trying to find myself and humor in life

Archive for the tag “milestones”

Random Monday Thoughts

Hello friends out there in the great blogosphere!! Have you missed me???

Let me first begin by apologizing for my rather long hiatus. I thought I would be gone just a couple days but days turned into weeks and before I knew it, I was smack in the middle of June!

Of course I could just tell you that life at Casa Chaos got in the way of my blogging.

There were end of school year parties, a family “vacation” to Amish country and the conclusion of the 2013 t-ball season. Combine that with some family drama, health scares, strep throat, daycare, Donuts for Dad (with a special guest appearance by Mommy) and job stress (my newly redone resume looks amazing btw) and that would be just a taste of life at Casa Chaos.

The more I thought about it, however, I decided Screw that!! I will not play the “pity/martyr card”  with you my fabulous readers. No, I will be honest with you and tell you the real reason I have been MIA.  Deep breath…and the reason I have been MIA for so long is because…..

I have been on a holiday with my one true love, my soul mate George (Clooney of course). We have been traveling the Italian coast and it was just breathtaking (Seinfeld reference anyone???).

Lounging  on his boat by day and eating and drinking (LOTS of vino) by night. It was hard work. It is not easy being wined and dined by a handsome movie star. However, the relaxation, romance, and blogging material alone, was well worth the trip.

And not without further adieu I bring you my Random Monday Thoughts….

1) What’s in a name?

Apparently NOTHING if you are Kim Kardashian and her Baby Daddy Kayne West who named their new baby daughter North. Yes, if you hadn’t heard (if say perhaps you were in a coma or living on the moon) their baby’s name is NORTH WEST.


These are 2 grown adults, both in their 30s, and they named their child a direction on a map? For months all I read about was how Kim and Kayne wanted nothing more than to have children. A baby girl was all they ever wanted because as Kim said (I am totally paraphrasing) “What is better than a baby girl?”

So you know you are having a girl (for at least 4 months right?) and this was THE absolute best name 2 well-rounded, well-traveled, ADULTS could come up with – North – Nori for short????!!!

I think it is a safe bet, that in the weeks, months and years that Kimye and North are in our lives, we will forever hear the meaning and reasoning behind their baby’s “unique” moniker. Who knows, maybe we will grow to love it too (not).

Let me just say this, when I was growing up “Nicole” was not a common name. Jennifer, Lisa, Mary and Susan were THE names of the times.

Never did the chick on Romper Room “see” my name in her Magic Mirror and I had a better chance of winning the lottery than finding the name “Nicole” on a cup, key chain or necklace at the mall.  Good luck North!!

2) Mimosas ROCK

Saturday I was VERY lucky (thank you Mom, Aunt and the husband – it takes a village to have 4 kids) to be able to meet 2 of my dearest friends for brunch. I have written about R & H before and how we have known each other since 1986 and been there for almost all of each others’ “firsts.”

No matter how long the span of time in between visits, we can almost always pick right up where we left off and this past Saturday was no exception. As soon as we sat  (and H ran across the street to get some chilled champagne) I knew we would have a good time.

In between catching up on our families, talking about work, pop culture and Candy Crush, R&H were also able to give me a bit of slack about my sudden blogging hiatus (I didn’t tell them about George, I didn’t want them to be jealous).

Thank you R&H. Thank you for being a part of my life, loving me despite my flaws, and “getting” my sarcasm. Most of all, I would like to thank you in advance for NOT making fun of me, or giving me a bad “grade” when it is my turn to plan brunch.

Next stop for us Mall Day!!

3) Milestones galore

When you have 3 kids with June birthdays (well 2 are twins so do they count as 1 or 2???) , it’s a busy month.  Throw in a kindergarten AND a pre-k graduation (a week apart) and you have mayhem!!

First J, my blond-haired, blue-eyed Buddha Baby turned FIVE!! Wtf, I remember J’s birth more clearly than any of the others, how the heck can he be  5?????!!!!!

J had a great day with a paper crown, party at school, dinner at Red Robin and vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing. Top that with a brand, spanking new bike and you got yourself a kick ass 5th birthday.

Next came the twins Kindergarten graduation. OMG my babies, the boys who at the age of 3 hid behind the door for 2 hours every Wednesday at YMCA art class were done with kindergarten.

As I sat next to my mom and watched M sing and J stand there frozen, I could not help myself from reliving their lives in my head.

When they were born, I remember crying, begging actually, the nurse to not release me. How can you let me take care of not 1 but 2 babies??? I have no idea what I am doing??? I sobbed.

