Review: The Honest Company – Diapers 

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This review is for my July 2016 subscription of The Honest Company’s diapers and wipes. 

This was our first month’s box, since I had went out and spent a lot of money buying their diapers from Target since I needed them ASAP. Jensen had developed a nasty yeast infection and it wouldn’t go away. I finally read about their organic diapers more fully, and ordered our free trial. I decided waiting wasn’t the way to go, so I packed the kids up and got a bunch of their products. His nasty infection cleared up in a day and I now am a huge Honest fan. Anyway, we didn’t need our subscription sent until now. 


On Tuesday, the 12th I received the diapers bundle. I placed my order on the 5th. We had selected 6 packs of diapers plus 1 pack of overnights (instead of getting 5 packs and 1 overnight) and there was some confusion there, but as always, customer service was quick and amazing and have sent out the one missing pack of diapers. 

Since Jensen turns one today, the 14th, they also included in this month’s box a small (seven count) pack of Happy Birthday print diapers. I was surprised and excited about that! 


We received every print we asked for, and our add-ons were tucked away neatly with everything. We got the bottom spray, healing balm, and a swim diaper as our add ons this month and everything was there as expected. 

I love the healing balm because it works on any chapped skin. A little bit goes a long ways, and I even rub some on my dry and cracked knuckles to keep them soft and hydrated. 

The bottom wash spray I love to use on Jensen. Whether he is wet or dirty, I spray and use 1 or 2 wipes and wipe him clean. The wash really helped get him clean when he was especially sore without having to scrub and irritate the skin further. 

I’ve already got my diaper rash cream (will clear anything up in a day, I swear!) as one of the add ons for next month set so I’m excited about that. 

Review: Koala Crate (July 2016)

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This is a review for the children’s monthly subscription box called Koala Crate (by Kiwi Crate) for 3-4 year olds. This review is for the month of July 2016. This month’s box theme was Camping. My middle child Iris receives these boxes as a gift.

Iris received her Koala Crate yesterday (Wednesday, 7/13) and I was really excited. I ordered Avila’s Kiwi Crate at the same time (the 1st) and it’s supposed to arrive Monday. At this time Iris hasn’t received her book as a part of the Deluxe package yet either.

Iris opened her Crate with her sister Avila and older cousin Kayleigh. I handed Kayleigh the parent instructions and helped Iris open the supplies. The directions were simple and easy. Kayleigh, at almost 15 years old, was able to easily construct the campfire with the girls using tissue paper, a sticker, and a wooden dowel. They put the felt pieces on the dowel to “roast” their felt hot dogs and marshmallows. They had a lot of fun camping and while Avila took her turn, Kayleigh and Iris put the bear backpack together to keep everything safe and organized. 

I was happy with the crate and will purchase August’s. I think I will keep the crates though, until the books and both crates arrive next month though, so they can each enjoy their own crates. 

#KoalaCrate 

A Quick Recap

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The last two months have been insane. Maybe it’s my own insanity taking over, but things have really gotten on top of me lately.

Lice – Avila got lice from the Autism Center and now, here we are a month later, and I still can’t get the nits out of her hair. They’re dead/empty eggs, but she doesn’t let me comb it with the nit brush for shit. Even after I chopped off a good few inches, she still is uncooperative with the hair brushing.

Jensen – Jensen will be 1 on Thursday! How can my BABY be a year old already?!?? It’s pretty bitter-sweet because normally now is the time we’d start trying for the next. There are no more babies to be had, so I just need to focus on the three babies we do have. I think recognizing the loss of the other two miscarriages I had helps too. I can’t imagine having five kids if  my two miscarriages (before Avila) would’ve come to be.

Work – I started a new job. I’m still a cashier, but I moved stores. I work at a local grocery/corner store called E&A. They have four locations around Muskegon, and I work at the one closest to my mom’s house. I get more money than the job I was at before, and more hours in a lesser amount of days. I really, really like it even if I’m still not used to the 8-hour shifts (previously I only worked 5 hour shifts). My boss even asked me to start training to become an assistant manager even though I’ve been there two months. So, that made me feel pretty good and confident that this was the right move to make.

Kota – Kota is a girl I used to work with at E&A when I first started. We hang out all the time and I really like her. I’d definitely consider her one of my best friends – if not my bestie after Matt. Though I’m 9 years older than her, she’s wise beyond her years and definitely not like any 19 year old I’ve ever met before. We agree and connect on a lot of things; I just wish she was still at E&A and wouldn’t have moved jobs to the BP down the road from us.

