I originally started this blog a few years ago to chronicle Noah's daily struggles with autism. It was a dark time in my life - a time when I felt that things would never get better. It was a time when I felt that all my hopes and dreams for my son and for our family had died. In my efforts to help Noah recover from autism, I began a journey that inadvertently led me to rediscover myself. I learned how to laugh again. How to dream again. How to live again. How to love again.

Autism Schmaustism. He's still our son.

This is a blog celebrating our family. Our kids. Our life.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Noah's Skin and the Benefits of Homeopathy


I've been debating about whether or not to do this blog post for some time now. Part of me thought what's the point? Showing all the pictures of how Noah's skin used to be? It's really graphic and I didn't want it to come across as too gratuitous.

The other part of me thought that maybe someone battling this would find this post and it might help them. But then they'd want me to explain homeopathy and how it works and I really don't do it justice. Everytime someone asks me about it I end up sounding like a bumbling idiot and people leave more skeptical than they were in the beginning. Also, I would hate to feel responsible if someone stopped using Western medicine just based on this post. And what if homeopathy didn't work for their child?

Was it the homeopathy that healed Noah's skin? Or was it God using homeopathy to heal Noah's skin? Will it work for everyone?

Here's the background. When we adopted Noah he had little raised bumps/lesions on his skin. Just a few. But his medicals from the orphanage showed a history of lesions and rashes all over his body. At 15 months of age, after Noah suffered a reaction to the DPT shot, the lesions went away. They stayed gone for nearly 3 years until we started doing natural chelation and a detox regime for Noah's autism.

Personally, I believe that Noah's immune system became suppressed and when we started chelating, all the whatever-it-was-that-caused-the-lesions-in-the-first-place came out in full force. I truly believe in the saying that there is no symptom without a cause. So something had caused those lesions and they went away after his DPT and came back when we started detoxing his body. This is not based on scientific medical fact, just my intuition as Noah's mom. And if you're a mom, then you know to trust your intuition because you're normally right. Right?

I must also mention that we had also just moved in with my parents, too, and they lived down the street from a large cement plant - one of the most toxic in the country. I mean, just google " Midlothian, TX and toxins" and you'll see what I mean. We were practically sitting in its backyard.

Anyway, he started developing lesions again and they spread like wildfire all over his body. It was horrible. He was in constant agony - and NOTHING seemed to help. We took him to several specialists who all just said it was ezcema and to use steroid cream on him. Of course, none of the specialists bothered to tell us that repeated use of the steroid cream would weaken his skin and cause more damage. No. It took a week's stay in the hospital to find that out.

The point is that we tried everything short of voodoo to get it under control and nothing worked. Eventually his entire body became infected with impetigo and the constant scratching resulted in boils forming on his body... which was later diagnosed as MRSA Staph.

About this time, we started trying homeopathy. I had learned about it ages ago, but thought it was hokey-pokey stuff and never tried it. At this point, though, Noah literally looked like a mummy. His school -rightfully so - refused to let him go unless his sores were bandaged. Well, when you have sores all over your body, you end up wrapped up in bandages. We had nothing to lose, so we turned to a homeopath that I had happened to sit next to on a bus trip a few years back.... and the rest is history.

Take a look at the before and afters and see the results for yourself....

This went on for 18 MONTHS! Finally, after 2 local quack homeopaths, I called Dr. Ullman (the one that I sat next to on a bus trip)in Washington State and he prescribed homeopathic sulphur for Noah. It took about 3 or 4 weeks for Noah's skin to get noticeably better and this is what his skin looks like today....

Isn't that amazing??!! Praise God!

We actually don't even use the sulphur much at all anymore. Maybe once or twice a month. We have to be really careful with his skin, so we rub him down with pure olive oil 2-3 times a day. Sometimes we alternate it with almond oil. Coconut oil would have been ideal because it also has antimicrobial properties but he seems to have a reaction to it and it makes him break out.

He's probably stinkier than most kids because we only bathe him once or twice a week. Actually, he takes showers and I get him in and out in about 2 minutes flat. We were using California Baby liquid soap, but now we just use the generic plain Johnson's Baby brand. A lot of the natural soaps contain coconut oil, so we have to be really careful.

Summers are the worst because he does swim lessons and it causes his skin to flare up. It's a choice we made, though, because swimming is his passion. We just make extra sure to give him his sulphur in the summertime.

