Friday, February 28, 2014

Why Seth Rogen's Alzheimer's message is important.

Sure, he is a well known marijuana partaker. Hollywood Celeb. Fellow Canuck. That is what we all know of him. Except for one thing. He is a voice for those who are losing themselves. I watched on CSPAN his address to Congress on the need for more funding for Alzheimer's. A devastating disease that pretty much wipes out a person's ability to be human. The loss of memory is just one of the many debilitating  effects of this disease. But his reasoning for being there was a personal one. He was one of the many family members on this planet that have to watch as their loved ones slowly deteriorate into a shell of a person. He sat there in front of those who had the power to help and poured his heart out.

 What is even sadder is the that it was heard by just two Senators who sat on this committee. There before them was some one that not only had a personal tie to the disease, but one that had enough sway for the general public to take notice, but yet not Government.

Mr. Rogen's speech was all to familiar. There is a lot of people in this country that have something worth fighting for. Whether it be Autism, Gay equality, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Global warming.. All are worthy of attention. All should have the up most respect and be heard by all. I applaud Mr. Rogen for being a voice to those who have lost their ability to converse. We need more of the rich and famous to be like this. Maybe if he had more backing, there would have been more seats filled and his message heard. But I guess a disease that takes a person away from themselves isn't a big ticket item.

I know I write about a lot of stuff. I have never been truly open about my own experience with Alzheimer's. My Grandmother has it. For the past few years I have watched this remarkable woman decline. This very strong woman who was always in my corner when it came to being a military spouse, because she knew what it took to be one. This woman who raised 8 children, welcomed her grandchildren and great grandchildren, sits in a nursing home slowly drifting away. She has her good moments, where certain names and memories are remembered. But it is now becoming very few in between when we get that. I still call her, most times she gets confused with who she is talking to. I love this woman so fiercely and for me it is sad to see this woman slip into the recess of her own mind.

Mr.Rogen's message is an important one. One that shouldn't be ignored. Take away from the roles he has played in Hollywood, he is just a person who sadden by the effect of a very devastating disease on a loved one. Whether Mr. Rogen reads this or not, I hope he knows that just because congress didn't listen, you have all of us who did and we applaud you, Sir.

Please give both links a look.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Mother's guilt.

As I went walked along on the treadmill bopping along to whatever 90's techno I was listening to, I happen to glance up at the TV in front of me and noticed a headline

" A study has found that women who took Acetaminophen while pregnant, their children are at risk for ADHD"

As I kept pace on the treadmill, my thought immediately went to, " Fantastic, now another thing mothers are going to beat themselves up for.."

The thing is, it takes an incredible amount of guff to produce a human. For the man (sorry guys), your part is the easiest. For us women our job in the human producing business is a little more complicated. When we first discover we are pregnant, we told what not do, what not to take and what not eat. We are handed a bottle of folic acid and congratulated. Our bodies change and conform to help house a growing fetus.

Through our pregnancy depending on if this is our first or our third, we are cautious about what we are exposed to. There is no way for us to regulate the air we breathe outside of our own homes. We are forever worrying about if what we eat or drink is going to effect our growing offspring. We are checking our medicine bottles to make sure it is safe to take, as we trust our doctors to tell us otherwise. So with all of our constant hovering, why is it we still have guilt?

We give birth to our babies in that shred of hope that they are healthy. Born with all of their fingers and toes, insides and out. But yet when we are faced with a diagnoses of any kind, the mother's guilt morphs into this monster where it beats us up. 

I will never, ever forget the feeling I had when our middle child was diagnosed with Autism. It wasn't because I feared it. My first feeling was what did I do wrong? WHAT DID I DO WRONG?  Was there something I didn't do while I was pregnant? Or was there something I did do while I was pregnant? I had tremendous guilt. I was hard on myself for it. I wanted to hug this little girl and express how sorry I was for giving her this. It took me years for me to stop blaming myself and realized I did do what I was supposed to do during her pregnancy. But just as I thought I could look at myself without a guilty conscience, our youngest got diagnosed with Autism. It was that, that blew me out of the water. I started to think, maybe its just the way my body makes babies. That there was something defective with me. I still struggle with it. 