There’s nothing left, but a million words to say…

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To my baby, Jelly Bean…

I’m not sure what, if anything, was said to you. I imagine something was said somewhere along the way, it is “them” of course. Though, I’m not here to bash or trash anyone, or anything. I’m here to tell you I love you. I love you, “my first-born child.” You’re my God daughter and I was always extremely honored that your father and mother bestowed upon me, at the age of 13, the prestigious title for you. I still am honored, and I take my role as a mother – in every capacity – very seriously.

You and your brother changed my life in such a positive way. I loved you, was proud of you, showed you off, and soaked up every inch and second of your sweet little innocence and awesomeness.

Which is why I had to “divorce” your grandma, father, and uncles. I know I’m your cousin, your God mother, and I know you’re only 14, but I know you’re wise beyond your years. Your soul has lived a million lives and as the years go on, you only make me even more proud of your strength, insight, and wisdom. So I know you understand when I say that I had to let my feelings and frustrations be known and it didn’t go over well. I know how it goes, and I’m not allowed to see you, but just know I’m always here anyway. Every day, all day, no matter what, I am here for you. Regardless of anyone or anything else, no matter who or what says otherwise, I love you with every inch of my heart and soul.

You are amazing. You are so strong, courageous, smart, bright, funny, responsible, caring, patient, kind, and beautiful. My children love you so, so, so much and I’m glad you are such an amazing girl to be such a good role model. All I ever wanted was to be a person for you, in the midst of the crazy that is the broken shells of a family that once was, that could be your lighthouse in the dark. So you never grew up thinking the things that happen are normal or okay. I just wanted to be there for you, to be someone good in your life.

Knowing your sources, I also want to clear something else up. As you may, or may not, know, I used to cut. That’s how I dealt with high school especially. It was a struggle, and it still is. It’s an ugly road and I know you’ve seen your share of them. However, I have not, and will not do it again. I’ve accepted, learned, coped, and taught myself a multitude of things over the years to get me to where I am with it, but the most important thing I learned and accepted was the accountability that went with it.

That was my label in the family now. That’s what was going to be held and thrown against me forever. I let my depression, confusion, and silence literally scar me for life. And before I would ever be okay again and fully understand what I was doing by stopping, I had to accept I’d battle the stigma forever. So, I accept that responsibility. I hold myself accountable.  I make sure I don’t put myself in those positions to ever be doubted in my seriousness of how I’m ready to move on past that chapter. And I do. I have.

And now, though the names and taunts bug me, it’s not for the reasons you’d think. Because it scares me. It scares me that YOU, or my babies, or your brother, or your other cousins and sister could ever feel THAT depressed that I did to do those things. That you’d suffer alone and you don’t need to.

I know how it is. I know what goes on. I know how hypocritical and selfish people can be. How do you deal with that? How do you deal with that when you’re not taught anything better? How do you stop the cycle? Not taking responsibility for your mistakes isn’t the answer. Doing the same thing expecting different results isn’t the answer.

And now, I can’t see you and it kills me. But just know my Jelly Bean, I will always be here waiting for the day I can. Because I love you. And you do matter very much to me. You have the ability to overcome everything everyone throws in your way. You’ll do amazing things and help so many people. You’ll make a lot of people happy and proud. But just know, no one in this world will be able to stop how happy and proud I already am of you. You’re my “Beany Baby” and I’m so lucky to be your God mother, no matter what.

Avila’s Chicago Adventure – Part 2

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Heroes Vs. Villains FanFest – Day 1

We woke on the morning of Saturday, March 12 at 6:30 am CT. That was 7:30 am at home so I felt really good and Avila awoke with a smile. “I had fun,” she said, speaking of our adventure from the day before of visiting the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, and Adler Planetarium.

We got dressed and got her into her costume. I packed her tennis shoes, and made sure I had our Funko Pop figurines to be signed. I made sure we had our passes, vouchers, bands, money, and cards and we headed out, down to breakfast around 7:15 am CT.
20160312_083417.jpgWe stayed at the Embassy Suites at Rosemont, which is right across the street from the Donald E. Stephenson Convention Center, which is where the FanFest was taking place. I was nervous about us eating there, since Avila is on a restricted diet and isn’t a big eater in general, so I slipped an apple from the breakfast buffet and some snacks from the car ride into my bag before we left and headed over. We had made the trek the night before to get our bands and passes, so this morning we were able to just walk across the street and go right into the convention. I had told Avila numerous times to not let go of my hand, and that there were going to be lots of people and I didn’t want to get lost. Normally she’s pretty stubborn and wants to be independent, but now was not the time to be trying those skills.

