Monday, December 23, 2013

New Years Eve at Knott's Ticket Giveaway!


The countdown to the New Year is on at Knott's Merry Farm!  With special fireworks, live entertainment, and extended hours until 1:00am, Knott's is the place to ring in 2014!  The celebration is included with regular daytime admission or a Season Pass.  And join the countdown conversation using #KnottsNYE. 


It has become a family tradition.  The last 3 years we have spent New Years Eve at Knott's Berry Farm.  It is a very special place for us.  My children love it, the rides are great, the food is wonderful, and it's the perfect place for families with kids of all ages.  It has a little something for everyone.  My kids love the rides, my husband and I enjoy and indulge on the food, and the entertainment is great.  

Special one-night-only entertainment serves up family fun for a variety of ages and interests, including the Midnight Party on the Midway! Count down the New Year with music, stilt walkers, party hats, and noisemakers for everyone. And new this year, the Knott’s Sky Cabin, adorned with special lighting effects, will dramatically rise to the top of the “K” tower to count down the final moments of 2013. The cabin will reach the top at the stroke of midnight and the skies above Knott’s will be ablaze with colorful fireworks!

So I hope you win the tickets and we get to see you at the best New Years Eve Celebration in Southern California.


To Win Tickets to Knotts please do the following to enter the contest, and comment that you have done so.

Please ‘like’ Knotts Berry Farm on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/KnottsBerryFarm
Please follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/knotts
Please use #KnottsNYE on any social posts if you share the contest.  

Please follow on Instagram: http://instagram.com/knotts


Comment below that you have completed all steps







Good Luck and Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I am Different but not Less

 
Different Not Less………..  Those words have haunted me since I saw the movie “Temple Grandin” on HBO a few years ago.  It came out a few months after our autism diagnosis with our first son.

I try to put those into action all the time and sometimes it is a real chore to focus on all the obstacles the kids have overcome, and how much they CAN do.  I sometimes focus on the deficits and the delays that are so evident when we are our in public or with kids we used to play with who have developed and matured out of our world.  But since this special needs motherhood comes with no map on how to control your thoughts and feelings about the neurological torture our kids go through with autism,  I do the best I can and get a little bit better and am more positive and more hopeful for my kids everyday, even on the days when I shed tears.
 

My kids are on a peak with therapy and moving forward with therapy and we are so very busy with appointments and stuff, I’m overwhelmed and happy.  I’m on a new path of trying to expose the kids to everything I can to help with their behavior, and tolerance of new things, so we can live a life outside of the walls of our property if we choose too. 

Sometimes our events that I try to take them to are a hit, sometimes not so much.  So even my motherhood is DIFFERENT than most, but it by NO MEANS LESS THAN ANY OTHER MOTHERHOOD.  Sometimes the special needs moms get the shaft by society in more ways that I can count.  I can’t be that mom I always thought I’d be, I can’t be that blogger that gets to go to all the cool crap, I can’t be the mom hosting the bad ass pool parties and play dates, I can’t be the mom whose kids are winning contests and trophies and going to sports tournaments all over the state.  I just can’t those aren’t my kids.  I am the mom that has two kids with autism; I’m the mom whose kids are more comfortable at home.  I am the mom who needs to be with her kids because sometimes I am the ONLY ONE that understands how to care for them. I am the mom who has therapy at her home everyday.  I am the mom who has children and a husband who are VERY high maintenance.  I am the mom who gets elated and excited and over the moon happy when I get a smile and hug from her child.  I am the mom who does a happy dance when we have no potty accidents.  I am the mom that when my 4 year old asks to go to Disneyland at 6am – TAKES HIM instead of going to school.  I am the mom that struggles with so many things.  I am the mom who puts on the brave face when I feel like I may crumble.  I am the mom who is jealous of those of you who get to go out and have fun on a whim with your kids.  I am the mom who envies those of you bloggers that can leave your kids and go to fun events. I am the mom who will never stop looking for answers and will do anything and go to the end of the earth to help her kids.  I am the mom who loves her life and embraces everything in it – good bad and ugly.  My motherhood is different than most, but it certainly is not less.

It has taken me a lot of soul searching, mourning, to get to this place, but I think I’m finally there, and my kids realize it.  I love my life, our friends, our families,  the kids are building relationships and I’m thrilled.  Things are different, they are getting much better.


Rebecca

We Are Better Together

Anyone that has known me for more than an hour - knows that doing the laundry is my LEAST favorite chore.  I'd rather clean a toilet.  Laundry with little children is a never ending thankless job and I get no enjoyment in doing it, until now.  Seriously, I recently bought Tide, Downey and Bounce, and started using them in our wash.  

With the weather warming up and my boys playing more outside, and I'm training for another marathon our laundry room is a stink fest some days.  And it's always full of clothes, towels and it's just overwhelming.


 I stink at sorting laundry and I do throw the kids clothes, my clothes and workout clothes all together.  Our summer attire is bathing suits, flowery dresses, jeans blue and white.   Last night I washed all the boys bathing suits and a couple dresses of mine and my denim skirt.  After I was done with this load of laundry, and picked my chin up off of the floor from how amazing the clothes looked, felt and smelled.  I think I'm hooked.  Using these products together was awesome.  My four year old said he smelled yummy. 


So my conclusion is that all of these wonderful products are BETTER TOGETHER because they made me almost get joy out of doing our stinky dirty summer laundry.  You need to try!!

The post is part of a DailyBuzz Moms Tastemaker program with P&G.   All thoughts are my own


Friday, May 31, 2013

Life Lessons of The Week

Oh and has it been a week.

