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.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Brace Yourselves... Autism Awareness Day is Coming!

A few days ago, the CDC reported that the rate of Autism in the United States is currently 1 in 68 children, 1 in 42 boys, 1 in 189 girls. I'm not shocked. I'm just sad. And you know what else? Having a new baby boy, I'm also scared. That's not a popular thing to say, but it's my truth. This hasn't been easy for me.

April is Autism Awareness month, but of course, if you have a child with ASD or even spend any time with one (or ever run into us in a restaurant or grocery store), you're pretty aware all the time. 

April 2nd has been designated World Autism Awareness/Acceptance Day and people are encouraged to wear BLUE to show their support. It seems that it's Autism Speaks who created the day and promotes it most heavily and there are so many people in the ASD world who are pretty Anti-Autism Speaks. If you're not in the ASD world, you probably didn't know that. Anyway, I've spoken about my feelings on this before, so you can read this or just know that I don't agree with everything Autism Speaks does or says, but I certainly applaud their efforts to advocate and raise awareness among the general public.

Every year I ask my friends, family, and the rest of 'em to wear BLUE on April 2nd to show support for the millions of families like mine around the world who are living with Autism, then send me photos so I can post them here on the blog. So, please show me your blue this Wednesday by emailing me at TheRealDaniG@ gmail.com. 

Families with Autism need the support of family, friends, their communities, and even strangers. 

Wanna see the blues of the past? 

Friday, March 21, 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

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Two Babies One Shirt

Little Bird 2005                              J Bird 2014

One of the only articles of clothing I kept from Little Bird's infancy. 
Because tie-dye never goes out of style

Friday, March 7, 2014

*These Moments*

This week's moment is a bit different from the usual because it's many moments in one. Here's a quick clip of nine months in thirteen seconds: 

Two Weeks In............The Last Day...........Two Weeks Out

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Berry (delicious) Chocolate Oat Bars

I found a recipe for these delicious looking raspberry chocolate granola-ish bars and realizing I had everything I needed, I decided to give them a try. Of course, I made mine gluten free, dairy free, and with strawberry jam instead of raspberry just because I still had a couple jars of strawberry from the last batch of jam I'd made. 

My lovely assistant

3/4 C flour (I used a GF blend)
1/2 C brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 C butter, softened (I used dairy & soy free earth balance)
3/4 C quick-cooking oats
1/4 C coconut
2 1/2 semi-sweet chocolate baking squares coarsely chopped (I just used some dairy free chocolate chips)
1 (6 ounce) jar of raspberry jam (I used homemade strawberry jam)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking dish with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray
2. Mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder in a large bowl
3. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs
4. Add oats and coconut
5. Press half the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan.

6. Sprinkle with chopped chocolate (remember, I used chocolate chips)
7. Spoon jam over top; Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture  
8. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned
9. Lift from the pan using the foil; cool completely on a wire rack
10. Cut into bars and eat**


**Little Bird had one bite. We devoured the rest. Already time to make more. This time I'm going to use the blackberry jam I made last week!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chasing the Love

"Unrequited love's a bore
And I've got it pretty bad.
But for someone you adore
It's a pleasure to be sad"
-The Mamas and the Papas

You know those first couple weeks or so with a newborn when you're just so tired,  so overwhelmed, your body's working overtime and you feel like you're putting so much in but not getting much out? No payback? With Little Bird, all that payback came when she gave me her first smiles. In those moments, it was all worth it. We moms need that recognition. That brief message that we're doing a good job. That our babies feel all the love we're transmitting. J Bird isn't there yet, but I know he will be in a couple weeks. I so eagerly await those smiles- not just because he's got these incredible dimples, but because I do need that feedback- that reminder that it's all worth it. Little Bird was about six weeks old when she was on her changing table and I took her pacifier out of her mouth and tickled her lips and made a funny sound. And then it happened- a smile! I was on cloud nine. I played the pacifier game over and over just to get that reaction, that love. 

Sometimes parenting a kiddo like Little Bird feels like those first few weeks with a newborn- the exhaustion, the constant attempt to appease, to make sure all her needs are met, and also always looking for a hint of appreciation. The Mamas and the Papas quote comes to mind because I often feel like there's this unrequited love. Of course, I know she loves me- I'm her mommy. I'm the one she wants to cling to when she falls (though that often includes pulling my hair or pinching me). She seems to enjoy knowing that I'm proud of her, and wants to make me proud. But, I get very little feedback otherwise. And, yet, like with an unrequited love, I chase it. I find myself constantly trying to get the things from her that I so badly want: a response, recognition, attention, interest, love. Yes, she's verbal and can sometimes answer questions or repeat phrases that's she's heard on TV, but she doesn't always do those things. I often have to really dig to find out anything about her day at school- she'd rather bury herself in an iPad or flip through pages of a book than engage with me. Still, I chase. 

I cook and bake things for her that she won't eat. I run around trying to get the things I think will bring her joy. I buy her toys she won't play with. I start conversations she won't finish. This isn't anything new. Sometimes it's more pronounced than others. Sometimes I can accept that it's just the way it is. Sometimes it hurts. And still, I chase her. Always seeking that smile, that recognition, that love.

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