Monday, May 30, 2016

Hello Again

After a VERY long break from blogging, and well pretty much everything else except my family and school, I am happy to report that we have achieved so much in the last two years and thankful and blessed by all that has changed.

Since my last blog, I obtained my degree in Special Education. I attended Florida Gulf Coast University. Which will always be one of my best experiences EVER! If you are not aware of this college...think Sweet Sixteen..Cinderella Story in 2013/2014 Season....I was then and continue to be proud to be an Eagle. I met some of the most amazing people there and became friends with many of them. Friendships that will continue on past college and for the remainder of our lives.

I found a job at an amazing school and have I swear the best students in the world! I am so blessed!

And my two amazing boys! Wow! Where do I begin.....My oldest Alex is just continuing to make gains! He tested at grade level during his end of year testing. I had tears as many parents know getting to that point is such a struggle. He makes friends with everyone that he meets. Well almost. He has informed me that I am not allowed to go to his school anymore because I will embarrass him. When asked what I could possibly do to embarrass him he stated "you know kiss me, hug me, call me sweetie or something lame like that!" okay so noted to not do any of these things when visiting him at school. And then there is my sweet cuddle bug Randy that will always and forever be my love bug! I honestly believe this! He has become more verbal this year. And he is able to get himself dressed. Mind you his pants are on backwards but they are on people! They are on! And I didn't have to do it!!!!!

Now that we are all caught up......what to say...I guess nothing more today..

Enjoy each moment. Each smile, each giggle, each hug and kisses.. Each Mommy or Daddy....each snuggle cuddles, each I love you...or each I don't like you! Every moment is worth it...Each milestone that is reached is so precious.......When starting this journey I would never thought that we would be here today......but here I stand...on the other side of the storm...stronger than ever....better than ever...happier than ever........don't give up.....never give up on them!!! Or yourself!!!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year and Welcoming 2014

Hello everyone out there! What a year 2013 was! I am so very thankful that is gone and we are welcoming 2014 into our lives! From Ed losing his job, being home for well almost all year and driving me crazy. My car accident, and eventual surgery on my shoulder, to how just amazing our two  wonderful boys are doing and progressing.
No worries, Ed found a new job and starts in a couple of days. We are very blessed and thankful for his new job. He is very excited about it. My shoulder, while I complain about it every day, will eventually heal and physically I will be put back together again.
The last year however for the boys, what can I say? It's been nothing short of amazing. I have seen both my boys making so many strides this past year that it's a little over whelming to sit and think about it all. In 2013 Evan learned how to read, begin his academic side of school and does very well. He is at GRADE LEVEL work! Hollar for the boy on that one! He isn't required to take AR tests but his friends take them so he asked to take them and he is doing great. Makes him want to read more. The spelling words are complex words and I am so proud that he is doing so well with him. He loves engineering and science the most I think though. Don't tell his teacher though, her passion is reading and I think he lets her think that is his passion as well....She is an amazing teacher though. Really been blessed having her teach our son. He has learned to self sooth and calm himself and his behavior is getting better and better. We had once thought that he may never be mainstreamed. Now we are seriously looking at the notion that he is going to be mainstreamed in the future. So proud of him. He is working so hard. He still has stuff to work on and we are doing that. But knowing how far he has come is just the best gift a mother could ever have!
On to Christopher. What can I say about this kid! He is blowing all of us away. My once not potty trained, non verbal kid that sat in a room and watched the same movie over and over and played with the same toy over and over again is now potty trained, starting to talk, and I mean three word phrases not just one word here one word there. He is counting to ten. He is showing progress and comprehension at school and at home. He is watching new shows, playing with others, playing with all kinds of toys. He smiled, and enjoyed Christmas morning for the very first time in his six years of life. No screaming and slamming to the floor. Now these are pics that I will treasure forever. Having them love the morning and celebrate Christmas with us as a family for the very first time, it was the best Christmas gift I ever received.