Since we had VIP passes, we were allowed to enter at 9:00am CT (whereas general admission passes entered at 10:30am CT). I gripped her hand nervously as I tried to navigate her through the crowd of people, waiting for the go ahead to run to whatever lines or vendors they were interested into going to first. Once they released us, and told us to have a safe, and enjoyable experience, we hustled with the crowd into the heart of the convention.

Avila had our first stop be the vendors that had two huge shelves of Funko Pop figures and she carefully chose an exclusive edition pink Batman character. I realized we needed to get to the Stephen Amell autograph line, so I tried to gently push her along and we wound our way through the throngs of people to the back end of room where his line was already crazy. I handed over her Batman figure, while I got the Arrow figures I had brought from home in my hands. We waited in line for a good hour when we finally were able to get up to exchange our autograph voucher for a sticky note with Avila’s name on it attached to her Arrow figure she wanted signed and personalized to herself. I paid the $60 to get a second autograph and bring Matt home a signed figure too. We were almost next for Stephen Amell to sign our things and Avila put her Casey Jones mask and started looking around for “Casey Jones the Green Arrow” as she calls Mr. Amell.
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It was our turn, and I hurried Avila up to the counter and instructed her to tell him “Hi.” He asked how old she was and was her pronouncing her name correctly. I about hugged him when he did so, and blurted out, “Yes! Oh my God, thank you! Yes, it’s Avila.” Later, I remembered he is a very avid Toronto Blue Jays fan so I’m sure he had heard of Alex Avila before.
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We moved on from the autograph spot after he signed our two figures and I ushered Avila towards the photo op lines. She started crying when they directed us to start the beginning of Line 5 (based on our passes is how they split the lines), and after apologizing for the beginnings of a meltdown, she finally got out enough for me to understand her problem. She was really, really sad she didn’t get to give him a high five and a hug and I rocked her in line as I reassured her she would be able to do that when she got her picture taken with him. The Stephen Amell VIP pass holders were supposed to start having their photo ops at 10:30 am CT, but he never started it until closer to 11:00am or later. The Platinum pass holders were in Line 1, Gold pass holders in Lines 2 and 3, Stephen Amell VIP pass holders in Lines 4 and 5, VIP in Lines 6-8, and general admission in lines 9-13 or something crazy like that. Anyway, the Platinum and Gold holders went first, and mind you this isn’t a meet and greet; just a quick hello, pose, smile, click, next, repeat sort of thing. As lines 1-3 start moving Avila announces, “I have to go potty!” Of course you do! After waiting all morning, of course she picks now to have to go. I felt panicked and desperate, I turned to the lady in the front of line 4 and explained my predicament. She inspected my badge to make sure I had the same level of priority as she did and she let Avila go ahead. I thanked her profusely as we were waved inside the photo tent, and I instructed Avila that now was the time to give him his high five and hug. I was thinking silently to myself, “Please do not pee on him. Oh my God, I’m going to be known as the mom of the kid that peed on Stephen Amell. Oh please Avila, just don’t pee on him.”
The photo people started instructing me to place my bag and her stuff on the table and to get in the photo. As I was refusing, I was able to catch the heart-melting exchange between Stephen and Avila.
He smiled at her as soon as she walked in, knelt to the floor and he greeted her by name. She ran over and gave him a high five and hug. As they hugged he went to lift her up and I saw him make the “she’s heavier than I thought!” face, typical when you go to pick her up for the first time. She immediately grinned and as he was trying to coax me into the picture, she was rubbing her face against his like she was a cat or something. They snapped their picture and Avila didn’t pee on him. We thanked him for his time, and Avila happily darted out of the tent, content with her meeting. That moment, right there, was worth every single saved penny. Worth every second of every night I stayed awake, literally making myself sick with anxiety over the trip. Worth every feeling any parent – especially one with special needs – gets when their kid is being rowdy in public. Worth everything, for that moment they were able to capture for her. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this picture is worth a million words. There aren’t enough for me to express fully what it meant for me, as a parent, let alone a fan.
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We ran over to the bathrooms and Avila made it in time. We followed the line back and went and picked up her picture. I immediately took a picture of it and sent it to my mom and Matt. Avila was excited, I was relieved it was over, and all that was left was to let Avila bounce in the bounce houses they had set up in the Kid Zone.
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We saw some awesome other cosplayers, that were really awesome and took the time to take pictures with Avila in her costume.