While I have no been the best parent these past 7 years, I guess I have not been the worst either because the twins made it to 7 (well next week) and completed kindergarten – yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Class of 2025

Class of 2025

M asked me the other day when he will be a man. HA!! Little does he know that he will ALWAYS be my baby.

Lastly, we had J’s pre-k graduation this past Friday. Never have you seen a graduate more excited than J. Look here he is marching in with a grin from ear to ear.

The Graduate

The Graduate

J deserved every bit of that excitement too. He has worked harder than anyone I know to battle his ASD and come so far in such a short time. I am proud to be his Mommy. Congratulations J!! I can’t wait to see what else you will accomplish in the years to come.

Congratulations J!!!!

Congratulations J!!!!

Thanks for reading, have a great week!
ps – H I dedicate this post to you, xoxox


Somewhere on the spectrum….

On January 10, 2011 my son J was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I can remember everything about that day. It was a Monday and I had taken the day off work. The temperature outside was in the teens and so J and I were both bundled in our puffy coats patiently waiting for J’s name to be called.

The waiting room was not child friendly, surprising since it was a children’s hospital. There were some torn books scattered on a table and some weird mirror shaped like a fish that reflected everything upside down.

J tried amusing himself as I filled out what seemed like a million forms.  There were insurance forms, privacy forms, health history and family background questionnaires. I answered questions like:

How much did your child weigh at birth? Has your child ever had surgery? Does your child look at you when you call his or her name? Can your child point his finger in the direction of an object? How many words can your child say and at what age did he/she say their first word(s)? Was your pregnancy “normal” ? and What age did your child crawl?

After what seemed like forever, J’s name was called and off we went to get weighed and measured before being ushered into a tiny room with a huge table and a bunch of toys. I was introduced to the Advance Practice Nurse (Sally) who asked me pretty much every question I had just answered on the forms in the waiting room.

Sally then asked J (who was pretty non-verbal at the time) questions before she “observed” him in several different controlled settings. J was asked to “play” with things like baby dolls (I mentioned J is one of 4 BOYS right?), goldfish crackers and a magic wand

Nurse Sally explained that there was no definitive “test” to diagnosis autism. Rather, children must meet a number of criteria in a developmental screening or standardized assessment, to determine if they are on the  autism spectrum.

Well, J is fine, I know he does NOT have autism, I thought to myself as Sally babbled away.

Finally after a half hour or so the nurse turned to me and very matter-of-factly said …your son has Autism Spectrum Disorder….

My world was shattered. All the hopes and dreams I had for my blond-haired, blue-eyed baby were gone.

The weeks and months that followed J’s diagnosis are a blur. Suddenly the only things I talked about concerned OT, PT, sensory-seeking, redirection, speech therapy, story boards, PECs, ABA, IEPs, support groups, dietary concerns and whether I would allow my almost 3yo to ride the “little” school bus to his new, ABA, autism, inclusive preschool.

WTF happened to our lives? Why my J??????

Slowly, VERY slowly, things started changing with J. He started to become more and more verbal, using words for things like “cookie” and “tv. ” He stopped pointing to get our attention and started to write his name and do “normal” preschool activities.

In the 2 years since J’s diagnosis we have had many highs and even more lows. For every new milestone it seems like there is a set back hanging out on the horizon.

I often tell people having a child on “the spectrum” is like riding a roller coaster. Just when you start to get used to something and think everything is going to be ok, you plunge into another unknown and feel like you are back at square 1.

J’s teachers and therapists have alwayst told me it’s all about the “baby steps.”  I need to focus on how far J’s progress has come and NOT dwell on  how far he still needs to go. While I know this advice is true, it is ALWAYS easier said than done.

Last week was President’s Day and J’s school had a small assembly. J’s teacher sent a note home that J gave a small speech about our 4th president James Madison. Miss Heidi said J worked on his speech for weeks and was VERY proud when he was finished.

I saw the laminated “speech” in his backpack and decided to ask him to read it to me and my mom. The little video that follows is nothing short of a miracle. Here is a little boy who, 2 years ago, could say only a couple of words and now he was reading about James Madison!

The look on J’s face at the end of the video says it all and the pride I feel and love I feel for J is overwhelming. He has worked SO hard and it pays off everyday.

Having a child with autism is not easy and there are days I wish J was “normal.” However, then J will do something really, really great, like this video, and I think to myself everything IS going to be alright.

Act 2

IMG_0407Hello friends in blogosphere, I am back from yet another self-induced hiatus. I don’t know what happened to me there in the month of December. One minute I am happily blogging about the husband offering beer to a repair man and then BAM! It’s January 2013.

