A Modern Day Fairy Tale: November 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

I've got so much, so much, so much...

To be thankful for. (That is much more entertaining if you know the song and dance that goes along with it!)

Anyway, coming in a little late, but is it ever really too late to share what you're thankful for? This Thanksgiving week, I have not been feeling well...a simple cold I'm sure but with my lack of sleep and tendency to push myself to keep going, it was and still is kicking my behind! Seriously! Keeping up with a hyper 3 year old while sick is no walk in the park, I can tell you that much, but the kid is so worth it...and that's what I'm thankful for...my son and how far he has come in this journey with autism.



I have touched on this before, but I cannot begin to express how amazingly blessed I have been with him. When Shaun was diagnosed, just a little over a year ago, he had little eye contact- it was there but had to be fought for and was more likely to come with active play. His speech, which he had once been advanced in had dwindled and communication was sorely lacking. He would prefer to play on his own, oh sure, we're told he's quite social for a child on the spectrum, and I believe this is true, but when you try to sit and play with your child or read him a book or just really spend time doing something together, not just next to one another, only to be pushed out time and time again...it's hard.

So it is these little things that others might take for granted that I am thankful for each and every day...when Shaun brings me a book to read to him! Actually read to him! He still doesn't have the patience to let me finish a book, but for the kid who would not even take the time to look at one on his own, its amazing. Even when my throat is killing me and it hurts to talk, I treasure that he wants to share this with me, that he has initiated this activity with me.

When he drags me into his playroom, not because he needs something but just because he wants me there. He still won't let me really play WITH him, but again, this is a big step and I cherish it! And sometimes he does- like when he wants to dance (thank you Dancing With The Stars), or do what he calls 'Shaun (our last name which will be omitted because this is a public blog after all)'- where he lies on my feet and I lift him up in the air. Games that he initiates.

When he calls me mommy, says 'I love you', looks me right in the eye even in that silly 'inches from your face hope you remembered to brush your teeth' kind of way, when he will randomly (though rarely) climb on the couch and snuggle next to me, when he says 'I want' or yes or no appropriately to the questions asked. Those first steps toward a world of communication, those are the things I am thankful for. I know that we have been truly blessed with these things and I don't take them for granted even for a second.

Oh, he still has his struggles, he hasn't magically been cured by any means...this has been the result of countless hours of therapies, working with him on my own and more recently and perhaps the biggest influence: school! He still scripts random things he's heard at school or in movies completely out of context (and sometimes not all too appropriately- don't get me started on 'he's exposing himself' or 'it's a gusher' while trying to give himself a bloody nose..oy!). His communication skills, while better than they were are still majorly delayed and most often, it's still mommy playing mind reader. He still doesn't say as much, or more often understand as much as his typical peers...but none of that matters because I only look to see where he was coming from to where he is now.

In a few days it will have been 4 years since we found out that I was pregnant with Shaun. At the time, the doctors told me that it was most likely an ectopic pregnancy and would never be born. We mourned for him then, already more loved than ever imagined, and yet here we are. He's been proving people wrong from the very beginning and I truly believe that he will continue to prove naysayers wrong and make a difference in this world, as he has in mine.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I'm Loving Wednesday: Thanksgiving Edition!

As I take a break from baking, I will once again link up with Jamie for 'What I'm Loving Wednesday'. I am still having a hard time with the Thanksgiving holiday this year, not that I don't have a lot to be thankful for (which I will post more about tomorrow!) but because it's a lonely holiday this year...and then yesterday, my oh so wonderful timing kicked in and I am now horribly sick- can only stand for short periods without feeling woozy, but I have lots to do so I will keep pressing on. So today's topic for WILW is Thanksgiving, particularly, the FOOD!!

Homemade Apple Pie







Need I say more? Completely from scratch, crust and all!! This is a recipe shared with me by my wonderful mother-in-law, and it's one of my absolute favorites! I don't know about everyone else, but there is a certain sense of accomplishment I feel when I make something like this from scratch! It's just not the same as buying mixes, etc. And while they may not be the prettiest pies in the world, I can assure you they taste absolutely amazing!!!


Grandpa's Pumpkin Pie






A staple for all holiday meals! I love it! Several years ago, before I was married, my mom made my sisters and I each a family cookbook- filled with recipes from family members and close friends. At the time I didn't appreciate it quite as much, but now that I am out on my own and have lost my grandpa and great grandma, I am very happy to have this. It's like having a piece of my family with me, especially on the holidays and I'm very thankful for that!

Cranberry Sauce
Okay, so not necessarily the sauce itself (though my homemade sauce is pretty awesome!), but the cranberries themselves. Is there a prettier food? Such a deep, gorgeous red- I love them!




