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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011


I'm writing twice in one day! It's unheard of, isn't it? Actually, the kids have been quietly playing all day long.  No fighting or squabbling or yelling to be heard. It makes me think that perhaps the world might end tomorrow. Freaky.

Being that tomorrow rings in 2012, I thought I'd do what all other folk do this time of year and sit down and write some resolutions. Usually, my resolutions center around a common theme... quit eating chocolate, start exercising, and for the love of Pete, get Noah potty-trained.

I have miserably failed on every single one. Every single year. Which could explain my issues with self-worth and inability to trust myself.

But this year it's different. This year, potty-training is NOT going on the list. I'm just hoping it spontaneously happens and then I can go, "Wow! Will ya look at that? Noah's potty-trained and I didn't even make it a goal this year. How awesome are we??"  And then I'll take my left hand and high five my right hand and reach around and pat myself on the back and give myself lots of accolades for something that should have been accomplished 7 years ago.

Yep. This year will be different.

This year, instead of overwhelming myself with a huge list that will probably be broken by January 4th, I plan to make monthly resolutions. I'm hoping to sit down at the end of each month and evaluate what needs to be done or accomplished for the next month. We'll see if that actually happens come January 31st, but right now, I can let you know what's on the agenda for this coming month.

JANUARY 2012 Monthly Goals

1. No fast food for an entire month.

Translated into... NO CARAMEL MOCHAS, LESLIE T. Your body deserves better and you can't afford to buy new jeans. So cut the sugary coffee.

2. No gluten for me or Noah.

We both do sooo much better off it and I know it will help us both immensely, but I tend to get lazy. I mean I have the ability to go hard-core, but one little bite, one little cheat and it unravels everything.

See, I have a majorly addictive personality, which means I could never even dream of drinking or smoking or gambling or joining my neighbors in their annual pot smoking/burning leaves parties.  We had to cut DirecTV four years ago because I was addicted to Take Home Chef.

And the show wasn't that bad, either.

I can't even go on Ebay and I have to limit my time on Facebook and Amazon.

So. Absolutely NO gluten, NO pizza, NO cookies, and NO homemade bread with melted butter that is so incredibly fantastic that it makes me weep just thinking about it  for one whole month!

3. Do Noah's program 5x's a week at 75% of the program. I would explain that in further detail, but it'd just make me sound like a bad mom and I'm already suffering guilt issues from it all.

4. Do 30 minutes of exercise 5x's a week, which can include taking Noah out on his bike. It can also include walking on the treadmill while watching White Collar on Netflix, because breaking up with Netflix is something I'm not emotionally ready to tackle in 2012.

5. Eat a minimum of 2 fruits and 2 green vegetables and 1 orange or red vegetable a day.

Okay, I have to confess. My original goal was to eat 1 fruit and 1 vegetable a day, but Sim chastised me and said the FDA or whomever recommends 5 servings a day, so I had to change it so ya'll wouldn't realize how bad my diet has become...

But that will change starting tomorrow. Right now, I have to finish off this pecan pie with cream because I simply can't let good food go to waste.

6. Clean kitchen sink 5x's a week before going to bed.  Notice I did not say "clean the kitchen". I will do my best to actually clean the whole thing and not just empty my dirty sink onto the counter so that I can have a clean kitchen sink, and, therefore, meet my goal.

Ya'll, I have started and stopped FlyLady more times than I've showered this past year. I just can't do it.

But that will change starting tomorrow. (My current mantra.)

7. Do not watch anything on Netflix past 10.30pm.

Remember that addiction problem I mentioned? Well it includes having this inhuman desire to finish whole seasons of shows in a week - or something ridiculous like that. I am a one-track mind person. But I'm also a multi-tasker, so ifI can combine this with #4 while also eating a banana (#5), then I've just knocked three things out at once.   Booyah!

8. Limit coffee or tea to ONE cup per day. Not two. Not six. But one. First thing in the morning. And then just figure out how to get over my mid-day slump.

9. Limit computer time. I'm not telling you what I'm limiting it to because you'd be horrified how much time I spent on here. And I'm not even blogging or doing anything productive. I'm vegging. And trying to ignore the tremendous amount of things I should be doing.