Honestly, that is not entirely true. Whenever I stop blogging, even if it is for a short time, I get a sort of stage fright when I try to start another post.

I stare at the blank screen, type a couple of words and then hit delete. The longer I stare at the screen the harder it becomes to write anything. My mind starts playing tricks on me and before I know it I am doubting my abilities to put together even the simplest of sentences.

Thoughts like I’ll just try again tomorrow. I can only write in the morning. Eh, I am not feeling it, I’ll start fresh on Monday or Who cares what silly things I have to write about anyway?? run rampant through my head and before I know it, I am online shopping at the Gap of Loft.

My procrastination caused me a lot unnecessary retail therapy – that did, however, allow me to get a few awesome bargains as well as a lot of jealousy of the other bloggers I follow who had ZERO problems posting something brilliant every day.

Well it is the beginning of the new year and time to start fresh (yet again). As Hot Mrs. Jeter told me earlier, it is time for “Act 2” (see Jeter, you thought I wasn’t paying attention).

Since it is so early in the new year, I feel almost obligated to look back on 2012 and all that happened – the good, bad, ugly and mundane.

The year 2012 was a mixed bag of emotions for me. The highs were REALLY high and the lows REALLY low  – scattered amongst a bunch of in-between moments. Maybe I set my expectations too high or maybe I am just hard to please  or maybe I am just human.

There was loss in 2012. Some sad but expected and others horrible and tragic. The one positive about loss of any kind, is that it makes you take stock of your life and appreciate (even if it is briefly) family. Suddenly the husband not doing laundry or the kids fighting constantly over one blue Lego block seem inconsequential.

Milestones were a plenty in 2012.

In May, I turned 40 – much to my horror. All thost months I spent dreading May 20th seemed for naught in the end. When my birthday finally came,  I smiled (mostly) and tried not to focus so much on the number but rather the things I had learned along the way and, the things I have to still look forward to.

The twins started kindergarten and rode the bus.  L my “baby” turned 3, started pre-k AND kicked his binky habit and J potty trained! And let us not forget me becoming an assistant Soccer Mom.

2012 also brought with it a LOT of new and exciting things. I started a blog (who the hell ever knew that would happen). There are actually people out there who read my blog AND they are NOT related to me. Strangers (and loved ones) have taken time out of their day to read my blog and even comment. Holy crap!! I am truly thankful and appreciate you and your comments.

I wrote an article that was published in a real magazine (thank you Lucy and NJ Family)!! Me, I did that??!!

Old friendships were strengthened, new ones were formed and some were even rekindled.

I had a slight mid-life crisis, suffered a little lot of personal drama (most self-inflicted) and took a kettlebell class (which resulted in a back injury but that is a blog for another day).

I  lost and gained 5 pounds, went to an A-MAZING “end of the world” party and survived a trip with 4 kids to Ikea. It has been quite a year.

Through all the good and bad I have tried (not always successfully) to maintain my sense of humor and not take things too seriously. Ok, maybe  I did not handle all my situations with grace, but I did survive them and really, isn’t that all that matters?

Good bye 2012. Looking back, you were not SO bad. I am alive and thankful for all the friends and family who put up with me on a daily basis.

Ok 2013, it is time to begin Act 2. Fingers crossed, knock on wood it is gonna be a good one!!

Pomp and Circumstance

Today is the day my twin “babies” graduate from Pre-K and WOW is all I can say.

Looking at the 2 of them now, it seems hard to beleive (well sort of) that 3 years ago these were the same 2 little boys who hid behind the door at their 1 day/week class at the Y for 6 weeks straight or who cried and ran away from the van when I said it was time to leave for their first day of school at CPNS.

I remember the first day of pre-K and how J ran into the room crying – right into the arms of Mrs. M – oh how my heart broke!

Here we are 2 years later and they have grown SO much. The 2 little, shy boys, I thought would NEVER be ready for “big boy school,” are now 2 handsome “big” boys excited to ride the bus and go to kindergarten!

I am a nervous wreck about kindergarten. Will they make friends? Will they get teased? Will they be ok on the bus? But I guess that is just to be expected since I am their mommy and they are my first borns (at least I have until September to worry).

I am a little sad that my babies are growing up but I am also happy and excited for them to start this next chapter. Hopefully I will not be sobbing during the “End of Year” celebration today – then again it is my job to embarrass them in front of their friends.

Congratulations M&J Mommy is SOOOOOO proud!!

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