Now with this new study that has come out, we are going to have thousands of mothers, like myself looking at their children who are currently exhibiting signs of ADHD, trying to think back on whether or not they used Tylenol for pain. We are all going to be sitting here wondering if we had caused this. A mother's guilt is a strong one. 

Both my husband and I have created three very unique individuals. In my eyes they are the best little human beings I gave this planet. I will be forever grateful for having them in my life. But I will always have this thought in the back of mind on whether or not I could have done better by them.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Common Core, A parent's perspective

Common Core. Those two words will either make some teachers twitch and most parents rage. For this parent it makes me sad. 

 By defination, the Common Core State Standards Initiative is an education initiative in the United States that details what K-12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and seeks to establish consistent education standards across the states as well as ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.

Looks pretty on paper doesn't it?Fantastic for those standardized tests.  But not in reality.

The reality of it is, this "initiative" is hurting most of the students it was designed to teach. The reason why so many parents dislike this new way of teaching is because we see the struggle it is giving our children, especially those who have IEPs. Now don't get me wrong, I am sure that this is working for a good number of students. But it works in a way that all students learn on a equal playing field. Which of those of us who do have child that struggle, we know isn't true.

Lets take Student "A" for example. Quick learner, picks up on stuff really fast, does great on tests  Then you have Student "B" who struggles to get a certain concept, therefore is behind and doesn't perform well on tests. I could go on, on the endless examples of different types of students. That would prove my point that not all students are created equal.  So how does Common Core help those students that are left behind in the wake?

Well it doesn't. In this world where we are trying to cram so much into little brains just so the counties and school districts can get high regards on standardized tests, the middle man is left out. We will have a generation of children who think they can't do something because they don't understand concept A B or C. Common core is setting our children up for failure. And with those that are working with a IEP, there is not much hope for them. I have two children that are in elementary school. Both have IEPs. Both struggle with what is being taught in the classroom. One of my children is a quick learner, but has difficulty getting what's in his head down on paper. The other one, who has Autism, is completely lost. And it shows. What is in the IEP doesn't translate on the report card.

I understand that Education has come a long way since I was a student. I didn't have standardized testing. Most of us old timers didn't have it. We had the normal everyday pressure of just getting our school work done. Not having to worry about 6 different ways of doing one simple problem.

As much as Common Core frustrates the students, the parents are right there with them. It makes me sad that Common Core has sucked the fun out of learning for some students. I hate seeing that face of disappointment on my child's face they don't understand but yet there is no time to explain something as they are on to the next thing.

I wish those who came up with this concept had actually sat down and looked at the variety for students they had within their spectrum and not looked at them as numbers but has children who learn. What would be the best way to make sure they fulfill their potential. Not what is the best way to get our numbers up.

I am happy for those who have found success with Common Core, however, for most of us who see their children struggle with it, it sets them up for failure when they shouldn't have to worry about it.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Thoughts of a Military Child.

Today I am ghost writing. My son wanted to write something for my blog. So these are his words and my typing skills..

The Thoughts of  a Military Child

There are so many things that I would like to tell you about what its like to be a military child. The first thing I would say is that I am proud to be part of a Military Family. Some of the things I am proud about being a military child are:

I have a deployed parent that goes out and helps people when they are in far away lands.

My parent does a swell job at what they do.

Most parents travel to places and multiple times and cool stuff sent home.

When we have Veteran's Day and Memorial Day I understand those Holidays more.

These are just some of the things that make me feel proud to be a military child. But it isn't easy.

Sometimes when we move every so often, I start to miss my friends and when I get to a new state I am a little shy and sometimes don't always know how to make new friends.  

When my parent deploys it can be tough. It is hard to say goodbye. Sometimes I cry and that is ok.

Some kids don't understand why I am sad. They will make fun of me and say mean stuff.  But it also shows me who my real friends are.

I have some advice for those kids who are in a military family.

  • It's ok to feel sad, but don't be afraid to tell an adult how you feel. 
  • When your parent deploys, make a memory box of all the things you want to share with them.
  • Make a list for when they come home for R&R of all the stuff you want to do with them.
  • Always talk to them when you can. Write lots of letters. 
  • Make sure your parent feels loved and missed when they are deployed. 
  • When you are moving, always say goodbye to your friends. When you get to your new home tell everyone your name so you can make friends. 
  • And most importantly be proud of who you are and where you have come from. 

