Recipes and the daily life of one mom who faces the challenges of having a household filled with kids, each with special needs. Share your comments about homeschooling, gluten/wheat-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, shellfish-free, egg free diets, asthma, allergies, Autism, Asperger's Syndrome and Tourette's.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

LIfe is Busy

It is kind of comical that I am blogging right now. This year has been the busiest yet and with the craziest ups and downs. Losses, stress, huge events coming up, milestones and firsts reached by all my children, friends, involvement with organizations and volunteering.  Over the years there are a few beliefs I have held that have helped make all the business of life so special and the challenging times easier.

Find another family in your situation. This is such a blessing. No matter how family and friends try to help, if they are not in the day to day of your life all the reading and trying in the world can not make them get it. The special people that are brought into your life and get it are so important. Never take them for granted.

Relationships are strong not because we are heroes, take control or change things for someone else, but because we admit we don't always get it and yet we extend a hand, an ear or just encouragement. Never underestimate the value of keeping in touch, really keeping up to date and being supportive. Genuine concern and strength is often holding someones hand for things of which no one has control and is such a blessing.

Celebrate every moment you can!!!!!!!!!!!

Always give a hug and never treat an "I Love You" like a piece of candy in your back pocket. Love doesn't work that way.

Stop and just listen to your kids conversations, they are the most precious thing you will ever hear. There is nothing more thrilling then spending simple time with your kids. Precious moments that go by and can never be replaced.

Always keep an open mind when hearing advice and never just discard an idea, it is more then ok to take parts.

Remember don't get discouraged, find what works for your kids, your spouse and you. Go with it!!!!

Never let other people's judgements get to you, they don't have the view to see clearly what you do. They will never understand the mountains you climb or the valleys you trudge through. Let them have their judgements, that is all they are.

Never give up and just remember it is all about moving forward.............

This one is important.  When you have a choice to be offended, which happens often. Choose to look at it like an opportunity for you to share some information or enlighten others. Tell your self "I am sure that comment or action came from a good place so this is an opportunity to spread some knowledge around."  Kindly share some info and wait to see how it is received. If it isn't received well might just be a sign to move on and not concern your self to much with it again.  Time is precious and surrounding your self by supportive understanding people is so important.


A Hot Topic

Having kids with Autism is an interesting adventure. It pushes your creativity and expands the way you think.  Often children with Autism see the world very cut and dry, black and white. The gray areas are a special challenge. We have to use every opportunity to expand and explain these areas. All kids have a very keen eye and are very observant. Relationships and peoples behavior are often not easy to explain.

I think it is especially important we teach our kids to stand up for themselves. Individuals with rough starts in life or for some other reason for a lack of a better way to put it are just mean often pass on their hurt by bullying others.  Often our kids are easy targets for bullying which makes the thought of our children running into and being able to identifying who the bullies are even scarier.

So here is my bit of advice.  Teach them to always talk to others for help, protect themselves, and remind them that the actions of a bully have more to do with the feelings they have about themselves then those they hurt.  Teach them to follow their gut instinct.  I guess that is the hard part teaching them who those people are. That is where the difficulty lies, our kids and being able to protect themselves, fully process and communicate to us what is going on.

A bully gains power by making others feel weak, alone or ganged up on. If you start to feel that way, your dealing with a bully. A bully will try and make themselves a main character in your life's play, they are unrelenting.  If you feel like someone is always just trying to cause trouble and being plain mean you are probably dealing with a bully. A bully will always get satisfaction at someone else's expense and are always grasping at control.  If you see someone being bullied or personally feel bullied call it out, so your kids know what it looks like. Talk to your kids, teach them the signs so they can steer clear from bullies. Not easy lessons at all but so important for our kids who are often so easily targeted.

Also teach them like everything else in this world bullies come in all forms. Kids on a playground, family, supposed friends, strangers, coworkers, teachers, coaches, could be anyone, you name it they take every shape and form.  Teach your kids to know in their heart bullies do things because of their own hurt and that it has nothing to do with your kids. Teach our kids to ignore what the bullies would like them to believe about themselves and that instead they are special, beautiful, smart and fun individuals that deserve respect, and love. Reinforce that no individual has the right to bully another or make them feel like any less of a person. Teach them to be ok with people voicing their opinions and being themselves, differences are a beautiful thing.  So teach, teach, then teach again, show by example and pray.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Never Underestimate

Never underestimate someones potential, it is limitless for all of us.

Never forget moving forward is all that matters. Throw the bench marks out and look for progress forward and be proud!

