Saturday, December 26, 2015

WINTER FEST OC

There is still over a week left to visit Winter Fest OC at the Orange County Fairgrounds.  We attended last week, and had a great time with all the activities available to do.  There was Ice Skating, Sledding, Reindeer petting, bounce houses, carnival rides, games, amazing ice sculpting via chain saw, and great entertainment. 

If you're able to get there at 5:30 every night you get fireworks and Christmas Tree Lighting. 

The festival is open daily until January 3rd from 11am - 10pm.  There is a lot to do there, and you can look up the schedule and pricing for Winter Fest OC and buy tickets online.

Winter Fest is proud to honor heroes in the community by offering free admission to nurses, educators, servicemen, law enforcement and firefighters. Every Wednesday is “nurse appreciation day” and nurses will be granted free admission with a valid workplace ID. Every Thursday is “teacher appreciation day” and teachers will be granted free admission with a valid workplace ID. All firefighters, law enforcement personnel, active and retired military will be granted free admission daily through January 3, 2016. All participants are required to show proper ID verifying their profession at the ticket booth to receive admission.

The things we loved were the model trains, the fireworks, the ICE SKATING, with skating assistance was so beyond awesome, and the sledding.  It felt like we were in the middle of a white Christmas smack dab in the middle of Orange County.  The carnival rides are great, but can make it into a very pricey day, there are unlimited wristbands available for sale, and season passes for a pretty reasonable price.

There is a WHOLE week left of winter break, and I know I'll be there a couple more times to burn off the energy of these kids.

As far as special needs and autism, all rides and attractions were accommodating.  It wasn't extremely loud or crowded so I didn't have a need for all my extra autism armory which was awesome,  I would bring ear muffs for firework times and during the chainsaw ice sculpting.  We really enjoyed our time there, and will make at least one more trip before our vacation is over.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pinch me, I must be dreaming

This weekend was like a dream, a dream come true.  But the kind of dream that took hours and hours and hours of blood, sweat and tears to happen.

There was a time when autism had held us hostage, and it was so brutal, and tortured our family and my children so badly we couldn't do things that most typical families take for granted.

Last year we tried to take our first vacation ever at a hotel, and it was an epic disaster.  While it had good moments, it just was so deflating to my spirit, ego and soul, I never thought it was going to get better from there.

But after that, I took a look at all we were doing with the kids took a step back, re-evaluated, therapies, medications, and just our life an general and rocked every one's world and changed everything.  I changed my mindset, I changed therapy companies, I changed medications, or rather took one of the kids off medication, and I changed how I looked at autism.  I was tired of always feeling defeated.

So for years we worked to get our kids to do the simplest things, like go to the beach.  We live in Southern California for crying out loud.  How do you NOT go to the beach.  There were times I couldn't even drive my car on Pacific Coast Highway because my kids and their autism would lose their shit in the car being that close to the ocean.........It SUCKED ASS.

So everyone put on their big kid underwear, dug deep and worked, worked hard, tirelessly, and thought outside the box, to get these kids out in the community, without torturing them OR the community.

So hours and hours and hours of walking up and down the street looking at the ocean, to walking TO the sand, over and over and over.

This weekend as we have for the last 4 years, we have gone down to Salt Creek Beach to watch the Surfing Santa contest, and for the first 2 it was a snot, sweat, crying, anxiety ridden morning that made me want to just give up.  But I don't and I can't give up on them!  So this year we walked to the beach, and my kids put on their bathing suits and went in the friggin' ocean.    And then the founder of Surfers Healing asked if Franklin wanted to surf, Franklin nodded his head and started to drag a surfboard to the beach, and then I almost fainted out of disbelief!  (not really) 

So when I would cry and feel alone, and wonder if I would ever see things happen with my kids, and when I wanted to stop everything because it was so hard, and I was miserable and they were miserable, things were actually happening.  Really things were happening, and their lives and our lives and everything around us was and is getting better, easier, and different.  Make no mistake, there are days like today that suck complete ass, and there are always going to be huge struggles and lots and lots of work to do.  My attitude and outlook on that work has changed, and I have hope, that there lives will be good and get better a little bit everyday.  

Rebecca

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Stop Failing the Kids

Hun Joon Lee, Hun Joon Lee.  They called him Paul at school.  He was a boy, a man, a person.  He was 19 years old, his parents were preparing to celebrate his 20th birthday and after the Whittier School District failed to do their job they are planning a funeral for their child.  Hun Joon Lee was a wonderful 19 year old boy, who had autism, and was non-verbal.  Much like my child Franklin.  He can not speak up for himself, and did not have the cognition you get himself out of a situation.

You  see what happened that day was the bus driver picked up 3 students and only 2 got on the bus.  Paul was left on the bus, LEFT ON THE BUS, on the hottest day of the Southern California Summer 105 degrees.  He couldn't yell for help, the driver didn't check the bus, the teachers and the aide never let the family know that Paul didn't show up that day.  The bus pulled into school for morning drop off, and then went to the bus yard and Paul was sitting in a small 8 -10 passenger bus, and he died.

He died, someones child died, because a long line of people that are supposed to take responsibility for his care didn't step up and do their jobs.  The driver, the aides, the teacher, they all failed to do their job, and this poor vulnerable man was left to swelter on a hot bus all day and suffer while in fear and pain.

