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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

*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

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Faces of Addiction

I've talked about a lot of different parts of my life on this blog before, but I've never, ever mentioned anything about this. This month, I celebrate 13 active years in a 12-step program for family and friends of those with a problem of alcoholism and drug addiction. The one thing that's helped me most over the years is learning about alcoholism as a disease, understanding it, and turning anger into compassion.

In Chris Arnade's photography project Faces of Addiction, he gives addicts in New York City the dignity to share their stories, hopes, and dreams. You don't need to look at every photo/read every story, but I think it's worth a click or two.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My New Habit

When my childhood friend, Michelle, found out that Little Bird is gluten free, she loaded up a box of deliciousness and shipped it to my front door. Turns out she works for a company called Good Habit that was started out by a woman who, just like the rest of us, was on the hunt for good foods free of gluten. Their website says, "it all started with a cookie." Well, I have now tasted these cookies and YUM!!

I shared them with Little Bird, whose favorite was the original chocolate chip cookie (obv). I was big on the oatmeal raisin and I didn't share any of it with LB. I didn't think I'd like an Apple Pie cookie, but it was really good. I always appreciate when someone adds nuts and seeds to cookies. I'm big on sneaking those things into my cooking as well.

So, the cookies are great. But, the granola.... awesome. I added it to a little bit of greek yogurt because I was trying to see what that hype was about. Delicious. I'm done with the yogurt, but I keep hitting that bag of granola when I walk past the kitchen. I know, I know, the GF treats were really supposed to be for the girl, but I couldn't help it. Good stuff!

I've talked before about the ongoing hunt for good, healthy, gluten free foods. They're tough to find sometimes. Of course, we are usually pretty dairy free, too. LB has been for almost 4 years. I am 90% there. I've had a tough time giving up cheese. Back in March when I gave up gluten for a month, I felt little to no change in my overall well being, but I never really added it back full force. I'd say I'm 75% of the way there. It's always nice to have a friend looking out for you.... and sending you delicious things in the mail! Thanks, Michelle!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

A few good men

It turns out there are still good people in the universe. Really, really, really good people. I've just stumbled upon two beautiful examples.

I was recently grabbing a cup of coffee at a Starbucks in the metro-Detroit area and spotted a flier on the neighborhood info bulletin board. (side note: I read those bulletin boards anytime I see one in a shop, in any town I'm in. Nothing gives you a vibe of a town like a neighborhood bulletin board. Fact.)
So, I saw this flier.
Here's what it says:

Dan's Coffee Run
Every Thursday Dan Dewey visits the Michigan Cancer Institute and takes an order for Starbucks beverages. This is the same day that he used to take his dad for chemotherapy treatment. He then visits Starbucks, places the order and delivers all of the beverages to the patients, nurses, and doctors at MCI. This began when his dad was receiving treatment but now Dan purchases the coffee every week to honor his father. He passed away in 2008 after this third bout with cancer - but his spirit lives on with Dan's Coffee Run. This wonderful story has been a weekly occurrence since 2007 and we are so proud of Dan and his commitment to helping uplift others. 

If you would like to donate to Dan's Coffee Run, please see any barrista at store #2539 Woodward and Square Lake (42825 Woodward Avenue Bloomfield Twp, MI 48302)
Thank you so much for your help and passion in supporting Dan's Coffee Run


I read about another great man making a difference in the lives of others- and he's not even living! Aaron Collins was born in 1982 but obviously he was wise and compassionate beyond his years. Aaron passed away last week just a few days after her turned 30. He left behind a will, asking his family/friends to help him fulfill a wish: "leave an awesome tip (and I don't mean 25%, I mean $500 on a f***ing pizza) to a waiter or waitress." And so his family, unable to afford the $500 for the tip, began to ask for donations. Once they hit $500, they went out for pizza.

The family writes: "If we continue to receive money, we will continue giving these gifts randomly, so that in his death he can touch the lives of many more people than he had even dreamed of doing in life."

Within days of the story being out there, thousands of dollars were raised. $10,000 in one day! The donations continue to roll in to AaronCollins.org and the family plans to continue fulfilling Aaron's wish. Others are committing to leave random big tips in honor of Aaron's wish.

Awesome stories, huh?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My so-called Facebook hiatus

My friend Lynn, who used to write has a freaking awesome blog about raising a little girl with autism, used to be totally jealous of me make fun of me and my 1,059 (as of today- I just checked) Facebook Friends. I used to justify it by saying that everyone wants to be my friend, people think I'm so super cool , etc, I went to a lot of different schools and maintained relationships with a lot of different people. Plus, I'd moved away from my old hometown and made loads of friends in my new hometown. But, really, I'm a total liar. These people aren't all my friends. Yes, I know them, but I don't even like some of them. Why are they on here?!! I'd like to issue a public thank you to my boy Zuckerberg for creating the opportunity to block or restrict some people from viewing certain Facebook content. Like when my best friend Samantha tags pictures of us in college doing things that neither of us remembers doing.