These have been my projects for the day! My Thanksgiving favorites though are the stuffing and the mashed potatoes! As some of you may know, I don't eat meat, so no turkey for me! But I am making it for my little guy and our guests!

Of course I have many other things I'm loving today, but I've been writing this between baking times and well, I have lots more work to go! I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What I'm Loving Wednesday!!!

It's Wednesday once again, so it's time to link up with Jamie for What I'm Loving Wednesday!

To start off I have to say- I'm loving the Holiday Season!!! This week has been filled with holiday preparation. I have not forgotten about Thanksgiving either, but I'm having a hard time with it this year, not because I don't have a lot to be thankful for, but merely because it's supposed to be a time to be spent with family and unfortunately this year, my husband is gone and my little man just doesn't understand it. But Christmas, Christmas he knows. He doesn't really understand the gifts, or the religious meanings behind it or anything like that, but we have watched Polar Express, his favorite movie, every day nearly for the last year! Among other favorite movies are the Santa Clause movies, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, etc... Oh yes, he knows Christmas and he gets so excited about all the festivities and decorations everywhere.

And on that note I have to say, we have already started decorating and I'm loving my Christmas decor!!! Some of my favorite things are:



My new Willow Tree Plaque- 'Holy Family'. I LOVE Willow Tree figurines, so simple and gorgeous. I went to the store with the specific goal of finding a nativity scene. I knew I wanted the full Willow Tree set, but just couldn't bring myself to spend the money on it, nor did I have room for it, so when I saw this, I knew it was just perfect. I have added a poinsettia to this arrangement since the picture was taken as well.



My little man's playroom Christmas tree- decorated in Superheroes. That's another thing I love- Superman! My husband on the other hand is a Batman fan (grr) and Shaun likes Spiderman. We're a family of dorks, but it suits us well. I made a lot of the ornaments for this, my favorite being the little comic books, as well as some that say 'wow', 'bang', etc comic book style. The superheroes other than Superman are all happy meal type toys made into ornaments. I am so happy with how it all turned out!



And finally, the big Christmas tree. After much debate, I finally decided to just go with a classic green and red with some silver thrown in. And lots of glitter and shine. Lots and lots of glitter. Seriously, looks like my house was broken into by vampires. (Yes, I just went there, I'm sorry I couldn't help myself- my apologies to the Twilight fans;)) But seriously, I love how it turned out! Now we just need presents to fill the bottom!!

So that's what I'm loving this Wednesday! I hope everyone else is enjoying their holiday planning as well!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What I'm Loving Wednesday!!

It's Wednesday once again, which means it's time to link up with Jamie for 'What I'm Loving Wednesday'!

And what kind of Marine wife would I be if I didn't start off on this November 10th by saying I love the Marine Corps!? For those of you who do not know, today is the 235th birthday of the USMC! While military life is not always easy, I am grateful for the experiences and security that it has given us. Deployments are hard, and long hours/training/duty/etc sometimes make it feel like even when my husband is NOT deployed, he's never really home. But at the end of the day, we have a nice roof over our heads, a steady paycheck, a job that can't be lost (unless under extreme circumstances at least), health care and some sense of stability in this economy. So after nearly 4 years of marriage and countless months, weeks, days apart I can still honestly say that I love being a Marine Wife. I am proud of my husband for all he has done and being the best Marine I know. (Though I am perhaps a bit biased!)

A few quotes and photos that seem appropriate to share today.

The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!
Eleanor Roosevelt



Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.
Ronald Reagan

"

God found some of the strongest women and made their match a Marine.



"Distance is not for the fearful, it is for the bold. It's for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It's for those knowing a good thing when they see it, even if they don't see it nearly enough..."



"The thought of being with you tomorrow gives me the strength to go on today."




And more importantly, I love my husband, for being the wonderful person he is. He is truly my prince charming and has made all of my dreams come true, and so much more! I cannot imagine where I would be without him and I look forward to the day that we no longer have to say good-bye. Semper Fi, my wonderful husband, Semper Fi.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday- Thankful

I am linking up with The Undomestic Momma for Top 2 Tuesday: Top 2 Things I'm Thankful for. Yes, I know it's still technically Monday, but we have a busy day ahead of us and I have so much to be thankful for that I wanted to join in. So here we go:



Top 2 Things I'm Thankful For:


1. My family. As I have said many, many times I would not trade my family for anything. I have been truly blessed to have such a wonderful husband and son. They are my everything. And I would certainly not be who I am without my parents and siblings. Not to mention the wonderful family I married into (no bad in laws here!) I am thankful for each and every one of them- and also those friends who have become an extended part of my family.