I have been using bus service for 5 years, and have had my share of difficulties.  I have felt shamed by some friends and families for choosing the bus, made to feel inferior because the bus works for us, with 2 special needs kids at 2 schools it is a necessary evil.  But that is a story for another time, we should all support each other as special needs parents.

The most vulnerable, the citizens that rely the most on US, us as a whole to care for them.  They are not LESS because they have impairments that don't make them "normal".  They are not LESS because they can't speak up for themselves. They are not LESS because they require special accommodations to get them to and from places.  They are not LESS, they are people. We need to treat them as PEOPLE, GOOD DECENT PEOPLE.  What has happened to us?

This district and the bus company and the police have given the Lee Family no answers, none as to how they failed their child.  How they let him die on a bus.  Why is that acceptable?  IF this was a neurotypical child that was left on a bus after a field trip to basically cook to death, would people accept NO ANSWERS 5 days later?

My child is this boy, who uses the bus, and can't get out of the restraint system, and I can not get a hold of my emotions where this is involved.  This boy requires people to do their jobs.  My child and many others require many people during the day to DO THEIR JOBS PERFECTLY.  Human and mistakes is not acceptable where a life is involved.  We are now forced to listen to Union Yahoos, defend the driver, and their failed systems, we are forced to have a school district disrespect the life and family of Paul Lee because we have now become and allowed public servants to fall to a disgustingly low standard of work.

I will not allow this kind of disrespect and lack of decency exist where our special needs kids OR your typical children are concerned.  Head should be rolling down the street and fired, arrests should be made, and this kind of thing happens TOO MUCH.  This is not the first time, and sadly it won't be the last we have allowed mediocrity and complacency weave it's way into our education system, and the ones who pay the price our always our kids.  If we won't stand up for our kids and REQUIRE adults and caretakers to do their jobs EVERY SINGLE DAY, and get rid of Unions where our kids are involved and put cameras in the classrooms and on the buses so that when these people who are supposed to be caring for our kids fail, we have some back up.  Parents should be planning birthday parties, not funerals.  The special needs community needs all of you to step up and speak up where our kids can not.  This is so wrong, and my heart is broken.  I can't see our kids failed anymore.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Super Sensational Successful Summer

We did it!  Autism beat the summer.  We nailed it, we worked together as a family, as therapists, as community, and had a few bad moments, but no bad days. 

I am so beyond proud of my kids and how hard they work and how enormously awesome they are.  I remember summers and how I would dread and be anxiety filled about the lack of structure and fear of the unknown and how autism would kick my ass.

This summer was sensational, we had so many opportunities afforded to us.  The kids attended Extended School Year, they were able to participate in Special Camp for Special Kids, Surfers Healing, ASkate, and many many Angel baseball games, Disneyland trips, Knotts Berry Farm and many many many hours in the pool.

We have conquered the major behaviors, we have given Franklin a means to communicate, we have found the things that make the boys happy.  We have found their joy.  And no matter what the joy is, we run with it, and do our best to keep their lives as busy and engaged as possible.

I did not have a lot of sleep, because as I had to keep the boys busy, we were busy.  The husband and I are opening a business, and I 3 half marathons in the next 5 months going on that I need to train for, so go go go has been the mantra here.

Back in the spring my husband purchased a Harley Davidson, and we have found a fun and passion that we haven't had in a long time.  While I don't ride myself, I'm just a passenger, I love to look at the world from the back of the bike and just be close to my man. We have changed "date night" to date days, and take long rides through beautiful parts of our area, and have met some really fascinating people who share our love for Harley Davidson and riding.  So while I took some coercing to get the bike, I'm so glad we did.

With 4 days left of our summer vacation, I'm a little emotional that I have a 1st grader, I feel like I just took that pregnancy test!  I am more confident in my ability as a special needs parent, and have become a good advocate for my kids.  I have resources and wonderful team of parents around me that help me and I'm able to help. 

This has been just an amazing summer, and I'm sorry to see it end, but so ready for the kids to be back in school.  I hope you all have had just as blessed of a time as we have.





Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I Remember When.....

I was reminded today about those early days in our autism diagnosis.  Man those were possibly the biggest suck fest filled days ever.  Because what you get from the "medical community" is a paper with your autism diagnosis and a prescription for some Occupational Therapy - maybe, and told they'll see you in a year.  That's it, then you're on your own.  You're on your own, with the only resource you have is yourself, and trying to find the Yellow Brick Road to get back to Kansas. 

Every single parent handles that diagnosis differently, husbands, wives, step-parents, grandparents, godparents, guardians.  We all have our own coping mechanisms and they are all different.  There is not a right way or a wrong way, because there is no instruction manual when you have a diagnosis from autism.  Sure you have professionals that lay out a black and white plan for you - but those so called professionals must have not learned that autism is not black and white, there are many many different shades of grey, and not one of the kiddos fit inside a specific box that they built to try to fix the "problem".  I foolishly and wide eyed believed them with 2 years of therapy and early intervention my son would be mainstreamed by Kindergarten - that was the plan for all kids with autism................  that's another heartbreak for another post.

