Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Reading to Salonge the Therapy Dog

A couple of times a month or more if we can, Griffin goes to the library to read to one of the therapy dogs, this one is Salonge one of his favorites. Today he read to Molly who is a Bernese Mountain Dog absolutely gorgeous and as sweet as can be. When he is reading to them he does so with such inflection he really gets into it. They are truly therapeutic for him and I love watching him interact with them and get so much enjoyment out of it.

One of my favorite photos because I love bees and I am thrilled that I got such a great macrozoom picture with such a gorgeous tree and the bee. It wasn't easy to get because the bee kept flying around. Great camera.

We started working on spending pretend money at home to learn how to purchase items in the store and not be taken advantage of. Griffin is doing a great job and his therapist has shared a website with me that will help me teach him in a more simplistic manner that probably will not frustrate him so much. It is a slow process but he is catching on and I am very proud of his enthusiasm.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

A Beautiful Time of Year

 Griffin is doing really well and he seems to actually enjoy doing his homeschooling work each day. I don't push him though I do encourage him to do a bit more each time we work. I divide his work into several sessions throughout the day so that he doesn't get frustrated, lose patience, and so that he can move around as he needs to. He is accomplishing so much especially in vocabulary because I am using the flash cards that I used in my college preparatory class in my senior English class. The words are not easy, the spelling and definitions though he has no problem with them at all. I am so very proud of him. He eagerly works on his multiplication, and cursive every day of the week.

This photo turned out to be really good,  This is our state tree, the dogwood.

 Here is my buddy and his respite provider , Lisa. She is so awesome and we both adore her. They have a lot of fun together. She is super cool!
I really like this photo of Griffin as he appears to be deep in thought or just being observant and appreciating his surroundings.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Griffin is Now 13 Years Old, 5 ft. 10 inches , 186 lbs. Size 13 Shoes. His Dad is Samoan.

I look up to Griffin as I am only 5'4" or less by now but he is slimming up a lot as he is growing taller more than he is out now. My waist is bigger than his and I weigh more. He is a gentle giant though and has learned to be more gentle with the cats and with the water fowl that he picks up to snuggle when we go to the lake. He is just so affectionate and can't help himself. I am so blessed and give thanks every single day for having the opportunity to share my life with him and do not take one minute for granted that I spend with him.

We finally got our car back and we are enjoying our freedom. Freedom and independence is certainly not anything that I take for granted, I am very very grateful for them. His psychiatrist noticed today that he is so much more mellow and well mannered than a month ago when we were stranded.

I am feeling so good that I am writing again but this time I am not waiting to use the computer to do it, I am doing it the old fashioned way with pen and paper. Writing is so cathartic for me and it surprises me how much of my past that I can recall when I sit in the silence in reverie soaking up the delight of most the memories while having the ability to distance myself from emotional attachment to the more tragic and traumatic recollections of specific events that changed my life. Watching foreign films again and loving it. I watched them when I was much younger and now I once again appreciate the intellectual stimulation that I get from watching them. I love being able to be more active again though my sleep is still pretty messed up as I can't sleep until the wee hours of the morning about 4:00, 5:00, even 6:00 a.m. then I can't wake up until at least 11:00 when Griffin wakes me to  make him breakfast usually I fall back to sleep for a couple more hours. Frustrating! But I have faith that I will get back in sync one day in the meantime I enjoy having time to myself in the peace and quiet while Griffin is asleep.

He has shown me more interest in learning as of the past few days especially since I have discovered a way to speak to him in order to get him to respond immediately rather than saying that I am bossing him around. I merely say to him that " I would like for you to...." and then he does that task right away with no complaints. I am so proud of him as he has shown a great deal of maturity in the past couple of months. He even responds when I tell him that it is time to read and do some learning. We even discussed starting vocabulary and spelling tomorrow. I am so excited.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Some Pics of the Years Gone By and Griffin's Latest Growth Spurt

 My mom and a past photo of her beloved "Jade" whom we miss a great deal, she was so special.
Griffin adored Jade as well, she got lots of lovin'

Griffin used to be so small and thin, one would never know that he was going to grow up so big and tall

This is our dear sweet friend Sheila and her grandsons in Alaska. We used to visit them often, they were a big part of our lives. Sheila was one of Griffin's first educators in his early intervention,
I don't have a recent photo of Griffin but suffice it to say that he has grown exponentially just in the past year. And now that he is 13 years old the signs of puberty are quite apparent but not in a bad way. He is candid with me as we have a exceptionally close relationship and talk about everything.

He was weighed and measured the other day at the doctor's and he now weighs 186 lbs and is 5'10"!!!! It is apparent that he is half Samoan because both the men and women are very tall and large people much like many of the different races of the South Pacific. He is a gentle giant who loves animals and is exceptionally artistic.

We have been without a; car for almost 3 months and after having it for only two days find out that it is still not fixed and have to take it back to the garage. But still we are blessed regardless of our challenges there is always plenty to be grateful for no matter what is happening to you. If all you do is complain about your life then for sure that is all you will have....misery. A self-fulfilling prophecy.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Guest Post by Dawn Marotte: Stepping Up and Stepping Back

Stepping Up and Stepping Back

My 6 year old daughter huddled in a corner at a local store screaming at the top of her lungs because we didn't get the right cart.

This wasn't the first time she had a meltdown in public. My husband had to physically pick her up and carry her, kicking and screaming the whole way, to his car - where she refused to sit in the seat and sat wailing on the floor in the back of the car for 30 minutes.

All I could think about were the years stretching ahead of me, struggling to just get through each day.

But we stepped up to help her because that is what parents do.

Thus began our journey of therapies, doctors, diets and research.