  • There are people out there looking to harm
    • There are people out there that really live like the guests on Maury Povich (I really thought that stuff was made up)
  • Don't invite crazy into your world
  • Some people can't live without creating chaos in all the lives around them
  • Trying to do the right thing and keeping calm when dealing with psychos is an exercise in futility
  • Karma will get you (I pray)
  • The school officials that manage my childs case are mediocre at best, and his teacher is amazing
  • If you want something done right do it yourself, or scream until they do it your way.
  • If I didn't exercise I think I would have cried all week, taking it out on the gym was awesome
  • I just took all the power away from a nut job and I love that
  • Losing 8lbs in a month is about a cure all for feeling crappy

This has been a week that has tried every single ounce of my  patience and love of humanity.  A crazy evil psycho woman was brought into our lives, and is trying to ruin our rental home.  I have never encountered such evil.  I thought I had met the most vile person on earth over a year ago, but shockingly there is someone that kicked it up a notch and proved that there are people with complete dark souls, and evil all the way down to their core.

This is a problem that we will overcome, but I am so disappointed in people right now.  I just am so bewildered and shocked as to how someone with children could spend so much time trying to hurt someone.  If this crack pot spent as much time working as she did scheming on ways to get out of paying the rent or faking injury to sue us - she would probably be very successful.   I feel sorry for her, and her children, and am sorry that she gets to procreate and raise monsters like she is.

On a happy note,  my kids autism treatment is in an up hill swing Jack is making amazing strides, and Franklin is coming a long, and mommy found a new voice and is learning her way around the school district and how to get her kids what helps them.  It's going to be a good summer and I am so looking forward to 1st grade!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The AvoDerm Challenge - Results

  I was compensated for this sponsored post made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.

Before I was a mommy to my sweet children, I was the mom to 3 dogs, Bosco, Peanut and Misto.  I loved them and treated them like my kids for years until the boys came along.  I still love them but I do admit they get shoved to the back of my list occasionally.

While the dogs are my running mates, and my play mates and I feed them, and walk them and bathe them, I want to do more for them.  As they are getting older, I think as in humans nutrition is going to be a larger part of keeping them healthy.

I have embarked on the AvoDerm Challenge to see a softer, shinier coat in just 6 weeks. Guaranteed!   It's been 4 weeks, and all I can say is WOW!!!  My dogs, feel better, they look amazing and their coats are so shiny and soft, even my kids won't stop petting the dogs.  Not to mention the fact, that Bosco and Peanut are more active than they have been in awhile.  They are playing in the yard, and they want to run a little farther with me.  Not bad for 10 years old!!  Thanks AvoDerm!

 AvoDerm® Natural premium dog and cat food formulas are 
loaded with high quality meat proteins,
rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids from natural avocados,
completely balanced for the total health of your pet. 

They are giving away a $5 coupon for AvoDerm you sign up for the 60 day challenge.  

There is a sweepstakes on their website to win a year's worth of AvoDerm for your dog.  
How awesome would that be?!

As in humans nutrition is key to your health and well being, I take my health and my children's health seriously, and I'm kicking it up a notch for my dogs, who have been by my side through every imaginable up and down.  I owe it to them to make sure they have a healthy diet and a beautiful coat for me and my family to pet and love.

Are you ready for the Challenge?  Come on! 




AvoDerm Twitter: https://twitter.com/avodermnatural
AvoDerm Website: http://www.avodermnatural.com/index.htm

I was compensated for this sponsored post made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Not only in Hollywood

Last week as news spread of Angelina Jolie coming forward about having a "preventative" bilateral mastectomy, I was first shocked because I normally prejudge Hollywood types to be vain and inhuman in many cases. Then I was relieved for her and as a mom of little children, I celebrate what she did.

First I must digress. After the billions of dollars raised for breast cancer research and how far we have come in a few decades on breast cancer treatment, the biggest preventative measure we have is a mutilating bilateral mastectomy? I try to imagine how fast and furiously scientist and doctors would work if the only preventative measure for any male genitalia cancers was surgical castration...

Now back to Ms. Jolie. She apparently tested positive for the BRCA1 gene which in lay mans terms meant she had an 87% chance of getting cancer later. Those are horribly sucky odds, and that alone would make a decision of the magnitude she made much easier (for me at least).

So what exactly is a mommy to do? I myself have a very long family history of cancer. It flipping runs rampant and is the scariest and most horrible thing you can think of for any of your family members to go through. Every woman older than me that I have a bloodline with other than my own mother has had breast or some other kind of cancer. Sow when I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ - the early stages of breast cancer, I was not shocked, however I was shocked that I tested NEGATIVE for BRCA1 and BRCA2. But that did NOT mean I wouldn't get cancer because I was sitting there in a doctors office WITH cancer!

I listened to a surgeon tell me the different options that I had as far as treating my cancer. I could have gone lumpectomy with chemo therapy and radiation, I could have had a mastectomy of the affected breast with chemo, I could sit and wait it out and see later if it started to spread (SHOCKED THAT WAS AN OPTION). And then the Big Kahuna answer came. I could do a double mastectomy, and remove my ovaries, because my cancer was estrogen fed, and if there were stray cells anywhere in my body me producing estrogen would feed them. This would give me a 95% chance of SURVIVAL - it meant I GOT TO LIVE!!! - So I said "Can we do it tomorrow?"

Now my decision may not be for everyone. I looked at our life. I had a 1 and a 3 year old - at the time only one had autism. I have a husband that was devastated by autism, this nearly crushed him and I knew he could not handle months and months of chemo treatment as well as caring for a special needs child. I have experience family members and friends getting chemo, and it makes you so sick, and it's very painful process. I didn't want that for myself or my family.