But I remember the heartbreak and the loneliness that was crippling.  I remember feeling like I was losing my son more and more everyday.  I remember grieving and sobbing over the dreams that I had for my kids, I remember feeling like my motherhood was robbed from me, I remember when I saw one of my friends stare at my kid for the first time in shock, I remember not feeling happy for my friends when they shared their babies milestones because I was jealous and sad, I remember not taking phone calls from people because I didn't want to talk and I didn't want to listen, I remember a couple of years of being a prisoner in my house to autism therapy.  I remember being jealous and angry at my husband because he got to go to work and get away from it for 10 hours - he sometimes a lot of times stayed 18 hours.  But what I remember most looking back on it was my fear, I remember the fear, it paralyzed me, literally I couldn't move, I couldn't talk, and I could barely breath.  If you're an autism parent, I know you felt that too.  That's the stuff we're never supposed to utter out loud.

When pre-school started and I actually got to go out of the house and see people other than the 22 year old therapist that came to my house everyday to help my kid make eye contact and stack blocks (they did much more than that).  I arrived at school, and there were moms there.  Mom's like me that had that look on their face, "WTF just happened to my life".  But it was that time in pre-school, when I saw other moms other families, dads, grandparents bringing their kiddos to school, hoping and praying and expecting the best for their kids.  My old friends, didn't understand my sorrows, my worries, my hurt, my grieving, and my immeasurable love for my kid.  But the mommies and daddies I met at drop off and pick up were top notch, they pulled me out of the hole that I was in and brought me back to life.  They put light in my eyes, and hope in my heart.  They gave me a voice and ears - to speak and listen about ANYTHING.

Never thought times like this would happen, friends make it possible
The journey that autism takes you on is a blind one. There is not absolute map, there are not guarantees, but just like in anything in life, find the people who are doing their best to move forward.  There will be all kinds of people you meet on your journey, and that's the point.  There is no reason to do this alone - the number is 1 in 68 kids has autism. There are a lot of us, don't be sad and alone, there is hope, there is help - so many different kinds of help, there are options, many of them. Do not ever give up hope.

I am the mom of a severely autistic child and a mild to moderately impacted child.  Their needs are both significant, but very very different.  There are so many options and paths to take and the professionals while they mean well, they are just not nearly as compassionate, empathetic and none have the foresight to combine treatments and therapies or "think outside the box".  Autism in many many ways has made  me feel like the most inadequate mom because I never know if what I'm doing is good, right, or working or hurting my kids, and it constantly makes me second guess myself.  My other warrior moms pull me out of my paralysis and help me move forward. They understand, when I can't find a babysitter, they understand and cook a meal for me when my son hasn't slept in 6 days, they talk to me on Christmas because one of my kids hadn't pooped in 5 days and he was miserable.   I can't tell you how much other autism families have added to our life.  I don't know where we'd be if we didn't have families helping other families.  Amazing organizations are out there to help, all you have to do is look past your tears and fears.


If you're a new mommy or even had your diagnosis for awhile and are sad and scared or just exhausted and overwhelmed.  We get it, we live it, and you do not have to ever be alone again.  I don't want to be that mom that jumped into the bottle of wine and swam around for a couple of years because I didn't know what to do.  I still don't always know what to do, but there are so many families that have trudged the autism road in front of me, I follow - and I follow and sometimes I fall but if I get on the path and stay on the path, I'm always going forward and I'm never alone. 

To all my autism and special needs parents that I've met, facebooked, instagramed, emailed and see all the time.  Thank you, for being part of our lives you make our lives better everyday. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Don't Get out the Party Hat Yet

Every April we go through Autism Awareness Month, or Autism Action Month.  Because I have Autism in my family with my 2 children, we are acutely aware of autism and all that comes with it.  I'm grateful that April comes and promotes at least awareness of autism.  Even though the numbers of those diagnosed with autism have risen dramatically in the 6 years we've been in the autism arena, I'm shocked how many people have no idea about it, and not that it's their fault or anything.  I didn't know anything about it until I was baptized by the fire of a diagnosis.

I love adore, and worship my kids and would walk through fire or to the end of the earth for them.  I've participated in some hokey therapies and treatments and would do every single thing over to make sure I left no stone unturned to help my kids beat autism.

What I have never understood, and I get a lot of flak for is I do not and have not found the celebration of autism.  While it's something my kids have, it doesn't have them.  We work hard, and constantly and consistently to help crack the shell that is surrounding my children.  One of my children is also severely impacted by autism, non verbal, and his life is extraordinarily challenging, there is NOTHING about his autism that is a party or deserves a parade.  It's horrible some of the days and nights he goes through with his neurological torture.  I don't even think some parents of children with autism that are verbal and high functioning can even relate to this part of the autism spectrum.  Severe autism is nothing that is to be celebrated.  I wouldn't celebrate someone getting a stage IV Gleoblastoma brain tumor, as autism, there is not cause or cure., I don't celebrate MS, I don't celebrate ALS.  I show compassion and to the people effected by these things, they're the same.  They are life changing ailments that make your life different, and not always for the better.

