Monday, November 19, 2012

The Athlete In Me

I was really moving along and kicking ass, and was inspired to find this inner athlete in me.  Earlier this year I participated in the Barry's Bootcamp 30 day challenge.  It was an amazing opportunity and an incredible workout.  Kara Perez the manager at the Irvine, CA location was key to helping me find the athlete that had been buried under years of inactivity.  In the 30 day challenge I found my wind, I found speed, and I found strength that I never thought I had.  I was able to train and successfully complete 2 half marathons, a couple of mud runs, and put some miles on the road in Mission Viejo. 

During the challenge I lost 16lbs, and really was able to do more than I ever thought my middle aged, cancer stricken, overweight body could have ever done.  But I did it.  I did it with this tiny little girl Kara yelling "Yes, it's going to hurt, so what, keep going!!!!",   "It hurts, it sucks, but the hurt brings the body you want",  "DON'T STOP"!  She would tell me what to eat, and when to eat, and how to move, and what to do.  I felt the best and strongest that I have ever felt in my life.

Over the summer, I continued working out and running and completed my 2nd half marathon.  I did get a little complacent about my fitness.  My son spent a week in the hospital, autism was running rampant, and I put myself last on the list, and didn't properly plan to take care of myself.  My eating went to hell and my fitness fell apart - I'm not where I started, but I gave into the chaos of the house for awhile.  But I'm over it. 

Sweaty mommy is a happy mommy
I feel like Kara Perez is that little Angel on my shoulder and she is screaming at me to "KEEP GOING".  So to do that I have to incorporate everyone.  I'm turning these two little autistic boys into runners, and hikers.  They like to be outside, and they like to be with me so we are hitting the trails.  Who says that they can't be athletic?  I mean really fitness is a family deal.  If I'm fit, I can share it with everyone.  The boys go with me, we walk, we trot we run we play.  Part of autism is that theymay have low muscle tone, well not if I can help it!! I am making them do the things with me that I didn't want to do with Kara at first.  But they are participating and now asking to go out to the greenbelts and run, and play, not just sit and watch TV.

I really am a runner and an athlete no matter what my head says.
So I thank you Kara Perez and all your training because your voice stuck in my head these past few months, and Barry's Bootcamp for drilling that inner athlete into me, and not letting her die.  I will be back,  things are getting better, and I'm learning that if I fail to plan for myself, then I am planning to fail.  So this middle aged mommy athlete is getting back on the treadmill and getting her game back on, so I can teach these kids and keep them healthy.  This is a family, and we will all be together in fitness rather than on the couch.

So as we slide into the holidays, I won't be pigging out, I'll be running, lifting and repeating with a tiny little girl yelling at me.  Because truthfully, isn't the best gift I could give everyone in my family a healthy me???


Friday, November 16, 2012

Grateful today and everyday - even when I forget

I have been trolling around on Facebook and seeing everyone's daily item of thankfulness or gratitude, and somedays I'm not feeling particularly thankful.  Even though, I have an abundance of things to be thankful for.

Today is one of those days where I feel like my cup runs over, and while I have the ability and the memory of this moment where I'm looking at everything in front of me with immeasurable gratitude, I want y'all to know what I am thankful for.

My family - That husband that drives me batty some days, he is a gem sometimes too, and a work horse and a good dad and provider.  My amazing kiddos, they taught me a love and drive that I never thought I was capable of.  My parents are amazing, they would do anything I ask and love my kids with all their hearts.  My brother, sisters in laws and all the nieces and nephews we feel blessed to have all of you in our lives.  There is a wonderful lesson of socials skills and friendship that is taught with cousins first, and our family does it up right.

Autism - Yes, you read it correctly,  I am grateful today for autism.  While I do hate it with a passion, it allowed me to find a strength, conviction, and a drive to do for my kids that I did not think was humanly possible.  I think autism gave me the patience, tolerance and love for my kids that fills every gap on earth.

My home - It's cozy, chaotic, and pretty, and I love it.  It was the first place I brought my kids home to and I just love it, and am excited this year to cook our first Thanksgiving 8 years after moving in :)

My grandfather - He's been gone for many many years.  But those words that he said to me when I was a little girl "I work this hard so you won't have to and can be happy" - Well Nanu - you have given a gift to my little boy that I will NEVER be able to express the gratitude for helping us crack that shell of autism.