So for my life and my children, what worked best for our family was the decision to have a bilateral mastectomy and hysterectomy, at 41 years old. I was thrown into menopause, and thankfully there was no cancer in my lymph nodes, so I was basically a surgical case. I went through reconstruction, and the whole process took about 9 months. I worked a little slower than Ms. Jolie because I did have family help, but I did not have the army of hired help I'm sure she had. What my decision did was give me relief that I will not always be worrying with the breast cancer come back (even though it is a scary thought in my head daily). It made me want to be a healthy mom for my kids. It has made me a learning machine about my health and options, it has made me a better advocate for my children.

I admire Ms. Jolie for taking this brave step, but remind other women that it does happen amongst us. It wasn't the pretty celebration that it is publicized to be, it was emotional, and scary, and shook this woman to the core, and took all the parts that make you a woman away. After the shock and awe of all of that, you realize you where you were the day before the cancer call came in. You still have 2 kids that need you, a husband that loves you (even though this was a huge struggle for him he handled it well). AND I GOT THE BEST GIFT. I GOT TO LIVE!!!! I didn't want to just survive the cancer I wanted to LIVE, and raise my kids, and be silly, and happy, and enjoy the beautiful life, that may not be Hollywood, but it is awesome nonetheless.

Friday, May 10, 2013

To all you Dog Lovers - Are you ready for the AVODerm Challenge? #ad

  I was compensated for this sponsored post made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.

Before I was a mommy to my sweet children, I was the mom to 3 dogs, Bosco, Peanut and Misto.  I loved them and treated them like my kids for years until the boys came along.  I still love them but I do admit they get shoved to the back of my list occasionally.

While the dogs are my running mates, and my play mates and I feed them, and walk them and bathe them, I want to do more for them.  As they are getting older, I think as in humans nutrition is going to be a larger part of keeping them healthy. 

I am embarking on the AvoDerm Challenge to see a softer, shinier coat in just 6 weeks. Guaranteed! 
 AvoDerm® Natural premium dog and cat food formulas are 
loaded with high quality meat proteins,
rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids from natural avocados,
completely balanced for the total health of your pet. 

They are giving away a $5 coupon for AvoDerm you sign up for the 60 day challenge.  

There is a sweepstakes on their website to win a year's worth of AvoDerm for your dog.  
How awesome would that be?!

As in humans nutrition is key to your health and well being, I take my health and my children's health seriously, and I'm kicking it up a notch for my dogs, who have been by my side through every imaginable up and down.  I owe it to them to make sure they have a healthy diet and a beautiful coat for me and my family to pet and love.

Are you ready for the Challenge?  Come on! 


AvoDerm Twitter: https://twitter.com/avodermnatural
AvoDerm Website: http://www.avodermnatural.com/index.htm

I was compensated for this sponsored post made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.


 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

KNOTT’S BERRY FARM OFFERS MOM A FANTASTIC BRUNCH AND FREE ADMISSION TO THE PARK


If you are looking for something special to do for Mom on Mother's Day this has been a favorite of my family for the last several years, the food is delicious, and the opportunity to play at a World Class Amusement Park afterward is amazing.  

Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant has been a favorite family destination for Mother’s Day for over 70 years and this year they are offering moms free admission to Knott’s Berry Farm with their brunch purchase.   
           
This year Knott’s Mother’s Day Brunch will be offered at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, Spurs Chophouse and Wilderness Dance Hall all of which will include all of mom’s favorites including a breakfast station featuring made to order omelets, Belgium waffles, and cheese blintzes with Boysenberry sauce.  The carving station will be presenting roasted turkey, honey glazed ham, and prime rib carved to order.  Hot buffet items will include filet of salmon, sweet hickory pork ribs, old fashioned apple stuffing, cheese enchiladas, vegetarian lasagna and of course, Mrs. Knott’s famous fried chicken.  Knott’s Mother’s Day Brunch also includes unlimited champagne.

Knott’s Mother’s Day Brunch prices are $32.95 for Adults, $24.95 for Seniors (62+) and $17.95 for Children (3 -11).  Every mom in the party will receive a voucher for a free ticket to Knott’s Berry Farm, valid May 12, 2013 only. Reservation for Knott’s Mother’s Day Brunch can be made by calling (714) 220-5055
            For more information on all Knott’s has to offer, visit www.knotts.com.
           
About Knott’s Berry Farm:
The Knott’s Berry Farm property includes Knott’s Berry Farm theme park with dozens of rides, shows and attractions; the 321 room Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel with 20,000 square feet of meeting space; the Knott’s MarketPlace shopping and dining area and the 13-acre Knott’s Soak City Water Park.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring Break at the Lake


Something in my life, fat, thin, young, old, fit, or out of shape did I EVER think I would do would be a MUD RUN.  Well I have now completed 4 of them all Irvine Lake Mud Run.  They are a blast.  As a middle aged mommy and autism slayer and cancer survivor, the most awesome sauce thing I could do was challenge myself to get fit.  So while a half marathon is an event I plan and train for, I now throw in a couple mud runs a year because I need a little mud up my nose, and scrapes on my body to gain an appreciation for my long tiring boring runs of 10 miles on a dry paved road!

The Mud Run is not something I would do everyday, or for every race. The Mud Run is a challenge, it is kicking yourself up a notch.  There is so much about running a mud run that will take you out of your comfort zone and make you want to be more fit and BETTER for the next one.

Irvine Lake is located in Orange, California.  The course of the runs is a little bit more than 5K about 3.8 mile.  It is a moderately challenging terrain, with moderate/hard obstacles.  But there is options for every fitness and phobia level.   It is located in the picturesque Santiago Canyon area of Orange County.

The run itself is a blast, there are plenty of characters out there in costume, there are teams and families running together for their causes, and raising money for charities.  My favorite team shirt that I saw along the course was a group of people with "50 Shades of Filth" - it cracked me up. There are people having a good time, moving, getting or staying fit and for the most part people are having an amazing time.  Yes there are scrapes, scratches, twists and soreness that go along with it, but come on it's a mud run not a day at the spa! 

