Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Look Back at 2013

Thinking back on this last year I can say that it has been without a doubt eventful. It's been one of those years that one grows leaps and bounds as a person. I talked about hard topics like loneliness, what it's like not to fit in anywhere, and even my natural desire to not blend in.

I covered so many school  issues with both boys that made me step out of my comfort zone. I tackled situations that I never thought I could in my wildest dreams. If you'd asked me last year if I would have been okay with attending so many IEP meetings where I was very plainly considered the enemy while people behave behind the scenes in the most unethical way possible I would have said 'possibly not.' Yet I did. When Beans got hurt  at school I wanted to run away. I didn't want to be the squeaky wheel, and even though in the end  Beans ended up homeschooled it all ended up okay as I learned to believe in myself. I overcame almost every fear that I had this year, up to including going on our local news, and giving an interview about the situation with the school, even though Bubby is still governed by the same special ed unit. If you'd have asked me if I would, or could do something like that the year before this last year I would have said absolutely NOT! It's not my nature to be in front of cameras, and it's not my nature to be loud.

This year we discussed that autistic children can be very giving

Blog Milestone and Sincere Thanks!

Last night I went to sleep feeling almost like a child awaiting a visit from the tooth fairy. You see my blog was about to reach 200,000 hits! I was about 30 away when I went to shut down my computer at 11 PM. I knew that probably within the hour my goal would be reached, but watching numbers turn is a lot like watching paint dry, so.... I resigned myself to wait until morning. This is what I woke up to!











Thursday, December 26, 2013

Super Easy Creamy Noodle Salad

This recipe is a favorite in my house. I make it for every holiday, and barbeque.  It's easy to make, and is really tasty. There is a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of variation with this salad. That is why my measurements will be a little on the suggestive side. I would always recommend using the least amount, then letting it set for a few hours before adding more of the items that might make the noodles too soggy, or runny.  You can always add more dressing, or mayo, but you can't take it out once it's mixed in. The consistency tends to change a bit after it chills.



What you will need:

* 2 1/2 C. of spiral noodles (I typically try to use about 1 cup of wheat noodles to make the salad as healthy as possible without effecting the taste too much)

* 1 can of olives-chopped

* 1 cucumber diced

* 1/4 to 1/3 cup Italian dressing

* 1/3 to 1/2 cup mayo

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Mix the other ingredients with the noodles, and chill.

There is a lot of add ins one can use to spice up this salad.  I like to put in about a quarter of a chopped onion.  Also, grape tomatoes, bacon bits, and cubed cheese  make a nice addition.

This recipe makes a generous size bowl of salad, enough to feed several people.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Feeling Blue This Holiday?

Browsing through my FB feed I came across a blog entry from a mental health blogger that had me thinking. It was yet another one of those sentiments about being happy with what you have, because someone who has way less than you is happy with what they have. That was point, then later in the same article it spoke of not comparing yourself to others.....so... which one is it? Maybe, only compare if you're on the upwards swing, to remind you that you're blessed? While I get that sentiment, and I get the gist I am not on board with it.

While the holidays can be a wonderful time of year, full of giving, love, and family it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year, as well.  Not everyone has the money for the giving season.  Maybe one doesn't have any family, or friends to spend the holiday with. Maybe they might, but they're not pleasant people. We're not all born to loving parents, and other family members who care, nurture, and support us.  Some people suffer seasonal depression that tends to peak around the mark of the winter solstice with short days, and long nights. There's all sorts of reasons why a person might be feeling low, or less than festive around the holiday season.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Instant Pancake Mix Recipe (Shake & Pour)

After trying several different pancake recipes I have landed on this one that I tweaked until I found it to be to the best so far.  It can be stored in a jar, and used as a 'shake and pour' method, but I find it just as easy to measure into the bowl, then stir until barely mixed, and moistened. They both will work, depending on your own preferences. The recipe makes about 5 medium sized thick-ish pancakes per recipe.

What you will need:

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Education Plan for Beans

Since I am staying home with Beans now I decided that I needed to make my own IEP. I felt that I needed a guide of sorts to direct me on how to best help him. I also wanted to be able to share my goals with the other people that work with him, so that we can be on the same page.

Below is the what I came up with. It's not as thorough as an IEP usually is, but it is a rough plan of action with some goals sprinkled in there. It was harder to map out than I initially thought it would be.  I run across so few Beans in the world that I am often left feeling like a foreigner in knowing how to navigate.  Writing this up seemed to feel like my final jump into homeschooling.

I am certain that it might not fit some people's philosophy about how to 'treat' autism. It wasn't more than 24 hours after giving the plan to Beans private speech therapist that she called me, and told me she would no longer be seeing Beans anymore. She said that our philosophy is too far apart, and that her approach is too different than what I was looking for.  I really didn't think there was anything in the plan that was extreme. Obviously, to her there was. She didn't even want to discuss any of it. She just wanted to discharge him, and recommended that I give my plan to future SLPs from the beginning so that they can know that is what I am wanting. It took a lot of courage to write what I did, and put my ideas on paper only to have them thrown back at me like that was hurtful. It was completely out of the blue, and it left me blindsided.

Anyway...here is my controversial homeschooling IEP of sorts:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Honoring Motherhood- How I learned to turn away from our mother-bashing culture, and embrace my own instincts.

I was doing some thinking since writing the entry How Can We Best Support Autism Parents? As I thought about the question I posed in the title I kept coming back to the slideshow of my worst parenting moments in my head. I know that I am not alone in those moments. I know that other moms feel this way , too. For this entry I am mostly referring to mothers.

Let me explain why.

As a group, mothers are judged so openly, and harshly by others about every move, decision, and idea we have. I rarely hear of fathers shouldering this kind of judgement. They might be judged on their finances, and employment decisions, but even that pales in comparison to the daily barrage mothers face.

Don't believe me? Here is a short list of things I have heard people say before in relation to mothers, and their ability to effectively parent their children. All of them are completely false judgements.