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Believe in the moments...big and small

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Believe in miracles.


Wherever you think they come from.


However you think they come to be.


Just believe that they do, in fact happen.


And while we're on the topic, just what IS a miracle anyway?



Right now, people are talking about the miracle of the birth of Christ. OK that can be considered a miracle.





Sometimes I think it's a miracle that Luke can I can get through Kroger outburst free and I've only spent $20 extra to keep him happy and not $50 and I only forgot 2 things and not 10.





Sometimes I think it's a miracle that everyone in my house has clean underwear on any given day. And I'm not saying that to be funny. I'm saying it because it's true.





My point is, miracles do NOT need to be these "major events." They certainly can be, but don't have to be. Miracles are all around you, everywhere you look. Believe they can happen.





I've mentioned before that my older son Jared was born with an extremely serious heart condition, transposition of the grea…

I believe....

I need to share this hilarious post!




Anyone with boys will laugh right loud!


http://www.cjredwine.blogspot.com/

Believe

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Today I begin what will be a month long topic. Now, I know what most of you are thinking, "That's great, but you only blog about once a month." I'm really going to try to blog two times a week. Yes, you heard it here first ~ two times a week. They aren't always going to be profound, earth shattering, life changing blogs (ha ha!) but I will try to put words out more regularly.

Believe.

It is my FAVORITE word. I have it all over the place. Plaques, signs, jewelry, ornaments, you name it. I surround myself with the word "Believe."

Now, I have to lay down some foundational groundwork here that is somewhat of a touchy subject. It's about God. I "believe" in God, but I don't "believe" in religion. Hm. That is to say that religion is not for me. If it's for you, I am really happy for you. It's just not for me. Don't want to get too deep into this topic. I hope that's enough.

The reason I explain that, is because believe …

Bathroom remodeling....and autism?

One of the things I am MOST thankful for is that Luke is potty trained. Something that so many parents take for granted is an amazing, unholy challenge for parents of autistic kids. What with the communication barrier and all. I mean really, how do you potty train a child that struggles to communicate? But I digress, this is supposed to be a post that makes you laugh.

So Luke is potty trained and that's a good thing. He still wears a pull up at night, which ~ as far as I am concerned he can wear one at night until he's 35 because he's a rock star during his awake hours and that's all I ask for.

Such a rock star in fact..............

that during our long weekend, we decided to do a mini re-model of our master bathroom. Part of that is tiling the floor which means that the toilet had to come out.

Which means that the toilet is sitting in the middle of my bedroom floor.

Do I even need to finish this story?

Heck, I'm still impressed as all get out that Luke ran to Jeff and s…

"Mom, what are you thankful for?"

First and foremost, hearing those words come out of your mouth.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh it's that time of year, Thanksgiving is shockingly upon us. Time to take a moment (if you can find one) and reflect on all that we are thankful for.

And just for the record, not a day goes by, not ONE DAY that I'm not thankful for the many many blessings I have. Even the days when my kids are driving me nuts and I want to kill my husband and I'm over-tired, over-worked, and under appreciated. Gosh, I am still thankful for every.single. second. I mean that.

One of the lessons I work VERY hard to teach my children is, "Be thankful for what you have, not sad about what you don't have." You know, like when my 9 year old is complaining that we won't let him get a DS*I* instead of his plain, boring, pathetic regular DS. Let's be thankful that you HAVE a DS. That the DS even EXISTS, that in our house we have TWO DS's so you and your brother won't fight over them. That this sum…
New blog coming soon!

I can't believe the walk is 48 hours away!

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Dear Readers, please excuse this ugly format. It's the only one I could use to make my video work. Next posting I'll go back to normal!


OK, I know my posts are supposed to be about you know, the journey of raising a special needs child. But this week my friends, it's about.......

Holy $hit! The walk is 6 days away!

You see, I've spent about one billion, 4 hundred and sixty two hours planning this walk. Give or take.

Phew... it's a lot of work! And if you've read my previous blogs, you'll know that I've had some moments in this journey where I've questioned... ummmmm motivation. Let's not open that can of worms again, OK?