We tried everything we could to help our daughter. For years it felt like we spent all of our time, money and energy helping her learn the skills she would need to be able to communicate and interact effectively with her peers and the world. We went from one therapy to another, tried diets and chiropractic care, read every book we could and joined online support groups.

Then we blinked and suddenly she wasn't a little girl anymore.

She was a tween and attending middle school. Hormones and attitude arrived with a bang. She didn't need all of the therapies anymore and by 7th grade her autism specialist actually wrote in her annual report, "A. has the social skills she needs, she just chooses not to use them."

This was a turning point for us as parents.

We realized that all of the hard work she had put in to learn about body language, conversational skills and the social rules that guide our world was successful. More importantly she was happy with herself. She has the skills the rest of the world says she needs, but she also has the discretion to choose when she wants to use them. We had spent years stepping up to manage everything in her life for her.

It was time to step back.

She still needs support of course but we needed to change focus and learn to let go a little bit at a time. It's not about talking to peers or handling the environment without melting down. Now it is about learning life skills and advocating for herself.

  • She has to learn how to ask for help when she needs it.
  • She has to learn about personal hygiene
  • She had to learn how to take control of her environment when she can and make adjustments when she can't.
  • She has to learn how to do laundry.

Parenting a teen on the spectrum is different than parenting a young child.

Our kids don't mature on the same schedule as others but they do grow up.

Now we have to teach them how to take care of themselves. They will need to know how wake up on their own, get to work, make dinner, brush their teeth, buy clothes, shower regularly, wash dishes, wear deodorant, schedule doctor's appointments and all of the other chores we adults do on a regular basis.

We have to take the time to teach them the skills that will allow them to live as independent adults. They aren't going to pick up these skills by observation. We need to show them, step by step, how to perform each skill they need to master. Then they need to practice them until they have mastered them.

Our focus has to change from advocating for them to teaching them to advocate for themselves.

We need to help them learn how to ask for help when they need it. And ask again if they still aren't getting what they need. This means practicing how to approach teachers or staff at school to ask a question. This may be something to add to your child's IEP (Individualized Education Program.)

When you take them places, whether it is getting their hair cut, going to a movie or out to eat make them speak with the staff. Have them ask a relevant question. This isn't about social interaction, but about learning to ask for information and processing the response. They may want to prepare a question in advance and practice asking it. This process of thinking ahead will work for the as adults too.

When they leave high school and go to college or into the workforce they will need to be able to ask for help. No one is going to be there to advocate for them and silence will not serve them.

We need to be there to support them when they fail, as everyone does from time to time.

Not every day is going to go well and the teen years can be particularly difficult. Often the level of communication with the school will be less. More teachers per student and more students for each teacher mean they have less time often to share daily events. It is important to set up a communication schedule and method that works for everyone.

Sometimes our kids focus too much on the negative and we may need to help them see the positive. Teens seem too often to generalize, "Everyone thinks, No one does, etc" We need to help them focus more on the specifics. That could mean writing down 1 or 2 positives for each day and then reviewing them regularly. It can also be helpful to review all of the progress they have made so far in their life.

We need to be there to celebrate with them when they triumph, as they will.

There will be many more opportunities for teens to participate in groups with similar interests. They may find their tribe in art, sports, music, anime, fashion, cars or any of the other clubs available to them. Get a list of clubs and activities and try them out. Don't place any limits - if they find something interesting try it. Finding peers with similar interests can help our kids practice their social skills with others who are already excited about the same subject.

Another place that they may excel is in online groups. Forums such as can provide a safe place to interact with others on the spectrum.

We need to step back and let them mature into the adults they want to be. Give them the room to find what they want to do, without preconceived expectations about what they can and can't do. Help them along, but give them the respect they deserve as young adults who are capable.

We need to be parents our kids can be proud of.

How has your parenting changed as your children have gotten older?

Disclaimer: Although I approved this article for submission it does not necessarily reflect my views however if I did not think it appropriate then I would not have published it. This is Dawn's experience and therefore it should be read and understood as such. Lora

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I am so Blessed and Give Thanks Every Day

These are the ducks at the lake and as you can see they adore Griffin and know that he is always generous with the cracked corn ( their favorite)
This is the awesome puppet (muppet) that Griffin made almost all by himself, I just helped a little bit. I am so proud of him. He worked so hard on it. It is the Wilkin's coffee mascot from the 50's
Griffin and Link, he is still learning how to pick them up but once he is holding them they calm down and do not try to scratch or bite him.
This is Dot or Kitty Dot Com as Griffin had named her. She looks young because she is so petite but we have had her for many years. She sleeps with Griffin.

Griffin is sleeping much better though I am not and maybe it is because we haven't been out of the apartment for 10 days only now and then to check the mail. We sure have bonded during this time and I am so proud of Griffin for not complaining and getting upset or impatient because we don't have the car. I believe that it is a sign of maturity on his part. He is about to turn 13 and he is acting more patient and understanding than "like a typical teenager" like so many people complain about. I know that I am blessed and believe me I write down and count my blessings every single day. I don't say prayers to ask for that which I do not have but instead give thanks for that in which I do have.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year! Life is Good!

We had a wonderfully peaceful holiday together just the two of us. Griffin ate with chopsticks for the very first time and I was so proud of him. He wanted to eat at the local Japanese restaurant for Christmas so he got some Lo Mein noodles with soy sauce. They are excellent! Then we just went for a drive and back home to hang out with the kitties.

The other photos are from the lake and I don't know if that bird perched is an egret or a whooping crane but it was beautiful and large nonetheless.

For New Year's Eve we stayed home nice and cozy. My sleep is still messed up due to my Fibromyalgia I believe because on New Year's day I felt horrible even though I had gotten over 8 hours of sleep. It was as though I just couldn't wake up all day long. Now that it is late evening I am wide awake of course. We did go out and about today because no matter how bad I feel I push myself so that Griffin can have a life and not stay home all the time.