But, alas, I think it's time to whittle down the friends list. It's not me, it's you. It's those constant Some e cards you post. It's the inspirational quotes (except Ally G's), little sayings, etc. It's the duck face, ladies. It's the photos of your lunch (precisely the reason that I'm the only person on the planet, besides my dad, who does not use instagram). Still, why am I so addicted to reading status updates? Weird. It's not like my life is boring. I find myself getting annoyed by poor grammar, jealous when I see pictures of a bunch of "friends" out together knowing I wasn't invited, jealous of vacation pics (oh, hi, yeah, not everyone can go on those kinds of vacations, people), and worst of all, the cute little stories about typically developing kids. That one always brings the waves of grief. Waves crashing, hitting me hard. Ugh, okay, fine. So it is me, not you.

That's probably why I'm bent out of shape. Waves. It's tough to read about all the things that your typically developing kids are doing, saying, learning all the time. It's not your fault. You should brag. That's really great. Enjoy it. It's just tough for me. There are no real dance recitals here, no pictures to post of my kid at sleep away camp, no baseball games, no bike riding, no outings to movies, etc. It's a constant reminder and a wave of grief when I feel my struggle and watch others seemingly have it so easy. So, I'm taking a break. A hiatus from the Facebook world. We'll see how long it lasts. Might just be for another day or so. I need to work more on not comparing my insides to others' outsides or at least what they want us to think they've got going on.

It's easy to get jealous. Raising a kid with special needs is not easy. It's hard. Very, very, very hard. I'm tired. Too tired to "like" your Facebook status today.

Friday, July 13, 2012

*This Moment*

with her GFCF chocolate chip cookie
{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

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I.... Am?

I Am

I am steadfast and learning to be flexible 
I wonder what's next 
I hear the birds chirping 
I see the sunset on the horizon 
I want to spin in a long, flowing skirt with the sunshine warming my cheeks 
I am steadfast and learning to be flexible

I pretend it's all just for today 
I feel content in the now 
I touch the ground to be sure it's still there 
I worry that it's all just for today 
I cry because I can't always tell 
I am steadfast and learning to be flexible

I understand the difference 
I say I'm just that way 
I dream in color 
I try to just be 
I hope it's all just for today 
I am flexible

Mama’s Losin’ It

This week's prompt: write your own "I Am" poem

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fancy, functional jewelry

Little Bird used to have an ID tag bracelet, but that was three years ago and I think it got lost about 2 1/2 years ago. So, I found this on Pinterest from a great girl I know who loves and cares deeply for all people with special needs (shout out to Amanda!).

I'm totally making this for the bird. Going to the craft store NOW!

Monday, July 2, 2012

my grandma died

My grandma died. Not really sure how else to put that out there. She had been sick on and off, depressed about that, but mostly she just really, really, really missed my granddad. I am fairly certain that somewhere in another, far away place, he welcomed her with open arms and asked her, "what took you so long?" He died when I was 7 months pregnant with Little Bird, so I wasn't able to get on a plane to attend his funeral in Oregon. I booked my flight and I'll be able to be there this time for my mommy. It's a terrible thing to have to watch our parents lose their own parents. It's sad that I've lost my last remaining grandparent, too. Still, I truly am grateful that she's at peace and no longer suffering.

Born just two months before the stock market crash that kicked off the great depression, my grandma was one tough cookie. She graduated high school, got married, and had my mom right away. By the time she was in her mid-twenties, in the 1950s, she had three little girls and her husband left. Gone. She met and married the incredible man who was my granddad. He brought to the marriage and family four kids of his own. Suddenly, my grandma was raising seven kids. Later, they had two more of their own kids. That's nine, if you're counting. One bathroom in the whole house, by the way. Yeah, I know. Oh, and all those kids didn't even include the ones in the neighborhood she took in when they needed help. 

She cooked, cleaned, mended clothes, knitted blankets, packed lunches, counseled, loved and made sure each child knew they were special. I'm not totally sure, but I think there are something like 50+ grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I'm fairly certain that each one thinks he or she was her favorite (shhhh, I really was). She did all those things and still managed to always be an active part of her community. And she looked great doing it. Her hair was always perfect and everything seemed to bring out the color of her gorgeous blue eyes. Blue was her favorite color, by the way. That's also the color of the knitting needles she gave me when she taught me to knit as a teenager. Everything she ever gave me was either handmade or tools to make things myself: sewing kits, yarn and a pattern, she even once sent me a baking dish and a recipe for feather bread rolls. Last week when I made my own jam, I thought of her and the jam she'd make when I was a kid. I'm sure I'll continue to think of her each time I make, sew, knit, or create something from scratch. And with each compliment on my creations, I'll say, "my grandma taught me that."

Four Generations

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See, it's not just my mom! (since Jan 1, 2010)