And you know what I just realized? I AM writing about the journey of being the parent of a special needs child.

THIS is part of the journey.

Putting it out there. Letting go of the fear that people are going to judge you or your child, standing up and saying, "I'm a part of this!" and spreading the word. Because no on…

The whole truth and nothing but....

Guess who I talked to today? No really, you'll never guess. Oh alright, I'll tell you.

The CFO of Autism Speaks.

Yep, the little blog that could made it's way to the eyes and ears of some people here and there and Mr. Thomas Hetzel gave me a call on Friday. I'm glad I missed the call though, because the weekend gave me some time to really pour over the 990. (Click here if you want to see it yourself.) I'll be honest, it's a lot of accounting stuff that's wayyyyyyyyyyyyy over my head. But from reading the document, there's a few things I know.

$3.9 million in office expenses is unacceptable.

$2.4 million in printing services? Not ok.

Geri Dawson, the Chief Science Officer referenced in The Examiner article as making in excess of $600,000/ year? Good news! It's not true. What is true is that she makes four hundred and something and she got $270,00o in moving expenses.

Nope, not a typo.

$270,000.

And yes, my dear readers and supporters. I *DID* ask the questi…

Pride, in the name of love

Do you ever wish you could live your life over and erase all of the mistakes you’ve ever made? You don’t? Neither do I. My mistakes have made me who I am, quite possibly more than the “good choices” I’ve made.

No one’s perfect.

Today I read something that literally broke my heart. It’s a nasty ~albeit possibly true~ at least in part~ article about Autism Speaks. Specifically where they put the money we all work so hard to raise.

Want to read it?

Are you sure?

Click here.

In a nutshell, it says that Autism Speaks pays their executives too much and doesn’t give enough back to the families. I mean, of course it does. It’s true.

But this broke my heart for many many reasons.

Reason number one: I have spent 2 years of my life dedicated to the Walk Now for Autism. When I say, “dedicated,” you have no idea. Let me give you a clue. Luke hasn’t had clean pajamas in 3 days because I simply cannot catch up with laundry. I could fill the rest of the internet with how much I do, and I’m not saying that to…

Letting go

Sometimes I think that the hardest thing in life is letting go.

When you are a child you have a favorite toy/doll/blanket and at some point, your parents force you to let it go. When we’re kids we have no idea why, and truthfully our parents can’t even really reason with us why it’s necessary. But the good thing is, that toy/doll/blanket is just tucked away somewhere. We can still peek at it once in awhile, even hold it up to our nose and inhale that deep sweet smell of sweat and tears and grime and love. Sure we have to put it back again, but the security of knowing it’s there is sometimes good enough. So even though we’ve let it go what we’ve REALLY done, is just learn to live without it.

This is why death is so difficult. You are forced, usually unexpectedly, to let go of someone that is very dear to you. And there’s no looking back. You just….. let go. And it’s over.

I’ve been married for 11 years but once upon a time I dated a boy that I loved with every fiber of my being. We spent …

Cookies and werewolves....

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I know that my blogs are supposed to be about autism, but I can't resist linking to Myra's blog today.......... once again, it displays one of my many talents. And by "talent" I mean flat ironing a curly wig and hot glueing it to a werewolf statue. You just have to see it to believe it. Click here to go to Myra's blog. And? Myra is just funny and her blogs will make you laugh. And think.

Also while you are here, Christie's Cookies is giving away $10,000 to a charity! Please click here to vote! Enter "TN Walk Now for Autism" in Nashville, TN as the event! There! I talked about autism! =)





Shameless self promotion

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Well, in case you haven't figured it out, I do a lot of work with Autism Speaks and the TN Walk Now for Autism. I've mentioned before why I feel it's so important to raise awareness but... I'm going to say it again.

This week a group of high school kids asked Autism Speaks to send someone out to talk to them about autism. How cool, right? They wanted to learn more! And my "more," I mean, "at all." Of the 42 kids in that room with me, ONE of them even knew what autism was.

