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Oct 30, 2012

Muppet Party Inspiration

As an  autism mommy I'm grateful for the several sources for inspiration out there so I can give my Caiti a party where she will feel happy and surrounded by family and friends (both people and plush).
Since Caiti's birthday is by Halloween, we decorated her pumpkins to go with her party.  They were out front to help welcome everyone.  :)

A few months back,  I  made Caiti  some Sesame-Street-shaped heads out of felt.  Then I  cut   out a bunch of different-shaped eyes, mouths, etc. I put velcro on the back, because velcro sticks to felt.  These came  in handy for an easy party game:   Pin  the face on the Muppet.  :)
I have been in  love with  the  Sesame Street and Muppet Alphabets by  m_baboon.  I used his alphabets as inspiration to make her  birthday banner with cardstock, scissors and glue.
I found awesome decor ideas on  They have a bunch of printable Muppet Paper crafts. 
The Muppet hand puppets in the top left corner of the pic were everyone's favorite, and I just thought the other crafts were too cute.
I found a cute party idea on pinterest ( for a "Create Your Own Kermit" craft.   I  totally borrowed that idea,but I thought Kermit  looked  lonely, so I had to add a "Make Your Own Miss Piggy" craft to the bunch.
We have bought several copies of the Dollar Store Sesame Babies book about Bubbles.  After our last copy got trashed, I framed a couple of pics for the kids bathroom.  They gave me inspiration for a bubbles station...However,  right after I took this picture, Jason found the gigantic thing of bubbles and was following me around with it, while I was trying to finish up party prep.  So I hid it, and then I totally forgot to get them out for the party.  Still, it was a good idea anyway, right?

Another game I  had that we forgot to play was Oscars Trash Toss.  Yes, I found the idea on Pinterest.  It made a cute decoration though.  I made Slimey (Oscars pet worm) out of felt.   It was my first attempt at a sewing craft with felt.  Good thing my sister Amy was a phone call away to tell me to put the yellow felt on the orange first, then roll it into the worm, then sew it together.
Our friend and respite provider, Maria, was a sweetheart and brought an Elmo balloon to go with the decor  We tied it to a basket full of all of Caiti's Sesame Street/Muppet books.
 She also had a cute cake made for Caiti with all her favorite Sesame Street friends.
My friend Whitney and I borrowed another pinterest idea and decorated the cups like Cookie Monster and the plates like Elmo.  Jason was OBSESSED with the Cookie Monster cups.  :)

Our party was so nice, such a success.   I'm so thankful for my wonderful friends and family who came and made my baby girl so happy.  Thanks for bringing the pizza, drinks, helping get everything set up.   And of course, thanks for the fun new friends that Caiti can play with now.


Trunk-or-Treat Serenade

As an autism mom, I'm thankful for trunk-or-treat.  Trick-or-treating is too scary when you have kids who run off, have no safety awareness, don't get why everyone looks creepy.   We even had to stop handing out candy because Garrett would make a dash for it any time we opened the door to the cute little trick-or-treaters.
This trunk-or-treat, my kids were "The Wiggles."  I chose that costume cause then they would actually wear it. I had originally gotten Caiti an Abby Cadabby costume.  She wouldn't even let me try putting the wings on  or the cute headband with the Abby Cadabby ponytails.  

I'm  grateful they have iron-on image transfers so I could make their plain shirts into Wiggles shirts.  :)
We loved getting candy from all our friendly church family.   The best part of the night was what I caught on this video though.  Caiti makes me happy, and her friend with the guitar made her happy.