I finished this race in about an hour,  I did all the obstacles but the big slide, which looked amazing, but I just didn't have the time to wait in the line, I didn't see a person come off of that slide without a smile on their face, so I would venture to say it was a HUGE HIT with the participants.

The whole event is highly organized and well done, from bag drop off, and pictures, and showering and changing.  They make it easy for the novice mud runner to do this event with little to no logistical challenges.  The food vendors are good, and there is plenty of them, the music is great, the vendors are generous and the events have just been full of good people.  The Spring Break at the Lake was my 4th mud run, and I am planning on my 5th being Summer of Mud on June 22nd. The location is perfect, it's easy to reach in Orange County, it's affordable, and the course is something that all fitness levels can reasonably accomplish.

I promise you that you won't be sorry, you will not regret kicking up your fitness a notch, or getting dirty.  The event is great, and will leave you with such a sense of accomplishment, you will be smiling for days to come after the event, when after 4 showers you're still getting mud out of your hair ;)   Who is running with me??????

Rebecca
 



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Just Keep Running

I am a runner, I don't know how it happened, but I now run.  I race, I trot, I walk, but I finish.  I'm a runner.  I was out on my long run yesterday when I got a news alert on my phone of the Boston Marathon bombing.  I got stuck in a down pour and ran home as fast as my chubby Italian legs would take me.  All I could hear in my head was Ellen DeGeneres voice as Dory in Finding Nemo "Just Keep Swimming". I just couldn't imagine that people were bombed when all they wanted was to watch friends and family members finish the BOSTON FRIGGIN MARATHON, the most recognized race in the world.  The runners wanted to get their medals have an awesome meal/party with their community and go home.  They were robbed of that, and that sucks.  They were bombed by a crack pot for some ridiculous heinous reason who thinks killing and hurting innocent people is going to serve their psychotic purpose.

We need to keep running, we "Just Keep Running".  It is the thing that a lot of us do just to escape the reality of a world full of psycho nut jobs that think blowing people us is a sport in itself.  I know I run to keep the filter from my brain to my mouth in check.  It keeps me from telling a lot of people what i REALLY think.  The crazy lunatics that think innocent people deserve to be maimed and killed, the crazy nut jobs that hate us just because we are American, or white, or black, or a runner, or a woman, or a child, or just for being PEOPLE.  The world is full of horribly psychotic lunatics.  We won't stop them from doing the most horrible things imaginable because we are too worried about hurting some one's feelings, so we strip search and pat down 8 year old boys, and 92 year old blue haired ladies to make a pathetic statement that our safety is the real concern (HUGE EYE ROLL).

We need to as a community, of runners, and just common sense people.  We need to be aware of our surroundings, we need to report suspicious activity, we are no longer a society that can tuck it's head in the sand, and think that all people are good.  Unfortunately there are crazy psychotic lunatics whose soul mission is to do us harm, and that is sad.  However, once that fact is accepted it is very empowering.

It gives me the power to call the police when people are at the end of my cul-de-sac smoking weed, it gives me the power to call someone out when they are treating others like dirt, it gives me the power to protect my kids from a bully or just a plain idiot.  It gives the power to be observant of the world around me, and make sure that I am doing my best to not put myself or my children in harms way.

This bombing was the worst type of scenario, it was an attack that was completely unpreventable, and meant to just hurt or kill as many as possible. A large public venue and event that is world known and people from all over the world participate.  It was meant strictly to paralyze us with fear, and hurt us irreparably.  THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE we can not let the mean crazy people of the world win.  It is tragic, it affected a community of people that I have begun to become enthralled with, and I have actually joined, because I RUN.  These are exceptional people that will run slow with you to train, help you run faster, pull you across a finish line when you don't think you can go another step.  It is a community of people that runs and raises funds for charities, it is my favorite part of community because there is a common bond and fellowship that doesn't exist in many arenas.  So for that I am horribly broken hearted that pure evil has stuck it's ugly face into such a "safe place".

But we will win.  We will, because we will, just keep running, and putting one foot in front of the other, while we pray for those in Boston and the horrible nightmare they have had to endure, we will grow stronger, and more resilient, and aware that there is now an evil force in our community, but keep running to push the as*hats out.  Just keep running, Just keep running, running, running, running.

Rebecca






Monday, April 8, 2013

Toughest Marathon Ever


This is a training program that I never ever dreamed I would be participating in.  Seriously, not ever did I think I could do this.  This is not about running, but it is about training, and perseverance, and dedication, and pain, and enduring when you don’t think you have another step in you to go.  It is exactly the way I felt on the two half marathons I ran last year. 

After a brief hiatus at the end of the year, I got back on the training wagon and have been planning these races, and training around my kids schedule and school, therapy, and our family.  I run and train when I can, early in the morning, late at night, on a treadmill, or out on the trails.  Whatever and wherever I can, to be able to finish this race next month.  Well low and behold Autism must have found out that I actually made plans, and it is trying to bitch slap me down every day.

