Monday, May 8, 2017

Rock Solid Success

If you're not aware of who Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is, you have been living under a rock (complete pun that was so intended).

I've loved him since he was in his wrestling years. I can remember being a young girl and getting the biggest kick out of his catch phrases "jabroni", "roody poo candy asses" and when he would just refer to someone as "boy". The fact that he's very easy on the eyes was an added bonus.

Fast forward years later and this guy is the definition of success. Movies, popular tv shows, and endorsements galore.

This morning I read a post he made about his incredibly humble and hard beginnings:

Yes, things get hard.
No, you don't deserve this.

At some point a parent of a special needs child makes a decision. After the initial fear, hopelessness and grief you stand at a crossroads.

Am I going to let this destroy me?
I've seen what making this choice looks like. A parent who just lets their child with Autism run wild. Never digs in and does the hard part. Uses any situation to pawn them child off and get them out of the house. This choice most often creates a point of no return where the child is too far gone to ever make things completely right again. The bad behavior has been ignored and reinforced for so long that the child cannot be controlled. This choice is made out of pure selfishness.

Am I going to mourn, get on my knees and pray, and somehow pick myself back up?
This decision is so much harder. So much. You give up the majority of your life. Your time is spent learning, trying, thinking, praying, crying. I'm not going to lie, it's much easier to ignore something than to face it and it's brutal truth. If you choose this path it will wear you down. You will probably lose a lot of friendships. You will even feel like you've lost yourself at times. So why do this? Why go through so much? Because this choice gives your child their BEST CHANCE at succeeding. This isn't about you - this is about that little baby you promised to protect, love and stand up for no matter what.

So what will it be, giving up or diving in? The choice I've made has changed every aspect of my life, but I know I would have never taken that easier way out. I know things slowly become easier, hard work pays off and eventually some of the biggest fears and obstacles you've had are behind you.

And that is how I decided I'd never be a candy ass - but I still enjoy the occasional candy bar 😉

-Boog's Mommy

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Stress Does What?

Sometimes it can be easy to forget a special needs child is within earshot. I myself have had to make changes, not in what I say in front of Boog, but of including him in conversations and asking more questions. I also make sure to compliment (brag) on him to others when he can hear me. He needs to know how proud I am of all he does just like any child.

I recently read a study on the effects of childhood stress manifesting into actually physiological changes/disorders. Meaning kids that live in frequent stress can end up with things like asthma. Seriously. Children with Autism often deal with much more stress than neueo-typical kids. The stress of not being able to do what a teacher requests even after trying for weeks and weeks. The stress of not being able to, in detail, tell someone how you feel and what you want.

The study discusses children that are born into a family life of abuse, but I think it still holds value. It's a great reminder that what's going on now greatly changes the future:

"The science to support my claim is documented in the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study – epidemiological research done by the Centers for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. This study documents the undeniable link between toxic stress caused by experiences such as family addiction, abuse, dysfunction, violence, and divorce in childhood, and adult chronic diseases such as heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes, some breast cancers, and a host of autoimmune diseases."

I will link the study below and think it's a valuable read for any parent.

Terrifying Children into a Life of Asthma

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

A United Front

A United Front.

Right now those three words have multiple meanings.

1. The airline, United, is currently putting up a Front that they're remorseful for the severe beating of a defenseless man. In reality it's big time damage control.

2. A United Front is required to hold companies accountable. If we don't point our finger, tell our opinion and boycott, then our voice is never heard and we are invisible.

I have friends of all races, colors, creed, age, body type, social standing and sexual orientation. Why? Because a truly good friend is a very hard thing to find. Why would you limit your chance of finding people you care about and will be there for you when you need them? Exactly.

The man recently attacked by employees of United Airlines is Asian and believes that played a part in why he was chosen. That is incredibly scary for anyone of a cultural/national minority.

What does this have to do with Autism?
Because Autism is invisible.

Autism is found more in males, but it definitely doesn't discriminate.

So follow me for a minute:
Airline employee tells random person they have to give up their seat.
Person "refuses".
Person is then humiliated, harmed or both.

The following is included in the description of Aspergers on Wikipedia:

So what do we learn here? That someone with Aspergers or Autism can have difficulties in basic social interactions. They may have problems making eye contact or responding to someone's questions. They may inadvertently make a gesture they cannot control that could very well be misinterpreted.

Now do you see my fear?

If a PHYSICIAN couldn't make these horrible people listen to him, what chance does someone with Autism have?

Thank you, United Airlines, for giving us yet another reason to fear for our loved ones who are on the spectrum.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Barnes Being Very Noble

I love bookstores. Something about being able to browse real books while I drink a light, sugar free, no whip mocha is awesome. I also end up reading more real books than I read using the kindle app. I guess I'm old school - or instead as I prefer to call it, being an "OG".

Barnes and Noble is doing something awesome this summer for kids in grades 1 through 6. Basically you:

1. Check out the list of books for your child to read this summer from B&N's list (you can see the lists by grade here).
2. Have your child journal about each book (or you guys journal together). The journal can be printed HERE
3. Bring the journal to your local B&N between May 16 - September 5th
4. They get to choose a free book!

