Tag Archives: Support

Back to School CHEERS AND TEARS

19 Aug

So by the title of this post you are probably making guesses as to who is shedding the tears and who is screaming the cheers. Well believe it or not they are both ME!!! Yup folks, the same woman who put a countdown clock on her page (Just look over to the top right and you will see it there) to remind her of the beloved day that school starts back… yup the same woman who is longing for the quiet, for the structure and time to actually get her writing and work done. Yes folks now that the time is quickly approaching I am sad! I am also scared out of mind. I am more nervous for Jay to start middle school then he is!

And I am exhausted to cause this trying to be all rose-colored classes and positive so he doesn’t  get more freaked out is well… TIRING! I am not ready for the homework battles and stress that every time the phone rings it is the school calling me. I am not ready for the morning chaos and rush. I don’t want to fight with bed times and schedules. SIGH…

Yet at the same time I am sooooo ready for them to go. I want to start back to my routines of walking in the morning and having a house that stays clean for more than 5 minutes. I want to MISS the kids. (It is hard to miss them when they are constantly here in my face asking for yet another snack or to do this or that.)

Many of your kids have already started back. For you folks I ask that you leave me a comment of reassurance (Lie if you have to.) For those of you who have kids who are not starting yet, you too leave a comment saying whether or not you feel the same. Lets let each other know we are not alone.

In the meantime, I got creative and took the poem I wrote last year this time (See the original post here) and turned it into a cartoon. And yes… it is my actual voice in the movie. Hope this brings a smile to your face! Check it out here:

Mama’s Turn Now’s “Twas the Night Before School Started”
by: MamasTurnNow

***Reminder the Should I or Shouldn’t I Game Giveaway ends Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 at Midnight. Check out the review and enter to win by clicking here.

Review & GIVEAWAY of “Should I or Shouldn’t I? What Would Others Think?”- A game to encourage Social Thinking and social problem solving!

13 Aug

Those that follow me on Facebook know how nervous I have been about Jay starting middle school. Part of my neurosis  comes from the fact that I just don’t think he is socially ready. Academically… no problem, but can he handle all the situations that will be thrown his way?And what can I do as his mother to give him the tools to do so?  These questions have been keeping me up at night.That is why I was so excited when Social Thinking gave me the opportunity to try out this new game created by Dominque Baudry,MS, Ed  and based on the Social Thinking concepts and vocabulary introduced by Michelle Garcia Winner as outlined in her many books and articles on the topic.The game is designed to give pre-teens and teens a fun and motivating way to improve their social sense, practice taking the perspectives of others, and discuss relevant teen issues in a nonjudgmental setting. Sounds interesting doesn’t it?

Well folks it is not only interesting… it is fantastic. The box arrived right before we were about to depart on our 17 hour drive to Florida for vacation. I threw it in the car thinking that if nothing else it would pass a little bit of time. What it did was open up the door to some awesome conversations. It really gave me a realistic idea as to where we stand with my boy. I learned that my Jay does understand the idea of perspective taking – being able to think about others, their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and how this interrelationship plays out in social situations. It’s just that when he gets upset or frustrated, he sometimes is unable to remember where he filed this information so to speak. This game not only helped him with his self esteem you should see how proud he was every time he got a question right, it was a way for us to review what we need to go over more so that when he is faced with these situations… which we all know he will be… even if he is frustrated or upset, he will be able to recall what to do.

The best part about the game is the Behavior Scale that is used to play it. The behavior scale included in this Middle/High School edition has a five point format and was inspired by the work of Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis and their book, The Incredible 5 Point Scale (2003).

5 -Behaviors that are against the rules

4- Behaviors that make others feel annoyed

3 -Behaviors that make others have weird thoughts about you

2- Behaviors that are fine or okay

1- Behaviors that make others have good thoughts about you

Players take turns picking a card which provides a situation and behavior such as:

“You decide you already know what your history teacher is talking about.              You pull out a different book and begin to read.”

Then each player votes as to what they believe this behavior is,based on the scale. I was thrilled and yes perhaps shocked to hear Jay say, “Wow mom I have done this before. To the teacher I am sure this was a 4. I must have really frustrated her when I did that.” Do you see what I mean about this being an awesome game!!!He got it folks… he really got it!

In fact the behavior Scale made so much sense to Jay after playing this game a couple of times, that he suggested (YES YOU READ CORRECTLY… HE SUGGESTED) we tell all his teachers about it so they could use it with him in middle school. They could just walk over to him and say ,”Jay number 3″ when he is flapping in excitement or perhaps talking out loud to himself or whatever behavior that could be perceived by other 6th grade kids as odd or that word we all dread hearing… WEIRD. It would cause Jay to stop, think about what he is doing that could seem WEIRD to other students and then try to correct that behavior on his own. HELLO… isn’t that what we are shooting for folks! I told you this is awesome!!!