We were able to get in the autograph line right away for Gotham’s Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald Cobblepotts) and I had got an autograph for Matt since he’s his favorite, and got Avila’s “selfie” taken with him. He was super duper sweet, and very paitent with Avila. He even claimed he knew where our hometown was, so that was pretty cool since we aren’t that big really.
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We walked back to the hotel around 1:30 pm CT , then we showered and Avila called and ordered room service. She got in the bath tub and played with her rubber shark she picked from the aquarium gift shop and we just generally relaxed and soaked in the comfort of our room.
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After we ate our lunch and we laid in the bed for forty minutes or so, Avila asked to go back to jump in the bounce houses and there was going to be a costume contest at 5:00pm. So, we geared back up, and ran back across the street to the convention center. She made a bee-line for the bounce house, and I walked around the house, just enjoying watching her excitement and happiness.
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We got her ready in time to participate in the costume contest, and they split everyone up into either “Heroes” or “Villains.” Avila joined the end of the parade and she proudly marched up to the microphone and grinned at herself on the TVs projecting everything onstage. She said what character she was and her age and moved off. Everyone clapped and applauded and after all, 10-15 Heroes got finished the crowd voted for their favorites. Avila didn’t make the top three, but she did get an honorable mention, so that was pretty awesome.
After the costume contest, we went back to the Funko Pop vendor and she picked out a purple Batman for Iris, an orange Batman for Jensen, a Civil War series Black Widow, and Kun Fu Panda’s Po for herself. Then we headed back to the hotel for the night.


After another quick rinse, and more room service, we climbed into bed, turned on Disney Jr. and snuggled in for our last night in the hotel.

Avila’s Chicago Adventure – Part 1

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I took Avila to Chicago for her first trip this past weekend. We went from Friday, March 11 through Sunday, March 13th. This trip was about 5 months in the making – if not longer. I purchased a Stephen Amell VIP pass just before Christmas and we gave her the ticket for her 4th birthday. I explained to her how we were going to go meet “Casey Jones, the Green Arrow” as she calls Stephen Amell (since those are the two major roles he plays and Avila noticed as much in the TMNT2 trailer and was beyond excited). She was really excited to meet him, and we had decided she was going to wear a Casey Jones and Green Arrow crossover costume.
Avila: Casey Jones/Green Arrow

Anyway, we also purchased a CityPass to go to the museum, aquarium, and planetarium. Those three places were the most important to visit to her, so I told myself to just let her go at her own pace.

The morning of Friday, March 11th finally rolled around and I woke Avila up at my mom’s, where the kids and I stayed because of Matt working so early in the morning and Avila and I leaving at 7am. We drove the 3+ hours to the city of Chicago and parked at Soldier Field as my Uncle Steve had instructed (he’s from Chesterton, IN which is an hour away and his wife’s brother lives in the city).

Avila and I walked to Shedd Aquarium first and only had to wait about 15 minutes until they opened, since about twenty minutes into the journey I remembered the time zone change. We skipped the line and went right to will call to pick up the CityPass and map. I let Avila lead the way and take as little or much time as she wanted as she peered into each tank.
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From 9am CT until 12pm we were at the aquarium. Avila started whining and wanted a hot dog so we went out and over to the Field Museum of Natural History to view the T-Rex fossils.

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We walked around for a bit, Avila held a T-Rex tooth, she looked over some different antlers, and decided to make our way up to the second floor and visit the Sue Store and made a few purchases. She started whining about half way through the Asian bears exhibit when we went back downstairs so we made our way back down to the bottom level, in which we came from and hit up the Underground Adventure exhibit on our way out. It was pretty interesting and Avila didn’t have any sort of sensory overload meltdowns either, which is always a plus. We went outside and got some hot dogs, chips, and Avila-safe pop and ate our food as we made our way back across the street, through the park, and back through the parking garage at Soldier Field. Avila whined some more that her feet hurt and I put her on my shoulders just after we crossed the street and she was nearly ran over by a Segway Tours guide and her group. I sat her in her car seat and called my mother, to check in with her and texted Matt an update. Avila sat quietly as she watched Max and Ruby on the DVD player in the van and ate her lunch. I charged my phone, finished my food, and contemplated our next moves. I reorganized my purse and our bag of souvenirs as I waited for Avila to see what she wanted to do next. It was around 1pm local time (so 2pm at home) and we talked to Matt as he was picking Iris and Jensen up from Grandma Bea’s house at 1:30pm Ct (2:30pm at home).