But, rest assured, I can guarantee that if I told you that my goal is to limit my computer time to XX amount of time XX amount a day , you would feel like the best mother in the world because you'd be saying, "Her poor kids!" And then you'd turn to your spouse and say, "Honey, you think I have it bad? There's this woman in TX who spends XX amount of time on Facebook a day!"

Okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit. But probably not that much.

10. Work on necklaces for adoption fundraiser.

I haven't even mentioned Naveen's adoption in a while because we have hit snag after snag after snag. But I will.  In the meantime, though, a sweet sweet friend gave us boxes of supplies to start making glass tile necklaces as a fundraiser for our adoption. They are sooo cute! I really need to buckle down and finish them up.

Hey, maybe when I quit drinking coffee and start exercising and multi-tasking and knocking out 3 goals at once and going to bed before 10.30, I'll actually have the time and energy to work on them.

One month. I can do it for one month.

Will meet back here in 31 days to tell you how it went and to plan for February!


I just have to pop on here quickly to say that I AM RIGHT! Our neighbors ARE pot-heads. I told ya. I TOLD YA!

Now, if you read my last blog post, you'll remember that I've long subscribed to the theory that our neighbors are pot heads. EVERY SINGLE TIME anyone burns leaves in our neighborhood, I smell pot.

And you might recall that Sim has long subscribed to the theory that I am a crazy woman who likes to stir up trouble and who hopes to get on the local news.

Well, Sim just raked and burned 20 loads of leaves. And does it smell like pot? No it does not.  And why doesn't it? Because we don't smoke pot.

So here's the scenario that just played out in our front yard...

Me - Hmmm. Whatcha doin' there, Sim?

Sim - What does it look like I'm doing?

Me - Looks like you're burning some leaves there...

Sim - (Stops what he's doing and looks at me)  Go ahead and say it.

Me - Say what? I just came outside because I saw you burning some leaves and thought I could use a little pick me up. Thought I could inhale some pot,  if you know what I mean.

Sim - (rolls his eyes and again probably questions why he married me)

Me - And then I thought, wait a minute, I don't actually smell any pot. You're burning leaves, but I don't smell that pot smell. Why is that??

Sim - (rolls his eyes - again. He is either becoming an expert eye roller or is secretly a rebellious teenage girl).

You were right.

(Insert pigs flying and hail in the middle of August because Sim just admitted I was right).

Me- What? I didn't hear that?

Sim - You were right.

Me - What? I couldn't hear you over the roar of those burning pot leaves. Could you say that again? (And, yes, I'm aware that I am incredibly annoying, but it's just so much fun to be vindicated, isn't it?)

And then we came to the conclusion that we might actually just live in a pot-infested neighborhood full of  law-abiding lawyers and teachers and city officials by day.. .and shady characters by night.

And now I get to go all Sherlock Holmes and try to figure out which neighbors like to party with the ganja.

Anna, I wish you were here so that we could be vindicated together. You tell your family that you are right. Moms DO know what they're talking about. We're not just cookie makers and laundry doers. A lifetime of changing diapers has given us Champion Sniffers.  We're the bloodhounds of the family.  Can't put anything past us. No siree, Bob.

And Bob? I've got my eye on you....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Just a couple of quirks

A few days ago, one of my favorite bloggers did a blog post about some of her quirks. And then about 200 of her blog followers posted their quirks in the comment section. Now, I have quite a few quirks myself, but I wasn’t about to expose myself to a blogger who probably has about 20,000 people reading her blog each day.

So, I thought I’d just post them on here where all 8 of you can see it.

See. It pays to be unpopular now and then.

Therefore, I present to you my top 10 quirks. In no particular order…

1. I fake burp.

I can’t stand burping. I don’t why. I just think it’s gross. Even though I’ve been known to mimic a small earthquake after drinking an A&W real fast. But in general, I can’t stand it.

Growing up, my dad burped a lot. All. The. Time. (And I’m super sure he’s going to be pleased that I put this on here). And one day, after hearing him burp for the 1,000th time that day, I fake burped  after him. It wasn’t so much of a burp as it was an “eeggghghk!”.

Kinda like a cat coughing up a hairball.

And you know what? It felt good. Like I had cancelled out his bad nasty burp with my fake burp. And then I couldn’t stop. I did it for years. Endured stares and raised eyebrows, but I couldn’t help it. I was on a mission to save the ozone and the memory of burps ringing in my ears by fake burping every time I heard someone else do a real one. If I was a superhero, I’d be wearing a green cape with a big “F B” on the back of it.