I could go on and on and on telling you how great this game is… or I can just direct you to go visit the Social Thinking website and order this game yourself! It will be the best $22 you spend!Better yet…

the wonderful folks at Social Thinking have given me a separate NEW game to give away to one of you folks!

How incredible is that? I know pretty incredible! And all you gotta do to win is leave a comment below with your name saying you want to enter to win. Easy peazy lemon squeezy!

Want even more chances to win this game? Do the following and then come back here to this post and leave a separate comment saying you did!

***Like Mama’s Turn Now on Facebook

***Like Social Thinking on Facebook

***Follow Mama’s Turn Now on Twitter

***Follow Social Thinking on Twitter

***Tweet the following message:                                                                                            Enter to win the @mamasturnnow @socialthinking Should I or Shouldn’t I giveaway. Great game for Aspie kids ages 12-18 http://wp.me/p1pu3Q-jl

***Mention this blog post on your Facebook Page or Blog and then come back here and leave the link to it!

One winner will be chosen from the comments left below by Random.org. Contest ends Midnight EST on Tuesday August 21st, 2012.

DISCLOSURE: Social Thinking has provided me with a copy of Should I or Shouldn’t I for purposes of providing a review. I received the game at no charge to me and I am under no obligation to return the product but can keep it for me own personal use. I was not given any monetary amount to review this product. Opinions expressed in this review are my own honest ones and I stand behind them. As with any product, I encourage you to research on your own and then make your own decisions.

 

I’m Just an Autism Mom- Making Things Up As I GO!!!

31 Jul

As I try to write about something that left me so raw, so emotionally drained that I just could not help but fall into bed last night exhausted; I have the boy in the other room Screaming “POW”, “WHAM”, THWAP” as he watches his batman DVD and the girl is sitting behind me giggling over an online episode of Victorious she is watching on the Ipad. This is my life! It is noisy, loud and totally chaotic and I would not change a moment of it! That is not to say that I would not prefer to fast forward thru some parts of it and speed up to get to the happily ever after parts I so pray we all have. Although then I would not appreciate those endings when I got to them I guess. Anyway  I digress.

The point is that as I try to write, to capture the true importance of what happened last night, I know there is no possible way it is going to happen. I am unfocused, one ear tuned into what is happening in the other room and behind me at all times. My attention is torn, the way it is always I guess.But even if I had focus and quiet and the ability to write so well that you could feel as if you were actually there, I still don’t think I could possibly express what happened.

Yesterday started out pretty normal. We ran errands. In fact I was even going to post on my Facebook page that we actually made it through an entire grocery store trip without one complaint, argument or meltdown. MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT!  We came home, and still it was a high. The kids helped me bring in groceries and then played quietly while I put them away and started dinner. We ate and had wonderful conversation. I was on the high of all highs actually!

After dinner when I went to walk the dog I noticed all the other neighborhood kids were outside enjoying what was actually a cool summer evening. I ran back inside to invite my children out to play. Grace needed no prompting… Jay well as many of you can relate to when faced with a chose of watching his favorite shows on TV or going outside where he would have to socialize… you see where I am going here. But to my surprise he chose to come outside! I was beyond thrilled. We have lived here a month now and he has rarely made an effort in that time to play with the other kids.

The kids were already in the middle of a game of tag and Grace easily incorporated herself into the game. I sat back and watched wanting so desperately to interfere but knowing that Jay needed to do this on his own. I beamed with pride when I heard him say to the kids, “Can I play too?” To other parents this may not seem like a big deal, but to an autism mom or dad… those words, those beautiful words, are pure gold!