Griffin is growing and developing so rapidly and making progress all on his own. In just a few months of working with him on taking a shower on his own without me reminding him, he has done so and now will get in and I only have to ask him once if he is going to and he offers no resistance. His OT and PT are lately bragging on how wonderfully he has been using his words to communicate his needs and identifying and labeling his feelings. This is a big deal for someone on the spectrum and I believe that he has done so well because it has been a team effort between his therapists and myself. I treat all his needs and wishes as a big deal . Some may seem small to me but they are a big deal to him and need to be validated. If I listen to everything he has to share now then later on when I really need to know how things are going with him he will be more willing to share with me he gets into his teens he requires his privacy but at the same time I hope that he will feel safe and trusting enough to share those things that bother him and are important to him. To me, this is far more important than anything else in the whole scheme of things because it is the essence of his communication and will serve him well as an adult. To be so aware of his feelings and how to cope with them and how to cope with and understand the feelings of others.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's a Wonderful Life...Albeit a Sleepless One

The top photo is of Dot, the next is our newest cat, Link, then there is the awesome photo of Griffin holding a goose that he picked up and as you can see it is perfectly calm and at peace in Griffin's arms. Griffin held it for about ten minutes not because it struggled but because it was time to go.

For the past two weeks I have had the worst bout of insomnia and it just will not go away. It is so damn frustrating to stay awake for 24 to 48 hours trying to stay busy feeling horrible most the time but sometimes I feel okay. But it is so boring because after being productive and trying everything to keep occupied it gets boring. I do meditate a lot to rest my body and mind that helps. After reading some comments from the Fibromyalgia page on Facebook many of the Fibro sufferers said that it is common to have insomnia with Fibro and after all these years of having it I had no idea, my doctor never told me that. My rheumatologist hardly talks to me anyhow so how could he educate me?

I have been up for over 24 hours and Griffin just got up as I finally start getting sleepy so how could I go to sleep now because he needs me to cook for him? Maybe I can doze a bit and tell him to wake me if he needs me. This is just terrible! My entire body hurts so bad.

If you are one of my Facebook friends don't be surprised if I unfriend you for non-participation as in...if you ignore me then there's no need to be in my life especially not as a voyeur, never cared for peeping Toms. My life is no longer an open book to those who don't bother to show me that they care once in awhile. I have no patience with bench warmers...stay in the game or get off the field! But big hugs out to those of you who care enough to chat with me and exchange personal messages with me as "friends" are supposed to do. To support one another. Isn't that what loved ones do?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Autism Night Before Christmas by Cindy Waeltermann

Autism Night Before Christmas
by Cindy Waeltermann
Twas the Night Before Christmas
And all through the house
The creatures were stirring
Yes, even the mouse

We tried melatonin
And gave a hot bath
But the holiday jitters
They always distract
The children were finally
All nestled in bed
When nightmares of terror
Ran through my OWN head
Did I get the right gift
The right color
And style
Would there be a tantrum
Or even, maybe, a smile?
Our relatives come
But they don’t understand
The pleasure he gets
Just from flapping his hands.
“He needs discipline,” they say
“Just a well-needed smack,
You must learn to parent…”
And on goes the attack
We smile and nod
Because we know deep inside
The argument is moot
Let them all take a side
We know what it’s like
To live with the spectrum
The struggles and triumphs
Achievements, regressions…
But what they don’t know
And what they don’t see
Is the joy that we feel
Over simplicity
He said “hello”
He ate something green!
He told his first lie!
He did not cause a scene!
He peed on the potty
Who cares if he’s ten,
He stopped saying the same thing
Again and again!
Others don’t realize
Just how we can cope
How we bravely hang on
At the end of our rope
But what they don’t see
Is the joy we can’t hide
When our children with autism
Make the tiniest stride
We may look at others
Without the problems we face
With jealousy, hatred
Or even distaste,
But what they don’t know
Nor sometimes do we
Is that children with autism
Bring simplicity.
We don’t get excited
Over expensive things
We jump for joy
With the progress work brings
Children with autism
Try hard every day
That they make us proud
More than words can say.
They work even harder
Than you or I
To achieve something small
To reach a star in the sky
So to those who don’t get it
Or can’t get a clue
Take a walk in my shoes
And I’ll assure you
That even 10 minutes
Into the walk
You’ll look at me
With respect, even shock.
You will realize
What it is I go through
And the next time you judge
I can assure you
That you won’t say a thing
You’ll be quiet and learn,
Like the years that I did
When the tables were turned……

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Finding Myself

I have been on a journey to self realization, of spiritual awareness, and to find out exactly who it is that I have longed to be my entire life and in order to become that person to live an authentic life I must take time away from distractions and negative influences. I am finally feeling my feelings and have come to the realization that they serve a purpose in the entire scheme of things.

Now I am able to actually sit in silence and allow my thoughts to wander and whether they be good or bad it is okay. They all teach me something about myself that I have been running from all my life, living in fear and not allowing genuine love in my life. To actually experience pure joy and appreciating each moment as it happens instead of being lost in thought as my life passes me by. I can sit and feel the pain from my past, from my childhood and not allow it to create fear but instead helping me grow and move past it. Through reading several books I have learned so much about myself and about the process of my journey, how I need to feel pain in order to grow in order to feel joy authentically.

My anxiety serves it purpose and as long as I don't ignore it by distracting myself with mundane tasks then it talks to me and the more I listen the more it subsides. I just breathe through it and stay in the moment being fully aware and mindful. I don't allow myself to be thinking of what I should be doing or what I should have done but to relish in the moment and just BE.