I asked Avila if she wanted to go to the hotel now, or if she wanted to go to the planetarium and of course she was game to go to Adler Planetarium. As soon as we got to the park spot after leaving the parking garage, Avila said she couldn’t walk. I hoisted her up on my shoulders as I silently cursed myself for not bringing Jensen’s single red umbrella stroller with us. I lugged Avila’s 50 lb. butt on my shoulders across the street, pass the museum, pass the aquarium, across the street, and down to the end of the road to Adler Planetarium, and up the steps. My extremely out-of-shape self nearly collapsed (perhaps that was my lungs?) as I took her off my shoulders and she happily danced her way inside to exchange our CityPass for admission tickets. We were just in time for the 1:45pm show and we got seats in the front and Avila kept asking when it’d start. About five minutes into the show I had her sit on my lap and she curled up and slept for the remainder of the show. Afterward, we sat there until the staff made me leave, and I woke her up and we went exploring.

Adler was by far our favorite stop and it was definitely worth the trek we made to get there. I would absolutely carry her heavy butt any distance to bring her there again; she absolutely loved it and it was definitely worth it. We looked around in the room with more information on the planets, and even had a to-scale planets hanging up, with more info on the planets. Avila’s favorite planet is Mercury because it’s the hottest, so I made sure to snap a picture and we went to the Children’s Explorer part. Avila spent the next three hours just playing in all the different areas of the kids’ part and I loved watching her run around, press buttons, pretend to be an astronaut, and inform me of facts she’s learned about the planets. She had me read every sign to her, although there were ones I know she read first. Anyway, we played there for awhile and I had to forcibly remove her from the premises because we had at least an hour drive ahead of us now back to the hotel.

I carried her back down the steps, down the street, through the park, through the parking garage, and only let her down once we reached the van. I even made her ride the elevator on my shoulders. She was mad at me and she likes to dart off and doesn’t listen and has no sense of danger so I wasn’t taking any chances. I put her in her seat, gave her a snack and her Ninja Turtles blanket and informed my mom and Matt we were heading to the hotel. I GPSed the address and we made our way out and to the village of Rosemont. There was construction on the highway we had to use, but it was nothing compared to the outpouring of people that were on their way (luckily in the opposite direction) to the Trump rally and I was glad we were getting far away from that mess. Later I’d find out it was shut down and I was still glad we were no where near that mess of traffic, people, and idiocrisy.

We got to Embassy Suites in Rosemont about an hour and a half later, and we got up to our room. I showered and Avila called room service, and ordered herself chicken fingers. I got on the phone and okayed the purchased and ordered myself some chicken quesadillas and was happy we didn’t have to go searching for a bunch of stuff.

I decided we should go pick up our badges and passes for tomorrow’s FanFest early and we made our way out and around to the convention center, via the pedestrian overpass. I wasn’t paying attention too well on my way in so once we got the passes and our bands for the next day, we went to leave. We made a right instead of a left and Avila started complaining her legs hurt. I was starting to get frustrated that I’d have to carry her on my shoulders again, as I wandered in circles, lost and getting late at night. A woman and her younger son was coming back towards me and said, “Nope, wrong way, this doesn’t go back to the parking garage!” I sighed and hoisted Avila on my shoulders. I explained I was headed back to the same place and could I just follow them around at least please? She agreed, and we headed back. We had to go to the same hotel and we finally made it to the parking garage. They went ahead and went down to the ground floor to go back to their room and Avila and I got in our car and rook it to get gas and hopefully pizza.

Well, we got into the Mobil gas station and instead of trying to navigate and make a bunch of left turns in the dark on busy and unfamiliar roads we went through the McDonald’s drive-thru that was next to the gas station, and went back to the hotel. We parked for the night, changed into pajamas, and we called my mom and Matt both, to let them know we were safe in our room for the night. I set my alarm, and made sure all my extra batteries and phone were charging and I crawled into the bed, to snuggle my fast-growing baby, and fell asleep quickly.