All I can say is keep it up my two amazing, brave boys. Mommy loves you to the moon and back. I am doing all that I do because you two both have shown me to never give up. Keep working at it until you get it and always have faith that you can do anything you set your mind to. I graduated with my AA degree last month. I begin working on my Bachelors in Special Education next week. I am excited and nervous.
For a long time, sadly, my husband and I, pulled away for our faith and God. We can use many excuses as to why. None are good enough however. This last year, through all the challenges, we found him again. Of course one could contend that it was us that was lost not him. So in a way, we were found by God again and brought back home. God has given us so much to be thankful for and we feel so blessed. We at times feel that at times this year things were difficult. But he brought us to it, he will see us through it. And that he did. We came out through the darkness to other side to find ourselves stronger and happier than when we went into the darkest part of the year. He gave us the strength we needed. He carried us through the challenges of the year. And yes we were blessed and we will always be thankful for the blessings he has given us. This new year, we vow to stop trying to drive the bus ourselves, and let him have the wheel again. We literally made a train wreck driving our way. He knows the way, might as well let him drive!

May the Lord Bless you and keep you all the days.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween for ALL!

What a wonderful weekend of laughter, happiness, fun and surprises! We don't get many weekends like this. Most times it's kids who are struggling to have a good day as routine is changed for the week. But this weekend, we celebrated eight years of blessings with Evan in our lives. We celebrated, Chris standing next to me (our "non-verbal"son) and count from one to ten like it was "normal"......I sat and looked over at my husband and said "did you just hear Chris?"
He looked at me and said "wait that was Chris? I thought it was Evan!" As you can imagine we cheered Chris on and celebrated his progress and loved every ounce of happiness that he showed as we cheered him on. This seems to be his "break out" year. So many milestones that he is finally meeting. In a way we feel overwhelmed with how much he has progressed in the last few months. Should we dare get him a Halloween costume and see if he will wear it and go trick or treating? Will it be too much for him to handle? It's worth a shot I guess. I guess that is for another post. Yes?
Another fun thing we did this weekend is we as a family went to the Pumpkin Patch to pick out the pumpkins. It's moments like this that we cherish, when we can go together as an entire family on an outing. We of course worry about overload and meltdowns. Evan was so excited and began to wander around looking at all the pumpkins making sure that whatever pumpkin he chose it's the perfect one. Chris held my hand and we walked around. He was gracious about posing to allow us to take pictures of him and Evan. Even with all the other people, the sound of traffic as it drove by, he stayed so calm. He not once chose to dart away or run off. He just looked and walked with me. I said, "pick out your pumpkin!" and you know what! He did! It was just perfect! It was a good outing for all of us. And for that I thank God for it.

So after all that fun, we went home and looked for ideas to carve into the pumpkins. Chris chose a cute Mummy, and Evan chose Masterchief from Halo. Dear Lord that was a hard one! 

Okay so the last one was Mommy and Daddy's pumpkin.....and of course the boys may have picked out the designs, they would not go near the inside of those pumpkins. Maybe next year, they passed again this year! We had a great time either way. 

Ahhh...the final point for today is, it's almost Halloween. With that in mind, if you have a child with Autism, share with others the following, if you are someone who doesn't have a child with Autism, read it, and share it with others. I hope and pray that ALL children are able to enjoy Halloween this year, and hope that everyone gives that understanding to our children and be kind to them! 

Have a great Halloween! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How they Amaze Me....One Day at a Time

I have been so busy with school and the kids that I haven't been able to post anything much has happened and I feel like I don't know where to begin. On October 8th we were in a car accident. Thank God both boys were uninjured in the accident. I on the other hand have been placed on light duty with life...So far two slipped disks in my neck, shoulder and knee injuries that I need to see the orthopedic surgeon for. But I will take the hit instead of having either of my two children being hurt.
Friday is Evan's 8th Birthday! I can't believe he is going to 8 years old. It really does feel like yesterday that my son was born at 11:59 AM on Tuesday October 25, 2005. I remember how tiny he was that day. I knew I was looking at the most beautifully amazing child on the planet as I sat in awe of him. My little blessing. Now he is only ten inches shorter than me, his feet are officially bigger than mine, and his personality is outgoing, funny, head strong, and loving......He is beginning to love the cuddle time with me. Finally almost eight years later, I get the snuggles and loves that I always longed for. His IEP went wonderfully. He is at grade level in his academics. His behavior is not. So that is what we are going to work on right now. See for yourself how my little guy has grown.

