March 30, 2010

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month. I'd love to be able to do a post each day pertaining to Autism, but I think that might be a huge undertaking right now. However, I'll post as often as I can. Today I'm thrilled to see this picture and hear that The Empire State Building will be lit up in blue for World Autism Awareness Day this Friday. Beautiful! There will be many buildings across the world that will be lit in blue as well. With the statistics now showing that approximately 1 in 110 children will be diagnosed with Autism, it's of the utmost importance to educate our communities and help parents see symptoms and signs as early as possible!

March 21, 2010

I Want to Be a Teacher Someday!

The title sounds like something I would say, right? Wrong-o! How many of you know that teaching wasn’t my first choice career in life? Or second choice? Or even third choice? Probably only a few of you I went to college with I guess. It’s the truth, I never, ever saw myself as a teacher until the end of sophomore year of college.

Just in case you really need to know, I wanted to be a physical therapist, an architect, and a computer programmer. Then teacher.

Anyway, if Mama didn’t say that title sentence, by golly who did? Any guesses? Someone I never thought would even be able to form a lovely, perfect sentence no less something so powerful. Yup, my little Alex. We were just hanging around the house the other day and he blurted it out. I asked him what he just said, as my ears definitely can mistake kid garble, but sure enough he repeated it verbatim. My baby. My baby that spoke late, that hated signing, that got so frustrated when he couldn’t tell us what he wanted or needed. My baby.

I’d be thrilled if Alex becomes a teacher someday, but I’d be thrilled even more to see him continue to grow and learn, love life, and be happy and healthy. It’s nice to look to his future, but this mama knows that baby steps works best for us.

March 15, 2010

A Gardener I am Not.....Yet.....

I've been told many times over the years that I have a black thumb. Yes, black. Green thumb = good, black thumb = pretty bad. I can't even keep a cactus alive sadly. Oh should I water it? Did I water it a few days ago? Not really rocket science, but not really my strongest hobby choice in life to date.

However, over the last few years I've tried growing herbs on the front porch. Sounds easy enough. And some have been. Some have died before they even really got going, but a few I've been able to keep going through the summer. Tomatoes last year were yummy but I think I got 4 in total, and that was way too much effort for such little result for me. But the herbs I use to cook, and am beyond proud of myself when they actually grow! This year I'm hoping to do the same, and possibly add a few new things to my crappy-gardener-but-would-really-like-to-try-again list.

Basil, parsley, oregano, mint, and lemongrass are all on my short list. Let me know if you can think of any other easy and useful herbs I can try out this year. I'd like to write updates of my growing season and see if I can get some tips for better success this summer. I'm not brave enough for a real vegetable garden of any sort, but it's definitely on my list of things to do someday.

I also saw this on the news a few weeks ago, and am thinking of giving it a try. It's a strawberry pot filled with a variety of herbs. Looks very pretty and functional to keep near the bbq. steps.....

March 12, 2010

What Are You Reading?

I love to read whenever I have a moment. I'm currently toggling between 4 books. Three are on the Kindle, one from the library. In no particular order, here's what I'm reading this week:

1. Rumi: The Book of Love
Saw this in a movie a few weeks ago and forgot that I do actually enjoy reading poetry sometimes. Sometimes.

2. I am Ozzy
Biography of one of the coolest guys around.

3. Glenn Beck's Arguing with Idiots
I loves me some Glenn Beck whether on tv or in print, so I always try to stay on top of his current projects. I've been wanting to read this for a while and have finally started.

4. Eclipse
I think this is either my third or fourth read through...I think fourth. But the movie is coming out in less than 3 months, so what better way to get ready?

What are you reading?

March 10, 2010

Shop Like You Mean It!

So I'm going shopping today. Yup, shocker. But one thing I always do to prep for my shopping trip is something everyone should do. It's quick, it's easy, and it can really help you in the long run.