As I got older, you know, around 34 or something, I started to feel a bit self conscious about it and so I started fake burping in my head. But, every once in awhile, if you burp around me, you might hear a small sound coming from me and you may think I’m just clearing my thoart…. But I assure you, I’m not.

I’ve just fake burped your burp.

2. I drink straight out of the water jug. Every time.

Listen, and I’m telling you the truth, if you ever come over to my house, you do not want to drink the water out of the fridge. Drink straight from the tap. It doesn’t matter if it hasn’t been reverse osmosised or whatever. Unless you want my backwash in your glass of water, you’ll want to do as I say.

I can’t help it. Maybe it’s laziness. I have a cabinet full of perfectly good mugs to use. And I would never ever think of letting the kids drink straight from the jug. Because that’s just plain gross.

But we can all be sitting at the table and I’ll actually get up and walk to the fridge to get a drink.
I don’t know. Maybe it just tastes better.And it’s always cold out of the fridge. It hasn’t been sitting around in a glass getting all room temperature and everything.

So, if you’re reading this and have actually been to my house and I poured you water from our water jug, man, I’m sorry. You might just  want to bring your own next time.

3. I’m convinced all our neighbors are pot heads.

I am utterly convinced that every time our neighbors burn leaves that they are actually crouching behind their houses smoking a spliff. I think they use the burning leaves things as a cover up.
Sim assures me that I am dead wrong on this one and that I’m actually just smelling leaves burning, but isn’t that what pot is? Dried leaves that you smoke?

Uh huh. That’s what I thought.

Now, I’m not much of a conspiracist, (okay, you might want to read that sentence with a grain of salt), but how come every time they decide to rake all their leaves together and burn them, they have a big ol’ burning party?

Uh huh. That’s what I thought.

Now, I have no idea how I ever came to this conclusion, and Sim assures me that I’m wrong, but I am absolutely convinced that our neighbors are doing something that is against every school campaign Nancy Reagan ever did.

And that goes for everyone. Including the sweet 80 year old couple who lives next to us and the retired school teacher who lives across from us. And I have no doubts about the cowboy on the other side of us. I am 100% convinced they are all potheads.

And because of this, every time I step foot outside during the months of November – February (prime leaf burning season in our neighborhood), I run back inside and whisper in hushed conspiratorial tones,

Sim, someone’s smoking pot outside!”

To which he replies, “Do we have to do this every year? They’re burning leaves. Not pot.

But I usually ignore him and  run to the bathroom to put on a bra because, heaven forbid, a cop in uniform comes to question me about my neighbor’s illegal activities and I don’t have a bra on. 

Or mascara.

And then I pull up a chair and wait by the window for the sirens to come blaring down our streets and wonder if I need to act serious when they interview me on TV, but they never show up.

Which Sim reminds me is because no one is actually smoking pot outside.

And, then in dejection, I go outside and start taking huge gulps of air all over the yard. And say things like, 

I don’t understand the big deal of it. I don’t feel anything at all.”

To which he replies, 

"That’s because you’re inhaling the scent of burning dead leaves.

Then he just slowly shakes his head and goes back inside. And I’m sure he’s wondering why he didn’t just go for that slut in college who had the hots for him, but whose advances he dismissed because he was charmed by my Southern naivety.

Uh huh. That’s what I thought.

4. I love the smell of cigarette smoke.

Okay, let me rephrase that. I actually hate the smell of cigarette smoke. It makes me gag and want to jump in the shower and scrub all my skin off with a pumice stone. It makes my throat close up and my head itch and I always think of those commercials of that old man with the blue skin warning us of our fate if we ever take a drag.

But I absolutely love the smell on Sim.

Now, Sim’s not a smoker. But he used to be. When I first met him in college, he was a pack a day guy. I have very vivid memories of him dressed all in black with his scuffed Doc Martens leaning over his desk in his dorm room rolling a cigarette while Slow Dive was playing on the tape deck. And I don’t know if it’s because I associate it all with those first few months of young love or maybe because subconsciously it reminds me of a time when we had no troubles in the world, but some women love roses and some women love diamonds, but this woman loves her some cigarette smelling Simeon.

Whew….. is it getting hot in here?