I hope that helps those out there who are my age or younger who feel a bit sad and lost. I want to let them know that I know how it feels.


hi my name is josh i wrote this because some parents are gone for along time like my dad.
facts. i like Lego , MineCraft, batman , and butter swords.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Comeback Kid

For every parent, we want to see our child excel. That moment where they feel proud about themselves, where they have found that little bit of self esteem.

I know I write a lot about my children with autism, this one is about my eldest son.

He is your, all smile, glasses wearing, freckled 10 year old boy. He loves Lego, Minecraft and pretty much every superhero on the planet. He takes pride of the fact that he is in a military family and that his father proudly serves. He stands up for what is right ( even though some times we get a little mixed up), but he has a good heart. He has always tried his best to make sure his younger siblings are taken care of. He might not truly understand what Autism is, but he tries.

A year ago, we struggled with this child. Despite everything that has been thrown at him, deploying parent, siblings with special  needs and a school system that didn't understand him. We had no idea how to help this child. Between the mood swings, depression, anger, the inability to focus on anything for longer than 5 seconds and failing grades, we were at the end of our rope. I saw my sweet boy morph into something he wasn't. I knew he was smart. I knew he was kind. I knew that this child that stood before me with so much rage was not the child I gave birth to.

So I did what any other parent would do, I took him to his Doctor. We went to therapy. We got the testing done. In end, my boy had ADHD. Although, this isn't devastating, it did rock my boat a little. I had yet another child that has some special needs. We debated over and over again what the next step for this child should be. In order for him to get his head back in the game, we opted for medication. The first one we tried didn't work. That rage that this child had magnified. It had created an even bigger monster than before. I didn't want to look at medication as "The Wonder Drug", but I knew something needed to be done. We put this child on medication that finally worked, got an IEP done and continued with therapy. He started to go down this path where having ADHD defined him. It took over. He wanted that one thing he could have that was his and not associated with his siblings. But he learned quickly that using a diagnosis to manipulate things and situations can sometimes backfire.

This past year hasn't been an easy one for this child. He has dwelt with his father being away, social anxiety and just trying to be a child. But through it all, he has managed to come out on top. He has learned( through therapy) ways to control his anger. He has brought up his grades with the help of an IEP and an understanding of how he learns. He has become responsible for himself. He takes his medication without reminders. He has learned to take a diagnosis and work with it, instead of using it as an excuse. He is being more adventurous. For the first time ever, he is getting up on a stage. Something he has wanted to do, but never had the courage. With all the pressure this child has had to endure, he come along way in a year. He knows there is always room for improvement. Which he is working on... Proves that anything is possible with a little hard work and the right kind of love. But right now, he is my Comeback Kid

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Its ok to take a step back.

Everyone has that moment when they lose control  That fleeting moment where "Fuck it" seems like the best option. There is nothing wrong with that feeling. As you are acknowledging that moment of needing a breather.

We all have our things that stress us out. And sometimes all of those things can come together and gang up on us.

For me, its trying to muddle through both the military life and the special needs life. Both of these worlds collide every now and again and its like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Life can be exhausting enough, but when you have added elements its hard to find that time to clear your mind. I know that I am not the only person out there that rows in this boat.

You try so hard to make sure you do right for your children. Fighting with the school to make sure they understand just exactly you want from them. Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don't. We fight with our insurance to make sure services are provided. We fight with the everyday person who doesn't get our lifestyle. At a certain point you begin to wonder who has your back and who doesn't. When people start to see your struggle, you can start to weed out the good and the not great. You are more guarded, both with your children and yourself.

For us in military families, its a tough world out there. We have to make choices that are sometimes Career vs what is best for the family. We struggle through deployments a lot of the time. Most of us summon what ever strength we can muster just to get through a day. Military has a way of throwing a wrench on some of our best laid plans.