I have taken a break from talking on the phone and socializing is limited I have to do some for Griffin's sake but this is MY time, the time that I have never taken for myself. And I am not being selfish only nurturing to my spirit and body. The impetus for all this was that my health had gotten in really bad shape and my stress levels through the roof and I realized finally that I was the only one responsible for making the changes necessary to end the nonsense and stop putting up with other people's garbage. I like the saying, "When you realize how valuable you are then you will stop giving people discounts." And that is how I am living my life now and from now on. I deserve to have quintessential joy and peace in my life and to fully the life that I was meant to live with Griffin. To fully enjoy every precious moment with him and to not let it pass me by.

I truly believe that my purpose in life was to be a mother to Griffin and not just a mother but the best mother he could possibly have and in order to do that I have to be devoted and not be consumed by negativity and distractions. I can't allow others to form opinions about my parenting and about my child in which influence me and my decisions. I am following my heart, my intuition, and pursuing that which fills me up both spiritually and emotionally helping me to be the compassionate mother that my child deserves to have. Not only am I living in compassion for him but also for myself because I have realized that I don't need compassion and validation from others because I can give it to myself. Besides, Griffin is the only person who truly loves me unconditionally and accepts me fully for who I am. And in return I shall give that to him and try to teach him as much as he has taught me on how to  live authentically.

I have lived my whole life up to this point trying to live up to others' expectations of me and trying to make them happy doing what I "should" do rather than being true to myself and my own feelings. I now know that I have the God given right to do what is best for ME. I don't "have to " do anything that doesn't feel right or that brings me peace and happy feelings. I am not obligated to make phone calls or send cards or have Griffin do something for someone else just because of what they might want. If I need time to take care of myself then I will not feel guilty for it. I have to live the way that I want to live and I will no longer have regrets for not being true to myself and making choices based on my intuition and best judgment. For those who had the chance to validate me when they had the chance it is okay because you are now free from that expectation that I had of you. My needs have changed and I am at peace with my choices.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Seasons Change and So Must I

As I have discovered that the more improvements and changes of the goals in my that I make the more the negative influences in my life have with coping with it. Frankly, I don't give a damn! I am finally standing up for myself and my son and will not tolerate anyone known to us or not known to us to treat either of us with disrespect and disregard furthermore if he is not accepted for who he is NOW and not expected to change in order to accommodate others and their criticisms/judgments loving him unconditionally then there is no space left for you. All we have had is love and acceptance and in return we do not get the same. If there is no space in  your heart for unconditional love then there is no space in your life for us.

Life is a constant evolution of changes and seasons on and on therefore it is time that I move on and finally live in freedom from being judged as if I am a bad lazy parent who doesn't have any idea of what she is doing. As if I haven't been at this for almost 13 years, done my homework, been to all the therapies and doctors for his entire life. No more is he going to be judged for not living up to stranger's and relative's expectations. No more because my new life begins NOW and I am a mama bear and will not stand for it!

This mom has said it in her own words at:     as she describes that the hardest part of autism is not her son but other people and their judgments, their criticisms, their remarks , and advice. It is exhausting putting up with the daily BS from people and no one knows until they have walked a mile in our shoes.

I am not tolerating it from anyone anymore stranger or relative! The seasons are changing right now!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Griffin: My Wish for You

I wish for you, my love, to experience every emotion possible and to never allow anyone to tell you that your feelings are wrong or that you shouldn't feel or express them. It is only natural to experience all that God gave us in our hearts and to never be ashamed of who you are, how you behave, and how you express yourself. It is natural to feel good and bad and to not stifle any of them because if you do then that is when you have a life long problem of resisting and what you resist persists. Anger, hate, fear, embarrassment, jealousy, resentment, frustration, are all part of what makes you human and if you just feel it and let it pass then it will not persist and haunt you keeping you awake at night gnawing at your stomach making you sick.

Relish in all the good emotions and focus on them when you have them making them last as long as you can. But don't expect them to last forever because not every day is a happy one and we should cherish all that God has blessed us with which is a spectrum of emotions sometimes all within one day. This is perfectly natural. It has taken me 50 years to realize all this and I didn't learn it by just existing. I learned through reading and reading by taking an interest in being a better person so that I could be a better mom to you.

We have both grown and progressed a great deal during this past year. I have eliminated negative influences from my life and I am taking control of my environment by limiting my exposure to those who I have to have contact with but can be depressing and not supportive. I want you to feel empowered to feel in control of your life so that no one can ever take advantage of you and make you feel less than human. Griffin, you are a gift to the world especially to me and anyone who doesn't appreciate you for who you are is not deserving of your presence. I have gratitude and quintessential joy for having you in my life and the more I learn about you each day only brings me closer to you strengthening our bond that no one could ever break.

You have taught me more than I have taught you and I will let you know how much I love you by showing you through my assertive actions on your behalf until the day I pass from this earth. I will be your advocate as long as you need me and respect you as an individual with dignity and honor. Recognizing your talents , skills, and intelligence and at the same time appreciating that you have deficits and that you require help and support, understanding, and compassion. I will stop at nothing to stand up for you so that you can live a happy, natural, fulfilling, content way of life. Living life to the fullest! I love you buggly!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Griffin's First Climb

I was so proud of Griffin as he tried and tried for so long and finally here you can see that he had success in grasping the wall and holding himself up. I made the mistake of clapping for a couple of seconds and he went ballistic. He hates it when I praise him like that but in the moment I was so excited for him that I forgot, it was just automatic. I got him calmed down and he kept on trying but he wanted Nick to help him. Nick explained that he was only there to help him by telling him how to do it on his own that climbing is something that you have to do by yourself. Griffin is still working on his gross motor skills, on strengthening his core in OT and PT but has made a lot of progress.

I have been taking him swimming almost every day and it for three purposes, one because he loves it so much, two because it is excellent exercise, and last but not is the only thing that I have found to motivate him to get him to do the work for homeschool and unschool during the day. Now everything is so much easier.