As a mother watching your child grow, you really are amazed at all the new things they do. I have learned through this journey how precious each and every milestone is. The first word (not Momma) Dinosaur. His first friend Aden. (still the best of friends) First day of school. The first time he spoke a sentence. The first time he looked me in the eye. And of course the first "I Love You Mommy". Still stay in my mind and heart as they will forever. I will never be able to forget the first or following seizures. The hospital trips, ambulance rides. The specialists. The tests and tests and more tests. The fear of not knowing what is going on and not being able to help your child. What I did learn from this journey is, we are okay. And we will be okay. We got this. I tell my boys this all the time. We got this. There will always be days that I hate Autism. Those days that it rears it's ugly head to prove to me that it's still there and no I can't forget it. I no longer however feel bad about their Autism. I am too busy praising them for all the amazing things that they do. Loving them. And most importantly having them love me and show me and tell me that they love me. Yep I am blessed that these two amazing angels are in my life. They teach me the best lessons in life each day. I am a better person because of them and thankful that they are there.
What I hope that you take away from todays blog is, always remember who they ARE, not the disorder they have. Look at them and see the amazing person they are. Love them and be there for them.

To Evan and Christopher....Mommy loves you to the moon and back. Always and forever!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Who Are You? Shameful!

My it’s been forever it seems since my last blog…a little behind but bear with me. This blog isn’t just about Autism…it’s about people treating others with DISABILTIES terribly! Not just those with Autism, but with any disability. I have a few videos that I want to share with you as to prime examples of people who really need to learn about disabilities, compassion and understanding and most importantly acceptance.
As a mother of two children with Autism, each day I worry that they will be treating badly by someone who doesn’t know about Autism, understand it and does not possess the capacity to accept it. While I personally feel that these are all characteristics that all human beings should possess. With that said, there are a great number of people that are lacking in these areas.
As I am sure many of you have read or at least heard about the horrid letter that was left in a mailbox of a woman whose grandson Maxwell lived there and also had Autism. The letter which I will attach to my blog as well as a video story on the issue, was so vile, horrific, and cruel. I cannot imagine ANY mother telling another mother that she should euthanize her own child. My statement to the “author” of the letter is “Have you lost your ever loving mind? You know you were wrong when you wrote the letter or you would have left your name! How dare you think for one second that you have the RIGHT to say something like this to anyone especially about a child. Shame on you for the vile things you put on that paper. Your children, will treat people with disabilities the same way you do, because you teach them to. I just want to say one thing to you. The statistics show right now 1 out of every 31 boys will be diagnosed with Autism. One day you will know someone or love someone who is going to be diagnosed with Autism. It’s a reality, so don’t say it won’t happen. It will! And then what, will you ask that others not treat that INNOCENT child the same way you have treated MAXWELL and his family? Will you demand they be treated fairly. Be treated as any other child? How hurt will you feel when that child is in tears because they were treated badly because someone else’s parents taught them to treat him the same way you are treating your children now? Will you demand that they not be treated that way?
I don’t expect to be treated any DIFFERENT than you expect to be treated. I don’t expect my children to be treated any DIFFERENT than you expect your children to be treated. That isn’t asking for special treatment. That is equality. If you need to look up the meaning take a moment and do so. Do the right thing here, if you don’t want to admit who you are and that you wrote that letter, learn, and I mean REALLY learn about Autism and begin teaching your children to be accepting of it, teach them how to understand the differences and above all teach them to befriend a child with Autism and be good to them. That is my wish for you. Not to be humiliated or hated by everyone, just to learn about Autism and accept the differences and teach your children to treat others better than you yourself have done. 

Now a video that I viewed this morning just burned my buns! I appreciate all service given by all military members, police officers, EMS and firefighters. These wonderful people risk their lives each and everyday to keep us safe. And sadly many times while they may come home alive, there are injuries, that we may or may not be able to see. For the man in the video, the war he fought overseas caused him to have PTSD. For anyone that does not believe it’s real, do me a favor, go get on a plane, go to any country where the is war, and stay there for one hour. If you don’t come back all freaked out let me know! Or as with my above advice, research and learn about PTSD. Okay off that rant, the American Hero in this video, went to breakfast at a local diner, and yes took his SERVICE dog with him. And was sadly thrown out. The owner called the dog a fake service dog. I am sorry, can you tell me how you know the dog is a fake service dog? Last I checked there were a variety of dog breeds used as service dog, and while you may think of one breed as the usual service dog, it’s not so. Variety of dogs, variety of needs for service dogs. Get it? If not I again encourage you to do a little research on the matter. And for the refusal to say sorry to him and his fake service dog…..I am sorry that you will lose business over the ignorance that you apparently feel the need to force on others and I am sorry you refuse to educate yourself on the issue. When you are sitting there the day it hits you that you were wrong and now you have lost more than just a customer, think back to the day you stood in front of the camera and said those words. Yeah that will be your oh crap moment and you will wish for a time machine.