So, I’m trying my best to stay on track.  Autism has for the last few weeks, hijacked my older son, and is taking him on a horrible ride.  We are exhausted, worried, confused, and just plain sad.  He was making these great strides, and now in the last few weeks a major back slide.  Activities he loved are now cause of tantrums, places he liked make him troubled, he is tolerant of very little.  His frustration level is high, as is ours.  My sadness exists on so many levels, because I frankly cannot stand watching my child go through this neurological torture.  The fact that this is Autism Awareness Month, is just irritating and a farce that makes me crazy.  TRUST ME, WE ARE AWARE!!!  I do not get what in the hell anyone thinks we should be celebrating.  Should I be celebrating the sleeplessness, the tantrums, the rigidity, and the frustration from not being able to communicate with my child?  Which part are we having the party for??? The friends that have disappeared off the map because they don’t want our kids to play together?  The friend that don’t invite us anywhere because we look haggard?  The family members that stare at our kids like they are going to blow up?   We need action, and we need people to start training and working for this MARATHON OF AUTISM. The wave is here for crying out loud, and there are very few who are doing anything about it, and this mother is beyond PISSED.  Where is the research?  Where are the services?  Where is the help for these kids, as they get older?  Does anyone not see that the number is now 1 in 50, WAKE UP!!! When we were diagnosed 4 years ago, the number of kids diagnosed with 1 in 150, then 1 in 110, then 1 in 88 and last week the CDC reported that the number of kids diagnosed with Autism is 1 in 50.  The finish line is getting closer.  There are going to be thousands of these kids growing up and at the rate our lame ass government and education system is going we are doing a disservice to these kids, and everyone is going to end up being injured.  (SORT OF LIKE RUNNING A MARATHON WITHOUT TRAINING FOR IT – See what I did there?)  So perhaps while we are lighting things up blue, we could use some of that effort at a marketing campaign – to actual help for the families of autism???? Just a thought.  Perhaps everyone could get off of Sandra Fluke and her free birth control and focus on a problem that might actually affect people that aren’t selfish ho bags.   Just saying’.
 

 I am doing my best to remember minute by minute the life of both of my kids are a marathon.  I have to be patient, and strong, and endure every single kind of terrain that comes with autism.  Right now I feel like I’m running on a 95-degree day in the desert up hill with no water and no relief in sight, just like I did running up Irvine Avenue at mile 11 up a hill that was torturing me.  My children do not have the luxury of saying they don’t feel like having autism that day.  Neither do I.  I  no longer have luxuries of saying that I don’t want to do that, or I want to go there, or even making a plan is a JOKE.  I have to train, I have to be strong, I have to have endurance, I have to have patience, I have to have stamina, and I have to have the integrity and sportsmanship of an athlete to get through autism and a marathon.  Autism is a life long marathon; it is the most important training of my life, of our lives.  This life long marathon of autism requires that we be in shape and sharp, mentally and physically.  It will take more from your body than people can possibly fathom.  I never in my life thought sleep was important, until autism robbed me of it. 

I will run this race in a month, and I will be well trained, probably not trained the best.  But it’s just like being an autism parent.  I am doing the best I can with what is put in front to of me.  I don’t know the most, I don’t run the fastest, but I put my heart in this race, my entire heart, and do my best every single day to love and care for my boys with every single cell of my being.  I will give this race all I’ve got, because my boys deserve the mom that doesn’t give up.

Rebecca

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Motherhood Interrupted and Renovated

I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, I had in my head, planned out his whole little life, where he would go to school, he would be this amazing baseball player, and he would love to do extreme sports and activities with his mom, and his life would be awesome, and I would be this awesomesauceness of motherhood that would be a force to be reckoned with.

I had the same plans for my 2nd child.  He was going to be this crazy smart, golfer, that would travel the world, and take his mom with him everywhere to make sure every detail of his life was flawless and taken care of.

Those were those dreams I had under the pregnancy hormones.  After those babies come, and you are just so in love with them, the baby smell, the little feet, the cute little butts, just everything about being a mom is crazy wonderful, overwhelming, and amazing.  I love every second of it.

Then my awesome Motherhood was interrupted by the autism diagnosis on both of my kids.  It just slammed the door of the motherhood that I had planned for myself and my children.  But I kept trying to open that door, pounding, scratching, kicking that door to get it to open - like a prisoner trying to escape a jail cell.

Autism didn't just rob me of this mom that I wanted to be, it made Motherhood this labyrinth of a maze that no one gave you a map for.  You get handed a prescription for OT, Speech and ABA and get told we'll see you in 6 months.  HUH?!!  Well now what?  I clearly can't go to Gymboree, or Tumbling, or swimming lessons like I wanted.  But WHAT DO I DO NOW???  No one tells you?

So as I was left treading water in the sea that is Autism,  all these things about me as a person and a mother were sinking around me.  I lost this identity that I had made in my head about this mom that I wanted to be. I had friends that had normal kids that I had nothing in common with anymore, I was home or at therapy 40 hours a week with my kids, and it just hurt my heart too much to go on play dates with typical kids and see how far behind my kids were, and watch people stare at my boys like they were a circus sideshow.

After a few years of maneuvering and maturing I have got the autism thing down for the most part, I do research, I have an amazing group of moms that I have trudged this road before me and I take all their information and advice, and run with what works for my family.  We have the kids on a great therapy plan, I'm involved in their school, and I try to saturate them with social situations as much as possible.

As I was out on my run tonight, thinking about all the crap that rattles around in my brain.  I have been training for a half marathon that I'm very excited for.  I'm a slow runner, like old man shuffle type of pace, but I still like doing it, and hope I improve.  I have the opportunity coming up with some mom bloggers to do a relay race over 200 miles, and I'm getting anxiety about it.  You see, my motherhood is interrupted.  I don't get to be the athlete that I think I am in my head.  Autism sometimes yanks my chain and does not allow me to train like I would like, which is why I'm out running at 10pm after everyone is asleep. I am crazy determined to make this happen, I will have to step a lot of things up to do this but I feel confident it will work out.

I also wanted to go to this event tonight for this group of women that I think are really cool.  But I have kids that sometimes my husband can't handle alone (I don't ever get that option) and I have to decline going to things because my kids need me.