The celebrations that I do have every day, are the lives of my boys, and every single accomplishment that I have learned to not take for granted.  The first time my son used a tissue to wipe his nose instead of his shirt sleeve.  When he picked up his mess from a meltdown and put it back in the toybox, the hugs I get, the new things we works so hard to get them to try and have success (even after years of therapy).  I celebrate the accomplishments, and the ways we find joy and give them happiness.  I celebrate our family and how even though we are different and have to take 2 cars everywhere we go in case autism hijacks our event, we are a family, and we do autism together great.  The friends we have made in the journey of autism, are amazing because autism is isolating, and these families have all come together to help, hug, and understand in the lonely heartbreaking world of autism.  I couldn't even imagine going through this journey without some of my autism mommies and daddies, we are friggin AMAZING, even if the rest of the world doesn't get it.

The things that keep me up at night and I'll never be able to celebrate.
What will happen to my kids when I die?  Who will care for them, they have family that doesn't even bother to try to know them?  Will Franklin ever talk?  Where will they live?  Is someone bullying them at school, and they don't even know how to tell me?  Is a teacher or therapist not giving them their treatment because they know my kids can't tattle on them?  Is my house secure enough so they can't get out?  What was that sound?  Where is he?  Did he eat? Did he poop?  How did he get that bruise?  Is that a seizure? Is that an allergy?  Is he sick?  I wonder if something hurts him?  Are the professionals telling me the truth?  Will this treatment work?  What if this treatment doesn't work?  Will this treatment hurt him or affect him negatively????  See the racing mind NEVER EVER stops.  I'm more fearful of the autism,  because the autism hurts my kid sometimes.  Literally and figuratively.   Those are all the fears worries and doubts that I have to overcome before I can put a party hat on and whoop it up about autism.

What autism has given me is a strength I didn't know was possible, a perseverance of a warrior, and a belief and faith in my kids, and my God that I didn't know was there.  So those little things I celebrate, but Autism, I just don't, I just can't.  My kids are more than autism, and I don't just want them to be that label I want them to be Franklin and Jackson and I want the world, their school and our families to see the awesomeness that I see in them everyday.  So while yes I will every single solitary day adore, worship and celebrate my boys, I don't yet have a reason or willingness to celebrate the diagnosis, I may not ever get there, but celebrating the successes of my kids, and helping them overcome the obstacles that autism throws down in front of them every day.  I celebrate the victories we have over autism.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Day My Filter Died

I have had these thoughts wrapped in my head for weeks now, and kept them in because it's a reality that to be a blogger, you have to write about rainbows, puppies, and the perfect afternoon outing with your perfectly coiffed and dressed children, your perfectly designed home, and cooked meal and never ever show the mess in the kitchen ;)


Well you know what? that just isn't real.  I can't fake it anymore.  I love my kids and I love my life, and sometimes our "perfect" outing or vacation is hijacked by autism or some other co-morbid diagnosis that goes along with it.  My kids are rarely tolerated by public places,  my genius kindergartner was kicked out of Kumon because he was reading and scripting the instructions to the teacher repeatedly, and she would not tolerate a non-stepford child.  Even though he could have worked circles around the "neuro-typical" kids in there, the quirks of autism were more than was going to be accepted in Kumon, so we left, and I accepted that woman telling me "he needs therapy before he can come here", "we can't be expected to tolerate his behavior".  Well honey, thanks for telling me something I don't know - no I didn't say that to her, I just took the bullet she shot at me and let it stew for awhile.  Well no more of that.  My kids are amazing, and sometimes  HERE IS WHAT I AM NEVER SUPPOSED TO SAY OUT LOUD.  Sometimes the Neuro Typical kids in the world are a little over-rated, spoiled and nightmarish, but yeah, my kid reading the instructions over and over and needing 10 minutes to adjust to a new environment, yeah, that's the real problem. 

You know what else I'm going to be real about, my fitness journey.  Yes, I lost 80 lbs, yes, I gained 30 back, yes I'm trying to get them back off.   It's hard, it's frigging really really hard, but being fat is miserable, so I push through the hard, and sometimes I fail, and sometimes I stay in bed and not workout, and sometimes I run really really slow.  I disappoint myself, and I shock myself too, with what I'm able to do.  I eat ice cream in the middle of the night out of the container in the garage.  So there, it's out there, it's real, stand up if this is you too.  I will still be running 2 half marathons barely trained for next month, praying I don't die or injure myself too much.

As an autism mom I always feel like I fall horribly short.  I am inconsistent sometimes, I give up too soon on a therapy or a treatment, my follow through sometimes falls short because I frankly am exhausted, physically mentally,  and spiritually.  I do the best I can, and sometimes I feel like in all areas my life that others do it better.  So sometimes I hit it out of the park, and sometimes I strike out, I just need to find the balance.

As a school parent, I fall short, because I'm the "special ed" mom, and the school barely notices our kids.  But I'll tell you where I won't fail your kids, is voicing the truth where their safety and well being our concerned.  While PTA meetings sit mostly empty and most moms expect those moms to do it, you're missing out on having a voice for your kids education. While many were busy making a perfectly orchestrated family photo at Corona Del Mar, the government snuck in something called Common Core, that is untested, unproven, and lower standards than we've ever had.  If you're busy trying to show the world your perfection.  Common Core is invading your perfect kid and going to make him or her a drone that is not university ready.  And while I appreciate the perfect image all over Instagram, show up at a board of education meeting or school board or PTA meeting occasionally so you can see what the intentions are for your kid, and speak up if you don't agree, this Common Core is basically going to ruin a generation.  For a special ed mom that's horrible and something I can't stand for.  My kids can do everything, they are different, they are not less, they aren't the same as a typical child, and need accommodations for that and Common Core is going to take it away, well I have a voice, I am their voice and I will scream this until you all pay attention.