My health is much better as I am doing yoga every morning eating healthier and little by little my health benefits are showing up. Right after I exercise my blood sugar and blood pressure go down. Eventually the benefits will be greater and I will be able to do more each day.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Autumn Came to an Abrupt Close, Homeschooling is Going Great, and My Health is Questionable

Griffin and I had plans to go on the Blue Ridge Parkway and take lots of gorgeous photos of the brilliant colors of the deciduous trees in the mountains but alas...the snow came on this night and the cold completely killed any chance that anyone had of enjoying a visual delight coupled with occasional oohs and aahs that we partake in each autumn which happens to be my most favorite season all year long. Well I did get these few pics to share not the most picturesque mind you but nonetheless I captured the beauty of the colors.

 Due to the scrutiny that one comes under when one decides to homeschool because the very first thing that people remark is, "Oh but he won't get to socialize!" This is the most common misconception of homeschooling for so many reasons. In fact, children who are homeschooled socialize daily with all age groups even their own peers. Children who homeschool learn more living skills at an earlier age than traditional schoolers because we are so active and do more of a variety of things than those in school. We have exercise almost daily such as swimming, Occupational and physical therapy, exercise out of doors, we have math in daily skill building such as paying for things at the store, measuring in cooking, measuring our growth of our bodies and its parts, keeping track of days months and years etc...we read books at home and at the library, follow directions on boxes for cooking, etc..all these things and so much more than this is done on a daily basis that we didn't do when he was in school. He socializes with adults and kids alike in stores , we are planning on going to church which has a special needs Sunday school, we are going to go to autism groups several times a month, and homeschool groups have specific times and days in which they get together for activities, study, and play. People just don't stop to think that if homeschooling was so bad for kids then why would parents do it? To deprive their children of learning in life or to be lazy???? Pardon me but homeschooling parents are far from depriving their children because we do it because we want the BEST for our children and conventional schooling was either hurting our children or not giving them what they needed. Griffin was having such severe anxiety that for several years he wasn't sleeping at night because his anxiety about what was going on at school was keeping him awake then he would also get up in the middle of the night causing him to sleep half the day away missing most of school. Now he sleeps just fine with a few days now and then getting up super early because I put him to bed too early but he makes it through the day just fine. He now has zero anxiety and functions far better and has no meltdowns any longer. And homeschooling is far from a parent trying to be lazy! Quite the contrary! Homeschooling takes a lot of work and dedication. But we do it because we love our children and want the best for them not because we are avoiding anything. People who think this are just plain ignorant and do nothing to improve their minds or make an effort to broaden their minds. Frankly I have no patience for such ignorance!

Before I work myself into a frenzy, I must briefly add to a reader who has been interested in publishing an article on my blog through her site: Healthline, I have every intention in publishing it but my health has been quite poor and I just haven't sat down long enough at the computer to read the article then transferring it to my blog. Sorry but perhaps soon.

This is where I transition to my least favorite topic of my poor health. In July my blood pressure spiked way up and has not gone down since regardless of three medications one of which I take twice a day. I had been feeling really really sick for such a long time that I didn't take my health seriously because I was so focused on taking care of Griffin . Not only that but I attributed my extreme fatigue and other symptoms to my Fibromyalgia so I just suffered. To make this short I finally had my blood sugar checked and it was 384, got that under control with a new medicine yet my bp was still high so the doctor has ordered an ultrasound on my renal system because she thinks that I might have Renal Artery Stenosis. I don't know if that is it because I don't know if it causes pain or not but the big C word came to mind too. Not scared though just want to know what it is so that we can take care of it.

God is Good and We are Blessed!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Asperger's Teen Group Halloween Party

Griffin had a blast at the Halloween party Friday night so much so that he was completely comfortable singing and dancing in front of a crowd of kids and adults. I had so much fun watching him have fun. He didn't interact with any of the other kids but at the same time none of the other kids interacted with each other either. There were kids who were young but quite a few adults and teens on the spectrum. Griffin was dressed as a doctor but here he had already taken off most of his costume because he got hot. I talked to a girl who was about Griffin's age and she had brought some small characters whom she had made paper clothes for. She was so proud! I think that out of about 20 kids Griffin and this girl were the only ones who were completely comfortable being there. They were both being encouraged by us parents whereas the other kid's parents were just sitting there doing nothing.

I plan to take Griffin to future meetings of this teen Asperger's group because he had so much fun and it was great exposure for him. The guy who organized the whole event is so nice and inspiring as someone on the spectrum. I predict that great things are going to happen in our immediate and distant future.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

October 2014

As much as I don't like to complain I must admit though that the past few months have been tough. However, things are looking up and I plan to focus on that not all that has gone awry. My health is tenuous because since July my blood pressure has been dangerously high and the doctor is not quite sure what has caused it. Griffin is definitely going through puberty as he is constantly testing me and sometimes it wears me thin but we always talk about things and get through it for the better. He is very intelligent and understands what I tell him it is easy to reason with him. You can see the map we have on the wall of Alaska in this picture.

My wonderful parents came to visit us the other day and we really enjoyed their company. My dad had a heart-to-heart with Griffin for quite a long while and had shared some wisdom with him. Griffin talked and talked being really exuberant in their conversation. When Griffin came out of the room he just hugged me and had a huge smile on his face. Dad said that he made it clear to Griffin that lying was very bad and Griffin promised him that he would be an honest person and since then he has tested me for sure but I call him on it and remind him about his promise. I enjoyed seeing both mom and dad having quality time with both of them. In this picture you can see how big Griffin has gotten as he towers over mom and dad. He is way bigger than I am probably around 5'8" tall and he is 176 lbs.