As you can see in the after pics, he has a bit of scarring on the back of his knees. His knees still get rough - probably his knee and elbow are the areas we still battle. But instead of being a 10, it's more like a 2 now, you know?

Anyway, I'm not at all against Western medicine. In fact, I down so much Alleve for my period cramps that I'm surprised the company hasn't asked me to be their spokesperson...

And I still give the kids dye-free Motrin when they're sick. So I can't say that we're 100% homeopathy, but I've seen with my own eyes what it can do... and now you've seen it, too.

Since I won't do it any justice by trying to explain it, I'm just going to direct you to our homeopath's website. He's awesome!! He gives a lot of info on his site that would be good for people just starting out.


All three kids are on it - although each has a different remedy. Nandi hasn't used it in awhile, but it really did help with some of her more extreme behaviors after the adoption. It really helped Eli, too, but then I antidoted it by rubbing some peppermint oil on him. He just started taking it again last week after a 3 month abscence. It'll be interesting to find out if his behavior therapist notices a difference....

Of course I'm not going to tell her what it is. She already thinks I'm a bit nutso. LOL.

So anyway, I hope this helps some of you who are dealing with the same thing. Truly, I was such a skeptic in the beginning. In this case, I had to see it to believe it.

And I believe it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I believe this song was originally intended for Christmas, but everytime I hear it, I think how it would be a perfect Thanksgiving Song..

May we all remember how truly blessed we are...

Josh Groban: Thankful

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The only part of my body that runs is my nose..

After my Ode to Rachel Greene's Hair post the other day, some of you asked me to put up some pictures of my new 'do. Unfortunately, the last few days have not been about my hair at all - but rather my nose and the fact that I haven't been able to breathe out of it. Any pictures taken would have included wads of kleenex stuffed up both nostrils and a dazed drunken look from living on a liquid diet consisting solely of Ny-quil.

There are some similar pictures floating around from my college days, but, uhm, yeah... we won't go there.

Anyway, I am firmly placing the blame on public school. I don't know how you teachers do it. Ya'll are amazing. You must have immune systems made of steel.

You see, I had the privilege (???) of accompanying Nandini to her school's Thanksgiving lunch. Basically it was just a way for the school to rake in an extra $4.00. That's my theory. But I'm a sucker for a Hallmark card moment, so I plunked down my 4 bucks and entered into the school cafeteria at lunch time.

Also known as the depths of hell.


Preschoolers are just nasty beings, aren't they? I sat at a table full of kids blowing bubbles out their milk, making fart noises with their armpits, and wiping snot on their sleeves. If I'd had a can of Lysol, I'd have sprayed a protective net of fumes all around me.

All my knowledge of the evils of aerosol just seemed so trivial at that moment. Sorry, Al.

Instead, I got coughed on and sneezed on by a bunch of pint-sized germ spreaders. 4 year olds have no sense of manners do they? They'll just lean right into you and cough in your face.

That, plus the utter chaos of being contained in a cafeteria with 200 preschoolers made me want to pick Nandi up and burst through the school doors screaming, "My baby! My baby!" in my most dramatic Southern accent.

But I held on. And 20 minutes later I was back in the sunshine and headed to the car. I had no idea that those pesky little germs had already invaded my sinus cavities.

And the rest is history.

I am feeling a bit better. I still can't take a picture - unless you don't seeing mind the protective layer of vaseline that is spread all under my raw and irritated nostrils. The bad thing is that it's all shiny and you can't tell if my nose is running...

Very lovely. Winter is so good for me.

I did manage to take Nandi to her appointment at Scottish Rite Hospital, though, on Wednesday. I finally know where all the good looking doctors work in the Dallas area. Boy howdy. It was like walking onto the set of Grey's Anatomy.

Pediatric Orthopedics.

The requirement is that you not only have to be smart, but good looking as well.

I don't really remember what the 20 something year old resident told me about Nandi's legs because I was too busy staring at his hot mess of curly hair and listening to his Danish accent.


Well, actually, I'm not. But I do remember what he said...

Nandi DOES need heel-cord lengthening surgery but not for two more years. AND she does NOT need to wear her brace because it really won't help her. She's walking fine, even if she is so high up on her toes that she could be a ballerina. He said surgery is the only thing that might help so we'll just continue what we're doing and bring her back in 18 months for another eval.

So there ya go.

I need go now and pop another couple of Alleve and make a close date with my nasal spray. I'm going to attempt to make it to church tonight.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bringing back "The Rachel"

I am bringing back The Rachel.