And through it all? Its ok to take a step back. Its ok to say to yourself, "Y'know what? I need to reevaluate things."  And if people in your life don't understand that or consider it a sign of weakness, then maybe they don't completely understand what you are going through. You are taking a preemptive strike at making sure your mental health is healthy. That is not a sign of weakness. Its a sign that you care about yourself enough to do something about it. Regroup and come back to the problem at hand.

Remember, taking care of yourself is sign that you give a shit about yourself. And feeling good about yourself is the first step to making sure your journey is a smooth one.

Monday, February 10, 2014

10 Things you can do for Special Needs Parents..

 Most of us have been on the receiving end the negative comments and stares by the general public.  We have heard pretty much everything that has been put out there. Every judgmental statement, rude comment and impolite stare.

 So what can you do for a special needs parent?

1) Every child is special, regardless on what is going on with them. Recognize that. Point out that a parent has a wonderful child. It means so much to us, as Special Needs Parents, for someone to see past the obvious. We are aware that our child experiences the world differently. But we are more touched when people see past that.

2) When you see us struggling, sometimes a comforting look of understanding, or a "Hey, Hang in there" can go along way. Most times the general public sees the absolute worst, when we are trying to get through our daily errands, we don't always have that option of leaving the kids home. Most of us are hanging on by a thread.

3)When you are informed that our child is indeed, special needs it isn't sympathy that we need. Having a child that is special needs isn't a life sentence. It just the way things are. We have our ups and downs just like you do.

4)Keep your ignorance in check. Sometimes its very hard to see the difference between ignorance and just not knowing. When we state there is special needs, ask us questions. Most of us are more than happy to set the record straight. If it promotes that spark of educating oneself on something, then Awesome!

5) Ask if there is anything you can do to help. Like anyone, if you see a person struggling, ofter to help. 9 times out of 10 the person will be so appreciative.

6)Lend us your ear. Like anything that has to do with parenting, it can be stressful. Again we have our good days and bad. Sometimes we just need to have a person that is willing to let us rant and vent.

7) Be patient with us. That is hard to ask when this world is such a fast pace place. We are trying. We are trying to do our best with child who experiences the world differently. Something that doesn't necessarily effect you, is magnified for them.

8) Be Kind. Kindness goes along way. Opening the door for someone, helping someone in the parking lot or even paying for a cup of coffee for someone who looks like they could use a pick me up. Or without stating the obvious, tell someone one they have a beautiful child or family.

9) Let us know that you care and that its ok to have days where life feels upside down.

10) Accept Us. Don't judge us. We may do things a little differently than what the parenting books out there are saying. But we are on our own journey with our children. Just as you are on your journey with yours.

We all live on this planet together. We all experience life differently from each other. I am not saying that what I wrote is gospel, but it would appreciated if there was a little understanding for the shoes that we walk in.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

To Woody and the Gang, With Love....

First off, Thank You. I say thank you for the joy that you have given our children.

We started our journey with you and the Gang back in 2005. My eldest at the time was 1. He had instantly fallen in love with you, Buzz Lightyear. From there we were hooked. But it wasn't until our daughter came along, where our love of everything Toy Story began to happen.

Buzz, there was something about you, that made a Space Ranger out of our boy. You peaked the imagination in this young one. Dreams of protecting the galaxy to exploring the stars. You kept him safe as he slumbered into his dreamland. You made sure he had a constant buddy. 

Woody, it was your face and welcoming smile that won the heart of our daughter. You see, she is autistic and her connection to you was unbreakable. You were the constant in her life. That familiar face when times got tough. She brought you to doctor appointments, as your smile would help her get through situations she didn't know how to process.You started her first day of school with her. Being military, you have been to CA, HI and now MD. But you have made being a military child less stressful.

Then came along Jessie. You girl. Jessie, she could identify  with you. She loved you from the minute she laid eyes on you. From your bright red yarn hair, right down to the spurs on your cowgirl boots. You joined Woody and Buzz. Our girl would try so hard to yodel like you. Even though, she couldn't find her words, she would imitate your words and actions. The year we had your costume from boots to hat, was one of the best Hallowe'en our girl had. You were her hero. You still are her hero.