Never hold back an "I am sorry" ever. People who have difficulty or can not say it don't often take a hard enough look in the mirror. This is a red flag!

Never forget to recognize your strengths as well as your weaknesses, growing stops when you stop acknowledging your weaknesses and your world becomes smaller.

Never stop asking, inquiring and being there for those you love.  Real strength is often not taking control and charging in to do something or rescuing but holding someones hand for things of which no one has control.

When you say "I love you" make sure you are saying you love all of them, not just an image of them you have created to fit your world. We are all made up like a puzzle, denying one piece of the puzzle means denying the whole picture.

Speak your mind with kindness, honesty and from the heart. A good heart always shines through.

At the end of the day take a few minutes to recap and count all your blessings, say a pray, and send good thoughts to all.   ( Ok, so I am human, and a couple of extra good thoughts and prayers for those who are close to your heart.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

When Words Can Not Explain

My son goes through much. No one realizes what a hero he is to me and what he endures.  Please take a moment and watch these videos and pass them along.  These videos explain what words can not.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

18 years

There is nothing like motherhood.  There is no school on earth like it.  Everyone chooses a different method, priorities and learns life long lessons.  It has been 18 years since I began on the most amazing journey and have learned more then I possibly thought I could have.  I guess that is the beauty of life if you are really living and interacting with those around you, you never stop learning.

Having children with disabilities really makes you recognize somethings in a different way that others may take for granted.  It also makes you want to celebrate your child's accomplishments all that much more.  My son is about to graduate on May 24th in Manhattan, Kansas. He is an amazing son.  So blessed by all he has taught me and I hope that I have been able to give him the security of knowing I'll always be there for him and those who come into his life.  It has been a truly amazing journey.  If I think back through 18 years I think of his smiling face and all he has learned and who he has grown into.  I am so proud of him and so excited to see where he travels from here.

My husband works hard at his job which enables me to stay home with our children.  This is no easy task and he loves our kids dearly.  He has a very special connection with each and I can only imagine he has his very own distinct view of fatherhood. Thank you for being their for our son.  He is amazing and I am so grateful we can celebrate our son together. Love you!

We have always lived at a great distance from extended family.  This makes connections sometimes difficult to create, but I am so grateful for our family that has year after year gone above and beyond to be there on a regular basis for my son.   We lost my father-in-law in October of 2014, but I know on his yearly visits he gave each of the kids some very precious gifts. His time, attention, love, and interest in their interests.  My father-in-law always wanted to know about the kids, the ups and downs and everything in between.  My grandmothers have always remembered his birthdays, Christmas, have phone conversations with him and we have been blessed by very special visits.  Thank you to his Great Aunts, Great Uncles, Cousins that have gotten to know him over the years during times of celebration as well as losses and have always made the most of getting to know and love him.   Thank you so much dear friends, doctors and countless others who have made our daily journey so much less overwhelming.  All are a blessing and so appreciated.

When it comes to my oldest an incredible thank you goes out to my Dad. My son looks up to him so much. It is so nice to see the kids be so at ease and so much of themselves with my parents.  My oldest and my dad have so many common interests.  Whether it is talking games, SciFi or Dr. Who my Dad and my son will always have a very special bond.  Seeing them together is truly indescribable.  My dad has been fighting so hard to beat this awful cancer and I have been praying and praying for him.  I know my son has been on pins and needles too.  I think by the time most arrive at my age we see a little clearer and for the most part joke off the missteps our parents made and a big thank you and a lot of love is what resides.  There is something very special though when you are grateful for the love and connections your parents have made with your children.

In the beginning of this journey I was scared not knowing how to handle one piece of news after another. I think especially my parents have been on this educational journey with me. My misstep was for some reason expecting someone to say some magical words that would make this less scary.  Their misstep was probably for trying too.  In the end life happens, if you are smart you grow and learn. If you are blessed you have an open heart void of grudges, nastiness and you find much more inner strength then you knew you had.  You know your heart and dreams, you follow them and give everything you can and that fills you in return.  So blessed to know my heart and have followed my dreams.

My son has overcome so many obstacles, I could not be prouder.  He is an incredible man.  I have been blessed to go from carrying him in my arms as his mother to being his mother/teacher/friend and now his adulthood relationships begin.   I am simply so incredibly grateful,  proud and excited to see where he makes his path.  So the planning of my next job is half done.  This task is giving my son a celebration filled with all the people that have been so important in his life, to celebrate who he is and to let him know we will always be their for him as life throws him everything from curve balls to roses and he continues on his path.  SO proud of WHO YOU ARE my son!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Amazing Song, Beautiful Voice!

