Thursday, June 28, 2012

Knowing Your "Limits"

One of my favorite things to do is to mow our yard.  I like getting the exercise and getting that feeling of  accomplishment when it's all done.  Where I live, the weather has been unseasonably hot.  I decided to mow the lawn yesterday, since today's temperature is supposed to be about 95.  I guess part of me is still a little (okay, a lot)  in denial that I have a couple of heart conditions.  Since I am now on four medications to control it, I kind of feel like I'm invincible and can do pretty much whatever I used to do before I was diagnosed. WRONG!! Yesterday, after I mowed the lawn,  I spent most of the rest of the day feeling like a 100-year old lady lying down on the couch recovering with the added bonus of the beginnings of a migraine!!  What I am slowing realizing, is that I have to remember that I do have these heart conditions and thank goodness they are being controlled properly for the time being with my medications.  I also have to take responsibility for my health and be aware of my "limits."  My body lets me know when I've gone beyond those limits, I start having shortness of breath. I have this habit of having my hands in too many "pots." As moms, we try to be everything to everybody.  I think it's good to remember that if you don't take care of yourself you can't take care of anybody else.  It's easy for me to say, but sometimes hard for me to remember.  I'm really trying though!!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


If you read just one book about Autism, take the time to read, "Carly's Voice."  It is written by Arthur Fleischmann.  He wrote the book along with his daughter, Carly, who is nonverbal and has Autism.  I found it to be one of the most moving and inspirational books I have read in a long time. I highly recommend this book to ALL parents. If your child doesn't have Autism, it will give you some insight as to what it's like. If your child does have Autism, you can probably relate (as I did) to some of the family's experiences.

I have written on my blog about how those days before Dominic talked and could not communicate with us as some of  the hardest and most difficult days as a mom.  Imagine if you knew you might never hear your child speak, EVER.  Carly's mom and dad worked endlessly to find a way to communicate with her. They finally found the "key" to her being able to communicate was through a computer. She has had aides and therapists that have worked tirelessly with her to get her to the point that she is at now. Carly is about a year older than Lauren. As much as Dominic talks now, it is sometimes hard for me to remember those first three years when he really didn't talk or communicate.  Reading was always something I hoped Dominic would do and I even wrote a blog post about it back on February 15th. We just got Dominic's  report card this past Friday and the teacher wrote he is reading at a first grade level!!! I was so excited when I saw that :) Dominic has gone from slamming and throwing a book across the room to reading the book, "Boats, Boats, Boats" below.

We don't take Dominic being able to communicate, talk or read for granted.  The road with Dominic has been tough at times and I know there will be challenges ahead.  We take it a day at a time. Isn't that what all parents do with their kids???

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Full "Nest"

I was thinking this past Monday night, when the four of us were all about five feet from each other, all doing different things, that it will probably be a long time until I have an empty "nest."  More than one of my friends have kids that are graduating or have already graduated from high school.  I have friends whose kids are even already married!!! They are around my age (or younger).  It took me several years to find my "Prince Charming."  I was in my early thirties when I had Lauren and my early forties when I had Dominic.  The hubby likes to tell people he had a kid every decade (my stepson in the 80's, Lauren in the 90's and Dominic in the 2000's)! I think it blows a lot of people's minds that he has a 7-year old (my husband has a big birthday later this year that starts with a "6" and ends with a "0").  I want our home to always be a place where my stepson, Lauren and Dominic always feel welcome.  Our door is always open.  My hope for Dominic is that he will live independently of us, but I am also realistic.  He may always live with us :) I moved in and out of my parents "nest" a few times until I moved out permanently to get married.  I hear more and more in the news about children that have moved out and have had to move back in because they weren't able to afford living on their own.  Sometimes they bring their own children back with them.  It's not uncommon these days to have more than one generation living under the same roof.  What is your "nest" like right now, full or empty?? or somewhere in between??

Friday, June 15, 2012

Snug as a Bug in a Rug

For a while, Dominic's bedtime routine would involve the hubby, Lauren and I each reading him a certain book.  The hubby's was called, "Dirty Larry", mine was "Animal Babies" and Lauren's was "Surprise." We had to go in his room in the same order and read only those certain books to him.  I had high hopes it would last for a while, it lasted about a month.  Since that time, it has evolved to no book, but instead each of us still going in to his room, in the same order. When my husband goes in, he says to Dominic, "I'm going to make you snug as a bug in a rug." He tucks Dominic in real tight, he has always liked that tight compression wrapped around him.  He also requests the hubby put a blanket on the bed called the "rainbow" blanket, even though there are bears all over it.  He usually tosses it on the floor just to bust the hubby's chops :)  My husband then says, "who's next?"  Dominic says, "mommy."  The hubby leaves and I come in.  My good night to him is short and sweet.  I lean over, give him a kiss and say goodnight.  I say, "okay, who's next?" He says, "La-La."  That's his nickname for Lauren.  She likes to tickle him and give him a kiss goodnight.  Dominic has come to expect the three of us to do our little "Daddy, Mommy and La-La Show."  Even if he is exhausted and half falling asleep, he will stay awake until the three of us have done our thing!  Do you and your kids have a certain routine that you like to do at night?  I would love to hear :)  This is Mr. Dominic "pretending" to sleep.  Sweet dreams, my boy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Conversations with My Dad

Back in the middle of May, my dad flew out to visit our family for a week. I enjoy these visits, because he has got to spend more time with the kids and has really gotten to know them much better.  He is amazed by how much progress Dominic has made.  Lauren and my dad love to talk about anything history related (which makes me want to take a nap)!!  As my dad gets older, I am reminded that his trips here to visit us will become more and more difficult for him to manage.  This past March he turned 77.  It's hard for me to believe that in three years he will be 80.