2. God. Perhaps this should be #1, but I intend to say a little more on this one so I wanted to save it for last. I was shown a video today that was basically denying the existence of God and perhaps it was just me being emotional because of this deployment, but it really got to me. I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like to go through life never knowing that God is real. To feel his presence so strongly. It is mind boggling to me and truly makes me sad for those that do not have this experience.
I have always believed that God was real, but when I was younger I did not have much of a relationship with him. Then one day my friend Tiffany invited my younger sister to go to a wonderful place called Camp Illiana- a church camp. Now, me not being an outdoorsy/adventurous person and not a regular church goer either, there should have been nothing that would really make me want to be there where we would go to church every day- multiple times. And yet, I could not shake the feeling that I NEEDED to be there, and so I went. Words cannot begin to describe my experience there, it is something that can only be felt and it changed me. It was after this first year that I made the decision to develop a relationship with Christ. I became very involved with my church and at the age of 17 I made the decision to be baptized. But these are not the only great things that came from this one random decision. In the following years, I met some wonderful people who have made a huge impact in my life- including one of my very best friends Erica, who understand me and the things I have gone through in my life like no one else can. She was sent to me just when I needed her and I know that she was meant to be in my life. It brought me closer to friends I already had, including Tiffany of course! As I said, I got more involved in the church which led to more relationships being formed, and while not all were positive they shaped me into who I am today. It was also at church where I met another one of my best friends Bethany who later introduced me to her brother, whom I'm now happily married to and with whom I have the most amazing child. And all of this I can pinpoint back to that one feeling. How can that all be a coincidence? I believe with everything that's in me that that feeling was God speaking to me and that all of these people and these events happened for a reason, to bring me to this point. And for that, I am forever thankful.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lemonade




I have a confession to made: life with Autism sometimes sucks. Okay, maybe that's not a confession but something most would find quite obvious. There are days filled with poop covered trains. Very public meltdowns that make you want to cringe. Sleepless nights, night after night. Being hit by your own child because things didn't go as he had planned- not because it didn't go his way mind you, but more because something is not as it should be- a missing train table in the neighbor's garage he'd only played with once for example. This is of course not even taking into consideration the countless therapy hours, unclear vision of the future and all that fun stuff. Yes, autism is definitely no walk in the park.

Today has been one of those days! (And tomorrow will be too when he realizes that he can no longer put together his favorite puzzle because he tore the picture off of them and attempted to eat them!)

But I've learned that I cannot dwell on these bad things. If I did, I'd probably lose my mind- though some would argue it's already too late for that. And so I write this in an effort to remember the positive. Because as much as I would not wish for my son to have autism, it is a part of who he is and I love every part of him, including those little quirks that make up who he is. Like his impressive ability to memorize songs like its nothing, and parts of movies, and even more recently lines from books and phrases he's heard from school- even if he doesn't necessarily know what these things me. He cracks me up with his Little Rascals scripting! ("I...Stimey...Uh huh") His excitement over the most random of things keeps life entertaining as well...who knew the word minutes could have a child laughing for DAYS? I could go on and on, but you can get my point. As much as I hate days like this, I know that we have been blessed with an amazing child and I would not trade him for anything. So I will continue to take the bad right along with the good and love my son always...unconditionally.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

Once again I am linking up with Jamie for 'What I'm loving Wednesday'.

As my Facebook friends know, my day started off on a bit of a sad point, but nonetheless there are many things to be happy about, so these are a few things I'm loving this week!

I'm loving:
A good bargain!




The local Michael's (craft store) out here gives a 10% military discount on Wednesdays, so I usually try to get over there to stock up on what I need for the next week or so! On top of that, they had their fall items on sale and I found a few baskets that I could not pass up for my kitchen!

I'm loving:
Scentsy Pumpkin Pie!




I just bought this scent yesterday and it's wonderful! It smells like I've spent the day baking, and even reaches all the way upstairs to my bedroom. I love Scentsy in general, but I may have a new favorite!

I'm loving:
The Disney Channel!

Yes, I am 23 years old, but I still love it! (Though admitting this on a very public blog may be giving away too much of my dorkiness...oops!!) We often find ourselves putting it on even when my little man is at school. Though I do still miss the older movies and shows too.

I'm loving:
My son, as always.




He did amazingly well with trick or treating this year! We had 3 adults taking him, just in case, but really it wasn't necessary. He was happy to hold my hand, did not try to run off and even did pretty well with saying, 'Trick or Treat' and 'Thank you. Happy Halloween'-- with prompting of course. He had a few instances where he wanted to push people, or enter strangers' houses, but overall the night was a success and I was very proud of him!

I'm loving:
My husband, forever.





Even if he is impossible to buy for;)
"Tonight I resign myself to missing you for I know I have the rest of my life to wake up next to you."