Newsflash: 1 in 150 kids are being diagnosed with autism in the United States. In the UK it's estimated that the numbers are more like 1 in 67. We need, *NEED* to educate the masses.

So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to teach these kids about autism and what it looks like and I encouraged them to go tell 10 people about what we talked about and make the information viral. I mean, Comic-Con and Twilight are trending topics on Twitter and yet autism is not? Really?

The reason…

Things aren't always what they seem

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Since Luke was diagnosed with autism almost 3 years ago, I’ve given this topic a lot of thought. It has come to a head for me several times in the last few weeks so of course the best thing I can think to do is write about it.

We went to Arizona a few weeks ago to visit my parents. I was scared to death the travel with the boys, sans husband. You never know how Luke is going to react. Airline travel presents a whole host of issues for autistic kids. Busy airport, unknown scenarios, lots of transitions, waiting, having to take shoes off (OMG!), handing over security items TO security, loud noises, strange people, on and on and on. Then we get on the plane to succumb to confined spaces, loud noises, the expectation to be quiet and sit still for hours, etc, so on and so forth. Last time we traveled he did “ok” but Jeff was with me so we were able to manage things with a bit more ease. This time it was just me, an overstuffed backpack for each of us, and a laptop for me to car…

Now I know my ABC's

So wow. People are starting to read my blog. So for those of you out there who don't know me personally, here's the abc's on who I am, today anyway.

a- April, it’s my name.. or so they tell me. In any given day I don’t hear it too much. Everyone I know has a nickname for me, including Myra who calls me, “Hooker,” Jeff who calls me, “Pet” (it’s a joke), and of course the name I’m called the most is….”MOM!!!!!!!” I would be remiss if I didn’t include autism under “a.” So I will say ~ autism: it’s part of my life but doesn’t define my life.

b- Boys. I gave birth to two and married one so I’m outnumbered!

c- Chiropractor. I’m one of “those.” I’m addicted. I love mine. He made my headaches go away. Without meds. And I used to get A LOT of headaches. Also? Candy. I friggen love it. The sugary kind like nerds or runts or gummy bears or orange tic tacs or gobstoppers. It’s really good for my 6 pack abs.

d- Doctors. I have the utmost respect for them (see: C).�…

More on sweating!

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Raise your hand if you get a million "forward" emails in any given week pertaining to who-knows-what because you automatically hit the "delete" button when you see them?

Whoosh. That was a lot of hands going up, I felt it all the way through cyberspace!

Well, I'm on that list to be sure ~ and this week I got this email from my father-in-law and it was a letter that Erma Bombeck wrote. The mouse was hovering over "delete," but for some reason, I opened it instead. Who knows why.

I read it, a little bit stunned. Given what I wrote in my last post, I was kind of shocked to realize that Erma and I share(d) a brain. Crazy. So I wanted to share with you what the late, great Erma Bombeck had to say had to say about.......

sweating.

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER - by Erma Bombeck (written after she found out she was dying from cancer).

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for…

Don't sweat it!

Before kids, I was one of those people who liked things, “just so.” A place for everything and everything in its place. I was, what you would call, “anal.” In general, I am a very detail oriented person. And a planner. So I like to plan everything down to the very last detail.

And then I had kids.

And I tried it for awhile, I really did.

When I had one child, it could sorta manage it. I mean he would nap and I could tidy up. We weren’t outnumbered yet. And then I had #2 and….well now things were technically tied up but in reality the energy of two boys wayyyyyyyyyyyy outnumbers the energy of 2 grown ups. And then Jared started to get a bit older and get into stuff (read: needed to be chauffeured everywhere) and Luke got diagnosed with autism (read: needed to be chauffeured everywhere, too) and then I got a part time job and then I started doing all kinds of volunteer work at the school and with Autism Speaks and sometimes I even throw in a minute to craft and if I’m luck…

Destiny

The real test of a man is not how well he plays the role he has invented for himself, but how well he plays the role that destiny assigned to him.-- Jan Patocka

This is one of my favorite quotes, and I’ll tell you why. My first son, Jared was born with a very serious congenital heart defect called transposition of the great vessels. It’s where the two main arteries of your heart are switched and that combined with a series of holes in his heart meant that the chances of Jared surviving were not strong. I came home from the hospital after having him and was in a great state of depression. I had one of those calendars where you flip each day and there’s a new quote. This was the quote that was up on the day I came back from the hospital. And a lightbulb went off in my head. This was truly, a turning point in my life.


