Monthly Archives: February 2016

Fuller House

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So I totally binge watched the shit out of Fuller House, like most of you did. It’s nearly midnight on Saturday and I’m on the third episode, my second time around. I loved the original and still catch it on Nick at Night but this exceeded my hopes and expectations.
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At first I was a little worried they all were going to be flashback heavy, but they did a good job of keeping the balance once the season progressed. I’m okay with DJ taking over the role of Danny basically, Kimmy of Joey, and Stephanie of Jesse. I think the kids are cute and it’s kind of nice that they’re there more to drive the adults’ plot, more than really focusing in on them right now.

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I like that they have twins playing the role of baby Tommy, and that they had Kimmy have a daughter. I also liked the hints and references to Michelle and Mary-Kate and Ashley. Maybe someday Mary-Kate will show up for a special guest spot; I can only dream.
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So, in short if you were a fan of the original, definitely watch it because it’s as cheesy and awesome as you hope. It’s cute and refreshing, and definitely will give you all the feels.

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Autism Testing is the bane of my exsistance

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So here we are on this windy, wintery afternoon, awaiting to go in for Avila’s annual testing.

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I always feel like a horrible parent at these things. That whenever she can’t do a skill or task, I instantly feel guilty because I feel like I should have been working harder, longer, with her on those things.

She has “high-functioning” autism, but really all that means is, she’s “different” and “quirky” enough to be on the Spectrum, to get the services, to make life that much more different and at times, difficult for us; but she’s not severe enough for people to think she’s autistic, or I have autism parents that get mad because “at least she talks,” “at least she can get dressed,” “at least…”

You know, I always knew she was “different.” I had to fight her doctor tooth and nail for a referral to our local mental health facility just for the preliminary screening, just shy of her 2nd birthday. Yet, she was unofficially diagnosed before we even left the mental health center! When the results did come back, she qualified for the most help we could get her from the State.

I researched, and researched, and researched what I could do to help her. I was never afraid of her diagnosis and in my heart of hearts, I always knew. So, instead of resisting and denying, I took action and put my insomnia to good use. I called friends that I had lived with previously, that have a son that is quite severe and what they were doing. I have a cousin who is autistic, and his grandpa and I worked tirelessly one summer to help him. He had changed his diet and so I started combing the internet. I started reading of parents whom had took artifical dyes and preservatives out of their kids’ diets and it was really helping.

By this time it was March of 2014 and I decided to give it a try. What’s the worse that’d happen? No change and I could go back to buying whatever I wanted?

Well, in two weeks I had a totally different kid on my hands. She had finally came out of her “fog” enough that I could start actually getting through to her. And I started working with her every day, all day.

I have never “babied” any of my children, and I feel we have done a good job of trying to be upfront, honest, and bringing everything down to an age appropriate level to include them too. So, we started watching Thomas The Tank Engine because she was getting really into trains. They talked about feelings and that was something Avila just didn’t “get.” So we started talking about the trains’ feelings and our own. And now she is one to tell us her feelings… very, very loudly but she’s at least trying to get her points across.

She started liking superheroes and so we started scripting and acting out The Avengers and the Ironman movies. We dressed up and started trying to slowly expand our pretending and imagination. I had always loved writing and making up stories so I just pushed her into that play. It wasn’t easy. I can script every single Marvel movie there is and some days (and some days still) there is not diverting from the screen play. But sometimes, and these times are my favorite, sometimes she makes up a new storyline for them. Once, after The Battle of New York (as found in the movie, The Avengers), instead of going to get shwarma together, Ironman and Thor went to Pizza Hut and ate pizza and cookies. Another time, Thor took Captain America back to Asgard and had him over for dinner, and Captain America was very kind and happy and thankful Thor invited him to his house.

We work very hard to expand her imagination, and we try very hard to give her nothing but facts because she really loves to learn new information. And she’s an elephant, she doesn’t ever forget. So we try to make sure everything we tell her is completely factual and correct. And if I don’t know, I make sure to tell her that I don’t know, but let’s find out together.

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Anyway, back to this wonderful annual testing. I know she needs it. I know it does nothing but help her. I know that it’s good to find out where she is, and what we need to do to help her. I know this. But I still can’t help but feel like I could be doing better for her.

Why I Need to Start Dating My Fiance Again

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Tonight Matt and I went to Pints & Quarts in Norton Shores for some dinner and discussion. I had asked him the other night to take some time and think about what it is he wants and needs out of our relationship, and the total revamp of our lives we are undertaking. I posed the following questions for him and I both to mull over for awhile:

  • What is it that I wish to achieve to better myself? Do I need something personally? Spiritually? Physically? Mentally? Socially? I knew that besides really struggling with the weight of my world right now, that some of it is from my complete hysterectomy that I had in November. I had everything removed and never started on any sort of hormones, so that was becoming a concern of mine. I had also had some pretty severe bouts of depression as a teen (those good ol’ 15-17 year old range), and plenty of post-partum depression. Avila and Iris are 20 months apart, and Iris and Jensen are 22 months apart. Then, when Jensen was 4 months old I had the hysterectomy. So, yeah, not a lot of time for my body to settle down and adjust to things. 
  • What is it that I wish to achieve as couple in our relationship between just the two of us? My counselor recommended we take the 5 Love Languages quiz and read more about it in the books by Gary Chapman and it’s something we had discovered previously. His concepts make a lot of sense and allow both of us to discover different ways to express our love to each other. My primary Love Language is Quality Time, in which I scored an 11. My lowest Love Language is Physical Touch, in which I scored a 1, whilw he got a 7. Matt’s primary Love Language is also Quality Time, in which he scored a 9. His lowest Love Language is Receiving Gifts, in which he scored a 0.  He scored an 8 in Worder of Affirmation (I a 4). Acts of Service I scored a 9, Matt a 6. Receiving Gifts I scored a 5, Matt a 0. So, it’s pretty obvious we have lots of work to do in order to make sure the other is really getting what they need from each other in this relationship, which was what I wanted to work on for us that we both feel happy and fulfilled.
  • What is it that I wish to achieve as family? As a parent? As a part of a parenting team? Our kids are pretty spoiled. They get basically anything they want or need and we are happy to make it happen for them. There was a time Avila really didn’t express interest in things, so when she started liking trains and super heroes, we made sure we let her know we heard and understood her. It was a really big deal for her to start communicating likes to us, so we all indulged. Not to make Iris feel left out, we made sure she got her fair share of things too. But don’t think that we didn’t also spend the time and money to take our children to different experiences. We love doing activities and going places, and learning new things as a family all the time so this point was really nice to get back onto the same page with, and deciding to focus more on that aspect of “rewards.” We make our kids do chores, just because they live with us and that’s part of being a family and living together, but there’s also things they can do that help us and we will give extra rewards for. Now, this part is going to be a new endeavor on our part, and exactly figuring out the best course of action to complete those desires is going to be something I talk about here. Cross your fingers for us.
  • What is it that I want Matt, or he want me, to know, from the bottom of my heart? Now, this one is sort of tricky for me. Because I always fear he doesn’t actually hear what I’m saying. However, I just wanted him to know that I trust him. That I love him very, very much and I always will. We know this, and it’s something we just get. But I trust him. When I don’t believe in myself, when I’m frustrated with the kids, when I’m just so locked inside my own head that it never seems like it’s going to get better; I trust him with my every being and know he is going to support me in whatever decision I make for myself, and ultimately our children and our family. If I need outpatient therapy and have to drive over an hour away, one way, he will make sure I have enough gas, and that my tires are properly inflated. That I know this, that I trust him fully to not take advantage of that trust, and I hope he trusts me too.

We got some good conversation in, while having an AMAZING meal and drinks, and getting somewhere in our hopes to better ourselves, our relationship, and our family. I’m glad I have Matt by my side, but I have definitely fallen into a rut of trying to be everything for everyone all the time. I forgot what it was to just go out with him, to dress up nice, to go someplace without the kids, eat a good, quality meal (I had the Californian burger, he had the Steakhouse burger, and we split a pretzel basket beforehand. AMAZING!) and have a quality discussion about our relationship, our selves, our kids, and our hopes for our future together. Avila’s behavior therapist suggested we make the time to go out, just the two of us, once a week. That we had to make the time, even if we just sat at park for an hour together; that we make that time to regroup away from the house and kids together.

Now, here’s where I get skeptical because I’m not quite sure how we are going to manage this. I know she didn’t say, go have a lavish meal every time. She isn’t saying take hours and hours to spend lots of money on each other. That we just need to take the time to get away from the chaos, and get to be adults together. I’ll be posting some of our date night ideas (and hopefully links about how they go!) in another post later. I just know, that we are both going to try this dating thing with each other again, and hopefully it starts helping our quality of love and happiness, so that we can raise happier, more loving kids.

The first post is always the deepest…

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OK, first off, if you are reading this, thank you. Well, thank you and I’m kinda sorry, haha. I’m starting this blog at the advice of my counselor to help me deal with, well, life.

I’m 27 years old, but I’ll be turning 28 at the end of March. I live in Muskegon, Michigan and have been here since I was adopted from El Salvador in 1989. I was adopted by a woman whom was single, and remained single my entire life. My mom is one of most selfless, kind, compassionate people I’ve ever met; and I’m proud to be her daughter, and that my children get to call her Grandma.

I am a mother. I have three children – two girls and a boy. My oldest, Avila, turned 4 years old in January and has been diagnosed with Autism. My middle child is a girl named Iris, and she is nearly 2 and half but thinks she’s right up there with Avila. She is neuro-typical and not only wants to do everything her big sister does, she wants to do it better. So that will be an interesting dynamic once Iris surpasses Avila on skills and abilities. Lastly, there is Jensen. He is my 7 month old son and I cannot imagine my life without him. He is seriously the best baby I’ve ever met. He has slept through the night since, literally, the day he was born. But before you start getting too envious, just note that Avila has yet to sleep through the night; she’s always been worse-than-a-newborn in that respect.

Then there is Matt. Matt is the biological father of Iris and Jensen. We have been friends for about 6 or 7 years now, and going on our 4th year in a steady relationship. Technically, we are engaged and though I have every intention on spending the rest of my life with him, right now the official titles and all the pressure from those titles have sent me into a crazy whirlwind.

Which, sort of circles me back to the reason I’m even starting this blog. This blog is going to be about my journey to finding balance between “mother,” “girlfriend/fiancé/wife/significant other,” “daughter,” “friend,” and simply, ME. Working with the various professionals with Avila and her Autism, keeping our household clean and organized, getting better self-help habits so my children don’t go through the hells I did – and still  do – with depression and anxiety. I’ve had a hysterectomy in November 2015 as well, so that’s a whole other can of worms to add into the equation. Plus, in addition to all of that we have the biggest-pain-in-the-ass dog I’ve ever met, a cat that thinks he is a kid, and two horses that we will be working on getting home once we purchase our first home on property.

So, if this seems like something you want to read for ideas, tips, you feel like helping me, or just want to read about someone else’s mess to make you feel better about yourself, then that’s all great by me. I hope I can use this as a way to make connections to all of the people that are dealing with similar issues, and really help each other in remembering we are not in any of our endeavors alone and that someone, somewhere, can help and wants to help. That’s why I’m here. Hope to hear from you all soon.