 

Go here for Avila’s Chicago Adventure – Part 2: Heroes Vs. Villains FanFest (Day 1)
Go here for Avila’s Chicago Adventure – Part 3: Heroes Vs. Villains FanFest (Day 2)

The real Avila

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Oh, where do I start on this? I’d like this post to kind of give the history of Avila, and something to link back to to “catch you up to speed” on the wonderful being that is my precious first-born.
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I was not looking to have kids, to even settle down, when I found out I was pregnant with Avila. I was partying every day and had been having severe problems with excruciatingly painful periods. The doctor I started seeing put me on the birth control Seasonique, which reduced your time of the month to 4 a year. Well, when I went in to get my first refill after taking the first three months’ worth of doses, they said, “You’re not getting a laporoscopy or a refill because you’re pregnant.” My doctor even tracked the nurse down and was like, No, there’s no way. My first reaction was, Well damn I shouldn’t have stopped and got that pint before this appointment after all. So, you can see how my priorities were at the time.

Anyway, I told Adam, whom was the guy I was seeing at the time. He suggested I get an abortion and that pretty much solidified the fact I didn’t want anything to do with him anymore. Yeah, just tell the adopted girl to have an abortion as a form of birth control. Okay. Not.

Adam, whom was 11 1/2 years my senior, already had three children from two previous marriages already at this point. I tried to be cool and make things work anyway, for everyone, especially the baby’s sake,  but that just wasn’t happening obviously. The breaking point was when he called me selfish, and unfit, because at 6 and 1/2 months pregnant, I was going to absolutely still camp out in line for the Hanson concert that was only 45 minutes from our town. More on my Hanson addiction later, but just note that we basically broke up over a Hanson concert and I’m more than absolutely okay with it.
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Contrary to his belief, neither Avila, nor I died there in the front row or in line. I got pictures with them afterward and they signed my onesie I had bought for the baby.

As I mentioned in another post, I named Avila after a baseball player. He is named Alex Avila, and at the time I was picking her name, he was the Detroit Tigers’ catcher. I wanted something that was feminine, trendy – but not off the wall, and started and ended with an A. I’m a huge name nerd and I wasn’t going to take this lightly. I needed something that went with Adam’s other kids’ names, but could start it’s own “sibling set” later as well if/when I was to have more children. Anyway, my friend Sylvia (more about her later) and I were at Matt’s  (yes, now-my-fiance Matt) apartment, watching the Tigers game. At this point I am just writing down names that start and end with A, even if I knew for certain I’d never ever use them. Anyway, Alex Avila comes up to bat and I kind of perk up a little to the announcers on TV and stop writing. I said, “Hey, Avila starts and ends with A!” Then he hits a home run. That sealed the deal, Avila it would be if the baby ended up being a girl. Which, we never did find out what she was going to be until she was born. The general consensus was that “the baby” was going to be a boy and his name was going to be Benjamin David-Isaac. Which, is hilarious to me now, writing this over four years later of her birth. Nearly 5 years already since these events took place, which was May 12, 2011 when I found out I was pregnant with her in the first place…

