attention so he had become introverted. They all said that they couldn’t tell me if it was Autism because a Doctor had to diagnose him. For 6 long pregnant months I struggled with the uncertainty of it all and I held hope that he wasn’t severe and that eventually he would probably just be a genius with a few social issues. I had to work on the day that Tommy was diagnosed so my husband took him to his appointment with the neurologist. According to his story, the neurologist was in the room with my husband and my son for a total of 5 minutes and he told them that according to all of the testing and his observation Tommy was severely autistic. He also said that Tommy was a beautiful boy and that we were very lucky because he was so affectionate. Many kids with severe Autism are very sensitive to touch but Tommy is hypo sensitive so he loves being cuddled.
To confirm that it was Autism and to make sure that he didn’t suffer from seizures (also a common part of Autism), the neurologist set us up with a 24 hour hospital evaluation. He doesn’t have seizures an no other conditions were found from his testing thankfully. I lot has happened since Tommy was diagnosed almost 3 years ago and eventually I’m sure I will tell you all about him so be sure and follow my blog for updates!
I want to finish with what I hope you can learn from my experiences . First, educate yourself on the signs of Autism. You can actually screen your child for autism by using this link here .
Second, take your child’s development seriously and don’t assume the doctor will tell you if something is wrong. In fact, don’t assume anyone will point it out! Telling a parent that you don’t think their child is “normal” is not something that anyone wants to bring up and some people will just assume you are already aware.
Finally, I want to encourage you to take action for your child and don’t bury your head in the sand. Get them as much help as you can as soon as you can! Most states have some sort of program which provides therapy for special needs children as well as typical children who may have trouble speaking. If you are told you qualify for any type of therapy I would suggest you get it set up right away. Early intervention is key to helping your child improve. An added bonus to beginning therapy is that while you wait for your child to finish their sessions you can make friends with other parents of special needs children. Personally I have made 3 wonderful Autism mom friends who I am so thankful for. We can relate to each other’s struggles and we teach each other different methods of intervention. Hopefully this blog can also be a place where you can find resources and connect with other people. Since Autism has so many different treatments and symptoms and severities there is a lot of different information out there. It can be overwhelming. Take it all one day at a time and always remember that you are not alone!


Intro into our family

1 more pound to win!

The last 2 days I haven’t used my morning time to post for one reason…the diet bet. When I last left you I was trying to master cleanse and failing cheating. I had 2 lbs left to lose and 2 days left to do it. Well just in case you were wondering


That’s right! I succeeded and it wasn’t by successfully completeing the master cleanse because that was a total bust! Everyday that I tried (about 3 days total) I was able to go until about 3PM drinking just the lemonade. After that I gave WAY in to my cravings and spent the rest of the evening eating junk food. According to my fitbit I consumed the same amount of calories on days that I tried to do the cleanse and the days that I just try to eat healthy.
So, after 27 days of struggle, I woke up on weigh in day and stepped on my scale. I was short of my goal weight for the challenge by 1 last pound. Some people would give up at this point. There is no way I am losing the money I put into this though. So here is what I did to lose that final pound and put myself under my goal weight. First, I took a pamprin. Yes I mean the PMS medicine.  Essentially is help get rid of water weight. Then I did not eat or drink anything (not even water) until after I weighed in. I also got all bundled up so that I would sweat out the water. I only had to do this for about 3 hours before my scale measured where I needed it to. I was ridiculously thirsty and slightly uncomfortable from the heat. I feel those are pretty mild side effects though. Once I was exactly to my goal weight I started the final weigh in process. I was halfway through submitting my photos for review when something strange happened. I stepped on the scale to take my final weigh in photo and suddenly I was .2lbs heavier than I had been just 2 minutes before! I still haven’t figured out how that was possible. I stepped off and then on again, still too heavy. I wiggled the scale around and placed it back on the floor then stepped back on, still .2 over. I decided it was time to take drastic action. I pulled off my shirt first, then my fitbit, then my rings. The scale did not budge! But I was already halfway through my official weigh in, I had to submit that final picture of my feet standing on that scale. I thought of the only peices of clothing I had left on. I had to leave my leggings on or else they wouldn’t show up in the picture. My underwear weren’t going to make a difference. My last option was to remove my bra. As I liberated my chest from the ridiculous contraption I took a deep breath and stepped on the scale. Would you believe that booger dropped down over half a pound! I snapped the shot of my feet and sent it out for review. Minutes later I received my email saying I was a winner! I will let you know what my final winnings are once they are posted but I’m sure it wont be more than a few dollars over my original bet of $30. Dietbet won’t make you rich. However, they do an awesome job of keeping people like me accountable. I lost 2x as much weight this month VS months when I try to do it all myself. And, now that I have successfully completed my goal I get to reward myself!!!! So, I decided (it was no contest) to spend my winnings on my Julep subscription this month! If your not familiar with Julep let me educate you. They are an amazing women led company that sells veagan 5-free nail polishes as well as killer beauty products. With my Maven subscription ($25 a month) each month I get to customize my box of beauty. When you sign up you take a style quiz and it puts you in 1 of 4 categories(I got bombshell). Your box is automatically set up to include 2 full size polishes and a beauty product. You have a window each month where you can change your colors or swap out products.You can also upgrade you box with specially priced add ons or skip the box completely (quite handy if you lose your money on a dietbet). They also offer 20%  off for mavens and free shipping. I have subscribed for about 3 months now and I can’t get enough of it! If you want to try them out you can’t go wrong by getting your first box free! Just click HERE and pay the $2.99 shipping and you will receive 3 polishes and a beauty product in your first box. Call to cancel after that if you don’t love it….. You will though!  Ok, I’m going shopping now (online of course).