Oct 26, 2012

Finding Emotional Healing in Music

As an autism mom, I'm very grateful for music.  It is healing to my soul. Music has a way of expressing my emotions when words sometimes fail.  Certain songs have touched my life in very meaningful ways, and even now, when I hear them, I experience the same feelings.  One such song is my personal anthem for my children, and I think many parents of children with autism also feel this is the perfect anthem for their situation.  I first saw it on a video for an autism awareness campaign, but it is actually a Rascal Flatts song, "I Won't Let Go." (

Another song that touches my heart is Beyonce's Halo.  (  This song is beautiful to me for a different reason. After finding out that Garrett and Caiti had autism, we had a surprise pregnancy resulting in my last baby, Jason.  I felt some hope with Jason that I might have the experience of raising a neurotypical child, and I believed for the longest time that he wasn't affected with autism.  When he started showing signs at about 18 months, I went through a very deep depression.  I remember my therapist suggesting I write a poem to address my feelings about Jason.  I couldn't come up with the words to portray both my love and the pain I was feeling.  One day, while listening to "Halo" by Beyonce, my own personal lyrics came to me with the music of that song.  Now, whenever I hear the song, it reminds me of the great love I have for my beautiful little boy who proved to me that it would be okay, and he has become my "warm fuzzy" and such a blessing in my life. This is the poem that I wrote that day:

Discovering Jason (Inspired by Beyonce’s Halo)

Jason, my baby boy,
I love your expressive eyes.
Your sloppy kisses make me smile.
You’re my sweet little cutie pie.

Watching you since the day you were born
Hoping you’d turn out just fine.
I would see little things that you did
And realize they might be signs.

It’s like I’ve been waiting
These doubts trying to shake, and
It’s a choice that I’m making.
I’m never gonna shut you out.

Every day as you grow more
I’m there to hold you by your hand.
Baby, you’re amazing, and
You’re a great part in God’s plan.

Jason you make me happy,
And you always light up my days,
But parts of you are changing...
I hope my sadness will fade away.

It’s like I’ve been waiting
These doubts trying to shake, and
It’s a choice that I’m making.
I’m never gonna shut you out.

Never, ever gonna shut you out.
I may want to scream and shout…
But I will never shut you out

Oct 25, 2012

Kindness from a Friend

As an autism mom, I'm grateful for the kindness I receive from my friends.  For example: last month, I received the following email from a friend that I have had the pleasure of knowing as long as I can remember:
" I was thinking of your daughter. I was thinking she would love an Elmo skirt:) If you think she would like that I would love to make one for her (or any other character you think she might like that I could find fabric for). Autistic children are so special and a blessing from Heavenly Father. I don't think I could find an applique for Elmo (for the matching shirt) of course it wouldn't be to hard to make one up. They have the disney princesses and minnie mouse. Seriously I would love to do that for your daughter. Making stuff for others is my way of serving others. You wouldn't have to worry about paying for any of it either."
I was so touched by the thought, and so excited too.  
Yesterday, we received a very cute package in the mail, just in time for Caiti's birthday next Monday.  Caiti is NOT big on clothes, but when she saw these, she was very happy to let us dress her in them.    We will have to get her used to the hairbows, but  I'm thinking she'll like them soon enough.  Until then, I think I make a great hairbow model.  ;)

Oct 22, 2012

Adapted Opportunities

Today, I read the sweetest little article about a Russian ballerina in NY who teaches free adapted dance classes to children with autism.
I have a great love and respect for the people out there that are willing to spend the time to work with these cute kids and give them the chance to learn and experience the same things as their "typical" peers.
I remember one of my first times I let myself cry after realizing that Caiti had autism.  I was watching the evening news, and they had a story about an adapted ballet class for special needs children.  I saw all those beautiful little girls in their tutus and tights.  I just balled my eyes out.
I remember complaining to my kids' ABA supervisor that I was upset that there weren't more opportunities close by for my kids.  I felt bad that they weren't in Little League, etc.  I don't think my kids cared though.   I know there are special teams out there, but if you have three kids with autism, and limited transportation, it's tough to follow through on those.  Luckily, this amazing ABA supervisor decided to add "therapeutic rec" to their ABA.  They were able to learn, slowly and surely, a bit of soccer.  They have all started to have swimming lessons, and they are so much more comfortable in the water.  That gives me the most peace of mind.
A dear woman from my church is a Yoga instructor, and she has worked some with my kids.  We have worked together to develop a curriculum for them that they can understand, including a picture schedule with things they are familiar with (like fun songs), in between the different poses.
My children also are able to take adapted P.E. in school.  This is so wonderful because they are able to feel good about themselves by accomplishing things that are tailored to their ability.
The main thing I have learned about these adapted opportunities is that you might have to make them happen on your own.  Take the initiative and ask friends/family who are good at different sports, etc., to learn a little bit about how to teach children with autism and maybe donate some of their time to helping these kids find things that make them feel happy and successful.