The kids shrugged and said sure and then tried to tell him what team he was on. But Jay not knowing the rules got confused. When Jay gets confused about something he does whatever he can to try to get a hold of the situation. In this case that meant him trying to take over the game and tell the other children how they should be playing… HIS RULES. Well as you can imagine this did not go over well. The other children started to protest, Jay started to get upset. I looked to Grace to see what she was going to do. Would she try to smooth things over, try to explain  to the kids what the problem was… the reaction I so prayed she would take… or would she side with the other kids, wanting so desperately to fit in, be part of the IN CROWD. Much to my disappointed she did the later. She even went so far as to yell at Jay and isolate him even more. Jay of course became emotional and ran from the scene. My Mama Bear instincts took over and I went after my boy who thankfully stopped himself before he went into the street. Instead he plopped his crying self onto the sidewalk and did his best to try to pull himself together. He was half way in the middle of a yoga pose, breathing heavy in and out when I heard one of the other kids say to Grace, “What is the matter with him?” It was curiosity  mixed with concern and would have been the perfect opportunity for Grace to educate her friends to explain, “My brother has Autism. He gets overwhelmed sometimes. My mom is with him so he’ll be okay. But thanks for asking about him!” But Grace did not say that. Grace did not come over to see if he was indeed okay, she dismissed him. Ignored the situation… even rolled her eyes in disgust! The same reaction that the little girl I wrote about in the post I A letter to the mother who rolled her eyes at my son did!!!. (CLICK HERE TO READ IT IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY)  Perhaps it was a typical almost 9-year-old sibling reaction… but we are not the a typical family. My heart broke. If the other children saw Jay’s sister treating him like that… well how do you think they would treat him?

After making sure Jay was OK I called Grace over and told her that we are a family and family looks after one another and that the way she treated her brother was unacceptable. In fact that was an unacceptable way to treat anyone whether they were family or not. She argued with me saying how Jay was not following the rules and how he was not playing fair and all the other typical responses that siblings do and say when they are trying to get out of trouble. And I stood there staring at my girl and my heart broke even more.

Once inside the house I tried again to talk to her. I tried hard to explain how I was not even mad, I was sad. Disappointed. She sat there unsure of what I was trying to say. I told her I was going to stop blogging and writing because everything I do, everything I write and advocate for and beg other people to do, to be tolerant, compassionate and understanding… how could I expect others to do it if I could not even get my own child to do it! I know it was a lot to put on a 9-year-old child but I was hurt and sad.

Then it happened… somewhere the words just came out. I am crying as I write this just thinking about it.I admitted to my child something that I have never admitted out loud!  I pulled my girl onto my lap and I said,

“I  know its hard. I get it really I do because it is hard for me. I say all the time that I want everyone to accept Jay for the way he is but deep down I am thinking it would be so much easier if he was more like everyone else.”

(Saying the words out loud was freeing! I love my boy. I love everything about him which means I should love his autism? Or does it? That is a different post. Anyway I went on to tell her)

“But as hard as it for us just think how hard it must be for Jay, who is smart enough to know that we all are thinking that deep down.”

The tears that poured down my daughter’s eyes were no longer ones because she was in trouble… they were tears of sadness.

We continued to  talk and talk and talk! I realized that my girl really did not get as much as I thought she had. We throw around the word AUTISM and I advocate and do what I do and just assumed that she understood. How so wrong I was. So I explained in terms that she could understand what Autism really is, how even though this is what I think it must be like for him, i will never really know because I am not in his brain… his wonderful big and beautiful brain. We talked about how Jay gets when he is upset and how when he is overwhelmed and that volcano inside him starts to erupt, that he does not always make the right choices. How he could have run into the street and gotten hurt. I talked about how even though she is the younger sibling, she needs to keep an eye on him, because that is what family does. We look out for one another. We talked about how in his own way Jay would do anything for her. And he does too!

We talked and talked and talked.

I was honest and told her how I don’t know what I am doing most of the times and I am making it up as I go. I told her how scared I was to send Jay out into the world because I don’t know how people will treat him. I told her that is why I write my blog so that I can make more people aware of him so that he is treated nicely. I talked about to us he is just JAY but to others he may seem well… different. We talked about how people in the world treat different people. And we talked about how important it is for us to help Jay figure out where his place in the world is and make him feel welcomed and encourage him to be a part of our world!

And of course we talked about Grace. How special she is. How I know she has a heart as big as Texas and why it makes me sad when she does not let others see it! How what she says or in this case what she did not say but did makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE!

Then Grace asked to be excused.  I thought she was going to go to the bathroom to wash her face but instead she walked down to the basement where her brother was watching TV oblivious to all the chaos and emotion that was going on a floor above him. I sneaked down to see what she was doing. She quietly walked into the room and said, “Jay I could really use a hug from you right now. Would you mind stopping watching TV and hug me?” Jay looked up at his red-eyed sister and stood up and hugged her and then he asked, “Are you okay Grace?” and she replied, “I AM NOW!”

 

 

The Latest Project from a Hairy Leg Autism Mama…

29 Jul

I just sent an email to the publisher of my local community paper that started like this,” I don’t have time to shave my legs let alone write a weekly column”. Honest to God that is what I wrote and continued on the email all about how they should hire me to do a weekly Parenting humor column. Not sure what will come out of it but for some reason I felt compelled to send that email… TODAY! Weird huh?