As we go into a new period of our lives with our third child, also with Autism, you guys are still a constant in our lives. Again we are faced with another child who has difficulty getting his words out. But the one constant one that comes out so clearly is, Woody. And like his sister, you come everywhere with us. You are that comfort. You are that reassuring face that lets him know, he has a friend helping him through his journey.  He can't quite get out Buzz or Jessie, but you guys are with him as well.

We have carried on that love for you guys.

So when Disney-Pixar created all of you guys, I don't think they fully understood just how much you all are loved. I don't know if they knew the full scope you would reach. Just within the Autism Community, you are a staple. We parents joke that we all have memorized your movies, as we have seen them more times than we have fingers and toes put together. But its because of that we see that joy that you all have given our children.

You have been with us since 2005. Your faces have brought so much joy to our children. For us, despite that you are missing a hand and a foot, or that you are scraped and your hair worn, or that Buzz your helmet has seen better days, you are still very much loved and played with by our children..

And with that, I will sign off.

Many Thanks,
From this very grateful Parent.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Why the stories of Our discriminated Veterans are important.

We can learn a lot from our history. What happened in the past can dictate what we do now. From discoveries to social attitudes. Recently, in one of my flipping threw the channel episodes, I landed on the History Channel. I love everything that has to with History. But the program that was on was about the African Americans that fought during WWII.

 Now with anything that is done in regards to our Veterans peaks my interest. I like to hear their stories. Sometimes its hard, but their stories are our history. This one particular documentary, got me. It got me because on top of everything those men had to endure just being in a world war, they were also dealing with the astronomical amount of racism and discrimination thrown at them.  Their stories were combined with both Honor, Valor, Strength and Courage but with racism and discrimination. Now the sad part is, is that it didn't just happen to the African Americans.It happened to the Navajo Code breakers, it  happened to the Japanese Americans and the Chinese Americans who served.It is sad to me that people who were willing to fight and die for their country weren't even considered worthy of the highest medal award to those in the service, The Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor is the United States of America's highest military honor, awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty.Now I know that a vast majority of our Veterans were fine examples of what it took to earn this award. But did they? There were no Medal of Honor issued to those who were Asian, African American and Native American during WWII. It wasn't until 1993 when a  study commissioned by the Army investigated racial discrimination in the awarding of medal, that medals started being awarded to those who deserved to have that recognition.

For me when I see the military today, I still see the mistakes made of long before happening. As time does go by changes are being made. We have come some distance.  The discrimination that the LGBT community faced while serving in the Military has changed. You can be gay and proudly serve. Right now its about getting same sex spouses the recognition they deserve. But there are still those who chose to live inside their little box and not accept people for who they are. Since 911, the Muslims who proudly serve are facing discrimination. It has shifted from the colour of one's skin to sexual origination and religion. Have we really learned from the mistakes of the past?  Are we many years from now going to have a President that is going to start awarding all those Medals of Honor to those who didn't get one because someone didn't like the way lived their lives or how they practiced their religion?

If you have read my posts, I mostly talk about acceptance. I am under the firm belief that people should be treated with equality. It doesn't matter what station in life you are from. I don't care. People shouldn't care. If you serve your country with Honor, Strength, Valor and Courage, you should be noted for doing so. If people are willing to serve their country and die for their country, they deserve the up most respect from those they protect, regardless of skin colour, sexual origination and religion.

 One of the things that stuck out for me in this documentary, was a Welsh Man talking about the African Americans in his village during WWII. He had stated that they couldn't be in the same pubs as the White soldiers, because a lot of the white soldiers had an issue sharing the same space with the African American soldiers. It bothered him, because as he thought that the United States of America was the land of the free, it seemed to him that the African American soldiers were not allowed to be free, but here they are fighting along side countrymen and for a country that treated them less than human.

Something to think about.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

When I wear my child's shoes..

The minute we become parents, all we want is what is best for our children. We will go to the four corners of the universe in order to make sure our children are taken care of. For all of us parenting is a learning experience. We grow with our children, just as they grow up to be the adults they will be. They sometimes are our teachers. They make us aware that we were once children too. With our own struggles, our own joys. The experiences we had as children can translate to how we deal with our own.