Why bring up these videos, these issues? People, businesses, everyone needs to understand that while there is physical disabilities, some are invisible. You may not see anything wrong with my kids, you may only see the kids running around the playground, hugging their mother or playing with their friends, and then wonder why are they parked in the handicap spot? How can that woman park in that spot! Well let me tell you, when is the last time you attempted to try an carry someone who weights almost a hundred pounds and is tall as you across the parking lot because something caused them to go into sensory overload and they are having a meltdown. How about the child that does not understand danger, doesn’t speak because he is non-verbal and darts out in the parking lot traffic? I do I do! Not every disability can be seen. Next time you think why are they taking that spot, why are they bringing that dog in here, why doesn’t she/he/they do something to get that kid to stop throwing a fit, if that were my kid they wouldn’t behave like that…..THINK….you don’t know what the situation is, so how do you have the right to judge them…..

And the last story of the day…To the person/woman that was intoxicated at Coconut Point Mall this week, and threw a young boy to the ground in the parking lot and then felt it was okay to DRAG him across the parking lot by his HAIR…..there is not reason that this should EVER happen. I hope and pray that you are punished to fullest extent of the law and that never will you ever be allowed to have that child back with you again. Being drunk while having that child, NOPE! And to treat the child in that manner. Sweetie, shame shame on you! The child was taken to the hospital for treatment and is in the custody of Department of Children and Families. 

Okay so I promise to blog more now that the kids are back in school…….until next time!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Looking Back

I was sitting today and thinking, how far the boys have come from the beginning of our journey.... I look back to that first day when Evan was 17 months old and I woke up to him having a seizure. I woke up to the beginning of a nightmare that I didn't know how to handle. I thought about his second seizure just twenty days later that went on for over ten minutes in the ambulance. The paramedics were not sure if he lost oxygen. I thought about how I couldn't get into the hospital room while they were working on my little boy that was just laying there still. I didn't know if he would wake up or what was causing my angel to have seizures. I waiting outside his room and then felt relief when the nurse told me I could go in. He lay there like he was sleeping. Tubes and wires were everywhere on him. I didn't know what the doctors were about to tell me. He made no noises or moved around. There was just silence and everything was completely still. I remember how I wanted to pick up my angel and hold him. When the nurse looked at me and asked, "do you want to hold him?" I of course jumped up and said, "YES please!". She came over to the other side of bed and said, "let me help you" I thought, I can pick him up on my own, then thought she meant with all the tubes. But no what she meant was help pick him up. He had no muscle tone what so ever. It was like picking up a rag doll. I had no words for what I was thinking of feeling at that moment. The tears just poured down my face as I held my angel in my arms. I kept saying, "it's okay, Mommy is here and she loves you. Please wake up baby, please wake up." They would take my son to get multiple tests and scans and no I wasn't allowed to go with him because I was pregnant with our second son at the time. I would spend the next year and half watching him regress and no matter what I did, I couldn't stop it. No more words. Only screams and scratching, kicking and biting. The night terrors were a nightmare. We couldn't have anyone come over to visit us, he would just scream and run and hide underneath his bed. He wouldn't stop screaming until they left. We couldn't go out in public; he would lose it in the stores. I felt helpless and lost. I would also live in fear that my second son would also begin to display these same symptoms. I feared another seizure would happen. Something I assure you don't want to ever see your child go through. 
Once we were finally referred to a specialist and found out he had Autism. Our first thoughts.... What is Autism? We would soon go home and research Autism. And cried our eyes out because none of the information that we found seemed good. The ideas that we had for our child, were now gone. We sort of felt like we were mourning the loss of our child. I cried for several days. I asked why my child. He didn't deserve this. He is so innocent. It's not fair! 
Then one morning, I looked at my son, and decided that enough was enough. I wasn't helping him by sitting in the house and crying my eyes out. I had to get up and get him help. What ever needed to be done, it would happen. I would make sure that it would happen. The reality of how expensive that help would be would hit home very quickly. And understand that we couldn't afford that help that our son so desperately needed. We just didn't know what to do. 
We soon began our Autism journey, for both of our sons' it would turn out. IEP's, OT, Speech therapy, Neurologists, Psychologists. So much of our lives became about getting the kids the help that the needed. The hell that we lived in, and we felt that no one understood. I can't tell you how many times we heard the "they don't look like they have Autism." I still would love for someone to show me what Autism "looks" like. Actually I know what it looks like. Both of my kids. All the kids and adults with Autism, that's what it looks like. I heard, don't use their Autism as an excuse for their behavior. Of course this would come from those who knew nothing about Autism. I would soon stop talking to most if not all of my former friends. They just didn't understand nor would they ever understand. 
This journey, we are all on it, and I have seen such improvement, achievements by both of our boys. I am one very proud mother of the both of them. They are my heroes. They are the reason I am becoming a teacher. I love them with all my heart. I know that it's so scary when you first get the diagnosis. All I can say is never give up hope! Never give up on your child. I have learned that they will teach me so much more than I thought I could learn. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Milestones and Summer Fun!