Many songs have a special place in our hearts because of the events that take place in our lives. I happen to run across this song on facebook and it is truly beautiful.
 Dani and Lizzy - Dancing in the sky

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

You Never Know

One day turns into another and very few are ever exactly what you would expect.  Maybe a simple blessing is not knowing what tomorrow holds.  A crushing event happens and your life and perspective can be changed forever.  Each day you appreciate the gifts you are given, the people that have been your rocks to lean on and a hand reaching out to help pull you up during difficult times. While never forgetting to fully appreciate your children's bright smiles, beautiful faces, incredible minds, big hugs, hearts and your spouses love.  I hope and pray that each day I am able to find the strength and have the clarity to take difficult heartbreaking moments and translate them into a continued and increasing appreciation for all the blessings in my life.

Just wanted to give a heartfelt thanks to my very dear friends, children and husband and both my Mom and Dad who have experienced the last few months with me and held my hand. I will always be eternally grateful to them for their understanding, love and the compassion that they have shown to us and each other.

On a side note my daughter's Halloween birthday party was a big hit. So much fun.  The Christmas season has begun. Decorations are up, shopping is a go and plans are made.  It is so hectic with homeschooling this time of year, but I think it is important to take time out for traditions, family and friends.  We are looking forward to everything from Christmas pictures, family visits, yummy allergy free feasts, Christmas Eve service, Christmas eve traditions to relaxing after the festivities.  May everyone have a beautiful Christmas season and no matter what happens remember to look through the storms, the sunshine will follow.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tips for Travel

A few travel tips for those with food Allergies, Asthma, Tourette's and Autism......

1. Week before the trip make extra servings off all the meals that I make and freeze them in single serving containers. Single serving containers make everything so easy and if we want to go in somewhere to eat, this is also a very useful tip.  Once the trip starts pack a huge freezer with ice. I put the ice in gallon zip locks. This makes it so much easier to change ice out nightly on the trip. The key is to freeze everything before the trip and it stays frozen if the ice is changed once a day. Make sure your hotel room has a microwave. I also bring along the smallest of Forman grills so I can get some fresh chicken, hamburger or pork chops to prepare at a moments notice. So easy to travel with and clean.

2. Refill all scripts, sounds like a duh but it is easy to miss one. Don't forget the nebulizer !!!!!   I also let my dr know of our travels so that if something comes up they are aware. This last time my son's asthma really flared and my Dr called in a steroid for him while we were on the road. Saved time, money and my son was treated much faster.

3. We always make sure no pets are allowed in hotels we use and we try and make sure they are all recently renovated or new. I also bring the hepa filters to run in the hotel rooms.  Bringing your own dust mite free pillows can help some and always make sure where you stay has central air conditioning.

4. On your map try and map out hospitals along the way, better off being prepared.

5. Always bring the life jackets for the pools and we never stay anywhere right on the water, river,  lake or ocean etc.  Also at night if the lock on the door isn't up high enough we are always prepared to figure something out.  Bottom floors are preferred if your child is a big stimmer like my third son. Fewer complaints about noise above from people below you.

6. Make sure your kids have identification on them and make a set of pecs cards that are laminated and place them on a key ring so they can be easily carried in your purse and pulled out quickly.  We always use the buddy system, hand n hand.

7. You might think movies would be the way to get through an 18 hour car trip, especially with kids. Not so in this house.  Movies get them through moments but after them my third sons stimming sky rockets.  This last time we brought books and listened to classical music.  I read many chapters to the kids and they read many to themselves.  This approach really helped my third son get through the trip.  Some times less is more.

8. Having plenty of hand sanitizer is a great tip for car travel.  My son gets very upset if his hands get sticky and this is a quick fix if you are not near a stop.

9. No rush, don't even plan on rushing. One moment at a time and go with what ever everybody is having the most fun with.

10. Because of  the food allergies and asthma there is so much to bring, meds, medical equipment, full weeks supply of frozen meals and hepa filters etc. that I bring very few cloths and plan on doing a load of laundry every night or every other night at the hotel.  Making sure to bring plenty of quarters and detergent helps too.

11. If you are going somewhere like Disney always look into policy to help people with special needs.  Disney was amazing and so helpful and made our vacation unforgettable.   There are often more accommodations then you realize.

12. Going to an unknown place is always tough but let each child bring one small toy/stiffed animal and make sure it can actually hook onto their suitcase or bag so it doesn't get left behind.  A little bit of familiarity can go along way to calm nerves.

Happy Travels........................

