Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's a shitty job, but...

...somebody's got to do it. And who is that someone usually? Mom. A Mom has to suck it up, even when she feels like she might hurl, in order to clean up the messes that these little beasts--I mean angels--sometimes make.
Take this afternoon, for example...As I'm walking B downstairs, I hear a 'plop' and look down to see a giant piece of turd on my stair. (the dog would later 'clean' this up for me...thanks, Hank)
I quickly get him to my tub where I also notice that not only is the poo coming out the bottom of his pants (or, well, uh, his friend J's pants since he'd gotten his own pants wet at the playdate this morning. Sorry, M. They are being detoxified as I type!) but is also caked to the entire side and top of one of his shoes. And when I say 'caked' I mean about a 1/2" solid layer spread evenly over the whole freaking thing. (Said shoes are currently drying in the sun)
I get B washed and think I'm out of the woods. Oh, no, sir! I put my hand on my hip to find--you guessed it--more poo. And it's smeared all over the side of my jeans and sweater. (yes, these too are currently being detoxified)
I throw on a long, cottony dress--realizing that this should probably go in the garage sale pile since a.) I haven't worn it in four years, and b.) it makes me slightly resemble a member of the FLDS, but I digress...Anyway, I got myself cleaned up, put a very pissed off B down for a much-needed nap, go upstairs, and find sweet M sitting in the middle of the couch...on top of the smeared poo that B had left as one last reminder of this fun afternoon we're having.

I mean, it's not *quite* as bad as the time M threw his matchbox cars into the bowl after a less-than-formed movement, and I had to arm myself with a pair of yellow, rubber, elbow-length gloves in order to get them out. But it was still pretty gross.

To any non-Mommy readers: sorry for the disgusting post. To the Mommy readers: I know ya feel me.

Hey! Why not share your favorite poo story?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Find Your Spot...

...yeah, yeah, get your heads out of the gutter, you dirty-minded women!
I'm talking about your spot in the U.S.; the place that makes the most sense for you to call home!

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Those of you who know me like to tease me about how nomadic I am. And one of you especially likes to joke that I must be in the witness protection program. (thank you, Alicia!) Oh, and another one of you (ahem...Candice) calls me your 'grass is always greener' friend. Whatever the reason may be, I don't think I've yet found 'my spot.'

There's certainly a part of me that wonders how we could ever leave this gorgeous place we have most recently called home. I mean, how many people can look out their windows--almost any of their windows--any see the ocean as the view on the horizon? It's beautiful, serene, calming, and just plain awe-inspiring. And yet, I don't see this as the end-all, be-all of spots for my family. It's just so expensive to live here, and because we have children, it makes sense that we should care about the type of education and the recreational activities available to them. Unfortunately, those things don't necessarily add up.

There's this great web site I've known about for years and revisit when I'm getting that itch. It's called, surprisingly (!) Find Your Spot. Take the quiz...see what it says about you. I mean, the power of suggestion is likely pretty valuable here, but still. I've been talking about Portland, Oregon a lot lately and how it kind of makes sense to me to be our next (and possibly final) spot.
Oddly enough, Portland, Oregon was the top spot that the quiz generated for me! Here are my top spots:

1. Portland, Oregon
2. Eugene, Oregon
3. Honolulu, Hawaii
4. Little Rock, Arkansas (My whole family is from there...hell, no, is this girl moving to Little Rock!)
5. Santa Cruz, California
6. Valencia, California
7. Corvallis, Oregon
8. Salem, Oregon
9. Santa Barbara, California
10. Ventura, California

So I think I'm on the right path...just maybe not quite there yet.

Where's your spot? Be sure to share in the comments section of this blog...I'd love to hear!

P.S. The other half just took the quiz, too, and though most of the others were quite different from mine, his number one was Portland as well. Hmmmm????

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blasphemy & Good Luck...

Just wanted to share a funny story from our family outing yesterday. M is on the gluten-free/casein-free diet. It's really not so bad when we're at home, but finding an accommodating restaurant where we also don't have to worry about cross contamination can be a challenge. So before setting out on our journey yesterday, my other half looked up potential restaurants to go to in San Francisco. We decided on a lovely cafe called 'Cafe Gratitude.' We go there and it is an all-vegan, raw, organic, gluten-free restaurant. We've hit the jackpot as far as M's diet is concerned. There isn't a single item on the menu that he can't have! I quickly get a gentle slap on the wrist when I try to order the small salad and Thai soup, I am told that 'Here at Cafe Gratitude we like to promote positive affirmations, so you need to order your food as it is titled in the menu.'