The real test of a man is not how well he plays the role he has invented for himself, but how well he plays the role that destiny assigned to him.

You see, my whole life I had…

Smoke and mirrors....

Special thanks and shout out to Andy and Leigh Gibbs for teaching me how to make my blog look good! =)

Sometimes, I'm just in the mood for a little JT. OK in reality, I'm ALWAYS in the mood for some JT. But today, I need to get my "sexy back" or in this case, my "A" game.

The thing about being a parent is that you need to have your "A" game on at all times. *Sigh* (I sigh a lot in my blogs, don't I?) I mean you never get a day off or a moment off or a minute to yourself ever again. Suddenly everyone is watching YOU waiting to see how YOU will react. Which is really fun when all you want to do is scream, or cry, or sob, or break down. But, you don't get to do that. Because if Mommy loses it, then EVERYONE is going to lose it, which............

only makes it WORSE for Mommy.

And the last thing we ever want to do, is make things worse for Mommy.

So Mommy puts on a brave face and smiles, even though sometimes she wants to die inside.



Sometimes I t…

One moment in time...

And yes, I have Whitney Houston playing on my blog. Because I'm cheeky that way. No really, it's a joke.




So much can change in the course of one day.

Even one moment.

Today my bestest friend got on offer for representation. I’m not sure if that’s the right terminology but I do know that’s a really big deal. This is Myra’s dream coming true. She quit her job and everything she was doing and said, “that’s it, I’m going to write a book.” And write she did. Today that dream became a reality. I’m so thankful I got to be a part of this journey with her, one of the lucky few she let read even the really ugly early copies (according to her, not me, I always loved it). And today I got to be there when she got the news. It was a great moment. One that I will never forget. Funny how life can change so fast. Yesterday she was “someone who wrote a book,” and today is she is a breath away from, “author.”

When I was pregnant with both of my boys, my biggest fear was coming home from the hospital…

Stand By Me

Author’s note: I know, I know my other background was way cute but it took awhile to load and was sorta….busy.


I’ve been trying to make my blog somewhat witty, all the time “me,” and mostly, interesting to read. But when it’s 4:30 in the morning and I have a headache, it might just be ranting.

I think that was my idea of fair warning.

I can’t stop thinking of this woman I spoke with the other day, you know the one from my last post who wanted her son to hang with “normal” kids? Well, that was when the conversation started to get really interesting.

Disclaimer: names have been changed to protect the innocent. Or, not so innocent.

We’ll call the mom Susan and her son Billy for the sake of the story, OK?

I do a ton of work with Autism Speaks, mostly for the Walk Now for Autism. So, I was making phone calls to previous team members and trying to bring them back into the fold for this year. (I felt I needed to explain why I was even calling random people I don’t know) So I call Susan and she pro…

Normal is as normal does

The subject of "normal" has been coming up a lot in my life lately. Someone said to me awhile ago, "I'm really thankful that my kids are normal." Hmmmm. Doesn't take much to get my feathers ruffled but ...*sigh.* That's the mama bear in me. Today a woman with an autistic son on the road to recovery said to me, "I don't want Billy hanging around other children that aren't normal. He needs to see kids who are acting normal so he knows how to behave."

This is a family blog people. I can't even tell you what I was thinking after that one.

Then a few days ago, Jared asked me, "Mom, do you consider yourself normal?"

(Insert insane amounts of laughter here)

We proceeded to have a conversation about what "normal" means. He was referring to the fact that he wasn't "normal" because he was born with a congenital heart defect. And Luke isn't "normal" because he has autism. And Daddy isn't &qu…