So I apologize if the new "real" isn't the lifestyle of OC you want to see.  I'm just not that perfect picture, I have flaws, and I work them out.  You probably won't see my family on the PR promotions of families at amusement parks, or restaurants, or cool family shows.  We are a real family, and not the picture of perfection that sells the tickets to the places people go.  But if you want to show how to navigate OC with special needs, and quirks and how to manage them with a kid or kids with special needs, I'm your girl. 







Friday, March 27, 2015

Are your kids Common? Why be okay with Common Core?

I'm still pretty new to the school system, and frankly when my kids were diagnosed with autism, that is such a deep ocean to wade through that Common Core meant nothing to me, when I was just trying to get my kids into proper placement with their developmental disabilities.  But now that academics are coming into play and I'm learning more and the piss poor roll out of Common Core, I'm pretty disgusted with the rhetoric and lies that are being fed to us.  Our school tried to feed us pizza with the lecture and a video about how great common core is, while they answered no questions and actually had no facts backing up their claims that Common Core is great.

But as I sit here now with a 2nd grader and Kindergartner who have extraordinary minds in their own ways, I'm puzzled as to why those in the state and school system are insisting that STANDARDIZED testing is effective and needed.......wait, what????  We have always had testing, but now the NEW common core testing is computerized, and different, and supposedly better.  What they are missing and the questions they refuse to answer when you go to "Family  Night" Common Core meetings are that there is no RESEARCH to back up their claims that this is better.  What is happening is that for the next 10 years or so to gather data - DATA ON YOUR CHILDREN AND FAMILY - on their testing and learning, your kids are going to be guinea pigs on this research, and the BILLIONS OF DOLLARS spent on implementing this less than stellar set of standards is going to effectively leave us with a generation of kids that were in a lot of states taught with LOWER standards than what Common Core is bringing to the table.  As you hear phrases "drilling deeper", "collaborative", and "no more bubble fill in", know that all of that is rhetoric that is scripted to keep you from knowing that at least in California the new Common Core State Standards are MUCH lower than that of what we used to have.

Now I did not have children in school with the prior standards, however, I have 10 nieces and nephews that with what we are trying to be sold as inferior set of standards ALL are in UNIVERSITIES.  We even have a lawyer out of the bunch that passed the state bar on his first try.  We have one in medical school, one at Johns Hopkins studying BioChemistry, one at TCU about to graduate with a Communications degree,  another niece just passed her state exam and is a nurse, and a nephew in his 2nd year at USC,  one just graduated from Purdue, and 2 that are still in high school and one of those just got into San Diego State University.  All in all we have no academic slouches out of the 10 kids I'm talking about. Why is that??  Well I'm going to go out on a limb and say its because their parents gave a shit about what they were learning and doing and were involved in everything about their education and took that responsibility of parenting SERIOUSLY!  So I push back and say.............show me the kids that are inferior - 9 out of 10 in college.  That's no joke.  Where is their data? 

Common Core is no one's fault, but it's all of our faults.  It was written in 2009 secretly with no parent or teacher input.  It was passed during the great recession of 2008, when the state coffers were empty.  The Federal government (which if you read the Constitution, the fore fathers thought that education should belong to the state and local governments) basically offered the states money if they implemented this set of "lower" standards.    It was passed in 2009, and implementation was to start in 2013-2014, and the full roll out in 2014-2015.  Last year there was practice testing, which parents did not get to see before or after, and there supposedly were not any results (I CALL BULLSHIT ON THAT).

Now it's full implementation, but I find it hilarious, and that there are not full set of curriculum or text books, and language arts.  There is going to be a set of testing this year again, which is said that parents will get to see results 6-8 weeks after the tests are complete.  Parents will NOT get to see what the contents of the test are, and that bothers me, and it should bother you.  How as a family as a parent are you to help prepare you child for testing, which is difficult.

So this set of standards that the states took on and basically sold your kids life out for 30 pieces of silver.  They states wouldn't get federal money unless they agreed to this set of "standards".

I have attended several "common core" meetings at the Department of Education and for the last 2 years at our school, and our school district has some ridiculous video up on their website "Door To The Core", which half the time doesn't work and when it's up, it basically is full of propaganda and rhetoric and no facts.

So here as a parent, I'm asking you parents.  WHY ARE YOU NOT SCREAMING FROM THE ROOF TOPS?  Don't use my kids as a guinea pig.

Why are we not demanding the RESEARCH used in writing these standard and showing how they are proven to be effective?  I mean really, if the "educators" argument is that "No Child Left Behind" was a failure, and my family has 9 out of 10 kids in UNIVERSITIES, that is DATA that shows it's not a failure in my eyes.  Stay with me here, if there are "educators" stating what a failure that was and that no one was learning because those weren't proven set of standards ---- then WHY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD are we accepting that there is NO RESEARCH OR PROOF THAT THIS NEW SET OF STANDARDS IS EFFECTIVE?????

