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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from my little pumpkin

9 Months
1 1/2
2 1/2
3 1/2
4 1/5

5 1/2

6 1/2

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Adidas

Because all fairy princesses 
should wear comfortable footwear.

Friday, October 26, 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

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ann Coulter insulted my child

Last night was the third and final Presidential debate. Romney vs. President Obama. I watched. I typically follow along on twitter to see what people are saying (that's where the real entertainment is). But last night I didn't log onto twitter and I'm glad I didn't. I might have seen this and gotten too upset to sleep:

That's the Tea Party's golden girl Ann Coulter using the R word to insult the President of the United States. It completely baffles me that people are still using this word as a slur- to put down others!! How is this okay?? 

When you use the the word RETARD to insult someone, you're insulting people with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities; this is who you're really insulting:

This super sweet, fun, funny, smart, kind, inquisitive, silly, loving little bird who happens to have a developmental disability. That's who you're hurting with your words. 

Are you offended? You should be. 

If you have a child with a developmental disability, let @AnnCoulter know what her words mean. If you write a blog, join us and link up today! If not, consider sending a tweet to Ms Coulter letting her know her hate speech is unacceptable. Or just spread the word that in 2012 using the term RETARD to insult is unacceptable. I mean, really. 

Friday, October 19, 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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Bites

Found something on Pinterest, and decided that it must be made. 
Mini pumpkin pie bites. 

Delicious. Like, really delicious. So easy, and so so so cute!

I don't "pin" a lot, but you can totally stalk follow me and see what catches my eye. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

*This Moment*

(Little Bird receives a torah at her consecration ceremony,
marking the beginning of her formal religious education)

{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

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Today He Becomes She

This is a big deal. I am so excited to share a little bit of my very special cousin Alexa's story. It's totally her journey, and she's told her story really well through her own vlog (which I highly recommend you check out: Lexii's YouTube Channel), so I'll just share a little bit and I'll let y'all follow her page if you're so inclined.

After years of feeling trapped in the wrong body, my baby cousin Alexa will undergo sex reassignment surgery (SRS). Yes, this was once best known as a sex change operation, but is now commonly referred to as SRS.

Alexa was born Alex 18+ years ago. I'm about 16 years older and even though she was raised in New York and I was in California, we were always filled in on each other's lives. I have known all about her journey the whole way through. I remember her being 5 and wanting to take dance classes instead of playing soccer with the other boys. I remember her knowing, really knowing, even then.

Alex was always very feminine. It was assumed that he was just a super feminine gay young man, making his way through high school in this day and age where there's so much acceptance, but also so much bullying and such a huge need for the important messages like, "it gets better". Then, a few years ago came a leukemia diagnosis. It meant months and months in a hospital, time away from school,  friends and all things normal. It was during this time that the YouTube video blog posts began. Loads of people walked through the whole cancer experience with Alex on a YouTube channel. Maybe it was facing the mortality that comes along with leukemia, countless blood draws, tests, chemo, radiation, etc, or maybe it was just time. Whatever it was, Alex knew he was ready to become Alexa. So, he started living as her. And then something incredible happened. Something you would never, ever expect. She was embraced by her peers. She became a cheerleader and a popular kid... all while being a guy wearing a skirt, stunning makeup, and perfectly coiffed hair. She has more friends and supporters than your average teenager, but that's exactly what she was- your average teen: working at Hot Topic, experimenting with different hair colors and styles, sharing makeup tips with girlfriends, getting pissed at her parents, etc.

Today is the day. She's about to be the woman she's always felt she was on the outside. I love her however she is, but I'm in constant awe of her and how she has handled herself through this entire experience. She, just like her older cousin (that's me, people), has chosen to put it all out there on the interwebs to help others understand what a life less ordinary can look like. Raising awareness, erasing barriers, shedding light and staying true to ourselves. That's how we roll.

For 35 years, I've been the only girl of our generation. All our other cousins on our line of the family tree are boys. I'm happy to introduce my fabulous, incredibly strong, sassy, sweet, brave, and very female cousin Alexa Jade!! Lexi, our whole family loves you, supports you, and admires the strong and beautiful woman you are becoming!!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

A berry cute hat!

Been knitting a lot lately. 
I made Little Bird a cute little strawberry hat. 
You like?

Slow-cooked cinnamon applesauce

It's gotten chilly here. Saturday's high was 55. That gets me in the mood to pull out the ol' slow cooker. I grabbed one of my recipe books and looked for something to make. First thing that caught my eye was Cinnamon Applesauce. I noticed I had four granny smith apples on the counter, so I got busy...

This cinnamon applesauce is so delicious! 
I bet Little Bird won't even notice when I hide supplements in there!

 **Yes, I have a jar of applesauce in the fridge, but I like making my own stuff, too. This way I know exactly what's in it, too: apples, apple juice, sugar, cinnamon. YUM.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"Is she still Autistic?"