Okay, anyway, I was due January 11, 2012. I had an appointment on my due date, and here we were, no baby in sight. I was dilated to a 3 and my on-call doctor was Dr. Deaton. He stripped my membranes at 10:00 am and sent me home to walk. I paced the living room for awhile, while talking on the phone to my friend Kristin in Lansing. I felt like I had a really slow leak and went to the bathroom. I decided to lay down since I wasn’t feeling any sort of contractions, or a big rush of water. I hung up with Kristin, and called my other friend there named Sunny. By this time it was around 1:00 pm and she advised me to instead go to the hospital. I took a shower and got ready, called Sylvia, and called my mom. By 3:30 pm we were at the hospital and the on-call doctor, Dr. Snider, told me I wasn’t leaving without a baby. Finally! We get settled into the room and they put Cervisil in to make me thin and progress further since I was only at a 4 or so at the time. So we watch at Dance Moms marathon on Lifetime while waiting for the 12 hours it needs to do its job. 4 am they start Pitocin to further my contractions but I’m still not feeling them. They screw around forever with that and finally I’m dilated to a 9. Dr. Schlice, my least favorite doctor, was on-call at this point and they had finally broken my water the rest of the way. It’s 12:30-1:00 pm and she moves the baby’s head around the rest of the cervix that hadn’t completely dilated yet, and asks me to attempt a push. Avila’s head damn near came out and I see my baby has a headful of black hair! Doctor tells me I can’t push anymore and at this point I can’t stop. The entire birthing staff come flying in and my slow ass doctors finally let me push again. Avila came out to her knees and the doctor made me stop pushing. I tried to stop, but I couldn’t and gave a half push and she was clear. Sylvia and my mom were there and before I could even ask what the baby was, she yelled, “We were wrong! It’s a girl!”
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I laid back and thought, “Oh Avila, I love you. I have a girl. I have a daughter.” They placed her on my chest and it was the most overwhelming feeling I have ever felt in my entire life. I’m adopted and so my mom’s love for me is this chosen love, and though it’s very emotional and overpowering in it’s own respect, I have this child, my own DNA.
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My own blood relative. The ONLY blood relative I’ll ever know on this Earth ever (at this point). It wasn’t a feeling I could describe. It still isn’t. That instant I became a mother is just, the single most powerful feeling I could possibly feel in my lifetime. Every single time was the most…the three most powerful, emotional, overwhelming, fearful, loving, cheerful, scariest, greatest, unbelievable, vulnerable, most perfect moments I’ll ever be able to experience in my lifetime.
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Avila was a pretty normal baby. Younger baby anyway. Yet, as she got older, and was doing more things, she wasn’t normal at all. And I knew. Matt came into my life romantically at this point and Avila was 7 months old. He met her at 8 months old. At 11 months, the three of us moved into our first home together. And we have lived here ever since. We hope to find some property out in the country more, house we can fix up some and have horses. We’d more towards Matt’s dad so that’s always good. I love his dad, he’s awesome.

Ok, so Avila was somewhat normal, until she hit around 12-18 months and her “quirks” weren’t just quirks anymore. I have a cousin that also has Autism, so it wasn’t an entirely foreign concept to me. I went to my Grandma, whom has done in-home day care her entire life, and I knew would give me her deep-heartedly honest opinion.
“Grandma, I think…I think she’s, special. Like, {my cousin}.”
“You know…yeah. Yeah, I absolutely think it’s worth looking into.”image

And that’s how that went. I went to our doctor and he was extremely skeptical at first, but I had came prepared, and listed every single instance that had gave me suspicion, and part way through he had agreed that I knew her best, and gave us the referral to Community Mental Health (CMH) for a screening. I was thrilled and terrified. I’m a very anxious person anyway, so all those weeks, those days, those hours, those minutes, those seconds were all so agonizingly  depressing for me. I drove myself insane a million times over and I dreaded the day, and yet, I looked forward to it. I was so nervously excited I could puke; I could finally have answers. I could be doing something for her. I could put this depressing anxiety into something good for once.

Then the day came. We went to the CMH building, met with a very eager lady, and she made me feel confident, just by seeing her. I knew this was right, I knew I was doing the right thing as her mother. And so they tested Avila, and she cried, and threw her fits and had her meltdowns. They hit every trigger for her – and of course, thus hitting every one of mine, but we lived. They had me fill out lots of questionnaires, interviewed me many times, and sign so many forms. As we were leaving, I asked the woman what she thought. She informed me she couldn’t say for certain yet, until she scored the tests Avila did, but she felt that she absolutely fell on the Autism Spectrum somewhere. I breathed a sigh of relief and shame at my feelings and fears for Avila going forward and awaited my letter in the mail. A week or so later, and I got the results in the mail. I ran out to the mailbox, and I knew as soon as I saw the thick envelope. I ripped it open and read that Avila was, in fact, on the Autism Spectrum and had been diagnosed with Autism. She was leaning towards a more Asperger Disorder type, but apparently that’s “no longer on the Spectrum.” So I read and researched every single thing I could about the parts Avila scored really low in to learn what I could do to help. I read a lot about removing artificial dyes, flavors, and preservatives from her diet and decided to give it a go. It was really rough at first, but within two weeks I already had a completely different kid.