Unfortunately, or rather fortunately for his lungs, he kicked the habit cold turkey when we got married 15 ½ years ago and just one cigarette now will send him into an asthma attack, but I still can’t help but ask him every once in a while if he’ll just smoke one tiny little cigarette or go into the Coupon Lady’s house and pick up the weekly ads for me... because it only takes 10 seconds in her house for you to smell like you’ve been in a smoky bar all night long. And then I just bury my head in his hair and his shirt and breathe deeply and it takes me back to being 20 and living in Sheffield all over again.

And then he breaks the spell by muttering something about me just wanting him to smoke so that I can get his life insurance… and suddenly I’m 38 years old again living in a small town in East Texas. But for those 5 seconds of cigarette smelling euphoria, it was pure bliss.

5. I can’t pray with my eyes shut.

I can’t. I can’t do it. I think it has something to do with losing control. If I close my eyes and listen to someone pray, I’m totally afraid I’m going to relax so much that I'll fall asleep. Or worse yet… fart. 

Oh gosh, what if I closed my eyes while some preacher was praying and lost all awareness of where I was and then… farted.

Nooooooo! That would be so embarrassing. But now you know…

I don’t close my eyes when I pray because I’m afraid I’ll fart. 

And since God created me with all these quirks, I take it that he’s okay with my open eyed prayer.

And since I keep my eyes open when praying, I can take a peek around and see who else keeps their eyes open. And every once in awhile, I’ll make eye contact with a fellow fear farter and we’ll give each other that knowing look and then I imagine them busting loose with a silent but deadly one and then I get the giggles. So, not only do I keep my eyes open during prayers, I usually start giggling, too.

It’s tough being me.

Oh, and let me also tell you that this goes for when I pray by myself, too. I mean,  what if my eyes are closed and I can’t hear someone come up behind me and then I do it? Do you know how embarrassing that would be?

Probably equivalent to admitting this whole little quirk on my blog…

6. I’m convinced a deranged person/demon/clown lives under my bed at night.

Hi. I’m Leslie and, yes, I saw the movie Poltergeist when I was a child. I should have listened to my mom and refused to watch when I went to that slumber party, but I did. And it has scarred me for life.

Every time I go to the bathroom at night, I have to make a running leap from the bathroom to the bed in case a clown reaches out with one of his huge clown hands and grabs my ankle.

And since I’m probably being punished for watching all kinds of movies at slumber parties when I was little, I have to go to the bathroom approximately 3 times a night, which means there’s a lot of running and jumping going on in our bedroom.

And if you’ve read my blog long enough, you’ll remember the one time I thought Sim was going to leave me because I made a running leap and landed on his family jewels while he was in a deep, relaxing slumber.

Oh, let me tell you, he was so mad that I was ready to climb under the bed and beg the clown to take me back to whatever rain gutter it’d crawled out from. (Yes, I saw the movie It at a slumber party, too…). And for awhile, I actually stopped running and leaping and just made quick strides to the bed each night. But then, one day while browsing Netflix, I came across a Renee Zellwegger movie, and, you know, it’s Renee Zellwegger. She’s Bridget Jones. She can’t be scary. And don’t you know…. Don’t you know… it was a scary movie and they included a scene where the demon child goes under the… you guessed it.. bed. And that did it. I’ve been running and leaping ever since.

So, now, I’m no longer allowed to watch rated R movies, and Sim has learned not to sleep on his back.

7. If my husband is one minute late home from work I’m convinced something happened to him.

Sim gets off work at 4.45 each day. In theory. 99% of the time he works late, but because it takes him an hour and a half to get home and I need to know when to start supper, I always call him at 4.45 on the dot.. And if he doesn’t answer, I start to panic.

Is he okay? Did he have an accident? Did he work in a bad area today? Should I call the hospital?

And then I start to worry.

What if he’s dead? What am I going to do? How will I tell the kids? Will I have to live with my parents? Where will I work? Will I have to put Noah in school?

And then I start to cry.

Oh my gosh, I can’t be a single parent. I’m not even a good married parent. What will this do to Eli? Will he turn to drugs as a teenager? Will Nandi be a pregnant 13 year old?

Who would date me? No one would date me. I don’t even know how to date. I don’t want to date anyone from here! Will I have to go to Dallas to date? Who will watch the kids? I can’t pay a sitter. I’m a single mom.