Intro into our family

I’m new at this…..please don’t judge me.

Good Sunday morning y’all ! It’s time to get up and get moving! Today on my house there will be lots of chaos! Sundays are special days in my house because they are the only day of the week when my whole family has the entire day off together. My kids are all home from school which makes my youngest son Joey go crazy! He loves playing with his big brothers. They sure of know how to make a terrible mess though! My oldest son David loves to get into things he’s not supposed to. I get wonderful reports from school about how much of a joy he is for the teacher…. This does not transition to his at home behavior. I guess everyone has to have a little bit of time to be mischievous. He is the instigator of trouble. My middle son Tommy is severely Autistic . He doesn’t interact much with my other 2 boys but he still does his fair share of messing! I feel like I need to throw that in just so you can understand the household dynamics. Joey, follows his oldest brother around constantly when they are together . They are like two peas in a pod! Yesterday I cleaned up the same pile of race cars 3 time before my husband came home from work and yet when he walked through the door that night, they were still scattered all over the floor along with about a million action figures and some cracker crumbs. Today, my husband is off work all day. He will probably be spending most of his day in the lower level of our house working on putting in a new bathroom . He is not a sit still and do nothing kind of guy. When he is home he wants to see me working as hard as he does. That’s hard to do. When Alex (that’s his name, thought you might want to know) starts working on something he works hard until he is finished. Today he will be downstairs trying to get as much done on the bathroom as possible. We have family coming into town in about a week and this bathroom is supposed to be for them. We are definitely in a time crunch. I will be spending most of the day trying to keep my kiddos from going downstairs and getting in the way. That’s not going to be easy because they know daddy is the fun one and he will be down there. Also, grandpa will probably be coming over to help. How much more of a draw can you get ?!?! I will be engaged in panic mode all day. Did I mention we have family ( in-laws) coming in about a week and my house constantly looks like a disaster zone? I will be spending the majority of the week preparing my house for their arrival. However, the kids and I are going to Louisiana this weekend to visit family and will be back only the day before the arrival of our company. It’s going to be a busy busy week followed by an even busier week of hosting family, preparing to host Thanksgiving for the first time, and preparing to throw my youngest his 3 year old birthday party! This is also the last 4 days of the diet bet I started last month. In case your not familiar, dietbet is a website where you bet your money with other players and try to lose a certain percentage of your body weight within a certain amount of time. If you lose your goal you get to split the winnings with all of the winners. If you don’t lose the weight, you lose your bet. I placed a $30 bet to see if I can lose 4% of my body weight in 4 weeks. My final weigh in is on the 19-20th and I still have about 3lbs to go! This seems impossible to do but I am going try to master cleanse for the rest of the time to see if I can drop those last few lbs. If you want to see how I’m well I’m doing at juggling it all stay tuned! I will try to update daily.