The picture above was from a really long time ago, I don't even think I could sit up yet, so I'm guessing I was less than six months old.  It's kind of interesting my dad is putting a hat on my head, because I absolutely detest hats!!!  I love having conversations with my dad.  The morning of my wedding, I remember I couldn't sleep (guess I was nervous). I spent the night at my parents house and my dad was up really early, like me.  The house was very quiet and he and I sat talking for a couple hours.  It was wonderful that he and I were able to have that time together, before my wedding. I loved that he was able to walk me down the aisle.

It was very special.  As my dad (and my mom) age, my trips back to Maryland will probably become more frequent.  I told my dad that I'm only a plane ride away should he or my mom need me.  He still likes to call me his "baby" even though in about a year I'll be 50. If you are still lucky enough to have your dad in your life this Father's Day, then you are truly blessed.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Taming" the Papers

As I sat looking at the above yesterday, I was thinking there must be a better way to "tame" my papers!! If so, I guess I don't know what it is :)  My bills are always paid on time and permission slips and such are always signed and sent back to school.  I really had high hopes on Monday, that I could get the papers on the counter organized.  I had my papers spread all over the kitchen table in several small piles.  Instead, before I knew it,  it got to be about dinner time and my husband said something like, "when are you planning on putting all these papers away??"  Once again, I put all my papers back on the kitchen counter. What I've found, is that I really need just a few hours to sort through everything. With the ending of the school year (Lauren is done, Dominic is not) and planning summer activities,  finding those few couple of  "free" hours has been a bit challenging!!  I'll sit down and start and then the phone will ring or I'll remember I need to do a load of laundry.  This morning, I have taken the time to slow down, drink a cup of coffee and start sorting.  Wish me luck!

Friday, June 8, 2012

A "Cluttered" Mind

Have you ever had so much mind "clutter," that you did something absentmindedly? Well, a few weeks ago, I accidentally took one of Dominic's Ritalin tablets!!  I keep 3 out of the 4 medicines that I take for my heart "issues" on our kitchen counter as well as his bottle of Ritalin.  I guess I was thinking about the new medicine the cardiologist just put me on and was also thinking it was time to give Dominic his third Ritalin dose of the day.  After I realized what I had done, I hyperventilated a little kind of wondering what the reaction would be.  He is on a small dose (5 mg), thank goodness, so I kind of sat back and waited to see what might happen.  Luckily, there was no bad reaction, it actually kept me more focused for the next couple of hours than I had been all day. I sometimes wonder if I have ADHD :)  I think when you're a mom/parent, your mind is always one step ahead thinking about what you have to do next.  I'll never forget one time I was in a store and I was so much in my own thoughts, I almost rammed my cart into another lady.  I said, "oh, I'm so sorry, I was in my own little world."  She kind of laughed at me and said, "well, I hope you're very happy there!"  I laughed and said back, "well, yes I am!"  I had a good chuckle about that for the rest of the day :)  Today, I locked myself out of my house.  I beginning to really think my mind needs a good "decluttering!"

Monday, June 4, 2012

Going Out in Public

When Dominic was really little, the only place I took him out on a regular basis was the grocery store.  I would put him in the front part of the cart, strap him in and pray he didn't try to stand up or cry too much.  I was always afraid people would know that he had Autism and stare at us. I would work myself up into a flap and then Dominic would pick up on my anxiety.  If Lauren was with us, I would bark at her to help me more, and I usually would almost be in tears. Those days were pretty rough. As I got more confident, we started taking him out to restaurants.  We relied on a Game Boy or Nintendo DS handheld to keep him distracted.   His teachers at school have done a great job with him and have taught him to stay seated when he is supposed to.  Dominic has gone bowling a few times with his classmates and it was reported back to me that he did pretty well.  In the Fall of 2011, we started bowling with some other families through a Special Needs Ministry at a neighboring church.  I had known about this group for a few years, but always came up with an excuse not to go, because I was really nervous about taking him to the bowling alley, thinking he would act up.  The age range in this group is varied and all of the families have one or more family members with disabilities.  It has been a wonderful experience for our ENTIRE family and we are planning on becoming long term members of the group.

During Spring Break of 2012, we went to a resort. The only other time we have flown with Dominic was to Arizona when he hadn't been diagnosed yet with Autism.  It was an exhausting trip and made me leery of ever going on a plane again with him.  It really didn't seem fair to the hubby and my daughter not to go on another plane trip, just because I was nervous about it.  We decided to go to Jamaica and found a direct flight from an airport close to our house.  We prepared Dominic about it, but I tried not to over talk it!  He did great on the plane ride and at the resort.  Our entire family had a wonderful time.  If you have a child with special needs, go out, don't worry about what people will say or how they look at you.  Just smile and remember if they have issues with how your child acts, it's their problem, not yours!!!!

My New "Relationship" with the Sun

Long gone are the days that I would sit on the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean for HOURS at a time with just baby oil on my skin for prote...