Oct 16, 2012


As an autism mom, I am not ashamed to admit that I am grateful for weekly therapy sessions.  I had to take the summer off from therapy because there was literally no time for myself when the kids were out for the summer.  Today was my first day back, and it was great to have the reminder that the only thing I can control in my life is myself.   It was good to be able to focus on my wellness and have some guidance when thinking of strategies to lessen my stress, or at least to cope with it in a healthy manner..
One of the things we talked about was allowing myself time to be creative.  That can be dangerous with me because I have ADD, so I can become hyper focused on things that are fun/interesting to me and neglect other things.  So we discussed setting the timer for 15 min when I'm having my "me" time, and then setting it for another 15 min to clean the house or do other things that need to be done, rewarding myself with 15 more "me" minutes.
I was pretty proud of what I came up with during my "me" time today.  It definitely took way more than 15 minutes, but it was a fun way to relieve my stress.  All I used was Halloween paper, tape and magnets (for the back to hold it to the front door).

Oct 12, 2012

Grover Voice

As an autism mom, I'm so grateful for my cute Caiti and how much she loves her toys.  She has a hard-to-learn skill with a lot of kids with autism of playing with her toys.  She has a great imagination, and they are all her friends.  I have an entire blog addressed to Caiti and her toys (  My very favorite is when Caiti plays with her Grover.  She has a voice designated especially for him.  I'm grateful today that we were actually able to capture it.  It makes me smile every time.

Oct 10, 2012

Impromptu Photo Ops

As an autism mom, I'm grateful for my friend/the kids' tutor, Whitney, who happened to bring her camera on our outing today.  We were getting ready to get out of the car, and I looked back at my kids.  They were sitting so well in the backseat and looked so cute.  We decided to take advantage of having all the kids in the same spot at once.   So I climbed in the trunk behind them, and miraculously, I got some pictures with all three kids at the same time.  Hooray!  Take those photo ops when you can get them.  ;)  I never thought about how nice seatbelts are for keeping kids in the pic.  ;)

Oct 7, 2012


As an autism mom, I'm so grateful for the love and snuggles my kids give me.  They don't care if it is cool or not to hug your mom or give their own kinds of kisses.  Garrett likes to sniff people he likes' hair...can be akward, but if you know that about him, it's super cute.  This moment was one of the best though.

Oct 1, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies!!!!

As an autism mom, I'm grateful for the awesome family recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  Today is the first day of October, so we decided to do something fun and seasonal for therapy time.  Whitney, Jason and I went to Wal-Mart, looked at lots of fun Halloween stuff that I'm too stingy to actually buy, planned costumes, etc.  Then we decided to make yummy cookies to celebrate that it's fall.  This is the easiest, but most rewarding cookie recipe ever.  

All you do is mix together a spice cake mix, a can of pumpkin and a bag of chocolate chips.  (We used the mini chips).  Drop dough by spoonful onto a greased tin.  Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  
This is my excited face.  He he.  J/k.
 Whitney has jazz hands.  :)  Jason already enjoyed a cookie...can you tell?
 I had to be like Jason and enjoy my cookie too.
 Caiti and her buddy.  :)
 Ha ha.  Garrett isn't very good at the whole "smile" part when we want to take his picture.

I think those were a success!!!!!