When my youngest was first diagnosed with Autism. I knew what I had learned from the first child we had that was diagnosed with Autism.  But as we went along, it was quite clear that both of my autistic children were different. Yes they had the same disorder, but they both presented differently. It was very hard for me to relate to either of them. I do my best to make sure they will have the services and medical attention they will need to grow and prosper. But I didn't know how to relate to them. It wasn't until my eldest was diagnosed with ADHD, that I actually sat back and looked back. I went so far back, right to my own childhood.

My own childhood had its struggles. Sure I struggled to fit in, got bullied often. Had bad hair cuts and teeth that pointed six different directions from Tuesday. But it was my struggles that I had academically that I was focused on. Looking back, I see where I was similar to my children. All three of them. It wasn't until I had hit junior high(middle school, for some folks) that it was finally brought to my parents attention that I might have a learning disability with some attention issues. I went to have my neuropsych done. And sure enough, there it was. Plain as day. I did have a learning disability and ADD. At the time I wasn't told what was going on. All I knew was that I could barely put a sentence together and math was just a bunch of numbers.  At the time, I didn't think much of it and was told that I was lazy. All this information, I didn't know until I was an adult.

Lazy. That word. Lazy. When my eldest was diagnosed, that word came up. I fought so hard to get tests done for this child. What he was going through, echoed what my childhood was. I knew that pain and frustration. I know what it is like to try to get out what you want to say down on tests and get nothing. I know what its like to have teacher not have faith in you and label you "Lazy". For the first time in my parenting years, I felt that I could relate to my children.

I knew what it was like to wear their shoes.

My children have been through so much. They have done remarkably well with what life has thrown at them. Through, the bullies, through the struggle to just get a passing grade, through the maze it is just being a child, they have do amazing.  And in all of that, they have reminded me about a time where I wore their shoes.

I know the road they will walk in those shoes. I understand the hurdles they will face on this road. These three little souls will know that just because it seems impossible now, they will know that someone has walked in their shoes. 

Monday, February 3, 2014



I get you. I do. Whether you are a child who is one or an Adult that is one. I hear you loud and clear. You want your message to be heard by the world that you are badass.  But you see I am on to you. The trick to you is that you are insecure. Yup I said it.


I am willing to bet that there is some aspect of your life that you are simply not happy with. And in order for you to feel better about yourself, you find the weakest link. Half the time its those that are smaller than you. Or the ones you think are emotionally cracked. Or it could be the ones that you are jealous of. They have something you wish you had. So in order to make yourself look like the bigger person, you boost yourself by making others feel bad. Its that very short emotional high that you get from that, that you crave. See. I get you.

But here is the deal... lean in real close.. You listening..?  You are better than that.

If you are an Adult that bullies, whether it be in real life or here online. You are better than that. Why? Well take a look at the people you troll. What do they have  that you don't and wished you had? Then take a look at yourself. Where in your life are you suffering? I bet that there is something in there that needs to be addressed. That one thing that you refused to fix because you simply don't want to. Its easier to get that emotional high from others.

Parents of bullies.  Attitudes begin at home. Children are a product of their own environment. They are like these little sponges. So if they hear you call someone "Retarded", "Stupid", "Ugly" or any other derogatory name, 9 times out of 10 they are going to think that is acceptable to call someone else. So when you are getting hauled in to the school because your child is calling someone something bad or that they have successfully made someone feel worse about themselves, ask yourself where would they learn that behavior. What is going on in your child's life that would make them insecure about something. Because when it comes to a child that bullies, its all about insecurity.

Sadly as this world is turning towards the age of Social Media, the bulling that purely existed in the hallways of schools or within the confines of an office space, has reached the depths of the internet. Online bullying is quickly becoming one of the main reasons for suicides among the teens and our 20 somethings.It is only recently that laws have been put in place to now charge people of online bullying. 

So there you have it. Take it for what it is. The more of us that get challenged by those who don't think about their words, we are fighting back. We are on to you. And we are teaching our children the skills they will need when you strike. So if you need to feel better about yourself by belittling others, then take a step back and look at yourself and your life. See where you can improve so you don't have to suck it out of someone else.

I will say this, you bully my child, and you will feel the wrath of a parent. And if you are parent that has a child that is relentless in their bullying, you will be held responsible for your child's actions. This a reason you don't mess with Momma Bear.