I am not the mom, the athlete, the weight loss success story, that is the perfect picture of Motherhood that I had envisioned in my head when I looked at my babies for the first time.  Sometimes I am a HOT MESS, I don't eat right all the time, I gained some weight back, I am struggling keeping on my training plan for the half marathon (but I'm doing it),   But the clarity My motherhood was interrupted and had to be renovated to fit autism into it.  And when we made room and remodeled our lives to include autism, somethings didn't get included in that "house", something are out in the storage shed or the yard.   The family is in the house.  Running, blogging, social events, and sometimes unfortunately some friends are out in storage or in the metaphorical backyard, I visit the yard when I can, when my "house" is in order
. The renovation of my life made me stronger that I imagined.  And you know what?  That is exactly the kind of awesomesauce poured over the hot mess I am that has brought me peace.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Knott's Berry Bloom is the place to be for Spring!

 Every time my kids get a break from school, I get a little frantic about how to keep them busy.  Well again, Knott's Berry Farm will be a go to for their Knott's Berry Bloom.  Knott's is a great family place that has fun for all ages and abilities, and we only have a great time there.

This spring break, Knott’s Berry Farm makes it even easier to have fun with Knott’s Berry Bloom. From March 23rd through April 7th, the entire park will be “spring-i-fied” in a big way. With exciting new activities and attractions like Search For The Easter Beagle, where kids can win fun prizes; amazing natural sculptures in The Towering Topiary Tasting Garden; a musical and interactive Peanuts Party in The Park, Big Boardwalk Board Games, 3-D artwork show, and more. For a different kind of fun this spring break, come out to Knott’s Berry Bloom, where fun is always in bloom.

The Search for the Easter Beagle will have kids (3-11) scurrying across the park to find images of the famous Beagle.  Warmer weather means enjoying the great outdoors, which is just what the Peanuts characters are doing in "Peanut's Party in the Park" a new interactive live show located in Charleston Circle.  This musical revuew includes some of today's top ten tunes that will have the whole family singing along.

Looking for a little friendly competition?  Then head of to Knott's Boardwalk ara for the big game, the Big Boardwalk Board Games that is.  It's a family game night to the extreme as everyone becomes oversized game pieces in some of their favorite board games.  From dominoes to tic-tac-toe - it's game on!

The park will also be filled with giant interactive displays that scream "SPRING"!  This is just the part of the fun there will be more to experience at the park when you visit.

Rebecca


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Flash Blog - Autistic People should be Adored and Respected

Today’s post is part of a flashblog – “Autistic People Should” – which began as a way to combat the disgusting and vile search engine results that pop up when someone Googles the phrase “Autistic people should.”  I am disgusted that people would even put this in Google enough that they register.  Another testimonial to the fact that there is a huge lack of awareness and disrespect to the special needs community.
See photo below:
This is wrong on so many levels


It has been amazingly challenging for me to bite my tongue for the last 4 years a lot of the time when I see people staring at my child for some of the behavior that IS Autism.  Be it flapping, hopping, jumping, shrieking, running, hysterical laughter, and incessant chattering or scripting.  

Our children are living in this world where acceptance is a huge challenge.  It is a challenge because it is easier to live unaware than it is to make yourself aware.  As I am navigating my way through the school districts and schools, I am learning this more and more.  Our children are pushed back into the portable buildings and for the most part forgotten.  We find out about things at school last, if the flyers even bother to make it to our backpacks on time for an event, or special dress day, or something like that.  I've been slapped with the epic reality that the schools and principals and teacher "HAVE TO" take our kids, few necessarily "WANT TO" have them there.

I've heard and had mothers tell me (before they knew I was a Special Ed Mom)  "I have to move my child's classroom, the SDC kids are just too disruptive and loud" with a large eye roll from her.    One of the best moments in life was the next day when she saw me in the Special Ed office, yeah, she avoids eye contact with me at all costs now.

Our children are just as awesomesauce and amazing as the rest of the kids at school.  No, my kids are probably never going to be home run hitters and play on a sports team.  But last month after months of working on it we got Franklin to shake his head for "NO", and nod his head for "YES".  This was the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in my life.  I believe that people just do not realize the work and struggle it took to make that happen the neurological labyrinth that is his brain was defeated by a team of people that work tirelessly to help my kid become Awesome.  Isn't it more awesome that someone can effectively communicate their wants and needs than scoring touchdowns?

The amount of work it takes to control his body, the flapping, the jumping the yammering is intense and challenging more than any Tough Mudder, Mud Run or marathon I could run.  He flaps when he is happy and excited, and yet people stare and make faces and fun of him.  We don't stare at your children when they are excited to see Lightning McQueen or a garbage truck.  

Jackson happy as a lark flapping away

Excited anticipation


Mid Flight and Flap

Happy but the world is loud


Shaking his head NO

Nodding for yes -

The world doesn't understand me sometimes.
The amount of work and therapy and challenges that these children have to go through on a daily basis, should give them only enormous amounts of respect, adoration, and awe.  They deserve that, because there is nothing more than amazing and incredible.    The acceptance has to come from everywhere.  These children live amongst you, and just as you would be in awe of an athlete or scholar, inventor, or business person for an amazing accomplishment - please be just as in awe and acknowledge and respect a kid because he can nod his head - it is that awesome, it is that amazing, and it is something that should be adored and respected.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Can't Believe I Actually Have to Say This

This is a little bit of a rant, so please bear with me.  My kids 4 and 6 have been sick with colds, strep throat, ear infections, and stomach bugs on and off since Thanksgiving.  It actually got so bad for my 4 year old, he is getting daily breathing treatments to keep his asthma at bay, and 3 weeks ago we finished his 4th round of strep throat.  Now I'm not trying to walk on a high horse or take the intellectually superior road - but I kind of am.

It has gotten to the point where I have to have my 4 year old sons tonsils out because he is continually exposed to infections and gets them repeatedly.