And the thing is… that line is true. I am so busy and every day I get even more stuff added to my to do list. That is fine because you see I am one of those crazy type A people who totally works better with tons of projects on my plate. It is stressful and chaotic and I love it! Perhaps that explains why I agreed to do the new project that I am doing with my Gracie girl.

For those of you who don’t follow Mama’s Turn Now on Facebook (And why don’t you?) Grace came up with the wonderful idea of starting an online magazine for siblings of kids with autism. SHOUT OUT ONLINE MAGAZINE She actually approached me with the idea a few months back but I sort of pushed it aside. Throughout the summer I have noticed even more jealousy and tension between Grace and Jay, so when she brought up the topic again, well I jumped on it. She was so excited and it really has given her such focus and drive. It is allowing me  to acknowledge the feelings she has but then gives her a constructive outlet for them. Here is what she wrote which in a way is the magazine’s mission statement I guess:

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have wanted to SHOUT OUT LOUD, ” What about me mom and dad?” To others who don’t get it, I probably just sound like I am being really spoiled. I mean I know my parents have their hands full dealing with my older brother who has autism, but I EXIST TOO! That is what my new online magazine and community Facebook page is all about. A place where we can all Shout Out and be heard. A place for kids like us to come together and just be ourselves. Together we can raise our voices in a good way and Shout Out Autism Awareness to the world. Because after all, the more people who understand, the more people who will see our brothers and sisters for the incredible people they are.
Signed,
Gracie

YUP I am one proud mama! So we started an online Facebook page which is here… please go over and like it! We are also working hard to get the first issue up. We are shooting for an August 20th release date.

But here is the shocker… this little project seems to be taking on a new life of itself. Folks are really getting on board. We have a mental Health Professional who has agreed to do the Ask Dr. T section and answer questions or offer advice, we are working on a special guest , a celebrity really, to be the first Sibling of the Month we feature, we have a another celebrity who has granted Grace an interview and offered to do a feature story for us. Other folks have contacted us offering their talents. I am just floored and thrilled and honored. I really think we might be on to something here.

But to make this project work I need your help. I need you to talk to your kids to get them excited about this to encourage them to submit their artwork, their poems and short essays. We really want this magazine to be a showplace for the siblings. A place where they come first. Where they can gather with other sibs who understand what it is like.  SO please go to the Facebook page with your kids and talk about this project. Help them submit their original work to shoutoutonlinemagazine@yahoo.com. Share this blog post and the Shout Out Online Facebook page on your own Facebook site or blog. Lets work together to make this project work. I think we owe it to our kids. They need this just as much as our children with autism need their therapy, and social stories and IEPs.

If you would like to be apart of this project, please contact me! We would love to her your ideas and suggestions. Besides if I get more people to help out, then I can actually have 5 minutes to shave my legs! LOL

Mama and No Guile Go to the FARM- Mama’s TURN…

25 Jul

Literally it is My Turn to tell you about the fabulous day we all had on the Farm today. You see No Guile : Life and Other Stories from Autism beat me to the punch and already did this POST. Check it and while you there check out her other blog posts and then go HERE and like her Facebook page because she is GREAT! And I can say that now because she is not just some random person I only know from the internet… she is now an official stalker whom I met in person! Just kidding… I stalked her and invited her to go with us!  Oh and for the record if you clicked and read HER blog post you will recognize the same picture of us EXCEPT I am a true friend and I cropped mine! LOL

Okay so we went to a Farm… yes a real farm with stinky animals and crops. Except this farm also has giant slides and cool Bamboo Mazes and a really expensive concession stand. A designer Farm I guess you can call it? Anyway I arranged to have our local Autism Support group get together there. Talk about a great idea. First off any time I can get together with a bunch of other folks who GET IT… HUGE DEAL. But not only are the folks from my group great, the kids are just the most incredible bunch of human beings that ever existed.. (just look at this group shot of us on the hayride.) Putting together this event afforded me the opportunity to invite No Guile and her crew to make the 1 and half hour trek down to play with us. We have been talking for months about how we had to get together and well… FINALLY WE DID IT!

Here is the thing about the internet… you never really know what you are going to get when you really meet the person in REAL LIFE. Thus the reason why I never ever did online dating when I was single oh so many moons ago. I just knew that I would fall in love with someone’s words and the real deal would not live up to it. I have to admit I was a bit nervous of that happening too with my fellow Autism Mommy Blogger friend. I LOVE HER POSTS. But you see I failed to remember one thing… Autism folks who choose to blog about their lives…. well we put it all out there… EVERYTHING! So what you read my friends… is what you will truly get! And that is exactly what No Guile and I both got… the real deal and I LOVED IT!