You know. That fabulous haircut that Jennifer Aniston sported on Friends circa 1995?

That's right.

Don’t let anyone tell you that Leslie T is not a Trendy Wendy. Oh no. I know all about the latest trends. I'm just about 14 years too late. That’s all.

Actually, I missed the whole “Rachel haircut” thing because I was living in England at the time and wasn’t able to watch Friends.

Instead my nights were spent placing bets on whether or not I was going to freeze to death in my house with no heat and wondering if the drummer living below me was actually sober when he got the huge spiderweb tattoo on his neck.

Good times.

Anyway, my hair was driving me nuts. It got to the point where I was going to do a Britney if something didn't change.

Plus, my mom made the comment that if I grew my hair any longer it would make me look really old.

Mothers. You gotta love 'em.

(By the way, Mom. I know you're reading this. Thanks for watching the boys today. Love ya!)

So I made a spur of the moment appointment last night, took my outdated picture of Jennifer Aniston out of my purse and said, "I don't care how out-of-date it is, I want THAT hair."

And for the record, I do not carry a picture of Jennifer Aniston in my purse at all times. I printed the picture off a hairstyle page last night and took it just for the haircut.

Now my husband. Well that's a different story.


Anyway. Snip snip. Trim trim. Spray Spray. And VOILA!

Jennifer Aniston I am not.

Nah, the cut is cute. It took several inches of dead end stringiness off and for the two hours before I went to bed last night my hair actually looked fabulous.

And then I slept on it all night and woke up.

The secret to having gorgeous hair lies in having the money to have someone fix it for you every day.

Either that or eyes in the back of your head. Or octopus arms.

I don't know how anyone is coordinated enough to fix the back of their hair and make it look bouncy and full of awesome-ness.

Plus, a hand-held mirror to look at your backside in the mirror is not your friend, folks. That's why they have you sitting down in a chair in the hair salon when they swing you around to "check out the back." Because they all know you'd fall into hysterics if you got a full-length shot.

Goodness gracious. Whew.

Anyway, I have to run. Nandi is having her evaluation at Scottish Rite today and we have to get ready.

Gosh, I hope no one mistakes me for Jennifer Aniston today. Boy, you know, that would just be sooooooooooo embarrassing.

Now where is that scotch tape? I need to post that picture to my bathroom mirror so that I can get it just right.....

Friday, November 14, 2008

Help Nikki and Alex Go To Ethiopia!

I have posted about Nikki - oh, I don't know - a half-dozen times or so. I am somewhat fascinated by her and all she's been able to accomplish at such a young age and am living vicariously through her.

It's rather embarrassing.

Have I just mortified you beyond belief, Nikki?

Anyway, Nikki and her boyfriend, Alex, are going to Ethiopia in February. You can read all about it HERE. She and Alex will be volunteering in a children's home through Blessing the Children International. She'll also get to visit the little girl that she's been sponsoring through World Vision.

In order to help raise money for the trip, she is sponsoring a fantastic drawing chock-full of fabulous items. With Nikki's permission, I've copied her latest blog post about the raffle.

I encourage you to read through it and make a donation if possible. Think CHRISTMAS GIFTS!!! Also, if you participate in the raffle and mention it on your blog, then you get an extra ticket!

Even if you don't participate, will you mention Nikki's trip on your blog? I've said it before and I'll say it again. This girl is going to change the world. Don't you want to be a part of that?

If you want to participate in the raffle or make a donation, please CLICK HERE.


Just a reminder that the Charity Raffle will be closing on November 20th- just 9 days away! I have posted the details again below and the Chip In to enter the raffle is on my sidebar! Altogether there are 13 prizes that will be given away, so you have a very good chance of winning!

I am holding my very first CHARITY RAFFLE!! There are a TON of prizes to be won! Tickets are one for $5, or five for $20. This can be paid to the Chip In button on my sidebar. If you make a donation (of any amount) and then post about it on your blog, you will receive an additional raffle entry (just leave a comment on the blog to let me know!) I will email you after I have received your raffle entry to confirm your email address, so that I have a way to contact you in the case that you are one of the winners. 50% of the funds raised will go towards paying for Alex and I to go to Ethiopia. The other half will be donated to World Vision.

Raffle will close NOVEMBER 20th.

And here are the prizes!! You do not need to enter separately for each one, if you enter the raffle you are entered into all of them, and if you enter multiple times, you have a chance of winning multiple prizes.