'Uh, okay, then I'll have the I am satisfied, I am thankful, and I am rejuvenated.'

He looks toward M who has never once in his life ordered anything for himself, and what does my little man say with perfect eye contact and pronunciation? 'Ummm.....cheeseburger, fries, chicken and hot dog!'

My other half and I about peed ourselves.

He ended up with the quinoa and cashew-nut based 'faux' cheese and freaking devoured it. All in all, it was really delicious food, though I admit that the other half and I did end up going down the street to Pasqual's and ordering an amazing half pepperoni/half mushroom pizza that we greedily devoured on our way home while the boys watched an Elmo video. In other words, they were too enthralled with the dvd to pay attention to the fact that delicious NY-style pizza was being eaten right in front of them. Feeling only slightly guilty about that :)

As for the lucky part of the day...well, it all was, frankly. We successfully went to a children's museum in the beautiful town of Sausalito and drove back across the bridge to S. F. where we walked a few blocks to the restaurant. All of this with very little whining or tantruming. And, seriously, I feel truly blessed to be able to go to a museum within an hour of my home and take a picture with my boys with the Golden Gate bridge in the background. I am LUCKY. I am GRATEFUL. I am BLESSED!

No worries...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

You Knew I'd Say It Soon Enough.

My name is Debbie. I am a Mom to a child with autism.

As most of you know, M has autism. He was just given this label earlier this year, though we'd known in our hearts it was coming for some time. A child rarely is 'developmentally delayed, language delayed, and has sensory integration dysfunction' without being on the spectrum.
This conversation recently came up on a support board I am on. The Moms pondered if other Moms were just in denial or what was going on to not make them get the smack in the middle of the forehead that said, 'Duh! Your kid has autism!! Wake up!'
I had a take on it all that seemed to be a bit in the minority. I'd prefer to not think I was in denial, but that I held out hope. I also repeated what medical professionals were spouting off to me after every dreaded visit. Now, I did always keep in mind that those who are given the almighty job duty to be a legal diagnostician WERE NOT those people who worked with my child on a daily basis. No, ladies and well, ladies, therapists and teachers aren't the ones who can tell you your kid has autism or any other technical diagnosis; a neurologist who sees your child for 15 minutes every six months to a year is the one. And thus, you learn to dread those appointments, wondering 'will this be the one?' I remember probably the third or fourth of these dreaded neurology appointments. My other half came with me, though this would be his last. The Dr. asked us one or two questions and then said, "M, where is my nose?" And after 15 seconds when M wouldn't respond (not saying he always will, but he can) the Dr. looked at us and said, 'I'm beginning to think autism.' Well, okay. So the nose thing did him in? Because you've not spent any time getting to know him and that's the thing you're going to base your opinion on? It would still take another year before we'd meet with him again and have the 'talk' within five minutes of getting there. I was alone this time, and felt strangely at ease when hearing the words. I had come to peace that it wouldn't change M or how I felt about him. And in fact, it would open up more services (hopefully) with the school district. And that was that...we walked out; A Mom and her boy who had the A-word.

So here's how this all relates to what I am feeling I do my child a disservice by telling people fairly quickly that M has autism? I've only started this since we moved and it feels right to me, but I question it often. It's pretty clear he's different than other kids, and I'd rather nip it in the bud rather than have people wonder. I also don't want people to think he's rude when he doesn't answer their questions. Truth is, he really can't answer their questions. He can't even answer our questions.
I'm also an open book kind of gal. I have learned in life that it's a lot easier to be truthful and up front about myself than it is to hide things. There are no too-personal questions for me. If you want to know something about autism, please ask. I'm happy to answer the best I can!

Autism has changed my life. Sometimes for the best, sometimes not. (see the subtitle to this blog for the not)
I always had a tender heart and compassion for others who were different from me, but now I see the world in a totally different light. I pause before passing judgments; especially on other children's behavior in public. Let me tell you, I have seen my share of meltdowns in public that have left me sweating and near tears. And all I can hope as I nervously scan the store we are in, or wherever, is that I find one set of eyes to pause on that has kindness in them. That one set of eyes helps me more than one could ever know and gives me the courage to keep going out in the world when it would be way easier to just stay home. So I say this to all of you because you are my friends and I know how kind each of your hearts is...Next time you see a Mom having a hard time with an out of control child, remember that that child may not just be a 'brat' or 'bad,' but might have autism. And then give that Mom an understanding smile or tell her she is doing a good job and know that you have done a very good thing.