Encouraging reading and something free = fantastic. Boog loves to read and I'm very, very thankful for that.

For all of the specifics, look  HERE

This is really a great opportunity..... But you don't have to take my word for it! (ten points if you know where that phrase is from).

-Boog's Mommy

**This is not a sponsored post. I just like spreading the word on fun things.

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Autism Awareness - Free Printables!

Boog's elementary school is beyond amazing and supportive. Not only did we decorate for Autusm Awareness Month, but

Students are encouraged to wear blue on Fridays
Teachers are creating a dialogue with students about Autism (grades k-6!)
I created a booklet that explains common situations dealing with Autism

I found facts online, free clipart and creativity to make this up. It took a long time, but was so worth it. Please feel free to print/save any of the pages as long as it is for no personal gain, monetary or otherwise. The following are available for educational purposes only:







Hopefully this can be helpful to some of you guys out there. 

Have a great week!

-Boog's Mommy

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Go Ahead and Toy With Me

Children with Autism usually have a very hard time with imaginative play, i.e. a farm set is ignored because it doesn't "do" anything. Unless a toy moves, has buttons or lights up it just sits there.

Boog has been doing so many new things lately. I'm thanking God a lot these days. I should be thanking Him a lot everyday, and I'm working on that.

This would just look like a box of stuffed toys to anyone else, but to me it means the world.

These are all toys Boog picked out by himself. And it's not like before when he would just get a toy to appease me. He likes these toys.

At night right before bed I give him the box and he picks out who needs to come sleep with him that night. And I couldn't be happier.

Thankful, Blessed and so Appreciative,
Boog's Mommy

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Autism Awareness - Is There Adult Awareness?

Autism Awareness Month is mostly focused on the children/adults with Autism. Often forgotten are the mothers, fathers, family and caregivers behind the person they love.

I hope thie following article can shed some light on what goes on behind the scenes.
Autism Mom's Have Stress Similar to Combat Soldiers

This is not a cry for attention or request for pity. I'm presenting it as more of an explaination. Why is that Mom always late? Why does she look deshelved? Why was she short with me? Why did she forget our lunch and not show up?
No, we don't need sympathy - empathy. There's a big difference.
This is from

"To sum up the differences between the most commonly used meanings of these two terms: sympathy is feeling compassion, sorrow, or pity for the hardships that another person encounters, while empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of another."

Like it says, please don't feel sorry for me. My child is amazing. Feeling sorry or having pity means there is something wrong. There's nothing wrong, it's just different and a lot more.

Please feel free to send this blog post via email or share it on social media. I think it could really help.

- Boog's Often Tired, No Makeup, Yoga Pants Wearing Mom

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Pins but Definitely No Needles

Hey, you should check out my Pinterest. Seriously! I've pinned over 500 very useful items on topics like:

Educating neurotypical children about Autism
Sensory activities that don't break the bank
Free apps that could greatly benefit your special needs child
IEP information and tools
Autism Awareness ideas for decorating your home/class/school
Gluten free recipes
Saving money
Marriage and having a special needs child

and most importantly...


So go check it out! You know you wanted to waste time on Pinterest anyway 😉

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Monday, March 20, 2017

This Post Brought to You by the Letter J - For Julia!

This is huge. HUGE.

Sesame Street has introduced Julia, a new character, and she has Autism. I've been hearing about a character with ASD joining the show for a while now and I'm so so glad it happened.

How cute is she?!

Just think about it! This will:

Teach children about Autism
Teach parents about Autism, who then teach their kids
Teach non-special education teachers about Autism, who can then teach their class
Build confidence in children with Autism
Help a parent recognize signs of Autism and seek early intervention

And like ten million other awesome reasons.

So the big point of this post is that we LOVE Julia!

Now, how soon can I spend way too much money on Julia toys and merch for Boog.....yeah, all for Boog.....

Here are some great resources to check out especially considering April is Autism Awareness Month:

Sesame Street Storybook about Julia: This story stars Elmo, Abby and their friend Julia, who has Autism. Together, the three pals have a delightful playdate.

Butterfly Flapping : How to include someone with Autism while playing

Julia's Bunny:  Sonetimes playing near someone with Autism just might make them play too

And here's an awesome and really inexpensive way to promote acceptance and support PBS:

Excited, Thankful & Humble,
Boog's Mommy

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Today Tips on Troubling Thieves

The Today Show had a segment this morning about home burglaries, how they happen and tips on how to avoid them. I created an image with the top tips that you can save, print and share with your friends and loved ones:

Be safe!
Boog's Mommy

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Needs of the One

Ten points to anyone nerdy enough to get where this post's title came from.

So we happen to live in one of the poorest states. It's also the state almost always behind in everything important.

There are little to no options for children with Autism here. It's heart breaking. We are so blessed to have our elementary school, staff and teachers. I honestly don't know how we became so lucky to end up here. My opinion is that it was by the grace of God.

Having a special needs son hasn't necessarily made me more religious, but it has made me understand God much better and taught me to see signs I never noticed before. He has guided me every inch of the way for the last seven years and I am so so thankful.