My kids are special needs, and do not have the cognitive ability to tell me that their throat hurts or they have an ear ache.  I can tell by their behavior that something is about to come down the pike with them in the way of a cold, flu, stomach bug.  It is clear, they are tired, crabby, lethargic, or just have a bad look to them.  And it is hard with my 4 year old to tell because he just goes and plays hard if he has 103 degree fever or is well.  The rosy cheeks on him are my indicator.  I have taken him to the doctor because he just wasn't acting right, and he has had horrible double ear infections, and I feel like the shittiest mother of the year award is about to be delivered to my doorstep.

Now I digress, I see kids on the bus, and at school drop off on a daily basis that are CLEARLY too sick to be there.  What I don't actually SAY to the parents out loud is "Hey idiot, the kid is too sick to be here, and I don't want my child to get this plague again, do you mind driving your dumb ass back to your house until green and brown snot is not rolling down his face?"  When school calls me to pick up a child because they have gotten sick at school I keep him home for a day or two - OR UNTIL HE IS BETTER!  I don't take him back to school the next morning and say "Well he got home and played all day and acted fine", while I see the glassy eyes, and SNOT (my least favorite substance on the planet) rolling down his lip and the glistening snot on his sleeve, and then he wants to hold my child's hand!!!  STOP THE MADNESS.

I'm not waging a war between stay at home moms and working moms, it really has nothing to do with it.  School is not the place to care for sick kids, it just isn't.  If you don't know your kid is sick and he gets called home that his one thing, but if you are insistent on bringing a child to school that is sick, and loudly saying "They call me to pick him up a couple times a week because he as a fever.....",  don't be surprised one day if I am no longer my charming self to you at drop off.  

Here is a lesson in some common sense.

If you child has a fever, keep him home until he is at a normal temperature for 24 hours WITHOUT Tylenol or some other fever reducer.

Green, Brown or any colored snot - besides being completely disgusting - IS AN INFECTION - Keep them home!

Not eating, drool, or spitting my indicate a horrible sore throat - KEEP THEM HOME.

Diarrhea - KEEP THEM HOME.

My kids have missed nearly 6 weeks of school - 19 days for one and 16 school days for the other.  It is our jobs as parents to care for the kids.  If we ALL (yes even you) kept our kids home for 2-4 days when they are sick, the sickness may stop spreading over and over and over again.  You know who would really appreciate it, I'm sure is the teachers!  You think they want to wipe that disgusting slime off any ones face?  I don't even like to wipe my own kids noses.

So please, before I have to unleash the bitch within that wants to come out and slap some common sense into some parents.  Stay home and cuddle your kids on the sofa,  you may have to cut a vacation short a couple of day because of personal time at work - but guess what?!  WE DIDN'T GET A VACATION THIS CHRISTMAS BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE INFECTED US WITH THE BUBONIC PLAGUE.  So I'm not sympathetic to that excuse in the least bit.  My job is to care for and make my kids as happy and healthy as possible, please do not make it your job to send sick kids to school.

Rebecca



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Special Event - "Wild at Heart" at the OC Zoo

To celebrate Valentine’s Day the OC Zoo is inviting couples to be “Wild at Heart” and enjoy two-for-one zoo admission February 14-17. Couples, pairs and any party of two can take advantage of this special Valentine’s Day offer.

Spend a day at the OC Zoo with just the two of you or the whole family and learn more about the romantic and friendly animal couples of the zoo. Animal keepers will be presenting special Valentine’s Day-themed talks about the animals throughout the days.

Admission to the OC Zoo is generally $2 per person ages 3 years and over with free admittance for ages 2 years and under. This special two-for-one admission offering is available February 14 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and February 16 and 17 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The OC Zoo is located inside Irvine Regional Park in Orange. Parking is $3 per vehicle on weekdays and $5 per vehicle on weekends.

Be Wild at Heart with OC Parks and your loved ones at the OC Zoo this Valentine’s Day.

Orange County Zoo
1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869

Monday, February 11, 2013

Big Air is a Big Hit

As a family with two boys with autism, finding motivational and fun things to do can be somewhat of a challenge.  Their abilities are limited, their social skills need work, and the amount of sensory stimulation they can handle could be the straw the breaks the camels back on their best day.  Well I know in our house, our swing set, play structure and mini trampoline are always go to fun things.  So last week when I read there was a trampoline park opening just a few miles from our house, I did a cartwheel of joy down my hallway (not really, more of a happy dance).

Franklin found his groove and got big air!
Big Air OC opened this weekend and the space is amazing.  Not quite complete but for my kids needs the place was a hit and absolutely perfect.  Plenty of room to jump, areas for big kids, little kids, Big Air basketball - I even managed to get a slam dunk in, dodge ball court(S), yes PLURAL, and there are a few more features to come.  There is also a great lounge area for waiting parents with beautiful leather furniture and a big screen TV.  There are video games, private party areas, and super nice bathrooms.

The staff was professional and accommodating to my kids special needs, and all the kids there were having a magnificent time.  When all you see is smiles and all you hear is laughter and shrieks of joy, you know the place is a complete hit.

The location in Laguna Hills will be open
Monday  - Thursday from 2pm - 9pm
Friday 2pm - 11pm.
Sat. 10am - 11pm
Sun. 10am - 9pm

They have plans for fitness classes, special needs afternoons, and of course they will be hosting birthday parties. 

I couldn't rave more about the place.  Check it out.  You will have to give the lawyers all kinds of pleasure by filling out waivers for all that come to jump, but save yourself some time, and do it online through the website http://www.bigairoc.com.








A comfy area to wait for your kiddos

Big Air for Dunking! Even I did it.
Fun for all ages :)

Plenty of video games to keep you busy between dodge ball games

Rebecca

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Rant of a Mom with 2 Boys with Autism

Today I got this article from a friend posted on my Facebook page.  I know she had every good intention when she sent it.  I am not in the least upset at her.  However, the article did make my blood boil, as do most that come out about Autism.   Because I am seriously now just calling BULLSHIT on most of the medical community and the media on their ridiculous claims about Autism.