First, I make a list of all the stores I'd like to go to. Being on mom time it's hard to squeeze in not only the regular chores, but the stores as well before getting the kids. So the list helps me ensure I can get the most out of my time.

Next and most importantly I get online. I google the name of each store I plan to go to, followed by 'printable coupons'. I do use sites like wowcoupons and retailmenot, but sometimes they are just not as up to date as I'd like. By looking for each store individually, it gives me the chance to find the largest coupons. Then I proceed to print, stuff them in my bag, and off I go!

Even if you don't think a store would have coupons, search anyway. Today I found a $3 off for RiteAid, a store I would never think to look for, but simply stumbled upon. I also printed out for today 40% at the book store, $5 off at Old Navy, 20% at another store, and a free entree with one purchased.

As my dad always tells me, the money is much better in my pocket than in theirs. Happy Shopping!

March 7, 2010

My Afternoon at the Mall was a Reminder.

I have been living in the world of Autism for a little over 3 years now. I'm a walking autism-wiki, I started a local support group and website, and help tons of families that call for help and resources. Yet I still don't feel some days like I've done enough. Like I've done the most important thing. Educate the people that are not in the Autism world. Educate the ignorant.

Our family's Autism bubble has gotten dramatically better over the years. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, behavioral specialists, TSS, psychologists, doctors. Those are the ones that you expect to help your child. But how about the others in our life? Family, friends, the librarians, the hairdressers, the bank tellers, the diner waitresses, the cashiers, the postal workers. Those people have made just as much of an impact on our life here in our small community. They have embraced my child, and helped him to succeed in everyday social settings. This is all a diversion from my post, but I wanted to make sure you understood that our life of Autism has come a long, long way in 3 years.

Ok, so back to the ignoramuses. You know the ones. They stare. They eye roll. They huff. They whisper. And I, trying to be the better person, the good mom, I ignore. Well today I'm here to tell you I'm done ignoring. I've done it for far too long, and maybe that's part of the problem. Maybe if I would speak up, even to just a handful of people at a time, they will understand more and be less ignorant. I'm not looking for help, compassion, or a pat on the back. Anyone who knows me knows I'd never ask for help unless truly needed. I'm just asking for a simple act of kindess from one parent to human to another.

April is Autism Awareness Month and a perfect time for me to help the regular ed, typical peer population. So next time you see me coming by you with a 35 pound, kicking, screaming child in a football hold, you can be sure I'm going to clue you in on my little bubble of life.

March 6, 2010

Shopping the Week Away!

While it's very nice to receive birthday presents, sometimes it's even better to buy everything you want yourself. Then you know you'll be very happy with the choices! I purchased everything from a previous post, and some other things. Here's a running list so far of my birthday shopping spree.
More than any girl needs at one time, but hey, spring is almost here, and I have the birthday money to spend! There's one more thing I'm looking for, a specific spring jacket which seems to be out of stock everywhere. But once I aquire that I think I'll be content with my purchases....and empty pocketed. Happy Shopping!

March 5, 2010

Did You Hang Out on Central Too?

These days a Friday evening like tonight consists of giving the kids a bath, ordering pizza, and playing some Wii with the whole family. Kids in bed by 8, Mama asleep by 9. Wild, right? I know, don't be jealous.

Then I think back about 20 years at what a Friday night consisted of. Wow, I can't believe it's been 20 years! Anyway, the suburb of NY where I grew up was a large, spread out city, but each neighborhood of kids would come together every Friday night at the only place anyone wanted to be. Central Avenue.

Central Ave spans a few miles through a few different towns, but the hot spot hub at that time was the 'Alexander's parking lot'. There were at least 30 different stores, a few places to eat, and 2 movie theater complexes. Since we were good kids in my clique, our routine was almost always the same. Go see a movie, then walk down to Burger King and eat, followed by the most important part of the evening....standing outside of Burger King. Yup, all you had to do was stand there. Tickets not for sale to watch the shit show that always followed for the next few hours.