1) $25 gift certificate to MJennings Designs; personalized name bracelets and beaded jewelry custom designed for you! You can use this $25 towards anything available in Melissa's online store. I purchased one of the personalized kids' bracelets to give as a gift to Frangelis when I was in the DR. I had it personalized with her name, and she LOVED it. They are really beautiful.

2) Personalized photo frame from Murals With Love. This is a handmade 5 by 7 inch photo frame which you can have personalized with any theme and words. The frame pictured is one that I had personalized as a gift for Caitie with a photo of us with part of the African Children's Choir when we went to watch them. I told her I wanted pink and leopard print and she came up with this awesome creation!

3) A Jillyd bag: Eclectic, whimsical, and unique bags. The one pictured is the one which will be raffled off.

4) Africa Inspired Clock: A huge thanks to Bearly Art for donating this fantastic leopard and zebra clock. These hand painted clocks are made from 12” LP record albums. It is just one thing I do that helps save something from ending up in a landfill. These green home d├ęcor wall clocks are battery operated and have a hanger on the back of the mechanism. Whether you want to call them recycled, up-cycled, re-purposed or reused, buying these clocks helps reduce the need for more and more things being made in factories. They are lightweight, and durable.

5) A huge thanks to Hillary of Hillary Heydle: Peaceful Jewelry for donating these two fantastic, peace-inspired necklaces. The first pictured is the Chakra Peace necklace: This sweet little necklace is made with sterling silver, precious and semi-precious gemstones. Garnet(red & orange), kyanite, tourmaline, blue zircon, citrine, peridot, aquamarine, ruby, amethyst, emerald and iolite make up the necklace. These stones represent all the seven chakras have been selected to soothe and balance while giving a little peace as well. The second is made with gemstones that are the color of the ocean. A modern peace sign accentuates the peaceful design.

6) Ethiopia Zipper Pouch: Urbanhen will be donating one of these adorable zipper pouches, complete with an Ethiopian flag and lined with repurposed fabric.

7) South America Necklace from StoneGems. As it says on their shop, "each piece is "made by nature", the ocean...the water...the waves. The pieces are not altered, I simply add some accents and name each one by what I see." This particular necklace has a map of South America on it.

8) Blog Makeover at Blogs for a Cause. As many of you know, I design blogs to help raise money for differnet charities and for the humanitarian trips I go on. I will be donating one free blog makeover (also covering the cost of the digital scrap kit used).

9) Megan of
Burp Itty Burp will be donating two $15 gift certificates! She sells adorable baby and children's items that can be personalized.

10) Peace in 50 Languages: This fantastic design by GeeZee's is printed and wrapped around a 10x10 piece of wood. A hole is drilled in the back of the wood for easy hagning. Winner is given the choice of the design being in red, black, or green.

11) Denise Punger, doctor and author of the book Permission to Mother, is donating a free copy of her book! As the book says, "going beyond the standard of care to nurture our children".


Read about my volunteer work in the DR http://www.heroholiday07.blogspot.com/

Read about my volunteer work in Ethiopia http://ethiopia2009-adana.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Gotcha Day, Nandi!

I can't believe that just a little over a year ago, I was standing at DFW airport with my mom - ready to board a flight to Brussels and then on to New Delhi.

I can't believe that one year ago TODAY I was standing with my mom in an orphanage in Pune, India and holding my beautiful daughter for the very first time.

Where did the time go?

Years are funny, aren't they? A year is really not that long, but yet I can hardly remember a time when Nandi wasn't a part of our lives.

How is it that this little girl, who I feel like I've loved forever, has only been in our lives for one year?

For those of you who were along for the journey, you probably remember my blog posts about those first few days in India. They were excruciating. And truth be told, it took about 7 months for everything to feel normal again. For Nandi to know us and for us to learn all about her and for everything to get turned right side up again.

Adoption is so beautiful but can be so painful. I remember thinking that we were cruel for taking her away from the only country and people and smells and sounds and language that she has ever known. I remember thinking that she's loved there. Her ayahs love her. And she's comfortable and happy. She doesn't know any different. I remember thinking that we were so cruel to do this to her.

And she grieved. Oh how she grieved. She cried and cried and after the first day, she refused to let me hold her for two weeks. She refused to look at me or acknowledge me. And during that time I honestly wondered if it would ever get any better.

