What raising a child with autism taught me about raising a child without

what raising a child with autism taught me

Twelve years sit between Ashlyn and her next siblings. I parented through more than half her childhood and nearly survived the middle school years before adding more kids to the mix. Raising a child with autism before parenting her siblings who do not have autism taught me a few things I hadn't expected. 1. Including others is our job. It is not just "nice" to include the kids who don't have someone to sit next to or might not get a birthday invite, it is necessary. I still remember how painful it was to watch my own daughter alone in a crowd, whether she realized it or not. Her siblings will not contribute to that feeling in someone else. 2. Everything happens in its own time. Continue Reading

A blanket statement about blanket statements

About blanket statements

With social media comes all kinds of blanket statements about how we should live our lives. Facebook posts tell us we must try pumpkin spice lattes and hot yoga or both at the same time before spin class. Instagram photos beg us to dress our kids in flowered headbands and moccasins while Twitter yells at us to be right winged or left winged or protest on the White House steps. The world of over-sharing has opened our eyes to all kinds of lifestyles choices but it has also caused people to use the "everyone must" or "anyone can" statements as often as I reheat my coffee.  I'm fine with this when we're discussing lattes and moccasins but not when we're evoking mom guilt and superiority. Continue Reading

On the way to you

parker pretends

This post might be for you but it might be for me. I heard a quote recently that said something to the effect of "our kids are better versions of ourselves." I may or may not have heard this quote on an episode of Real Housewives of some city so it's best that I don't recall the actual source. If you haven't rapidly clicked away, I'll head toward my point. In each of my kids I see little pieces of myself but I also see bits of them I wish I could put in my pocket and not just because I think they are adorable. I see singing in front a crowd and wearing your favorite shoes even though they clash horrifically with your pants and dancing through the frozen food section. I see all kinds Continue Reading

12 Books You Must Read

12 books you must read this year

I always read a ton over Christmas break. I'm not sure if it's because we have extra free time or if my unrealistic Goodreads goal is to blame. A few weeks ago I was three books short of my goal for the year. Five quick reads and 20 put off tasks later, I'm well on my way to creating an unrealistic goal for 2015. If you're looking for a few great reads to add to your list for 2015, here are my favorites. And if you want to see my book suggestions from last year you can find them here. (The list below contains affiliate links.) **Click on the books for links to purchase if you are like me and need to go straight to Amazon and buy all the books as soon as they are Continue Reading

Snowflake love

elf on the shelf delivering a snowflake

My kids are all unique. All parents think that right? I would run out of fingers if I started counting off all of the ways I think they are special and all of the qualities I hope they love about themselves. For the most part, my kids seem to be going with my "love yourself for who you are" plan but lately I have one teetering on the edge of not following my program anymore. When I tell McKenna to put on her winter coat I see her glance to the side to make sure she's not the only one bundling up and I've followed her eyes to the sparkle of another little girls sequined boots and then tried to talk her out of getting the same pair five minutes later. I know this is only the beginning. I Continue Reading

All the sparkly things

MELROSE_EAR_FW14

I love jewelry. LOVE IT. Like on those long car rides when everyone in the car starts asking random questions and someone asks what you would buy if you had a million dollars and starts talking about cars and houses, I'm the one who describes a ring that makes it hard to lift my ring finger. My fellow car-riders are usually surprised because I'm not one for flamboyant anything but I would take a ring that could double as a paperweight any day. So this year, when I had a chance to dream-shop through the pages of the Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski catalog, I had no problem making up a wish list. I didn't realize it until they contacted me and offered to send me jewelry (Jewelry? Yes, Continue Reading

What no one tells you about homeschooling

what no one tells you about homeschooling

I've been homeschooling my three youngest since September. I have always homeschooled McKenna but this is the first year we've been fully immersed in the homeschooling world. I've been surprised at the reality of what homeschooling is really like day in and day out. I knew it would be about lesson plans and A LOT of time with my children but there is so much I've learned that has surprised me. 1. Going from parent to teacher is hard. It didn't take homeschooling to make me realize that my kids listen to others better than they do to me but it has taken a few months for my kids to understand I mean business when it comes to school work. If I let my guard down they're rolling on the Continue Reading

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Parker at 5 days old, the closest we could get to holding him.

I wish I could say I love holidays as much as I am supposed to. Hanging six stockings instead of seven and filling one less Easter basket is enough to make me want to pull the covers over my head and wake up once the fridge is full of leftovers.  But I have a wonderful husband and four living children who would not dare let me stay in bed while their eyes are open, so I have learned to shape our holidays into what I can handle.  I don't have it in me to manage the craziness of big parties and the hustle and bustle of all the holiday happenings that were our life before. But Thanksgiving I can do.  Actually I think I'm pretty good at it. If there is one thing losing a child has taught Continue Reading

Holiday Clothing Drive 2014

holiday clothing drive

**Updated with current needs, if you can fill any of these please scroll down and fill out the form.** In need of: Girls' sizes 3T 3T 5/6 7/8 10 10/12 15 Boys' sizes 9 mos 4T 6-7 Shirt 10/12, pants 12, shoes 2 12 Men's medium shirt and 32/30 pants   For the last two years I have hosted a Holiday Clothing Drive and it's time to get things started again! Together, we've clothed over 100 kids for the holidays and I hope we can double that number this year. Are you in need of holiday clothes for your children? Holiday clothes can be the last thing we splurge on and so often there is just not enough money to buy everything. If a donation of clothing would Continue Reading

Bragging rights

preemie then and now

I don't have a photographic memory but I can tell you exactly what I was doing on November 1st, from 2008 to probably 2012. My head was tilted to the side, probably leaning on some doorway, either in reflection or in search of a two second nap and I was watching my kids, in a moment when they were calm, and marveling at how far they'd come. I was probably even saying to myself "look how far they've come" then turning to NICU pictures, reminding us all about bilirubin lights and suck-swallow-breath prayers. Still very anchored to their beginning, I knew the moment Prematurity Awareness Month started, I probably woke up at midnight to pin a purple ribbon somewhere and visit the March of Dimes Continue Reading