I had a great, albeit brief conversation with a 7 year old about Autism this week. We were at a small gathering with the kids from Little Bird's old school. As soon as we got there, LB and I headed down to the basement to where all the kids were playing. Three boys and one girl- LB's BFF, a typically developing stunning sweetheart who happens to have brothers with Fragile X. We reached the bottom of the stairs and one of the boys said, "hey! {Little Bird} is here! We need to be extra careful now!" On the one hand, I really appreciate that he was looking out for her, but on the other it makes me a little sad. Then, it happened:

boy: is she still autistic?
me: yep! hey, do you still have brown hair?
boy: ummm, yeah. maybe you should give her an operation so she's not autistic anymore.
me: but why would I want to do that? (inner monologue: omigod, is there such a thing? who do I call? when can we set it up? what time? ) we love {LB} just the way she is! {LB's BFF}, don't you love her just the way she is?
girl: yep!
another boy: I like her, too!
boy: but if she isn't autistic, she could do more things like have sword fights and fencing!
me: well, sword fights aren't for everyone. Plus, you know there are a lot of things that she can do.

at this point, he went ahead and had a sword fight- with the air. Then a little bit later he came back to me...

boy: were you autistic when you were a kid?
me: nope. but you know what I was?? short! I'm still pretty short, huh?
boy: yeah.
me: yep, and I'm okay with that.

Little Bird was having a rough time there and we left with her in snotty tears, which always sucks. That doesn't happen a lot, but it does happen- the whole leave-before-the party-is-over (or sometimes even getting started), knowing-that-the-normie-parents-are-feeling-sorry-for-me thing.  Still, I define this experience as a success. I was reminded that kids are curious, they want to know about Autism, and they have questions. So, parents, let's answer those questions. Let's pounce on these teachable moments. Not only are these kids the peers of our babies, but they're the future advocates. I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.

Including our children in activities with typically developing peers and educating those neuro-typical kids is the biggest and best anti-bullying campaign I can think of. What a great way to raise emotionally intelligent and compassionate kids. So, normies, you want a play date?

Friday, October 5, 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, October 4, 2012

Because my arms might get cold

I started using Pinterest a while ago. Like, last summer or something. I was into it for a bit until, like, last winter, and then I got over it. I think I go through phases. Depends on how creative I'm feeling. So, since I've been crafty lately, I've been poking around here and there. 

I've been knitting a lot lately and I found something that I thought might be fun... Arm WarmersSo, I went to the shop, grabbed a ball of yarn and got to it....

Success! And now my arms will never be cold again!

This week's prompt: Choose an item you recently pinned on Pinterest and...TRY IT! 
Was it a success or failure?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Not The Right Fit (part tres)

Okay, for those of you following along at home, school still sucks. I'm this close to homeschooling. Actually, I can completely see why there are SO many of us raising kids with special needs who have pulled their kids out of the public school systems and are proud homeschoolers. For those of you who haven't been blessed with kids who doesn't fit into a mold, you might not know that private schools (at least those around me) don't take kids like mine because, well, because they don't have to. You may have even heard me gripe before about how disappointing it is that the local well-loved Jewish day school in my area won't even take a kiddo like my bird. Anyway, it means that we parents are left little choice but to take what we can get with the public schools. Of course, we fight like mad to be sure they're getting the best services and all that, but sometimes it's just not that easy. It is very rare that I encounter a parent of a special kid who is happy, truly happy, with their public school experience. There's a reason why we have diarrhea before and IEP meeting.

Need a minute to get caught up on why school sucks so far? Here's part one and two of the journey thus far?:

Part 1
Part 2

Ok, so yesterday I spoke with the special services supervisor for the school district. She had observed Little Bird in her MiCI (mildly cognitively impaired) classroom one morning last week. She agreed that my girl is super sweet. She did see that she's struggling to stay on task, focus, and follow along with the other kids. It's not because she doesn't want to or that she's being defiant. It's because her body doesn't always do what she wants it to do. Her sensory dysfunction makes walking in a quiet, straight line unlikely, NOT chewing her pencil improbable, and sitting still at her desk impossible. It's not that the teachers aren't working on it- it's that they don't know how. The bird is a tricky one. She's not fitting into any one category. Remember, she's in this class because it seemed like the least restrictive environment at the time. However, it seems that these teachers aren't armed with the right tools. So, this administrator believes that the ASD program would be too socially restrictive for her and that she doesn't seem to match the makeup of that class. Those of us in this world understand that a class is a good fit for your kid if the teacher and the other kids are good fits. She plans to have the Occupational Therapist, school psychologist, etc give her tips, tools, and strategies for better serving LB. Also, they'll have an ASD teacher come in and help with some strategies. I felt pretty good about this plan. That is, until I dropped her off at school this morning.

The teacher caught me in the hall this morning and asked me what happened when I spoke with the administrator. I explained that she didn't think LB was a good fit for the ASD program blah blah blah. Well, she disagreed and even said that it's hard to teach to the other students when LB needs to much attention. I walked away feeling that my baby bird isn't wanted in this classroom. Can you even imagine that? So upsetting. She explained that it's great that the district is willing to help support her, but that she isn't trained in this. I completely agree with her. I don't think this is her fault at all. I feel stuck. I don't want to send my baby somewhere she's not wanted. She's hip enough to pick up on that vibe.

I emailed the special services lady this morning and asked that I be able to observe the ASD class, as well as a bit about my feeling like the bird is not wanted. Her response was that she believes that this is the right program for her, and we need to get the staff the proper support. She still wants to move forward with that plan. No mention of my wanting to see the ASD class. I responded again that I want to observe it. We'll see what happens next.

I truly believe that this isn't the teacher's fault. She really isn't armed with the right tools. I know that the bird is a tough kid to categorize. I get that. But, that doesn't mean that I'll ever let her get lost in the system. You know me, takin' off my earrings and rolling up my sleeves...

More to come.

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