And now..... we're a year later. And my goodness how things have changed. She is fully Americanized. She declined a Gotcha Day supper of Indian food by saying, "Ewww, gross! I no lika Indian food. I wanna cookies and ice cream!"

She loves to be held. She has fully and firmly attached to us. It's as if this is how it's always been....

Which is sad in a way. It is sad that the only Indian word she uses is "pani" (for water). Or that she doesn't like to listen to Indian music or watch Indian movies (the dance scenes) anymore.

In fact, just a minute ago, she came up and asked if she could watch Mr. Bean on DVD.

We will do our very best to help her remember and embrace her Indian heritage and background. Her Gotcha Days will be filled with pictures and memories and trinkets from India. Hopefully, one day when she's older, she'll open up her little hopechest and see 20 years worth of Indian treasures (one for each year) and remember how her Gotcha Days were a celebration of the merger of two cultures. I hope she knows how loved she is. How very much wanted she was. And how our family was complete the day she became our daughter.

She is so funny and so playful and so cute. She can be a right toot sometimes and a real firecracker, but she is also simply amazing.
I am honored and blessed and privileged to be Nandini's Mommy.

Happy 1 year Gotcha Day, Nandi. We love you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Trippin' Down Memory Lane

I have a terrible habit of thinking that I look younger than I am. You see, inside, I still feel like I'm 19 years old - but the face in the mirror? Well, she looks a lot older.

I will see people my age and think, "Wow. Is that what 35 looks like? Surely, I don't look like that?"

And Sim, being the sweet, wonderful liar that he is, always says, "No, you look a lot younger."

That's why we're still together.

I love that after all these years, he's still a compulsive liar who will flatter me with complete untruths..

Forget all that "I like a man with a sense of humor nonsense." I like a guy who tells me I look great even when I clearly don't.

Take note, guys. That'll get you right to the heart of a woman.

Anyway, last night we were watching Dancing With the Starts and Warren Sapp and his partner, Kym came on. Now, she's a really pretty girl. But I think she looks older than me.

In fact, she's 3 years younger.

And why this even matters in the grand scheme of life is completely unclear, but all I know is that last night at 8:24 pm, it clearly mattered to me.

So I ask Sim... "How old do you think she looks?"

Sim: "Uh, a LOT older than you."

Me: "She's three years younger than me. Can you believe it? Do I look that old?"

And just for a split second - right before he lied and said, "No, you still look like you're in your twenties", I saw a look of pure honesty in his face and it said, "Heck, yeah!"

I was crushed.

Mind you. He didn't actually say it, but I know that he was thinking that I'm a right old cow with wrinkles across her forehead and jowls that could rival a houndog's.

I am very good at reading between the lines.

And those lines... SUCKED! Just like the ones across my forehead.

So, I decided to do whatever I do when I get down and depressed. I cleaned.

Some of you may think if that's the case then I should be living in a house that's fresh and sparkly all the time. But if you've dropped by lately then you know it's simply not true.

But I set out cleaning and started with the closet. And do you know that I came across?

Pictures of when I was 20. Pictures of when I first met Sim. Really, cool pictures that took me down on a fun-lived trip down memory lane.

And you know what? I sure don't look 19 anymore. The pictures were proof.

I truly have turned into a 35 year old mother of three.

My eyes have started to sag. My neck is sagging. Shoot, I didn't even know boobs my size could sag, but apparently gravity doesn't play favorites.

I have aged. Sagged and aged.

I ran into an ex-boyfriend's mother a few years ago and she told me that even though she is now in her 60's, she still feels 21. And that she is still shocked when she looks in the mirror each morning and sees the face staring back at her.

You know what they say. You are only as old as you feel.

In that case, I should be dead.

But, no, really. It's all a state of mind isn't it?

So, the next time you see me and I have no make-up on, and the days events are etched on my face and you spot the gray that's appeared in my hair - just know that inside is a vivacious, young (and skinny) 19 year old who still loves to listen to The Cure and Pearl Jam and U2 and who slow dances with her 22 year old boyfriend (who is really her 37 year old husband) barefoot in the kitchen.

And feel free to lie to me anytime you want. :-) You'll become a favorite of mine.

Monday, November 10, 2008

To Whomever's been praying for Eli....


We have noticed some significant changes in Eli over the last few days. Behaviorally? Eh... not so much.

But cognitively? Heck yeah!

It's like a light-switch has been turned on in his head.