Guidos galore in their Mustangs and Irocs. Bumper to bumper traffic for the half mile span across the front of some of the stores. Who had stereos blasting freestyle, puddle lights in blue or pink under the cars, people hanging out of the sunroof screaming. The best times were summer when the convertibles came out too. It was almost like a scene at spring break, but this was just a normal Friday night on Central Avenue. One of the best parts was catching the eyes of a car of cuties, only to wait for them to do their lap and come by again!

Some would go to cruise, some to pick up chicks/guys, some to pick fights that had been brewing all week at school. Everyone dressed their best in their Cavariccis, scrunched socks, and matching scrunchi in big, teased hair. Don't forget your beeper and change to use the payphone in case you were paged! I remember going even before having a driver's license and someone's mom always had to pick us up. Funny thing was it was such an accepted hanging spot at the time, parents usually didn't complain we were there. Sure there were cops around, but our group wasn't usually the trouble making group. Yes, I can remember a few instances of yelling/fighting and even one where I was throwing bottles at a car for upsetting a chickie of mine. But overall it was just a fun night out.

After a few years the cops finally started cracking down and it just wasn't as fun anymore. Some started to go over to the Caldor/Nathan's parking lot but it just wasn't the same. We all got older and went to college, but even to this day talk and laugh about how great those Friday nights were. I wouldn't trade those memories for anything.

March 4, 2010

A Kid Worthy Snack? Maybe...

If you already know my boys, you know they don't like too many foods. They'd eat the same two dinners every other night and be completely happy. But there's a snack I used to make all the time that I'm thinking of whipping up this weekend. It's super easy, and since one of them does like chinese food, and the other likes pasta, it may be a taker. I don't have a recipe, and it doesn't really have a name, but here goes:

Quick and Crunchy Oriental Tortellini
1 bag of meat tortellini
soy sauce
(yup, that's it!)

1. Cook the tortellini according to package. Drain and put in a bowl or a tupperware.
2. Coat the tortellini with soy sauce to 'marinate'. You could also add some other flavorings if you'd like, maybe garlic, ginger, etc. Refrigerate for a few hours minimum.
3. Once they've soaked in the flavor, preheat your oven, maybe 325-350 degree. Line cookie sheet with foil and use non-stick spray. Make a single layer of the tortellini and bake until golden brown.

That's it! They are like a mini appetizer version of boiled dumplings from a chinese place. I usually have some extra soy sauce on the side for dipping too. I'll let you know if the boys actually eat them, but if they don't I know they won't go to waste:)

March 2, 2010

My 35th Year on This Planet Starts Today.

I'm not one to care about the age number, but I always tend to think about accomplishments on my birthday. What has happened between my last birthday and now, and what's to come in the next 364 days. I won't bore you with all that, but I'm hoping the upcoming year is better than my last.

I also think the older we get, the more sentimental we become on birthdays. My boys gave me a simple Happy Birthday Mom card today, and I cried. Yup, wasn't sappy or anything, but nonetheless I cried. Just the feeling of them being old enough to acknowledge my day, my older son being able to sign the card neatly, and them singing HB pushes me right over the edge. I guess it's another indicator that I'm getting older if they're getting older.

My hair gets grey much quicker these days, I'm more forgetful, my eyesight is quite sucky, and I couldn't even tell you what I had for breakfast today. Should I apply for social security and go eat lunch at the senior center too?

Yes, yes, many of you will say... 34? Crap, you're still so young! I'm well aware of that, but of course in the moment it doesn't always feel that way. I'm much healthier than I was last year at this time, so I feel younger which is nice. It just seems to go by way to quick some days. My dad has always said, 'Don't wish it away. It will only make things go faster, so just slow down and enjoy.'

For today I just want to have dinner with my boys and give myself a mani/pedi this evening. Nice, quiet, simple. I won't wish my next 364 away. I have too much to accomplish.