Right now I believe He is telling me that I will have to uproot my little family and separate it from my extended family that I love dearly by many miles. Last summer Boog was in any amazing day camp for about six weeks. Well, because it's the only camp that is for special needs children they are only allowing two weeks per child in order for more to have a chance to attend. It's like every time I find something it never lasts. That's why I'm always nervous. I worry about years in the future and I know other mothers don't. Right now I'm already stressed about summer and it's two months away. Right now I'm stressed about middle school and it's years away.

Like I said, by now I understand signs and I "hear" so much more. For about two years I have had a thought in the back of my mind that we may have to move out of state one day. The longer time has gone on, the more that thought comes forward. I believe God knows how hard this will be for me so he told me years in advance. This way I can research where we need to be. I have plenty of time to make the right decision no matter how painful it may be.

I have lived here my entire life. I don't want to move. I also don't have the ability to settle for "pretty good" when it comes to my son. Unless some major changes happen in the near future, there won't be anything I deem even close to acceptable for my son's continued education and ability to be as independent as possible.

The burden of worry is a double edged sword. On one side, it makes you prepared way before anyone else is. The other side means your mind is clouded with worry and fear for things that are very far in the future, or things that may not even happen at all. An example is how important it is that Lucas be independent being constantly on my mind. I know I cannot live forever and it terrifies me. Until I find the perfect path that will last for more than a few years I will worry about this. As of right now there isn't much of anything here to help older children or adults with Autism. Literally every state that surrounds us has so many opportunities it is nauseating to me. Why? Why here? Why not?

It's like being in a beautiful meadow. There are brightly colored flowers and green grass all around you -  but you can't enjoy it. You can't enjoy it because you are standing in the one dark, deep, muddy puddle in the entire meadow.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Artsy Alternatives for Advertising Autism Advocates

Good morning all!

I want to mention how proud I am of Boog. I'm always proud, but lately I've been super proud. Boog is always learning and working hard, but he also regularly has these times where he's just kicking butt and doing so many new things. We were both sick last week and I noticed so many subtle things I wasn't aware of. These might seem small, but parents of special needs children understand just how exciting and important every new skill is and how hard their little one worked to get there. I know I'm forgetting so many, but I've recently noticed/heard about:

Boog and his teacher reading about astronomy in a sixth grade level science book. I didn't know he was interested in space, nor did I have a clue he would understand a book five grades ahead of him.

I have a Windows based laptop from a few years back that's annoyingly slow, but I came up with a great purpose for it. I have it in the living room with a blank Word document open. I showed it to Boog and he was typing requests of what he wanted to watch on tv. Now we're working on typing what food he wants. He's typing these answers with no assistance. I don't know who's more excited, me to see him doing so much, or Boog being elated he can convey a specific request and I immediately understand.

Boog is writing without hand over hand. We still have a long way to go, but he's now moved on from his first name to his last. I'm so so thankful for his teachers, speech pathologist and occupational therapist he works with now and also those from the past that helped him get to this point.

Boog is even more helpful at home without any requests. He's just kind and does these things without thinking much about it, it's just who he is. He's a really, really good person. He even patted me on the back last week when I was sick and coughing.

Tip: If you have an iPhone, Notes are a great way to ask a question while you're out and about. While we were at the doctor, I was wondering if Boog's throats was hurting. I typed mouth for throat because I wasn't sure if he knew "throat" yet (he probably does) and he answered "yep". I had no idea he knew slang-type words!

Boog put on his jacket yesterday at school when it was time to go all by himself! He was so proud when he was walking up to me with the biggest beautiful grin. Again, so proud.

I also have to mention all the different foods he's eating now thanks to his teachers at school and the awesome cafeteria manager that can magically make school lunch really good with seasoning and other things most wouldn't take the time to do. Boog regulaly has and loves beef/vegetable soup, chicken hot wings, squash, chicken alfredo, turnip greens and much much more! There's no way I would have touched most of those at his age.

This year is already going by quickly and April will be here before you know it. I can be a bit eccentric at times and pride myself on being different. It must be from my Mom, she's very much a free spirit and never meets a stranger. She has always had the confidence to do what makes her happy instead of doing what every other person does. This goes for decorating to her hair to her colorful outfits and jewelry. I love that I grew up with a Mom who taught me to be confident and that I didn't have to conform and be unhappy in life.

That being said, I'm a bit tired of the puzzle piece. Don't get me wrong, I think it is a great way to spread Autism Awareness and am proud to see it displayed more often every year. I just wanted to change things up and that's when I started noticing pro neurodiversity items online. I love it because it's not just about Autism and can include everything from sensory perception disorder to OCD. Neurodiversity means everyone has the right to be treated equally and fairly. It makes one realize how many people are "different" and that difference keeps life from being unbareably boring. A flower bed of yellow tulips is pretty, but the bed across the street of yellow, pink, red and purple is much more eye catching. 

This isn't a sponsored post, but Redbubble is a great site where you can order personalized items designed by people all over the world. Their stickers are also very affordable and usually have a coupon code. Right now if you order six stickers you get them 50% off. Here are some very creative stickers I ordered recently:

Happy Valentine's Day to all!
-Boog's Mommy

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