Our boys seemed to love it to! My Jay and her Roger hit it off. Just look at this picture of the two of them deep into conversation of who knows what. (I could not keep up with them even if I tried!) Although it looks like Jay was doing most of the talking in this picture. Surprise surprise!

So besides meeting wonderful blogger friends, you know what the best thing is about getting together with other Autism families? Well when my boy started screaming at the chickens to “SHUT UP” No one said anything. In fact two minutes later someone else’ kid did the same thing! LOL There were no eyes rolling, no judgments being made, no need to apologize if a kid did not say hello or had a little fit because he did not want to get off the hayride. WE ALL UNDERSTOOD! This hot stinky sweaty 3 hours was probably the most enjoyable and relaxing day I have had all summer!

Okay before I end this post I have to leave you with one more photo. With all there was to do at this place, and there was a lot…this is what my son’s favorite part was… THE STUPID COKE MACHINE! Ahhh… you gotta love our kids!

If you do not already belong to a local autism support group… PLEASE PLEASE  PLEASE do yourself a favor and find one. Do a Google search, ask your school resource teacher,heck do what i did and start a group if you have to… but do it! I love our online community, you all mean the world to me, but to physically get together and have your children play and call another child their friend because this kid gets them like no one else… that my friends is PRICELESS! Old McDonald might have had a farm… but I have a village!!!

 

I’m different, You’re different and my boy certainly is different… and that is FINE… until its not!

12 Jun

I am nervous to write this post because I know my Jay sometimes comes on here and reads this and I certainly do not want him to take this the wrong way. So Jay if you are reading this… let me start off by saying:

“YOU MY DEAR BOY ARE PERFECT! EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU IS PERFECT! I am writing this post because I want others to know that I am just human… and sometimes even this mama feels things that well… are just that, human! I am not proud of feeling this way, but like I tell you, it is what it is. I can own up to feeling this way, share it with others so they know they are not alone, then well… move on! But please know this Jay (And Grace you too if you are reading this) I love you just the way you are. I would never ever change one thing about you! YOU MY DEAR SWEET CHILDREN ARE PERFECTLY DIFFERENT!”

I have been trying to figure out how to sum up and tell you about everything that has happened in the past week. The highs… I mean really really big highs and the lows that always seem to come along with them. The incredible HOPE and then the inevitable reality checks. I wanted to post every picture, share every story bring you up to date, but some how every time I sat down to write… I just could not do it.

Then I saw this post today from the incredible Jess Wilson from A Diary of a Mom. I have shared her blog with you before, it is one of my favorites. Jess has a way of saying what so many of us are feeling. It is a true gift and today, a much-needed present to me and now hopefully to you. You see this post, well this post sums up the past few days for me. The feeling of pride for my boy. The sense of pure joy at how far we have come when I watched him go up on stage (which in itself is a big feat when you think about how many people were in the gym and the amount of noise) and accept the Presidential Academic Award. Look at the pride on his face! Then later in the day I watched him walk back across the stage and receive his promotion certificate. He shook hands with the teachers just like all the other children, he laughed along with the other kids while they watched the video showing how much they all have grown since they started Kindergarten some 6 years ago. And then I held him in my arms as he broke down because the noise, the excitement of the day, the sadness of the day and it all being over became just too much. Sure there were other sensitive kids with tears in their eyes, but not like my Jay. My sweet tender heart boy felt so much more.

The next day was the 5th grade carnival and while the rest of the kids ran from station to station I watched my boy walk sadly, trying to make every minute of his last day of elementary school last. In my heart I was so proud, my boy is able to appreciate the moment, the pure meaning behind it all. Yet in my head I could see how isolated he was from the other kids. I watched the boys whom I have had at my home time after time playing Nerf Battle and video games, pull away, so much more mature than my boy. It broke my heart to see him so alone, so different. And no matter how much I tried to not do it… I compared him to those boys.

I was not proud that I did this, the guilt I felt and still feel is overwhelming. I talk about living in a wold that will accept my boy for who he is and here I was comparing him, wishing at that moment that he was well… DIFFERENT! I hate that I even wrote that but I promised myself I would be honest here and that my dear friends is as honest as I can get.