Now my kids have autism, and one of my children is exception in the academic department, in fact his mind is extraordinary.  But this Common Core BULLSHIT of explaining his 12 step way of getting to a simple answer, will make him fail.  His EXTRAORDINARY mind does not work that way, it in no way makes him a dummy - or as Arne Duncan, the education Czar says about us as parents and common core "Common Core has shown the white suburban soccer mom that their children aren't as brilliant as they thought".  My blood pressure spiked and I wanted to punch his pompous rhetoric spewing ass right in the mouth.  He is making statements with a broad stroke of a HUGE brush, yet his standards that he is touting around to control the minds of our kids are not proven to work......so Mr. Duncan, I think the Common Core Standards are now showing that YOU sir are not as BRILLIANT AS YOU THINK.

I'm very concerned as a parent and hurt that the government over reach is making a big assumptions about us as parents, that they know better, that they insult our intelligence.  There are a couple ways to stop this HUGE GOVERNMENT MACHINE, and that is to OPT OUT OF THE TESTING.  A company named Pearson is making Hundreds of Millions of dollars administering the tests of our kids, mining data, and selling technology to the schools.  Each time a student is tested the school district pays Pearson roughly $31 dollars per student, and last year 47% of 10th graders failed the test and were rested as much as 4 times.  So about 1 million dollars for testing ON ONE GRADE LEVEL IN ONE DISTRICT.  Isn't that staggering?  Wouldn't that money be better spent, lowering class sizes?  Paying teachers more?  Having decently constructed schools?  Having special educations students with appropriate resources to meet their needs?

So as I do more research and listen to the educators "tell" me, what is great about Common Core, yet they have NOT and will not and has skated every question I've thrown at them.  There is no research that these standards work, there is no mention that these standards in California are lower than what we used to have in our system.  The fact that the roll out and implementation has been such a cluster fuck of incompetence has to wake up the masses and concern them.

If you haven't done your research or need help wading through this pool of cess that is now in front of you, I will be happy to help you.

But if you have any intention of stopping this machine, you need to follow the money, and the money is in the standardized testing, that is so clouded and hidden from parents - but there is millions and millions of dollars being made in this testing.  You have to opt out, you can't opt out of the standards, but the testing can be opted out of and you won't be contributing to the machine and feeding it money.

Rebecca

Monday, February 2, 2015

Lets Put Common Sense and Kindness back into this Measles Outbreak

We are in the midst of a complete panic over 100 people contracting the measles in California.  100, and half of them have been vaccinated.  As of today no one has died, and those that had caught it in the middle of December are over it and are returning to their lives. 

It so far, thankfully has not killed anyone. 

I'm just wondering what we have learned from this experience?  I have kids with autism, and one is fully vaccinated, and one is not.  They both have autism, so I am not saying that the shots are or aren't the cause.  Because truthfully no one knows.  Since no one can give me a reasonable explanation as to WHAT DOES cause autism, no one then knows WHAT DOES NOT cause autism...... FACT.

My son that is vaccinated is severe, he is non verbal, and suffers neurologically in every way, and I saw that change in him happen after shots were administered  when he was 14 months old, and that is my truth.  If you weren't there to see the loss of eye contact, and him crawl into the shell of autism are you just going to tell me oh that is when autism becomes prevalent, the shots have nothing to do with it?  Even though a week before the shots, he was making verbal approximations of words, babbling and always tracking and looking at us?   If you aren't or weren't in someones house that this happened to.  Please for the love of humanity, keep your opinions kind or quiet.

My other son has been on an alternate schedule, and his place on the autism spectrum is much different.  While his needs are significant, they are very different, he is teachable, and can do so many things for himself, and with countless hours of therapy and diligent work on everyone's part he will be mainstreamed and self sufficient.

What I wonder is why those who have healthy vaccinated children are being so epically mean to people they don't even know?  I have had women flip their lids because my kids have autism, and I said I think you should do your research about shots.  Like I just told her to eat a plate of dog poop.

Here are some points of information to take into account, that I wish I would have known when I had my babies:

An epidemic of chronic disease and disability is plaguing America. Our children are the most highly vaccinated children in the world and they are among the most chronically ill and disabled.

Today, the Centers for Disease Control admits that 1 child in 6 in America is developmentally delayed.

During the past quarter century, the number of doses of vaccines that pediatricians
give babies and children under age 6 has more than doubled.

More than twice as many children have chronic brain and immune system dysfunction today than did in the 1970’s when half as many vaccines were given to children.

So as a mom, I'm wondering why we are not questioning the CDC as to WHY we now get twice as many shots as children that we did, and so many children are chronically sick and in the last 25 years kids with ADHD, ADD, Autism, Asthma and Diabetes has tripled?

So I wonder that those that question the doctors, the CDC, about these things are called crazy Anti-vaxers?  I mean if that makes you feel better to call someone an anti-vaxxer because they question something, or demand something be safe, I fail to see what you are bringing to the party to help the situation?  Did the person you are screaming at over the internet or phone actually come over and cough on you and give you the measles?  Probably not, so back up take a deep breath, and get a grip on common sense. 

No one wants a measles outbreak, no one is wishing this happened.  Although after living with severe autism for the last 6 years, I might consider a case of the measles a gift over autism.  Measles will go away, autism not so much.