I know I've mentioned it before, but we have been working on numbers and letters for THREE YEARS. That's not an exaggeration. I mean, as of last week, Eli still couldn't recognize letters of the alphabet or any number except for the number 1.

We would show him a 2 and he would say it was a P. Or the number 6 was the number 3 and the letter S was the number V. And the only word that he could write, his name, was written backwards and upside down.

But something clicked in him Saturday and he wanted to watch the Leap Frog Letter Factory (thanks Amy!) over and over again. He's never been interested in that DVD. He always thought it was boring. But he must've have watched it 8 times over the weekend.

Yeah, yeah. I know that's a little bit too much TV watching, but there was no way I was yanking his butt off the couch just so that he could have a little fresh air.

Here, Eli. Have yourself a bit of popcorn and watch that thing again . Learn those letters, baby! Learn' em!

He also requested that we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (thanks Julie!) over and over.

And over and over and over and over and over.......

It was pretty amazing.

Sooooooooooooooooooo..... now that he's learning his alphabet the possibilities are endless. We can look for letters in magazines or on billboards or when we go to the grocery store. We can make up letter games now.

I'm going to say that there is nothing more amazing than watching a struggling child "get it".

It's truly wonderful.

So. I don't know who prayed for Eli this past week, but THANK YOU!!

Thank you.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Nandi's Week of Firsts

The past few weeks have been really exciting for Nandi. She had a lot of firsts that I thought I'd share......

Her first birthday as part of a family!

That's right. Nandi is now FOUR!

We had a great time. It was very small. We just went over to my grandad's and had some pizza and cake and ice cream. (Oh, and Noah said, "Ice Cream!" clear as day while we were there.)

As you can tell, there was a doggy theme. She is obsessed with all things dog. In fact, she was deeply upset that her greatest wish in the world did not come true - and that when she woke up on her 4th birthday that she was still a little girl and did not magically turn into a doggie overnight.

Quirkiness obviously races through the veins of this family.

I was very proud of myself that I did not go overboard on her gifts. She is so easy to please. Do you know how many stuffed animal dogs you buy for a quarter at a garage sale? She got 2 of those, a thrifted toy dinosaur, and a package of underwear with dogs on them (bought new of course!). And that's really all that we gave her....

Except, for some reason, I let stupidity and some irrational guilt over not buying a new toy get to me. And I bought the toy dog with the toy purse/carrier and the toy bowl and the toy bone and the toy clothes that Nandi had been drooling over in Walmart.

I totally caved and bought into mass consumerism and fell for the trap that toy manufacturer's lay out on parents.

Ooh, it's pink!

Ooh, it's got a purse like mommy's!

Ooh, it says on the back that the doggy is four. Nandi's four. It's a sign!!

I must buy it!!

Where is that doggy now? Heck if I know. It's been two weeks and the doggy has not been played with once. Not once. Nooooooooooo.... the garage sale dog that we bought 2 months ago is still her most beloved.

And the miniature fluffy dog with it's miniature coat and it's miniature house with it's miniature bone is lost in the depths of a sock drawer, a couch cushion, and, most likely, underneath a car seat.

Can I just say that Santa is seriously rethinking the notion of giving her the Loving Family Dollhouse - complete with over a hundred accessories - that we bought for 8 bucks at a garage sale last April? Seriously reconsidering....


Nandi also had her first day of public school!

Isn't she cute with her embroidered lunch box and her little fall tights? The girl loves her tights.

I hadn't really posted about her school experience because I didn't want any fellow homeschoolers saying, "I told you so!". It was, needless to say, a bit traumatic in the beginning - and I was really worried that we were seriously damaging her and causing future ruin by sending her each day.

And the Good Lord knows we can't afford to have another child in therapy.

The first day? Fantastic? After that? Horrible. They literally had to pry her off me. And I mean that literally. It was one of the most excruciating things I've ever witnessed. But then we had a turnaround...

I have mentioned before that I am inherently lazy. Well, that laziness worked to our advantage. I couldn't be bothered to pack her lunch. I mean, have you seen the price of a pack of 24 cheesesticks?? I was tired of opening her lunch box every day and seeing half eaten cheesesticks and yogurt that hadn't been touched. She was wasting food.

It would've been cheaper to buy a milk cow.

So, I gave her some lunch money and.......... that made all the difference.

Apparently, Nandi was the only kid who brought her lunch. And she felt different. But giving her $2 every day made her feel special. And she got to pick out a milk carton and eat what the other kids got to eat.