I have not really had a chance to sit down and write a blog for awhile. We have been so busy having a blast this summer. So many firsts. And we are celebrating them all! I hope that all had a great Independence Day. It is my Mother's and Grandmother's Birthday! We celebrated them both with fireworks and great friends and family.
I broke down and cried a couple of times as I miss my amazing mother each day. I can't believe she is gone still. But I take with me each day the amazing love and joy she showed me over the years. Because of her I am a loving mother that loves to be affectionate with my kids because that is how she raised me. She was my hero. She still is.
On to the big news of the SUMMER! Most of you don't know, but while Evan was potty trained years ago, we have always struggled getting Christopher potty trained. Until NOW! Over recent weeks he seems to take his diaper off, bringing us a new diaper when he has poopy pants so we were thinking. If he knows when he is dirty and wants it off maybe he is getting ready to get potty trained. We decided that we would go ahead and try to potty train him for the one millionth time! We were honestly doubtful as all the other times that we had attempted it, we ended up in complete and gross failure! With hopes and wishes and lots of prayers we put underwear on him and even pulled out the training potty and took it to the bedroom just in case.
The first day was met with only ONE accident all day. And of course it was a poopy. But we were excited that the rest of the time he was sitting on the little potty in his room and going. So the second day was not as good. We had more accidents and well we were worried that it again would end in failure. But we refused to give up so easily. So the third day went well, only one accident and he even wanted to sleep in his underwear. While I of course was worried about this idea, we decided to give him a chance and see what happened. If he had an accident in the middle of the night we would take care of the bedding and put a diaper on him.
When we woke up the next morning, there were no accidents! Dry underwear! Already a great sign if you ask me! So the fourth day, he was with Grandma, but he did great still, except when he knew he needed to poop and gave her a diaper. Thankfully she called me to tell me he peed in the potty and told me she put the diaper on. I knew his game. If he knew he needed to go, he can go in the potty! So she pulled it off before he could go in the diaper. The rest of the day went well.
Day four again he woke up with dry pants! So this is the big day! He went and got his little potty out of the room, and we followed to see where he was taking it, he marched right into the bathroom, placed it on the floor, pulled down his underwear, and then sat on the big boy potty and peed and POOPED in the potty! Yes that is right. He independently went to bathroom all on his own. He now goes potty on his own, in the bathroom! We have not had a diaper in five days! None! We are so thankful for this wonderful event in our little guys life! He will turn six in less than a month and we honestly feared that he may never get potty trained.
So have you guessed what the Mommy lesson is here? That's right! Never give up hope! Always believe in your kids. They inspire and amaze me each and every day. I love them with all my heart!

Oh and how could I almost forget about my Evan! So proud of him major achievement this summer! He spent each day out in the pool. Trying to learn to swim. Seriously this kid went from not be able to get in water above his waste to learning how to swim at water level and under water! I can't even do that! He now swims much better than me! I am so proud of him! He faced his fear of the water, and while he had challenges and became frustrated in learning how to swim, he continued to try and practice! I always tell him never give up! I love that he didn't give up!

So there you go, we have had such milestones met and accomplishments made this summer! I couldn't be more proud of my two angel babies! I laid in bed last night, and thought how blessed I am that they are in my life. I thanked God for blessing me with these two amazing angel babies. I thanked him for giving me the heart to love them. The patience to take care of them. I also thanked him because when he blessed me with them, they changed me as a person. I have learned so many amazing things from them.

Until next time!!!!!!