I am so thankful that Jess wrote the post she did today so that I feel brave enough to write this one. The truth is I do this comparison she talks about more than I admit. I hate it… but well.. I am human. It sucks the joy out of HUGE achievements too. Yesterday the doctor said that Jay’s foot was healed enough that he could finally go in the pool. This was huge as our community pool has recently added this huge water slide and everyone in his class has been talking about it for a month now. Yesterday I watched my boy wait patiently (And yes once again that is a HUGE FEAT IN ITSELF) for his turn to go down the slide. He was so excited that he could not contain it and so of course he was flapping away, talking enthusiastically to everyone else in line. I watched the other boys his age look at one another confused by his reactions. They were not mean, they were polite and smiled at him nicely… but watching it was almost painful because well… it showed once again how different my boy is. So instead of just enjoying the moment, the pure joy on my boy’s face as he slid down the slide, I had bittersweet feelings.

I know in my heart that I am different from other moms… I am a special needs mom. I know in my heart that my boy is different too. And most days, most days that fact is more than fine. But some days, well some days it doesn’t feel so fine. And you know what it is okay to feel that way. But now it is time to move on!

Jess if by chance you are reading this… THANK YOU for once again writing what you wrote today so that I could admit this, so I confirm that others feel this way too and so that I can move on!

 

DEAR LORD… why do you let Bullying happen?

6 Jun

Dear Lord,

I know in the big picture of things I certainly don’t have a right to be bothering you. You have mamas saying prayers to you as they stand by the side of their dying babies, people who have had their whole world destroyed by tornadoes or some other natural disaster, important things are on your plate, things that affect a greater number of the population. I understand this, and yet, here I am Lord, reaching out to you because well… I am lost.

I am lost because there has always been something that has gotten me through the tough times, HOPE and well lately… that Hope has been a bit harder to see. I became aware of something that happened the other day LORD that took my little bit of HOPE, and I hate that it did it, but I can’t help it.

I know you know what I am referring to LORD, for you placed me there in that cafe, at that time, with those moms. I know there is a reason behind everything you do, and yes perhaps that is what this letter to you is all about, to figure out what I am supposed to do with this. You see Lord, when I heard the story that those two special needs moms told me, it rocked my very soul. The message could not be any clearer then if you would have set a bush on fire. I know this story was a warning, a wake up call because I have been so blissfully naive thinking that everything I have done this year to prepare my boy for next year, middle school, would keep him safe, keep the bullies at large, keep the stories like the one I heard from happening to my boy. I knew that there were mean people , kids, and that the school he will attend was no exception. But how naive I was to not realize that these children had to learn it from someone. How innocent I was to not even consider that the someone they could learn it from could be their teacher. My heart still fills up with sorrow when I just think about the story, and remember the faces of these two moms as they told it to me. It could have been me, it could have been my child… it still could!

Lord I know you are busy, but please can you help me understand why you allow our children to have to go through this? How can a teacher say and humiliate a child like that? Using our kids as punishment? Making our children who try so hard to just fit in, STAND OUT even more?  “If you misbehave Johnny I will make you sit by the Annoying Kid!” That is what this teacher said Lord, referring to the special needs child as if they were an ogre in the room, or something else that is not wanted. MANY TIMES!  FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR!

I know you heard it.

So yes, I am LOST because I cannot wrap my mind around this. These two children, and who knows how many others, suffered this type of bullying the entire year, by the teacher and then of course suffered the aftermath from the kids in the class… and these poor moms just found out! OMG… that could have been me, it could have been my child… IT STILL COULD because she is still there!

For two days I have been going over and over and over this in my head. It never leaves my mind. While making dinner, while driving to physical therapy, while reading a bed time story… in the back of my mind all I am thinking is that no matter what I do, there is someone out there just waiting to knock my child down. I carefully set the blocks up, I give him social stories and tools to climb. He works his butt off to get up there and then… just like that all that hard work comes crashing to the ground and my boy along with it. Eventually my baby won’t want to get back up and that is what scares the hell out of me.

I don’t want to live my life scared, LORD. I want to believe that things can change, that it WILL be different for my boy and those that follow him. I want to know that I CAN MAKE a difference. I want my HOPE BACK!

Dear Lord… I know in the big picture of things I certainly should not be bothering you. But you see MY KIDS ARE MY BIG PICTURE! I don’t know what it is you want me to do, but I feel like I need to do something. So once again… I am reaching out to you and asking that you PLEASE help me. Give me back my HOPE so that I can help others find theirs!

Yours faithfully,                                                                                                                              SHARON

 

“Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff FOR MOMS” Book review and #GIVEAWAY!!!