If vaccines were a gazillion percent safe we probably wouldn't have had our federal court systems issue Vaccine Injury Compensation to the tune of more than 2 billion - yes billion with a B, dollars to those INJURED by vaccine. Those are the facts, people were injured by them and brought lawsuits to court and were paid BILLIONS of dollars.  Those are FACTS.

And again, I truly do not believe that anyone is anti-vaccine, I believe that parents and children deserve a safe and sane schedule of inoculations.  It's not much to ask for, but we get no answers from doctors, I mean most doctors when you talk about autism have absolutely zero idea of what they are talking about, because guess why,  THEY DO NOT SPEND ONE DAY IN MEDICAL SCHOOL LEARNING ABOUT IT!!!  The number one growing developmental disorder gets zero learning time in medical school......comforting isn't it?

I'm also wondering if it's possible for some kindness and tolerance on both sides of the vaccine debate come out.  The 100 people with the measles so far are all recovering and will be fine.  The 1:68 that are diagnosed with autism every year 1:42 boys, do they concern you at all?  It's not reported on, it gets no coverage, it is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the world, it costs families about $60,000 a year, there is no medical detection or cure for autism.  Those that have neurotypical kids that are vaccinated, did not give our kids autism or measles even though many in the current California outbreak are vaccinated.

So lets get back to basics and common sense.  I was at Disneyland today, and I swear to God, there were at least 6 newborns there, I mean little tiny infants, not even able to hold their heads up alone.  COME ON PEOPLE, it's a newborn - COMMON SENSE, stay home for a few months, you won't die of cabin fever, I swear.    If you are sick STAY THE HELL HOME, if your kids are sick, DO NOT SEND THEM TO SCHOOL or PUBLIC PLAY PLACES - we will all thank you.  WASH YOUR HANDS CONSTANTLY, Hand Sanitizer USE IT!

And be kind to each other, we are all in this together.  We are better together.  I'm embarrassed at some of the horrible things said by people on either side of this debate, and it's getting no one anywhere.  If you're afraid of the measles, then stay home, if you feel 100% confident that your vaccines are effective and safe, keep calm and carry on. 

Practice kindness to those with autism and other special needs and those that have children who were vaccine injured, because at the rate this disorder is growing, you will likely have a close relative with a developmental disability, will you practice kindness or ignore that part of the family.  I have family that flat out ignores my kids and goes to any length to not see them or participate in their lives, so that is also a reality.  Just be kind to people in this journey, vaccinated or not, no one wanted a measles outbreak, just as no one wanted the growing rate of autism to cripple 1:in 68 kids.  We have an epic opportunity to make change happen, but if you're fighting and name calling, you're not actually doing anything.  So please if you have nothing to bring to the party but name calling, get out of the sandbox because I'll mow you over.

We will get through this, and hopefully the medical/pharmaceutical community will come up with a more safe product to offer, those with compromised immunity systems, and someway to know that a baby has a compromised or mitochondrial defect that will cause the vaccines to injure a person.

Good Luck and Stay Healthy






Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Jawbone UP24

I've always been a gadget geek.  I love my electronics and I really like them when they do what they were meant to do.

I got the Jawbone UP for Christmas, and have been wearing it everyday for a month, and I freaking LOVE it!!!  It's genius.  I like the way it looks, it's comfortable, it doesn't bug me at all, and it's red and it counts my steps, caloric burn and tracks my sleep and how well I've slept or didn't sleep on a handy dandy pretty app on my iPhone.  How it knows if I was in a deep sleep or not creeps me out a little but it's good information.

Everyday, I set my goal for 11,000 steps, and all but 4 days I missed and those 4 days, I missed by a lot of steps.  One of those days I forgot to put the Jawbone on after my shower.  There were a few days that I was short about 1000 steps at night before bed, and I was determined to hit my goal, so I went and walked the dogs around the block just to hit the mark.

On my running days, I almost double my steps.   I hit about 15,000 to 18,000 steps.  It's amazing that 20-45 minutes of walking or running pretty much guarantees I'm going to hit the goal.  So basically if I do 20 minutes of moving a day, I'm going to hit the goal.

So I've come a bit obsessed with making sure I get the steps done every day.  I'm logging calories and activity, I'm down 6 lbs. for the month, and that was the goal, to lose weight, and be fit.

The gadget is doing it's thing.  It is working.  It's making me move, it's making me watch what I eat, it's making me accountable.  And it's funny, when I see the numbers, I want to eat better, I want to move more, the more I move, the more I see results, and that is a good thing!

If you're looking for something to help you be accountable, the app, the device, and the results are awesome, easy to set up, and will help you achieve your goals.  It won't achieve your goals, you of course will have to do the work, but it is a tool that changes my mind, as I see the progress everyday, and my work is recorded, and then results happen.   Just get one, you won't be sorry.

Rebecca



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Life Lessons of the Week

It has been a sensational week, because I'm letting peoples reactions, judgements, and snideness just roll off my back instead of hanging out with the mush pot of stinky feelings.

But I did learn a few things this week that I hope make me a better me, and some snarky things that just amuse me.