Okay, I promise to not always be so freaking serious. Sorry about that :0

Friday, July 25, 2008

I care too much.

I don't mean that in a saintly, charitable kind of way (though, I do think I'm pretty friggin' charitable, thank you very much!), but in the why-do-I-give-a-crap-what-people-think-of-me kind of way.
I've lived in this new town for over three months now. Those who know me, know that I have an easy time of making friends, and that it is imperative for my sanity to do so soon after moving to a new place. I was easily welcomed into a playgroup of Mom's with kids who are B's age. They've all been great, and a couple of them are becoming good friends who I really and truly like. But there's *this one* Mom. From the first time I met her, I knew we were like water and oil. I made a nervous joke about B's penchant for unintentionally throwing f-bombs when what he really means is 'truck,' and it was clear to me that her east coast breeding thought my Texas brashness was less than charming. It's been awkward ever since.
And then there's the part where every time I see her and her child, B decides to hit the little boy. Does B know?? Is he sticking up for his Mama? Nah...he just likes to hit right now, unfortunately, and I, (again because I care too much about what others think of me), find myself constantly apologizing and having come to Jesus conversations with B that don't do much good.

So here's the kicker and the reason for this the playgroup was at sweet little E's birthday party. We're leaving and a Mom I really like says, 'So, will you be at H's birthday tomorrow?' I'd heard reference to said party last week at another playdate and brushed it aside. I responded, 'Well, uh, no. I wasn't invited.' The Mom apologized profusely to which I sincerely replied, 'It's cool. It is what it is.' And that IS how I feel. I mean, kids' birthday parties aren't REALLY that exciting, you know? But clearly I am still a tiny bit bugged by it all.
I've noticed, also, that this particular Mom, though never rude, does not address me unless I speak to her first. It is quite odd.

I have theories on this, of course. One stems from her coming to my house and then asking me a thousand questions on what my husband does for a living, etc. etc. And another has to do with me thinking that perhaps she thinks southern girls are a little too rough around the edges.

The point of this is that I don't like not being liked! Though on the flip side, being in my mid 30s (gasp) has also given me the freedom to not need to be "good" friends with everyone, and to appreciate the differences between acquaintances, friends, and close friends. There's such great value to the latter, as I have grown to realize. And given how little time I have for much other than changing diapers, trying to make healthy meals, and driving my kids all over creation, you've really got to cherish those close friendships; nurture and grow them. Make time for them. Because those are the ones that really matter. Not the ones involving someone who can't invite you to junior's playdate birthday party.

Phew! That feels better. Now onto bigger things, right? Like my office, as pictured above. This was that room in the house where all things which had no place went. This included boxes and boxes full of our book collection. We finally bought some shelves, but before they were put together, I unpacked all the books and boys had themselves quite a field day knocking down my neat piles and smearing them throughout the room.
I purchased these bookshelves from and they're pretty nice for the price. I'm also checking out for some other organizing ideas.

Hakuna matata, man.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Whine & Cheese, Anyone? It begins here...

I'm jumping on the bandwagon! I'm going to be a blogger! Maybe I'll even go to the 'blogher' conference next year in San Francisco. Okay, probably not. In fact, I may not even update this thing more than once a week.

I've had several moments over the past few months where I thought, "This is a profound moment that would be the perfect story with which to start a blog!" (my goodness you wouldn't believe how many times it took me to retype that sentence in order to not end it with a preposition!) And then the moment passed and I realized it probably wasn't quite as deep as I initially thought it would be. So what will my format for writing be? Where will I begin? I haven't the slightest idea. I'm just going to wing it and see what happens.

You'll likely get a lot of pictures of M & B, my beautiful boys that keep me on my toes at all times.
You might get a few rants about things that annoy me.
You may get a recommendation or two for wines that interest me. (I do not claim to be an expert. I just really, really like the stuff; however, I promise to not tell you about the notes of cherry, with undertones of plum and chocolate--though that does sound rather nice, doesn't it?)
And you'll definitely get an earful of honesty about motherhood in general.

It ain't always pretty, but it's mine! This life, that is. In fact, sometimes it's downright told by the photo above of B after eating a chocolate peanut butter sandwich. (for p.b. lovers, you must check out this site:

Oh,'s 5:03. Time to pour a glass of red now. (Looking for a good Spanish red under $15? Check out Herederos Del Marques de Riscal's Rioja Reserve. I'm drinking a 2003 and it's terrific for those that like a lighter red that still has some complexity to it!)

Until next, worries!