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, June 30, 2014

Vitamins that my kid will actually take (and a giveaway)

Found a vitamin that my bird will take and I'm giving away a month's supply!

I give Little Bird supplements and vitamins and meds and salt baths and on and on. Most things I give her are mixed into applesauce or yogurts. She calls them applesauce medicine or yogurt medicine, which goes to show there's no fooling her. Even though I've been giving her these cocktails for years now, I'm always looking for ways to switch things up. I try different flavors and even different types of yogurt: coconut, soy, milks from animals other than cows, etc. Once I tried blending in strawberries with applesauce. Once. Because that was enough!

I was excited to get an email from a woman who'd heard about me through a friend and knew about my struggle to get vitamins into Little Bird. She told me she'd created a vitamin product that was a real hit with kids and would I like to try it. And then came a great part of the email: "I know you don't do reviews, so I'm not even going to ask. I just want to let you try these!" That's right, I typically don't do product reviews and I keep the blog ad-free. So, sure, send over the vitamins!

Within days, the package from alternaVites arrived. It's basically a pixie stick- remember that candy that must drive dentists crazy? At least you can totally get away telling your kid it's a basically a pixie stick! We tried two different flavors and Little Bird liked Strawberry Bubble Gum better than Raspberry Cotton Candy, but willingly tried them both. I tried them, too. Not as sweet as a pixie stick, but they're vitamins, so they shouldn't be! I was told they could be added to yogurt, pudding, or even made into smoothies. In fact, the alternaVites website has recipes for smoothies on their blog. I can't get my kid to drink a smoothie, but if you can, more power to ya!

The reason someone thought to suggest them to me is that they're GFCF, have none of the big food allergens (egg, milk, peanut, tree nut, wheat, soy, fish/shellfish). Also, no sugar. I've been trying to reduce sugars lately, too.

Anyway, I responded to Hallie at alternavites to thank her for sending them and all that. And you know what she said? She said, "hey, wanna give some away to other people? no review necessary!" And I was all, "heck yeah, I'll give some away!" But, really, I don't need to write a real review, I'll just tell you that Little Bird was willing to take this straight- she probably wouldn't have even noticed if I'd mixed 'em into yogurt!

So, here's the deal- I can giveaway a ONE MONTH SUPPLY to THREE people! YAY!!! Since I need things to be as easy as possible for me, I'll use the random.org number generator to pick a winner. I'll pick the winner on July 7th.

just go to my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/imjustthatway (and "like" it, if you don't already) then "like" the pinned post about these vitamins! Deal? Go!

Friday, June 20, 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, June 19, 2014

The Rearview Glimpse

The Rearview Glimpse
A new throwback thursday feature to look back and share a story or two.

Little Bird has always loved her pasta. I haven't always loved the mess! 
Can't even believe I'm about to start this all over again with J Bird.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Why I still believe in inclusion programming

I've shared before my feelings on inclusion and how pulling Little Bird from her Early Intervention preschool program in favor of a full inclusion program was one of the very best things I ever did for her. I really pushed the social goals above the academic ones and it made a big difference for a while.

Inclusion programs not only give a child with a disability some good ol' fashioned peer modeling, so she can see what her typically developing peers do, how they behave, etc. Yes, there's always a kid or two in a class that you don't want your kid to model, but still. A child can learn to feel more accepted and a part of the larger group in an inclusive environment, leading to more confidence and willingness to branch out, break out of a shell, etc. Of course, this is really just if the whole program, teachers, staff, and students are on board. We were beyond blessed with the inclusion preschool Little Bird attended where she was loved, accepted, and nurtured. She made some real friends for the first time ever.

Inclusion programs give typically developing kids the chance to learn from kids with disabilities. They learn that not everyone is the same and that's okay. They learn what it's like to help someone who needs a friend. They learn that just because a child doesn't speak, it doesn't mean they don't have anything to say. The also learn that a kid might be different in a lot of ways, but she also like pizza, swimming, jumping on a trampoline, and watching the same TV shows, just like her typically developing peers. The truly learn that the world is a big place and that there are all kinds of people who make it up. They learn all these things if given the opportunity and if encouraged to branch out and take a chance in befriending someone a little different.

Over the years, I've gotten to see adults be profoundly changed by the lessons they've learned in inclusion programs, as well. I've seen 1:1 shadows get inspired by my girl and become ABA therapists, I've seen 1:1 shadows get inspired by her to get degrees in special education, I've seen special ed teachers learn enough about Autism from her to go back to school for ASD teaching certification. This, however, was a really sweet thing to read on Little Bird's Sunday School report card:

"{Bird} has been my greatest lesson this year in that she made me see that just because someone does not demonstrate understanding in the same way as others doesn't mean they don't understand.... It is I who should be giving thanks, as having {Bird} has made me a better teacher."

Inclusion programming benefits everyone. Inclusion can happen anywhere: in school, religious school and services, on the soccer field, and in a ballet class. All around. Keep advocating for it, folks!

Friday, June 13, 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, June 12, 2014

One Step Up And Two Steps Back

End-of-the-school-year-itis. That's what one friend called it. So many of the kids are just a little off. A little wacky. There's an energy in the air. A bit of a frenzy. Schedules are out of whack at school. The pictures come off the walls in the halls. Less academics, less structure, class parties, etc. It's hard for some kids to know what to expect, I suppose. So, there's a lot going on at school that's just a little "off". That often translates to kids like mine being a bit off, too. Don't even get me started on how the season's allergens play their role. 

Here we are. Last day of second grade. My Little Bird is in her two steps back phase and I'm feeling sad and sorry for myself about it. It's temporary, though. I know this dance. One step up and two steps back. One step up and two steps back. Kick ball change. Rinse and repeat. One step up and two steps back. If you're counting, that kinda means never really getting ahead. 

Still, every single time she steps back, I worry. Is this it? Is this as far back as she will go? Will there be three steps back this time? Or worse: what of she doesn't step forward? What if she doesn't come back to me? She always does. No regression has been permanent with her. Still, I worry. Always. 

This time of year is especially tough on me with all the end of the year parties (that she hasn't been invited to), the ballet recitals (that she can't participate in), and the excitement over sleep away camps (that she can't feasibly attend). That's the part where I start to feel sad and sorry for myself. So, I'm sorry if I haven't "liked" your kid's dance recital photos- it's just that they tend to pierce my heart. Even after all these years.

Sometimes it's easier to hibernate with the folks who just get it. The ones whose kids are also experiencing end-of-the-year-itis; the ones who don't judge my self pity. I love my Autism parent support network and I'm so grateful to have them. This, too, shall pass. It always does. What's that little saying I see people post now and then?? "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." I just rolled my eyes at that. But, still, we dance. One step up and two steps back. Kick ball change. Rinse and repeat.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

J Bird Gets A Letter From Obama

Looks like J Bird has a fan in Washington, D.C.

Did you know that if you send a birth announcement to the White House, you'll receive a card welcoming your baby to the world from the President and the First Lady? It's true! 

Just send a birth announcement including baby's name, date of birth, your name, phone, and address to: 
The White House
Attn: Greetings Office
Washington, D.C. 20502-0039

Friday, June 6, 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

Monday, June 2, 2014

First S'mores Of The Season

First s'mores of the season

Ben did all the work 
We did all the eating

J Bird ended up with crumbs on him :(

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