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Year in Review

When you look back and recount the years it can be hard to believe so much has happened and how much time has passed. It wasn't but just a couple of years ago we lost my brother. Not to long after that my father in law had a severe stroke. Heart breaking moments, yet only months later we took an unforgettable trip to FL and Disney celebrating my oldest sons 16th birthday.  Next thing my Grandmother breaks her hip and at 93 her determination and strength to get back to living on her own was astounding.

 Before I knew it spring had arrived and my parents made a wonderful trip out to celebrate their 44th Wedding Anniversary, Mother's Day and my Dad's birthday. Along with that they were able to be there for my daughters big recital and see all my kids extra curricular activities. It was such a great visit.  The kids were so excited to share their special moments with Grandma and Grandpa Reedy.  Another year of schooling flew by and summer was here.

We have never been disappointed by our 4th of July holiday at our heart-warming Kansas home, filled with the smiles, laughs and hugs of our kids around us and this year proved to be the same. The sky was once again illuminated with our brilliant Kansas fireworks display and the night was made even sweeter with some home made allergy free smores. After a festive 4th of July we wrapped up the summer months by taking a trip back to our old stomping ground.

First stop was were it all began, where we were married 18 years ago of course.  :-)  Then off to a unique town called Frankenmuth filled with carriage rides and a very beautiful main street.   Of course we couldn't miss visiting Bronner's Christmas store. A stop at Old Time Photos proved to be comedy at its best. We were rolling with laughter and my third son dove right into his character.  I had no idea how much fun my second son was until I saw the pictures. Absolutely priceless. Finally, a stop at where I spent most of my childhood. The place where I spent countless days adventuring, going for walks,  endless swimming,  fishing and enjoying bonfires with family and friends.

My father taking my oldest out for a special spin driving the boat was just priceless to watch and my sons expression when they got back said it all. My Dad was so good with my youngest boy, had him holding a fishing line and hook so carefully, it was amazing. We had a great bonfire,  two days of swimming, being on the lake and driving the boat. Seeing my mother and my daughter playing in the lake was like watching history repeat itself. I spent so many hours paddling around the lake on floats with my Grandma and Mom.  We were blessed to spend time with my cousins family and my Grandmothers.   On a side note.......So excited for Christmas , my parents are traveling our way and will be here for Christmas week. The kids are so excited. Seeing Grandma and Grandpa Reedy 3 weeks in one year is such a treat.  So nice because they stay with us and really get to kick back and relax and spend some quality time with the kids. Sorry, back to our Summer vacation trip.

My husband was so sweet he took us to the Ionia Free fair the night before my birthday. Next morning I was surprised by my family all lined up in the hotel room wearing an "I LOVE REVA " T-shirt that had my first grade picture printed on the front of it. LOL  He even purchased them for my family back in MI. Very cute.  Seeing all my family and my children come together and have such a good time sure made my 40th something special.

On the way home we stopped in Chicago and  I was able to take my daughter to the American Girl store and purchase her an American Girl doll.  On the way out with this enormous bag in her hand she said, "but Mom you used your birthday money from Grandma to buy my doll!" Tears welled up and ran down her eyes. I looked at my beautiful girl and said, "ya know what I wished for when I blew out the candles on my cake, I wished I would be able to buy you an American girl doll and I did!" She wiped the tears from her eyes and said, "I didn't know that!" A big smile appeared on her face and we carried her big American Girl bag together hand n hand. She is such a beautiful girl inside and out.

Another stop on the way back for our summer vacation was to see my father in law. The last time the kids saw him was right after the stroke. My youngest son, the one most severe on the spectrum out of the blue started to cry one day and ask about Grandpa Butch. This was months after the stroke.  I felt that it was important that the kids saw him again in a better state then what he was before. Again both my boys with Autism were amazing with their Grandpa. His wheel chair and differences didn't scare them a bit. In fact my youngest boy ran to him and gave him the biggest hug. My oldest son was right there talking and offering to help with everything. I am so glad they have those moments to think of him in rather then the time before when they saw him. It was a glimpse into what truly beautiful individuals my kids are.

 Recently a cousin of my husbands passed away. He was too young and will be missed. Thinking of his mother and family and sending love and prayers their way. Then another cousin of my husbands  had a beautiful baby boy. I also discovered another event on the horizon last night.  I just found out that my brother in engaged. So excited!  Have no idea when the date is yet but looking forward to celebrating the big event with our family. I guess that is being family, really being there for the ups and downs. You may physically be at a distance but you never shut them out and can always be a sounding board or offer a piece of advice here or there. I guess family is keeping your ears open so that your hearts can be filled with joy together and to lift each other up when they are filled with sorrow.  Sometimes it is so hard to be at a distance but if you don't know what is going on or block them out to protect your own emotions then you just can't empathize and that wouldn't be family. I guess life really is a roller coaster, full of heartbreak, joy and all sorts of unexpected events along the way.