Are they afraid to say, “We really and truly don’t have any idea what causes this”?  Because for the love of Pete, that is the honest to God’s truth.  NO ONE KNOWS 100% WHAT IS CAUSING AUTISM.  There are a lot of theories, claims and minutia thrown out and the media spins it in a new way every 2 – 3 months.  Let me tell you what these little 200 word articles do to the parents of children with autism, it is the equivalent of ripping their hope and hearts out of their bodies and throwing it in a huge bucket of shame and pouring acid on it.

Let’s look at all the “articles” that I have had well meaning people send me in the last 4 years.  What causes autism? 
  • Refrigerator mothers, cold, unfeeling women that do not bond with their child that causes the social ineptitude in the kids.   I’m Italian – that is INVALID immediately
  • Age of the mother,
  • Age of the father,
  • Living too close to a freeway,
  • Living near a farm that used pesticides. 
  • Lifestyle choices of the parents,
  • Mitochondrial abnormalities (GENETIC)
  • Vaccinations, (ENVIRONMENTAL)

Shall I go on, or do you get my point?   I have also gone to Doctors, well respected Doctors in the autism community who told me that because I had breast cancer that could have lead to higher causes in autism, and after that little gem that made me feel like I had been punched in the stomach- he also decided to tell me after looking at my kid for 5 minutes in a tent at a picnic that my child was having seizures while we were sitting there. You must know, I wanted to punch him in the throat (after I spent 5 days in Children’s Hospital getting an EEG on my 5 year old too make sure he wasn’t having seizures, which he was not).  I also had this other hippie patchouli oil smelling Doctor tell me because I had drank even one Diet Coke in my life could have been the environmental cause to my kids autism. 

This particular article has a variety of things that are pretty much put in perspective as to what autism families are forced to wake up to frequently.

Melillo does believe that autism is often a result of environmental factors combined with genetic predisposition.  The most potent lifestyle factors are diet and exercise and inflammation in the body.
                                   
Wow!!  That’s ground breaking Doctor.  Autism is a result of environment and genetics influences.  Almost as original as designing a floral dress in the Spring.  GAWD.

Melillo identified numerous preventative measures parents can take to better ensure their child will not be born with autism. All of these measures are included in his book, Autism: The Scientific Truth About Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Autism Spectrum Disorder -- and What Parents Can Do Now.
“One of the things that we looked at are things like… pre-natal vitamins,” Melillo said.  “Taking pre-natal vitamins three months before and for the first month of pregnancy lowers the risk of having a child with autism by 60 percent.”

Did you pick that statistic up?  If you take your prenatal vitamins in your first month of pregnancy – Do the majority of women even know they’re pregnant the first 3 weeks? And the last 3 months of pregnancy you decrease your risk of autism by 60%.  So you have a 40% chance of autism if you DO take those prenatal vitamins?  Honest to God????? That’s the best you can come up with?  You have got to be kidding me.  All to publish a book, this is what you are offering people?  Why don’t you say it like this okay 40% of you women religiously taking your pre-natal vitamins you still have a chance of having a kid with autism? My God, isn’t that some sort of malpractice?  Doctors have to name some kind of cause of autism that blames the mother.  It’s INSANE.  It couldn’t possibly be the mercury filled, preservative laced vaccinations that are given at a ridiculously fast pace to a tiny little body under 20 lbs., could it?????
 
And for what I agree with on this article is this:

As for where the future of autism reearch is going, he said it will delve more into the mechanisms behind the disorder.
“I think it's going to go towards understanding what is really happening,” Melillo said, “and understanding how the brain regulates the body. You know, people don't realize that the brain regulates the immune system, your digestive system.  Most food sensitivities and allergies and immune problems really start in the brain, and I think all of this is going to go towards understanding the brain, how the brain affects the body, how this can affect somebody you know before they are having a child, and how this is actually affecting the child”.
So, all of you Doctors and your over weaning egos need to address this, and work together, I have been to and watched and heard way too many doctors dismiss treatment, therapies, and parental observations of their autistic children because frankly it didn’t fit into an agenda they want to promote.  You all need to work together and come up with a variety of treatments and things that will help autistic children.  You have to have heard the phrase “If you have met one kid with autism, then  you have met ONE kid with autism”.


I have 2 kids with autism and they couldn’t be on a more different places on the autism spectrum. 1 vaccinated and 1 not.  One is severe, and one is mild/moderate on the spectrum. One verbal, one non-verbal.  One is social (mostly inappropriately) and the other has no idea there are any other people on the planet than just a few of us.   So I feel like Autism x 2 24/7 has given me a voice, a rather newly intolerant voice for the CRAP that is thrown out at families with autism.  The way our world is rocked and changed forever the minute we get the diagnosis is enough.  To be forced every 6 – 8 weeks to look at a RIDICULOUS article stating and placing blame on everything that may or may not cause autism because some Doc or Researcher paid a Public Relations firm to get their name in the paper or their book some sales (I’m not trying to speak for any other autism families, just mine – but I think a lot of families share these same sentiments). 
 
So to the medical autism community, can you do all us autism families a favor and GET ON THE SAME PAGE, or at least don’t poo poo every possible idea that doesn’t agree with your beliefs.  Some stuff is working even if you roll your eyes about it.  Moms and dads of children with autism have done more to bring awareness and action to this horrible epidemic and to have your smugness thrown at us is infuriating.  We all need to work together – NO MATTER WHAT IS WORKING FOR THEIR KIDS.  Parents know what it working for their kids, be it diet, TMS, therapy, biomed, Son-Rise…. Ad infinitum.  Get on Board for the kids and their families, we are with them 24/7 not just the 20 minutes you see them every 6 months.

Thanks for the rant.

Rebecca
 
UA-32702260-1 http://www.therealmomsofoc.com