The date on this should be October 13, 2014. In fact, I wish that the date wasn't on it at all because it takes away from the beauty of it.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Field Trip to the Farm

Griffin's OT and PT (occupational & physical therapists) told us about a farm that we could visit where there are farm animals, a corn maze, and a farm store where we could buy fresh picked apples, farm raised meats, fresh milk, homemade cider, and other fresh natural foods.

First of all it was a beautiful day for a visit to the farm and we were feeling great. The drive took about thirty minutes and it was so scenic, we passed many farms, equestrian centers, produce stands, the air was so clean and exhilarating making us filled with excitement. This trip was exactly what we needed for a field trip for our homeschool/unschooling agenda.

Immediately Griffin located the baby chicks and I must say that it was his absolute favorite part of the entire trip because time and time again he kept gravitating back to them each time attempting to pick up the nimble little buggers. He wasn't able to catch them so I wasn't concerned about him hurting them but he sure had fun trying. We also saw probably around a hundred young turkeys who ran to the fence because they thought that we were going to feed them. Griffin got spooked because the flexible fence moved while he had his hand in it to touch the turkeys and wanted to leave. But before leaving we had seen calves and goats who were climbing up in the rafters of the barn.

I think that by the time Griffin wanted to leave he had gotten tired from our hike up the hill, getting sweaty, and he was hungry and thirsty eager to go to the farm store below. I picked out two bags of apples, one of Rome (one of my all time favorites) and Cortland which is new to me but I was interested in trying them because they were described as sweet but mostly tart. I love tart! Then we went inside the store and I was so impressed. I had to look at everything.

I bought beef brisket from a grass-fed cow, two free-range chicken frames for homemade chicken noodle soup, one chocolate farm fresh milk for Griffin, and the apples which were sold by the bag instead of per pound. All in all the total was surprising considering how big the brisket was and how many apples we got.

We hurried to the car to rest on the way home while feasting on our wonderfully fresh, crisp, and juicy apples.

Griffin went to OT later and cooked with Meagan. They  made tortilla pizzas and she explained that perhaps Griffin lost interest in cooking/baking with me at home was because it was too complicated and/or it took to long to get the finished product.

We haven't officially started homeschool because I have documents to fax yet but we are working on some things out of books that his teachers had given to me in the years past that have been really good for review and to calculate where he is in math and other areas at least until I get some funding for a proper curriculum to follow. I called to find out about the annual test that he has to take and she said that it will be up to me to determine which grade level that he would test on.

I have found a great deal of resources on unschooling and attachment parenting that I will write more about in my following posts.

We are blessed!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I Just Can't Say it Enough, I am Grateful!

There is nothing more valuable and precious than the present moment. I have just recently learned to appreciate this to the fullest extent and this realization has made me the happiest person I know...other than Griffin who has me beat on smiles and laughter (but I am working on it).

To live in the past or to worry all the time about the future is just a waste of time not to mention worrying about how things Should be instead of what is really happening and accepting that as reality. We don't live in reality when stressed out about yesterday, what someone else is doing or has, what someone is saying about you/judging you, or expectations of how things should be in the moment rather than what really is and loving it for what it is. Because even the times that we think are the worst can turn out to be a blessing in disguise. If only we stay grateful for our blessings focusing on them rather than what we desire or think we need especially material items. Perhaps you have some kind of illness chronic or even terminal, there is no reason to disregard that but at the same time there is still plenty of positive things, people, and blessings in one's life.

I say all this because not once have I felt that Griffin's autism was anything but a blessing and that no matter what he does or how he behaves, he is my gift and I appreciate EVERYTHING about him! Even when he was hitting me, having huge meltdowns in public, and I especially appreciated him even before he was talking at age 5. It's those challenges that make all the milestones and accomplishments that much more beautiful and precious!

My Fibromyalgia is not a curse in my perspective, nor is the PTSD that I have had for most of my life, they are merely challenges that I need to overcome and I know that I will because I am going to persevere. What I like to say is that, "Everyone has challenges every single day and it's not how bad they are it is just how you play your cards with what you have been dealt".  I used to wallow in my sorrows making every attempt to drag down everyone with whom I came into contact down with me but gone are those days and I do nothing but to bring sunshine to each person whom I meet. And ever since I made that conscious decision, I have had so many compliments each day about how I make people whom I come into contact with on a regular basis, their days happy when they had sometimes otherwise been boring or bad. This just gives me the impetus to continue to smile and cause others to smile and think happy thoughts. I stopped complaining even if I feel bad because after all who wants to hear about all the bad stuff happening in your life?

I believe that deep down inside we all have the capacity to be happy because happiness is a CHOICE, it doesn't just plop down in your lap one day and say, "Here I am!" We choose to happy or miserable by the thoughts and words that we chose and whether we choose to live in the moment or not. So be mindfully aware of your body, your thoughts, and your surroundings at all times it takes some effort but the payoff is sooooooo worth it!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Having a Hard Time Getting into the Routine of Going to School

School has begun and Griffin adores his teachers Ms. Jay and Ms. Fore however he is still having sleep issues as far as getting up in the middle of the night then sleeping in late and waking up groggy having great difficulty getting motivated. It is a quandary indeed. I guess that we will just go with the flow and do our very best to make it to school as often and as early as possible without aggravation and frustration.

I am thrilled with his teachers as well and hope that Griffin has a great year regardless of his challenges. I am just glad that he is happy to go even though sometimes it is really hard to get going. As far as that goes it is difficult for me to get motivated too so we are quite a pair in the mornings around here. Regardless, we do our best to be positive and optimistic through it all.