So after an adventurous year full of ups and downs we are now hitting the books again.  We are getting more involved with our homeschooling group, extra curricular activities are all arranged and before you know it the holidays will be around the corner.   So in a nutshell that was our summer. I'll write a couple of later posts about tips for travel and some learning adventures my oldest son took part in over the summer months.  Hoping this year I have time to share some of my allergy free Halloween treats.   So excited for the holidays this year!!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Summer Months

I have not written in such a long time. The summer is going by so fast. The end of the school year wrapped up beautifully and now we have additional adventures to take part in on over the next couple of months.   Before the start of school I plan on writing a few posts detailing all that our summer held.   In the mean time I figured I would post a couple of my favorite quotes.

They lift them up.
- Michael P. Watson

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of that candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

“I wake up in the morning and I see that flower, with the dew on its petals, and at the way it's folding out, and it makes me happy, she said. It's important to focus on the things in the here and now, I think. In a month, the flower will be shriveled and you will miss its beauty if you don't make the effort to do it now. Your life, eventually, is the same way.” 
― Dan Buettner

The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves. 
-William Penn,

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Most Magical Place on Earth!

I have not written in a while because I have been preparing for our family's first vacation.    First of all, it was fabulous.  So many positive wonderful things and amazing memories.  Standing next to my oldest as he marveled at the Walt and Mickey statue, my second son 's expression after he went on the rides, having dinner with my beautiful daughter with all the princesses in Cinderella's Castle and my third sons amazing connection when he is in the water.

I have to express how truly grateful I am to Disney for being so amazingly helpful.  My children could eat meals in a restaurant for the first time.  The chef came out spoke with me in person, showed me all the ingredient labels and guaranteed fresh pans and utensils would be used to cook with. These meals were beautiful and you just can't imagine what that meant to my children or me.. We were also given a special pass so we didn't have to wait in lines because of my third sons disability.  We rented strollers which was a blessing for my third son.  It was amazing and magical.  I must have took over five hundred pictures.  Everything from my daughter being dressed up as Cinderella in the castle at the Royal Dinner to the Mickey not so scary Halloween party and my second son and daughter dancing in the street to the Halloween music with some of the disney staff and other kids.

As I was waiting with my daughter to get into our Royal dinner I spotted something I understood so completely.  A couple was blocking their daughter from side to side.  The girl was dazed stimming just like my son does.  Sometimes they are so into a stim, it is like they have no ability for any safety concerns.  I immediately looked at the Mom and said, " I understand my son has severe Autism too."
You know I don't believe anyone can understand unless it is there son or daughter, you can't read up to understand, you can't guess or imagine.  My son is a beautiful boy, wouldn't want him to be anyone but who he is.  It is all about the safety factor.  You know when my son gets in the water he says he is a dolphin.  Here is the catch he has no fear and still does not know how to swim. When we were at a park he wanted to just jump off a bridge.  Here is the amazing thing with all the deep pressure from the water, he connects so well to others.  Sometimes it is like you feel as if he has opened his eyes for the first time to say hello. Something he loves so dearly, helps him so much, but at the same time is such a danger.  At the top of one of the rides my son just tried to stand up to get off, at the top in the middle of the ride.  He is finally riding a bike with training wheels this year, but I have to walk beside him because he will completely let go of the handle bars to hand flap every so often. There is no turning off the high alert status, you are in it 24/7. I saw a look of pure exhaustion on these parents faces. I so appreciate the ways in which Disney helped so many kids.  As tired as those parents looked I knew that Disney helped in every way that they could, just as they did for us.   My whole family was able to enjoy the rides because of that pass, a lot of the lines he could not have waited through.

The rest of the vacation was visiting beaches, lots of swimming for my son in a heavy duty life jacket , exploring, souvenir shopping, fine dinning and visiting family.  What a blessing my kids are and how truly grateful I am for that vacation.  More then memories, moments that can not be relived or replaced.

On a side note the Art of Animation Hotel is brand new, only a month old now.  Everyone except my husband has asthma and we had no problems.  I had a hepa filter running in case, but this place was brand new and absolutely amazing.  Thank you so Much Disney!  I loved Disney before, but now it takes on a whole new meaning.  Thanks so much as well to my dear husband for making this wonderful dream vacation come true.

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