1 Jun

I have been so excited to do this review ever since the publicist contacted me asking if I would be interested in doing it. I have had the book a month now and FINALLY I am sitting down to tell you about it. You see it took time to write this because  like a good box of chocolates… I took my time reading this book and truly enjoyed each and every bite of it, wanting to make the delicious words last forever. I knew Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms  was going to be good, but folks this book should be a must read for every mom! Seriously! I am talking as soon as you see the little blue line on the stick or sign the adoption papers they should hand you this book kind of GOOD!

This is author Kristine Carlson’s first new Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff book in nine years, and the first one that she wrote all by herself without the help of her late husband Richard. They say you should write what you know and well, Kristine did just that. The book is jammed packed with  her own tried-and-true MOM advice, experiences, observations and stories that will empower other moms to find greater peace, happiness, and harmony within themselves and their homes. My favorite thing about the book is , like the others in the series, it is broken down into short bite-sized  (yes I still have the chocolate analogy in my head) chapters that can be read  out-of-order whenever you get an extra 5 minutes to do so. (And yes eventually all us moms do get at least 5 minutes to ourselves… eventually!)

The book reads as if a friend is talking to you, reminding you of things you may already know, offering new perspectives, fresh ideas and encouraging you to perhaps even make a few small changes. And this Friend really gets us. And when I say US, I mean special needs moms. Don’t believe me, read Chapter 4 Empowered “Mom” page 15. “If you have a child with a learning, emotional, or developmental disability, you are the ship that cannot sink, because your child is the passenger. If you cannot rally to the job, there isn’t anyone who will.”  Then she goes on to say, ” … you must have the courage of a warrior and the persistence of a bull.” See she gets it! She sees us folks and gets us. She may not be a member of our club… but she gets it!

There are tons of great quotes in this book that really hit home . For example, ” As moms we need to fill our own well so that everyone else in our family has plenty to drink.”  OMG isn’t that a great analogy? Need more wisdom, here is another of my favorites. “My Measure of success is simply knowing I did the best I could, given any number of variables on any given day.” If I could sew I think I would put that on a pillow! :)

I could go on and on and on but instead I invite you to get the book yourself and take your time and dive into this delicious box of chocolate! You can purchase the book HERE or HERE... OR you can enter to win your very own copy! Yes folks it’s giveaway time.  Here are the rules.

To have a chance to win your very own copy of Kristine Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms book, simple leave a comment here with the best advice you have ever gotten about being a mom! Just think of all the great stuff we will learn from another! Oh I get chills just thinking about.

Want more chances to win. Do one or ALL of these things and then come back here and leave a message saying you did. (If you already have done them, just leave a message saying that.)

Contest is open to all US residents and ends Sunday June 3, 2012 at Midnight EST. A Winner will be picked by using Random.org based on the comments left on this post. I will contact the winner via email and announce it on my Facebook page on Monday June 4th. Good Luck Everyone and remember not to sweat the small stuff this weekend! :)

My Mother’s Day Message to you all…

13 May

I had promised my family that I would not go on the computer today and spend the whole day with them… but it is Mother’s Day and well I have to come here and tell you all this…
I am blessed to have many great women in my REAL life. I love these beautiful people and truly do not know what I would do without them. And yet…

when my son came into my bedroom this morning, unprompted, and crawled up into my lap and wished me a happy Mother’s day and started telling me WHY he thought I was a great mother… well the first thing I wanted to do was to come here and share it with you, MY VILLAGE!

You see I share something with you that is special. I may not know you, and your story is different than mine, but yet we are the same. Without me having to tell you how HUGE that moment in my bed with my boy was… you get it. And even if you are not there yet with your own child, you are able to celebrate with me. You will see this as a sign of HOPE that one day you too will get that, because people you will. Two years ago that would not have happened, and yet it did.

So although I appreciate every special person in my REAL life, I appreciate EVERYONE of you just as much! Thank you for not judging me, for cheering me on, for your words of wisdom and reminding me that I AM NOT ALONE ON THIS JOURNEY and that I AM A GOOD MOM!

Happy Mother’s Day to you all!

Realistic Ways to Balance “Momminess” & “Sexiness” (On Mother’s Day & Beyond)- Guest post by author Lori Verni-Fogarsi

1 May

It is MAY 1st and I have decided that this is the month that I seriously start putting on my oxygen mask first! If you read this blog, you know I have been toying around with this for a while now. So why then all the sudden am I so gun ho? Well… I read this great fictional novel  called, “MOMNESIA” and let’s just say it hit home! You guys have to read this book! It is a quick light read that is funny yet at the same time will make you stop and think! If you are a mom, plan on becoming a mom or have a mom… YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK! Do yourself a favor and buy yourself a copy for Mother’s Day… you won’t be sorry you did!