My Fibromyalgia is kicking my butt and it is a struggle to make it through the day getting done all that needs to be done and to stay in a good mood is so really hard when I feel like I have the flu. My entire body hurts like it has been pummeled and I am so exhausted that it is as though someone has taken a gigantic syringe and sucked out every ounce of energy that I have from the moment I wake up progressively getting worse as the day goes on. It makes me want to crawl into a shell and hide from the world. But I know that that only leads to depression. So I do my best to muddle through with a smile on my face, sing songs whether I feel like it or not, and to make myself function and be productive at least a little here and there.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

We Received a Blessing in the Mail

To Anonymous who commented on my last post, or rather about the comments that have been left, for Griffin's safety and mine I had rather not post our full names but if you would like to e-mail me please go to my profile and you can do so from there. It would be nice if I knew your name too by the way :) Cheers!

Griffin got me up at 2:30 a.m. bright eyed and bushy tailed he was but not me. It took me a long time to struggle to make coffee, quite watery the first try and by the second try I made a very strong cup of java. However it didn't help and at 5:00 I had to take a nap for an hour. Then at 7:45 we had to go to the doctor for him and he fell asleep on her table as she was examining him. Now it is 10:00 a.m. and he has been lying on the floor where he plopped an hour ago. I just gave him a blanket and let him be. Cutie pie.

Yesterday was quite a busy day indeed. We had to go to my foot/ankle doc at 10:30 a.m. because I got an infection in my ankle due to a small cut on my heel. I get infections so easily since I have type 2 diabetes he told me. I have to be more careful about giving myself a pedicure from now on. I had exfoliated the callus from my heel and inadvertently exposed the crack/cut on my heel making it susceptible to infection. And since I go barefoot at home well, let's just say that it just wasn't the smart thing to do.

I have been doing affirmations to fill my mind up with positive thoughts and drown out the intrusive thoughts of negativity and memories of my past traumas. It has been so fulfilling to actually see the manifestations of the efforts that I have put forth. The most recent being a significant amount of money via check that simply appeared out of the blue. I nearly just threw it away as it appeared to be fake when looking at it through the envelope window as so many gimmicks in advertising try to make them seem real so that the unsuspecting recipient falls for it. But low and behold when I called the phone number on the check it verified it as a federal tax refund but the real mystery was that I have not been required to file taxes for years now. I am calling child support division in Alaska to see if it was from Griffin's father's taxes to pay towards the enormous amount of back pay that he owes. Doesn't matter really because I am just grateful for the blessing no matter where it came from.


Friday, August 08, 2014

We Laughed and Had a Pillow Fight

Griffin and I spontaneously had a pillow fight that I initiated and we had so much fun laughing so hard, the best part was that he told me in the end with a big hug, "Mom, you're the best!" Wow , I felt so good after that no words other than him telling me..I love you in Greek would ever fill my heart with so much joy. The euphonious sound of his laughter is the most beautiful sound in the world! I am blessed to be able to contribute to that and hear it every day.

My "Schmookie" as I call him got me up at 2:30 a.m. and it took me quite awhile to wake up but once I did we had a lot of quality time together all day long. I helped him do his exercises that his PT taught me to increase his flexibility because his core is weak causing a chain reaction throughout his entire body especially with low muscle tone and very tight muscles. She said that if he were to become more flexible then it would not only increase his endurance but in turn strengthen his entire body increasing overall health. So we are doing them together because I can use it too.

I have not only been writing more in my book but I have decided to write a few articles that specific audiences might find interesting and submitting them to publishers of specific magazines. I am so excited because I have been doing affirmations on success and prosperity and already I can tell the difference in my motivation to succeed and be better off financially. Affirmations are just short sayings that focus on your intent and it has to be specific and concise. Such as, "I am successful in my writing endeavors that give me financial prosperity." or "I am healthy in body and mind in every moment of each day."  It doesn't work if you use negative words such as, "I have no pain". Because your mind will focus on the word pain and then you will find that you actually have more. That is why when people complain it actually makes their illness and suffering worse. One reason that I have little tolerance for those who complain or talk about how sick they  are because it is self defeating, negative, miserable, and I know that it can be helped. Everybody has something or more to be grateful for and we need to focus on that saying those words out loud each day in order for abundance to continue.

We attract what we speak and think...words and thoughts are very powerful, don't underestimate the power that you possess. Those words and thoughts can easily sabotage your very happiness that you desire and strive for. Or are you stuck in your story in misery? It much easier to have fun and enjoy this existence rather than having hell on earth.              

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

One of My Wonderful Readers Asked...

...How do I prepare myself and know what to write when I write in my blog?

Well, writing just comes easily to me. Once I sit at the computer or have a pen in hand it just flows because I have so many thoughts that I need to convey and have for my "immortality" in memoirs, that I can hardly keep up once I get started. Usually I constrain myself when writing on my blog as to not give away all the tales since I am writing a book and need to save all the best for those interested in our life story in paperback or online.

It is my hope that I will have the courage to complete my book and I have all the good intentions but must first face my demons from my past in order to put them down on paper and not have worse PTSD symptoms than I already do,( I am working with my new therapist doing EMDR for that very purpose). This is why I dedicated my blog to my wonderful son and in attempts, some more successful than others, to keep track of milestones and memories of his progress and happy times (a few challenging ones too I might add).

I guess that the best answer is, for my reader, to have a quiet time without any distractions so that you can clear your head of the noise of other thoughts bombarding you. And if you feel blocked and nothing is coming to you then probably you are still thinking too much actually. Trying too hard perhaps. Just stare at the paper or computer screen and simply focus on the topic(s) that you want to write about and the ideas/words will flow.

Since starting meditation I have found that if I meditate on just two short words SO on the breath IN and OHM on the breath OUT...but only think them do not say them aloud. All one has to do is to pay attention to the breath even when thinking the two simple words. As it is done for only about ten minutes a calm and relaxed, even a feeling of being refreshed, will come over the entire body and the mind causing a more mindful sense of the moment/present. I have found that I can even meditate while walking and doing other things because all it takes is being mindful, focusing on the breathing IN and OUT slowly and clearing the mind except for a mantra of the two sounds/words. Just staying in the moment not letting oneself become distracted by thoughts of the past, future, or needless worry. It is so incredible and so easy to do!