And it made all the difference.

Yesterday, she actually beamed all the way to school (clutching her little envelope of lunch money) and when the teacher opened the van door, Nandi turned around, grinned, and said,

"See ya! Wouldn't want to be ya!"

And then skipped all the way to the front door.

Okay. That didn't really happen. But now that she's hanging out with all those thugs on the playground I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

She'll be asking me to let her off a block from school before I know it.

But she truly did skip and hop all the way to the front door. Yay! We have victory!

Oh, and she also celebrated her first Fall Festival and her first Halloween.

Remember how lazy I am? Yeah, I totally missed all the photo opportunities. It's shameful. But, check out the above pictures. See? It wouldn't have really been that great of quality.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

You voted for who???

One of my favorite people ever, Christine, wrote a blog post yesterday that I thought was really interesting. It was how she - as a Baptist preacher's wife in rural Oklahoma - voted for Barack Obama.

Pretty cool, read.

We held our own mock election through our homeschool group. Even Nandi got to participate - even though she is now a full-fledged public schooler.

Both Eli and Nandi voted for Obama. When I asked why, Eli told me because Barack Obama looks JUST like him and he's a pretty cool dude. In fact, when I told Eli that Obama DID win, he ran around the house shouting, "I won! I won!"

Nandi just liked saying his name. I think she liked the way it rolled off her tongue. (Free speech therapy!)

Noah, the little maverick, voted for John McCain. I asked him three times and he picked McCain each time. Personally, I think he's got a bit of crush on Sarah Palin. Although, I had my glasses on once and someone said I looked like Sarah Palin (??) so maybe he thought he was voting for Mommy.

There has to be some explanation.

Oh, just kidding.

I would have been able to see the good in either outcome. Both candidates had strong points. They really did.

And I'm not just saying that.

Anyway, I'm waiting for SNL to contact us to hire Eli out to do Obama impersonations. You know, because he looks JUST like him. lol.

Oh, Eli. You do make me laugh.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Orphan Boy with Cerebral Palsy (Asia) - Fees Paid

I saw this on a yahoogroup that I belong to and thought I'd pass it on. Who knows... maybe someone reading this blog will be interested!

Boy orphan from Asia, 6 year old, $14,400 grant for his adoption.

This little boy needs a family to adopt him. Adeptly using a walker to make the round of each room, he is part social butterfly and part comedian. This precious six-year-old boy was born with cerebral palsy and spastic diplegia. On a recent trip to his country he sincerely asked us, "when is my mommy going to take me home?"

He receives physical therapy three times a week and happily demonstrates independent skills, such as dressing, brushing teeth, going to the potty and cleaning up.

The family that chooses to adopt this handsome little guy with flawless skin and dark curly hair will receive a life time of smiles and laughter.

Please ask to see his most recent video. The adoption fees, application fee and post placement fees totalling $14,400 have already been donated for this child. Parents will pay for the home study, travel and immigration. There is an adoption tax credit of up to $11,000 and a non interest loan of $4500 Ask for Ref. #RP.1002.14888. 05

Eligibility: if you are married it must be for at least 2 years, be 25-45 years old, single woman are allowed on a case by case basis, no more that 3 children in the home already, waiting time is 14-28 months.

WACAP is a non-profit adoption agency (www.wacap.org) Please contact us for more information 1-800-732-1887 or FamilyFinders@ wacap.org

Making Sense of It All

I've been thinking a lot about Eli, and I just don't buy it.


There's just no way. Maybe I'm in denial. Maybe everyone has seen this coming or thought, "Hmmmm.... there's something a little bit off with that kid." If so, please tell me. Because I just don't know what to think about it all.

Now, granted, I have been around kids before and thought to myself how obvious it is that they are on the spectrum - and how could their parents not know. So, I know it's not something you just go up and say to people, but I'm giving you free reign.

Here's the deal. If the only thing you know about autism is Noah, then you're going to think I'm nuts for even bringing any of this up.

And, truthfully, I should probably not even be blogging about it. But seeing that Sim is on a solo hiking trip to Big Bend this week without cell reception, I don't have anyone to talk to about this.

"Hey, I think something is neurologically wrong with your child and we need to do an in-depth evaluation... Oh, and he has a lot of symptoms that fall within an autism spectrum disorder...."

Well, think of this as my therapy. I can only imagine what would happen if I tried to keep my internal thoughts to myself...