Redbook said that men prefer Brazilian waxes. I don’t want to do a Brazilian wax! I nearly died trying to wax my upper lip. Oh my gosh, what am I doing? I’m thinking of dating again and Sim hasn’t even been gone 5 minutes yet.

What kind of wife am I? I’m a horrible wife. He deserves better. If he’s not dead, he needs someone better than me. I’m going to tell him that. He deserves better.

(SOB!) He’s going to leave me! He’s going to leave me for some 25 year old who gets a Brazilian wax! I need to work out. Oh gosh, I need a cookie. Where’s a cookie. Did I eat that last cookie? I bet if I didn’t eat that last cookie, he wouldn’t leave me! Maybe I should put a bra on. I bet he marries someone whose boobs are big enough that she needs to wear a bra! My boobs are too small!


And, then, because Sim lives in a world called “Reality”, he always calls me back within 10 minutes and tells me he’s either on his way or running late. And at this point, I’m usually sniffling and a huge mess, but trying to act perfectly normal because I don’t want him to know that I’ve already planned his death, his funeral, and my next husband.

But, more importantly, I don’t want him to know how crazy I am.

8. I am absolutely convinced that the objects below are going to bring me great fortune one day. 

No really. I am. I’ve been holding onto these babies for YEARS. Right now, they’re going for approximately 5 bucks on Ebay, but I just know that if I hold on to them long enough, they’ll bring me riches…

 Yes, that would be a Spice Girls Doll Collection.

Don’t judge. You know you have some quirks, too.

And the sad thing is that I just know I had the Ginger Spice doll in her UK dress and I can’t find it! And I secretly thought, what if someone STOLE IT!! I actually stayed up last thinking about how that could have happened, but then I remembered that I sold it for $25 dollars a couple of years ago when we were raising money for Nandi’s adoption.

And, yes, I will fully admit that part of me is hoping some covert Spice Girl lover somehow stumbles upon my blog and says, 

So, how much do you need for Naveen’s adoption?? I will fully pay the amount you owe in exchange for these amazing dolls that will complete my life.”

Anyone? Any takers? Email me. No really. Contact me. Please.....

And speaking of riches, I’m also going to admit to owning a pack of British Flamegrilled Steak Flavor McCoy’s crisps from 1997 featuring a special limited edition “Full Monty” movie cover. 

And I have never ever opened them b/c I was certain that if I held onto them long enough that I would be able to sell them one day on Ebay and make a fortune.

But I forgot that they’re an instant win bag with a chance of winning a thousand pounds. And even though the date to claim the prize would have expired 14 years ago, I now have this gnawing desire to rip open the bag to see if I won.

But I’m literally telling myself to hold on because one of these days they might release the movie as a 25th anniversary special edition and I can sell this bag of crisps for 5000 thousand dollars or something.

Hey, when I dream, I dream BIG.

9. I can't stand people to whisper in my ear.

Please. Don’t ever do it. It makes me want to curl up in fetal, suck my thumb, and whimper for my mom. It’s the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard or lying on the floor rubbing your head against carpet or feeling that horrible feeling of eating the last bite of a popsicle and feeling your teeth scrape against the wooden stick.

I could never be in the FBI or work for the CIA because it would be so easy for me to cave. Sure, you can tie me to a chair and dunk my head in water or shove bamboo sticks under my fingernails or make me watch Yo Gabba Gabba, but I will never tell you what you want to know. 

But, by golly, if you start whispering in my ear then I’ll immediately give you the secret location of the red button and the whole combination to a vault full of money just so you’ll stop.

And the thing is, my kids are at the age where they LOVE secrets. They’re the best. And they can’t understand why Mommy shoos them away every time they want to tell her a secret or why she starts saying crazy things like, 

Mommy can’t keep secrets! You tell Mommy a secret and she’ll put it on Facebook. I promise she will! Go tell Daddy. Daddy loves secrets! Go! Go! Go!

Maybe Sim's next wife will like sweet nothings whispered in her ear. But not me. No way. No how.

Okay, so that’s only 9 quirks, but I’ve just given myself the heebies by thinking of someone whispering in my ear and I honestly need to go lay down. It paralyzes me. Oh gosh, I find it so revolting. Who wants hot breath in your ear?  I'm giving myself dry heaves.

So now I told you my quirks, what are yours??