Thank you for your question and please anyone else who wants to comment or has a question then please do feel free to let me know. If you don't want to make it public then you can contact me via e-mail if you go to my profile.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Saturday, August 02, 2014

I Changed the Comment Settings

For some reason my comment settings were set only for members of this blog to comment...sorry. I meant to set it so that anyone can comment, now it is fine and anyone can comment.

I look forward to getting comments again because it really brightens my day to see that there are still people interested in the blog.

I plan to spend more time reading all the blogs that I follow of my dear friends because I have really missed you all.

Griffin and I laid in the grass yesterday watching the clouds go by and figuring out the shapes and it was so much fun, he really enjoyed it. I gently told him that it is important that we spend less time with technology and more time doing the free and really important things in life such as being outdoors and enjoying nature. That it is essential that we spend more time playing together using our imagination and laughing together. And sure enough he has complied without any complaints. Now we snuggle together more and laugh so hard and he doesn't even miss the TV, computer, or not having a smart phone anymore.

Life is so good and we are so blessed!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Griffin Is Having So Much Fun at Swim Lessons

It really bugs me that I no longer have a way to take photos of Griffin anymore since I don't have a smart phone or camera anymore because I would like for you to see his gorgeous smiling face when he takes swim lessons. He is having such a great time and learning so much. Unfortunately the best teacher there at the Y is gone for awhile since her mom has breast cancer and she went to be with her. I feel bad for her and we will miss her because she specializes in autism and has such a great personality.

I can't believe that summer is almost over and school will start soon. I sure will all the fun that we have had over the summer, I am kind of glad that Griffin didn't go to camp ...that is my selfish self since we have laughed and played so much.

My meditation is still continuing and it has helped me transform into a much nicer and much more compassion/understanding person. I guess that you could say that I am proud of the happy positive person that I have become.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Our Summer of 2014

The first pic is a collage that Griffin put together on the computer for his blog, "The Character Blog" and the second is a fairly recent photo of him.

He is now 5 ft. 9 inches and about 180 lbs. I am teaching him the Greek language as I used to speak it fluently because I taught myself since I was married to a man, fresh from Greece, for 10 years while living in Alaska.. I also taught myself to read and write Greek therefore I will teach him the alphabet and numbers and later to read and write it which is pretty tricky yet easier than English. I have heard, when I went to Europe several times, that English is one of the most difficult languages to learn/speak.

Griffin and I are having a fantastic summer. We have been staying quite busy indeed going to our appointments almost daily then fitting in swimming and going to the lake to feed the geese and ducks. Griffin just adores the little ducklings and goslings. It is all than he can do to resist picking them up. It boggles my mind how parents do not respect animals enough to supervise their children to respect wildlife and not pick them up because they are so fragile and their tiny wings can be damaged. Just because they are adorable does not make them pet-like and cuddly like a puppy or kitten. They are wild animals and should be treated as such they are not domesticated.

Speaking of domestication...I have read  The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz and I highly recommend them both. They have changed my life completely! I am a new totally positive individual who resists and avoids negativity as much as possible. If someone is negative around me then I do my best to turn it around. Don Miguel writes about how we as a society are domesticated into believing lies that the media and other people tell us on a daily basis. We have learned to live by a certain set of rules that our parents programmed into us as well as our society as a whole and in the interim we forget our innocence as a child and grow up. Forgetting how to play and have fun in a wholesome way. Oftentimes our idea of fun is to go out and drink alcohol and lose ourselves in other people ideals of what we should be while always stressing out by trying to live up to their standards.

I have decided that I am going to get in touch with myself through meditation not medication and to live in the moment appreciating all that I am blessed with and to forget my worries about the future and past. It is not easy to forget my domestication and all the restrictions that have been placed on me but by sure is worth it in the whole scheme of things! I have a brand new appreciation and respect as an Aspie for Griffin and all that he goes through as someone with classic autism. I have realized that we have more in common than I had ever thought before. We both have sensory issues, auditory/verbal processing issues, and we both think out loud in order to process our information. 

Since I have started my transformation and meditation, Griffin and I have been getting along so much better. So much so that we interact much more rather than sitting in the same room in our own little boxes doing our own insignificant things. Now he doesn't have meltdowns anymore and no longer yells at me and I am a better mom as well. I am continuing on with reading books that encourage my transformation and if I watch TV I do not watch commercials that tell me that I should be or look a certain way in order to be accepted or to love myself nor do I watch regular news that only focus on the negative and not the real news of what is going on. I watch the PBS or BBC news that is strictly news and not human interest stories because PBS and BBC do not have a limited world view.

I am going to get back into reading my friend's blogs and leaving comments to let them know that I am thinking of them and care about what is going on in their lives.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

My Photo Collage of Special Memories

I just put this together, I need to make a more current one but have yet to print out the pics.

Hopefully you can see the details in this. Sadly the only thing missing is a pic of my mom which I couldn't locate but I will be sure that she is in the next one. I will be doing it soon.

This one has my dad, Abby, our kitty Pisgah from when we lived in Alaska, my brother (God rest his soul), and my parent's dog Jade ( God rest her soul). A couple of me and one of the ex husband, Spiro's (the love of my life who was present when Griffin was born). He and I lost touch..he is in Greece now.

Griffin spilled milk on my/this brand new phone and nearly ruined it. I got upset because I cannot afford to replace it and caused him anxiety which he gets so very easily these I am taking him swimming so he/we can decompress.

We are both looking forward to summer break. Busy schedule ahead.