  • I just feel better when I eat clean and workout consistently
  • Consistency, while challenging is a good thing for everyone in this house
  • I'm scared about the upcoming Ragnar Relay, almost irrationally
  • Autism is a bummer, but when my kids conquer something I see their growth and it thrills me to no end
  • After the 21 day sugar detox failure, I'm addicted to sugar and will try again
  • If almost 20 years later a person is still whining, broke, and discontent, cut them loose
  • There is no way faith and fear can coexist in your head, you will constantly be in turmoil
  • Stay out of stuff that won't bring harmony to your home
  • It's none of your business if no one told you about it
  • Some people wasted a ton of money on college tuition, seriously, a ton of money
  • My sons face on rides at Disneyland is what pure joy looks like
  • I am enjoying riding on the back of the Harley
  • People that go to lengths to not spend time or see my kids are missing out on epic awesomeness.
  • I can make Paleo Bread and it doesn't suck
  • I can run and I thank God for the Galloway Method
  • God is everything or he is nothing
  • Being of service and helping others is more rewarding than you think it will be, and the gifts you get from it are breathtaking
  • I adore my husband
  • I am excited to get a new part time job, I'm excited to talk to adults for a few hours a week.
  • Being a mom is dirty, exhausting, debilitating, and the best friggin thing on the planet.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Disneyland's Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend - The Inaugural

Well the first Star Wars Half Marathon at the Disneyland resort is over.  This year I did not do the half marathon of the event, I only participated in the 10K.  When I signed up for the race months ago, I just didn't have any running mojo.  I felt like I had lost it, and didn't want to run anymore, but there is just something about a Run Disney event that pulls me to it.  There is something magical that happens that makes me overlook the cost, the crowd, the lines for merchandise and the crazy E-bayers that camp out to buy merchandise they aren't even running for!

Boy do I regret not participating in the whole weekend after watching the whole social media storm, and watching people get their series of Rebel Challenge medals.  So live and learn.

Well I think that I got my mojo back, I signed up for more races and am ready for the next Run Disney event on Mothers Day weekend the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend.  I didn't sign up for the Pixie Dust Challenge and of course now it's sold out, and I want to do it, so I'll have to find a way.

Back to Star Wars 10K, and absolutely FANTASTIC course.  4.5 miles of the 6.2 mile course was inside the parks, and there is just such a magic that is in the air at the parks.  The Star Wars characters were out and it was amazing to see them all up close and personal.  I adore my medal, I think the 10K medal was the best of the challenge, in my opinion.  Disney takes racing to a different level and adding Star Wars to the mix just

So another Run Disney event is in the books, and I thank Disney for giving me my mojo back and making me feel like a runner again, maybe the force IS with me!


Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year Fresh Start

Have I told you lately that I have fallen in love with a market by my house.? A couple of years ago Fresh and Easy moved into my neighborhood, and I couldn’t have been more thankful.  The market is close, their brand is outstanding and the prices are right!

I am always on the lookout to eat healthier and I need eating healthy to be easy. I got an email from Fresh and Easy highlighting the program New Year Fresh Start.   A 31 days of healthier eating calendar with selections from the Fresh and Easy products that are so far all delicious.  The other amazing thing about this calendar and meal plan is that it lists the caloric content of the items listed on each particular day.  HELLO !!! Genius.  It compliments my entire week of meal planning and really gives me fabulous ideas of meals to make for my family.  There are even things that my EXTREMELY picky eating children will eat!  SCORE!!

The last few days I have been using the calendar as a guide for my eating to stay sugar free, gluten free and grain free, and I have so many options available to me at Fresh and Easy, and I know the products are fresh, they are healthy and they are really very tasty, my favorite items are the Fresh and Easy Beef Fajitas, Fresh and Easy eat well Mediterranean Chicken, and the Fresh and Easy green Super Smoothie. 

So many of us started the new year resolving to eat healthier, and it is so hard for us moms to stick to something when it is overwhelming, Fresh and Easy is the answer I had been looking for. I highly recommend #newyearfreshstart at Fresh and Easy,  it is Fresh and it is Easy (see what I did there)   Fresh and Easy is the key to keeping me with healthy quick and delicious meal options for my family.

Happy New Year!!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

21 Day Sugar Detox - Day 1

It has been no secret to anyone that in the last year since I quit drinking that I replaced the margaritas with salted caramel - ANYTHING - mostly ice cream, mass quantities of it, very late at night.   So when a few friends were discussing and starting the 21 day SUGAR detox, I thought it may be the thing for me.  I have been emotionally eating for 6 years, and in my quest to be fit I'm not achieving all my goals because my nutrition sucks.  Bottom line, I can run to the moon and back but if I'm going to eat crappy then why bother?  So I agreed to do this with a friend.

I got the book, I read it, I shopped, and today is the first day.  I prepped some of my food, and had a successful day, but I'll tell you what.  SUGAR is evil, I really feel gnarly today, a bad headache, and cravings.  I knitted a ridiculous looking scarf tonight, just to keep my hands busy so i wouldn't mindlessly snack.

So I made it through the first day and other than a headache, and wanting to eat a can of cream cheese frosting, the day was a success, and I'm looking forward to getting the toxic sugars out of me.

I also got a Jawbone Up, and I walked over 12K steps, including the 3.2 miles I ran this morning.  So let the detox begin and get this crap out of my body so I don't feed any cancer and I get to that 5 year cancer free mark in March!






 
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