Anyway, I am fortunate to actually know the fabulous author of this book and was able to charm her into agreeing to do a little post for us here! Yes folks… I am very excited to share with you this incredibly insightful, entertaining and funny guest post by the author of the hot new Novel (my new favorite book) “Momnesia,” Lori Verni-Fogarsi. Lori has been a freelance writer, columnist, journalist, and seminar speaker for 15+ years, and has authored one nonfiction book, “Everything You Need to Know About House Training Puppies and Adult Dogs,” which has been widely acclaimed in its genre. Lori is a happily married mom of two, step mom of two more, and has two cats, both rotten. You are in for a real treat folks. So pour yourself a cup of coffee, kick off your shoes, get comfy and get ready to read a great post. Then afterwards make sure to leave a comment here for Lori telling her what you think. Lori  also invites you to learn more about her and her books at www.LoriTheAuthor.com and join her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LoriTheAuthor; Twitter: www.twitter.com/LoriTheAuthor; Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/LoriTheAuthor and her Blog: http://lorivernifogarsi.blogspot.com/.

So without further ado, I present to you Lori and her article written especially for Mama’s Turn Now (I feel so special and so should you!):

Realistic Ways to Balance “Momminess” & “Sexiness”                     (On Mother’s Day & Beyond)

 “Balancing momminess and sexiness? Yeah, right!” This is the most common response I hear when I tell people about my novel, “Momnesia.” Until people read it, of course, at which point their response changes to, “The woman in that book is living my life!”

It’s about an unconventional entrepreneur who, struggling between her “momminess” & her “sexiness,” diagnoses herself with Momnesia and sets about finessing a new version of her old vivaciousness. Basically, she is my hero.

However, I’m a realistic person. Let’s face it… I’ve got four kids! Two daughters, 11 & 14, and two step sons, 17 & 19. Not to mention two cats, two houses, and two husbands (although not simultaneously of course!). Are you noticing a theme here? There are two of everyone else, but only one of me. Yikes!

To top it off, one of my daughters has ADHD and while she is a fantastic kid, I’ve seriously considered creating a recording that plays in a continuous loop, “Don’t forget… you’re in there to brush your teeth. Are you almost done?” I could save my voice by playing this every morning between 6:30 – 7:30 am and every night from 8:30 – 9:30 pm. In fact, I could probably develop a multi-pack CD set including many popular phrases like, “Remember, we’re leaving in five minutes!” and “Your homework needs to go directly INTO your backpack.”

Yet I did say that I’m a realistic person. I’m also a fact-oriented person and when it comes to making choices, my default response is to ask myself, “Which is worse?” Sure, life is exhausting. Between work, family, household responsibilities, and the multitude of additional exercises of my patience, it would be very easy (and has been in the past) to just put my Self off for another time—some fictional day in the future when I’ll finally have time to pursue my own interests (also known as both shampooing my hair and shaving my legs in the same shower).

At the same time, I got to a point where I missed Myself, and when push came to shove the answer to “Which is worse?” was, for me, that it’s even more exhausting to live my life to the complete exclusion of Myself than it is to find ways to treat myself well on a daily basis.

So I decided to come up with what I call Small Daily Decadences. Sure, it would be nice to go to a spa retreat for a weekend with my girlfriends, but I can’t sit around waiting for that to happen! Instead, I integrate small, manageable things to my daily life, which I have found make me feel more relaxed, less resentful, and more energetic overall!

For example, I personally feel like drinking coffee in bed is a super decadent thing. So in the morning, instead of staying downstairs in the kitchen with my coffee, I bring it back up to the bedroom to sip it (albeit still yelling down the hall, “Don’t forget, you’re in there to brush your teeth!…”). It may seem like a small thing, but for me, it makes me feel like I’ve started my day doing something really special for myself.

Other things I enjoy include lighting scented candles even when no company is coming, wearing my “big girl” clothes instead of “saving them” for some fictional day, eating a Hershey’s kiss and actually taking a moment to savor it, and drawing the line with my kids at certain times in the evenings and on weekends when they know that it’s Mommy’s time and no, I do not want to play Twister (again), thank you very much!

What about you? Can you think of some Small Daily Decadences you can implement into your life? (Feel free to share them by commenting below!) Maybe your gift to yourself could be to start them on Mother’s Day and commit to do them well beyond! I look forward to hearing your ideas!