7 Realities You Need to Face When Naming Your Child After an Athlete

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I found out I was pregnant with my first child in May of 2011. Detroit Tigers baseball was back with a vengeance, and I was faced with trying to come up with a name for the tiny person I was about to bring into the world. I didn’t originally intend for my daughter to be named after an athlete – specifically a baseball player – but it just so happened to work out that way. Well, now here we are about to start the 2016 season and the Tiger my daughter was named after was traded. TRADED. So, that got me to thinking…

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  1. Your player could get traded. Unless you Yankee fans named your child Jeter at any point before his retirement, this is something you have to accept. Though, the thought never crossed my mind when I settled on Avila (a la Alex Avila) that he could possibly be traded. And to the Chicago White Sox of all people. Geez. He could’ve at least went to the Cubs and not a division rival. Oh well, at least it’s not the Yankees.alexavilanewyorkyankeesvdetroittigersbufrlefz50_l
  2. Your player may be having a fluke season. Alex Avila had an okay 2012, and a crappy 2013. I absolutely got ridiculed by friends, family, and random Tigers fans when they would hear my daughter’s name. “Avila? Tell him to start swinging that bat and actually hitting the ball!” Me: “Yeah, I don’t think you’re understanding which Avila I actually have some control over, but okay random sir, trust me when I say that I absolutely feel your pain.”130807085043-01-alex-rodriguez-0807-horizontal-large-gallery[1].jpg
  3. Your player may be found out to be a cheater/liar/some how a bad person. Not that I’d ever understand why someone would name their kid after him in the first place, but I really feel for the ones that named a child after Alex Rodriguez for example. Even though he’s a Yankee, Derek Jeter was a very classy man on and off the field, so being associated with him isn’t a bad thing.
    However, you can’t foresee what someone is going to do in the future, and what exactly you consider to be “bad,” but think carefully about their quality of character both on and off the field.DerekJeter
  4. They may stop playing their sport all together, or get demoted so far down you don’t ever hear about them anymore. Even though Jeter is a legend, and avid baseball fans could absolutely still use it at any point for their children, I have a friend whom named her son Brandon Inge. Shortly after her Brandon’s second birthday, the long-time Tiger was traded away to Oakland. From there he had a shaky career and was then traded again. I lost track of him after that, but according to my friend he was demoted to his last team’s AA and AAA leagues and rarely heard from again, especially since he wasn’t in Michigan anymore.beck-articlelarge
  5. Your child might not even like the sport your player plays, let alone the player. Perhaps they like a different player on that team, or even a different team. Obviously I love baseball, and so Avila’s name is legitimately something near and dear to my heart. And of course Avila claims to like basketball. No matter how excited I try to get her about baseball, she would rather have me sign her up to play basketball. We are going to go to a Tigers versus White Sox game this summer as a family, but she’d probably rather go see the Pistons. Which, yeah, she’s gonna have to talk Matt into because I just can’t sit through a basketball game. Well, anyway, the point is that right now, she really doesn’t care about baseball or Alex Avila. She knows she’s named after a baseball player though, so there’s that at least I suppose.panoramica_de_avila_con_la_muralla_2null
  6. People may not “get” that it’s an athlete name. We are Detroit Tigers fans that live in Michigan. I’m seriously surprised as to how many people DO NOT “get” Avila’s name, or how to pronounce it, or anything. There have been two people in her lifetime that have pronounced it correctly on the first try: A social worker from the Autism Center that is a huge baseball fan, and actor Stephen Amell during our Chicago adventure (whom is also a huge baseball fan). Though, most often if people are commenting on her name, it’s to tell me how beautiful/unique/interesting it is and how did I ever find something so pretty. My response, “Uh, I was watching a baseball game, Alex Avila came up to bat, and I had just said I wanted a name that started and ended with ‘A.’ Then he hit a home run. Boom. Avila.”divided
  7. They’ll end up marrying or befriending someone that is named or a fan of a rival team/player. My luck Avila is going to end up marrying someone/having a forever friend named Jeter. Just because I “jinxed” us in that sense. Perhaps it’d be like my friend’s situation; she’s a Jewish Red Sox fan and she married a Christian Yankees fan. When they had their kids, they “compromised” and are raising them as Jewish Yankees fans… Which, I told her she got a bad deal on the baseball part and her husband should totally hand over all naming rights to her or something. I would have busted out some Bibles or something because I couldn’t ever raise my kids as Yankees fans. So I applaud all of you that do. Then again, there’s always the possibility of marrying/friending a family that’s really into a different sport. Maybe they’ll be more into football, or hockey, or God forbid, basketball. 😉

So, those are a few things to think about if you’re considering an athlete-inspired  name. I know I only have experience with baseball specifically, but I’d imagine it holds true for any sport. Obviously, I think you should essentially do whatever you think is best for your child, and your family, but I thought those were a few interesting things I’ve found so far on my Avila’s journey.

 

 

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.

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.