Some of you may wish I kept all my internal thoughts to myself......

But then I wouldn't be me, would I? lol

I know it probably seems absolutely insane. And a few of you may be thinking, "Hmmm... I detect a little Munchausen Syndrome going on here."

If that's the case, may I politely suggest that YOU are the one who, in fact, is nuts.

There's a lot going on behind closed doors that people don't see. Kids can be extremely clever. And I think that's why it's hard to believe parents sometimes. You wish that people could be a fly on the wall and see what really goes on.

(Hats off to all you parents dealing with RADishes.))

And there is A LOT going on behind closed doors.

But autism???

It's funny that I'm aiming for a PPD-NOS diagnosis instead of high functioning autism. When Noah was first diagnosed, we could make fun of the parents who proudly said, "Well, my kid doesn't have autism, he just has PDD-NOS".... while that kid stood there flapping his hands so hard we thought he might take off at any moment.

5 years ago, it just seemed like a label doctors would give to parents to spare their feelings - when the truth was that the kid really did have full blown autism.

PDD - Physician Didn't Decide.

That's what we always said.

It actually stands for Pervasive Developmental Disorder, which is a an umbrella term for a group of developmental disorders:

Rett Syndrome
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
PDD-NOS (Not otherwise specified)

PDD-NOS is basically reserved for kids who exhibit a lot of autism characteristics, but lack the one or two defining characteristics to give them Asperger's or Autism. In Eli's case, it's his socialness. The problem is that the gap between him and his peers is widening. So, since he already exhibits a few of the characteristics, and the social gap is getting broader... there's reason for concern.

Technically, most people in Eli's case would not get diagnosed until they are in 4th or 5th grade. That's when you see A LOT of Asperger's or PDD-NOS cases get diagnosed because the social gap is really evident then.

Eli, however, just happens to have a really astute mama.

Or a crazy paranoid mama, whichever you prefer.

But, seriously. Autism???

I don't know why it's getting to me so much. No matter what the results are from his upcoming exam, I know that Eli will definitely live independently, probably get married and have kids and be able to hold down a job. So, why am I even letting it bother me?

I guess it's because I took autism, and the diet, and biomed, and all the research, and all the therapies, and all the books, and all the countless nights staying up looking for answers, and I shut it all in a little door in my head, locked it, and threw away the key.

We finally came to a place of acceptance with Noah. He is who he is and that's how it's going to be.

And now this.

It was just overwhelming.

In a few days I'll feel a lot better. This is how I always deal with things. Cry, grieve a little bit and then throw myself headfirst into what I need to do.

It's amazing and humbling that God chose me to parent my kids. I mean, He blessed me with these kids - and He thinks I can handle it - and maybe do a good job of it. That's just so amazing to me.

Autism Schmautism. He's still our son.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Never fear...

I'm still here. Just taking a slight blogging break. We have a lot of things going on right now, so I haven't had much time to sit and type.

I promise to do some updates. Lots of first for Nandi... first day of school, first birthday as part of a family, first Halloween.. lots of cool things.

And lots of not so cool things, too. Eli is having a neuro-psych evaluation in two weeks. His clinical psychologist/behavioral therapist thinks he might be somewhere on the autism spectrum...


Never in a million years would I have thought that, but when you put it down on paper it certainly screams "Asperger's". And now we're paying for attention to it and it's like, "Wow. Wow!"

There are a lot of things we never noticed.

Anyway, that was a bit of a blow - although it doesn't change anything. He's still the same kid. It's just....hmmmmmmmmm.... never saw that one coming. So he's undergoing a neuro-psych evaluation in a few weeks. Honestly, I think it'll present more of a PDD-NOS with anxiety and sensory issues. He definitely has A LOT of autism spectrum symptoms (lining things up, highly intelligent but learning delayed, anxiety, issues in new situations, stimming, fear of change, frequent meltdowns, motor delays, obsessing over one topic, always changing the subject or course of play back to his topic of interest, not really playing with kids, but parallel playing)...but he's very social. Yeah, there is a huge mix of social awkwardness and social immaturity, but... I don't know. My experience with autism is solely based on Noah, so high-functioning autism or Asperger's... I don't know a thing about it.

So, I'm just taking a bit of a break to absorb everything.

That's it. I'll be back with pics of Nandi's Week of Firsts. And, usually when I say that I'm taking a blogging break, it means that I end up posting everyday for a month.

Oh, I'm a woman of contradictions.