A sassy, crafty mama bird from Los Angeles
raising a very sweet little girl with Autism
and a new baby boy in the Midwest... and other stuff, too.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Series Finale

I started writing this blog at the end of 2008. I thought I'd share a bit about what it was like for a girl from Los Angeles to live in the Midwest. It was fun to get to post pictures of snow, wildlife, and changing leaves for my friends and family back home. Because my life was so dominated with Autism and all things special needs, that seemed to be a big focus of my writing. I fell into a bit of a niche. That turned out to be a good thing. It became cathartic to get to express my feelings, my fears, my concerns and my truths. My posts started educating friends and family about what my life was like and what it meant, for me, to raise a child with Autism. So many friends and acquaintances had no experience with ASD but were willing to listen, read, and learn. My daughter and I were shown a level of compassion and understanding I never expected. I am grateful. 

Most of all, I'm grateful for the amazing people the Autism and disability blogging world has brought into my life. It's always an incredible feeling to hear the words, "You are not alone. Me, too. I get it." There are other parents out there, just like me, unafraid to share their truth with the world. They have become my friends, my family, and my pillars of strength. 

Over the past 6 years, I've shared bits about living away from my home, Autism, therapies, hopes, fears, divorce, love, my domestication, my adventures being mom to Little Bird and J Bird, and just blooming where I've been planted. And of course, all those moments. Thank you for indulging me. 

I've reached a point where I'm ready to simplify. Parts of my life are far too complicated, stressful, and complex. I crave simplicity to balance it out. For me, that means downsizing. Keeping it simple. Getting rid of stuff. Letting go of things weighing me down; things I don't need or are no longer serving a purpose for me. I'm looking for a smaller home, less stuff in drawers and on shelves, less distraction from what's important. The family that Ben and I have created has filled a void in my life and in my heart. With them, I have found a peace I never knew. 

I'm also stepping away a little bit from social media. I'm not perfect. I get so jealous. It's hard to see the other kids celebrating birthdays at parties my girl isn't invited to; camps, dance classes, soccer clubs that wouldn't include her. Even seeing the pictures of kids gathering together for snow day parties. We just never get those invitations. It's a very Isolating life. And I'm only human, having human feelings. I am a work in progress and I can't help my reaction to some of that (and because I have recently become unimpressed with the utter phoniness of most people on social media) I'm stepping back. I want to spend my time filling up my bucket: finding beauty in creating, learning, and just being. I'm looking for more privacy for my family. I've made most photos private and become extra choosey about with whom I share stuff. Yes, I've been criticized before about what I have and have not written about, posted, shared, etc. I've never bowed down to others. Only to myself. I'll still be found working on Birdhouse For Autism and posting on its Facebook page

Maybe this will turn out to be a small hiatus and not a final goodbye. I might come back here now and then and post little or big things. Until then, thank you for being here and sharing my journey with me, whether you've read one post, followed along from the beginning, or found me halfway. Every comment, every like has been encouraging. I am grateful.

Off we go....

Friday, September 26, 2014

This is 37

Tomorrow is my birthday. At 37 years old, I'm now a midwestern mom of two, living in a suburban home surrounded by neighbors who wave to each other and would have no trouble stopping by to borrow a cup of sugar. I have a small garden which produced enough this summer for me to make and freeze food for my baby boy- the same boy for whom I just finished knitting a sweater; a new pair of leg warmers for the girl is the next project.

I sit here on my deck in the sunshine with a cup of decaf (ugh, still nursing a baby who hates caffeine), nestled up against protected wetlands with leaves beginning to change their colors. I look at my tomato and bean plants, not even getting pissed at the chipmunk who ate my basil and cilantro, listening to the whirr of the baby's diaper's in the dryer, smelling the blueberries and bananas I'm roasting him. I just waved goodbye to the short yellow bus which took by beautiful Little Bird to school. I couldn't possibly feel further away from the spoiled, self-absorbed LA/valley girl, like, totally running the rat race. I have a really simple life these days, and I'm always trying to find ways to make it even a little bit more simple.

I have an incredible, supportive, talented, smart, fun and funny life partner that gives me butterflies every time my eyes catch his. I have two fabulous kids who never stop challenging me to be a better person and to stay in the present moment, providing me with laugh-out-loud moments daily and times when I want the clocks to stop ticking. I have healthy parents, who live a life that makes them happy, allowing them to spend time with their grandchildren often despite living two thousand miles away. And I have some friends. Not a lot. Just enough to share in my joys and accomplishments and to support and carry me through the tough times. I've found a great community of parents raising children with disabilities who get it- triumphs and the trials; they are all in it with me. I get to spend my time working on my awesome and rewarding business, finding ways to make life easier for families like mine.

This is thirty seven. I'll celebrate my birthday tomorrow with some yoga, some apple picking out at an orchard that happens to also make incredible cider and fresh donuts, some take-out thai, and maybe an apple crisp with the "fruits of our labor."

Thirty six was pretty amazing. My double chai birthday indeed brought me new life with J Bird. I have some pretty great (really great!!) things planned for 37, too, and I'm very excited about that. My biggest goals for this new year of life are to breathe and continue breathing, to stop taking things so personally (the second of the four agreements), to put on my own oxygen mask first, and to make an effort to get a babysitter at least once a month.

I don't dread getting older. I keep thinking about one of my favorite quotes. It was spoken by Joan of Arc: "I am not afraid. I was born to do this."

One foot in front of the other, leaping into thirty seven.

Friday, September 12, 2014

*This Moment*

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. -SouleMama

Friday, September 5, 2014

*This Moment*

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. -SouleMama

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Happy Back To School Day!

Anatomy of the first day photo

The first day of school photo is a must for all parents. All Most Some parents even post them on FB. Not sure if you've noticed this. *sarcasm* I'm staying away from the social network today because it's just too much for me and I just can't. 

Many parents have the kids hold up signs that say their grade level. My friend Lisa made this for all the families whose children aren't really entering grades per se, and are really just going back to school. Yes, Little Bird is technically going to begin third grade but she spends the major majority of her day in the Autism classroom, rarely does she spend time in the third grade classroom. Perhaps her sign should read "first day of 3-5 ASD"? Nah, no sign for us. Getting the shot was tough enough....

Bright thoughts for a successful school year! I think there's a special education proverb that reads:   

"May this school year bring less phone calls home, more access to services, less rotation of staff, more peer interaction, and less shouting at the IEP."

Or something like that. Whatever.

Happy back to school day!

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