My running shoes - they gave me my sanity, every pounding step took some pain and made me a stronger woman, wife, and mom.  Still the cheapest form of therapy I could have ever found.  The miles and races I have run have kept me from the brink of insanity more than you can ever know.

My friends - to my new friends, and my old friends, who have stuck by my side through autism, cancer, fat, thin, rich, poor, crazy and through the laughter and the tears.  Even if we only chat on facebook, I'm so grateful for the outlet and insight into your lives.  

For Brain Treatment Center, Coyne and Associates, Regional Center, Surfers Healing, and Social Kiddos Playdates, and all the moms groups and friends that we have made through this autism journey.  I respect you and am grateful you have trudged this road before me and taught me how to be a warrior mom.  And for all the fun and "normal" things you make possible for my kids and others to experience.  This would be a lonely ride trying to do this alone, so I applaud all of you and your efforts and hard work to make our family included.

 Happy Thanksgiving!  And don't forget to Give some Thanks!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Knott's Can I count the ways I love you?!!!

We live in the land of theme parks and Hollywood.  In this crazy economy, the world of toddlers and special needs, I have found the place that my boys love, and when they don't the staff and park is INCREDIBLY accommodating to my family.  Knott's Berry Farm I love you.  You have given so much to my kids by way of fun, family, and a normalcy that we don't get in all places.

I love your Mother's Day Brunch, your Easter Egg Hunt in Camp Snoopy, I love Camp Spooky, and my favorite time of year Knott's Merry Farm for Christmas time.  I am not leaving out the spectacular Halloween Haunt that they superbly execute every year, but 4 and 6 year olds are not too keen on that yet, but I am hopeful in several years it will be a family outing we all look forward too.

If you go to special events such as Camp Spooky at Halloween time, your kids get such extra special treatment, and have a blast.  There is trick or treating, cookie decorating, story telling and (a quiet place to go to when the kiddos are on overload), hay mazes, and of course all the Peanuts Characters.  Camp Spooky has age appropriate rides that give the little ones a thrill without putting fear into them, and gave my kids laughter that I LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear.

They do it up right for the holidays.  The Marketplace is decorated to the nines and if you an not get festive after a visit, then you may be hopeless.

But in Southern California there is not by any means a better value, a more fun and family oriented place than Knott's Berry Farm.  I'm so looking forward to Knott's Merry Farm and getting our Season Passes to give to the kids for Christmas.

#campspooky he loved Snoopy

He really liked it until the big hill

We got a lot of laugher and vocals here!

The BEST Mother's Day Brunch EVER

Amazing Christmas for #MerryFarm

Thank you again Knott's for treating kids with Autism with dignity and respect and being patient when they need it.  This is a place we go where they get to do the things typical children get to do, and they enjoy and love going there, and for that, and that alone I will be eternally grateful.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Punching Autism in the face

I'm not sure if today I'm the happiest mother on earth, but I could be close to it.  Autism is a way of life in our home.  I have two kids with it, and one is severe, and one is functioning with it, and has a lot of sensory issues.  My older son is non verbal and has many issues that make it hard for him to communicate, and very hard for me/us/anyone to pull him out of his world. 

We made a huge decision to try a new experimental therapy on our oldest son Franklin.  It is called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.  In the last couple weeks he has gotten EEG's and TMS on his brain 7 times, and things are starting to happen, they first showed up on EEG, and now behavior and he is changing so much for the better.  It is not Large Enormous changes like him all of a sudden speaking in sentences.  But it's getting a TON more eye contact, he is seeking me out to play with him, not just take him potty, get him food, or open a door.  He is getting my attention to play with him,  he drags me out to the swing set, he asks for more of me to give him piggy back rides, he wanted my husband to lie down on his bed with him as he chattered away until he fell asleep.  THAT NEVER HAPPENS, he has always wanted to be alone  when it was bedtime.  My husband was nearly speechless that Franklin wanted to have all that alone time with him.  He nearly didn't know how to respond.  Amazing.

My little guy is just responding to his ABA therapy in life changing ways.  His language has just recently exploded with new vocabulary.  He is getting less echoic and more reciprocal in his conversation.  He is parallel playing with kids, he loves going to school.  And tonight the hugest of huge things happened, after 8 months of consistently and daily working on potty training, the little bastard FINALLY went on the toilet.   We nearly threw a parade in his honor.

So this week, we in our home, were busy, making strides, and fighting with all our might and punching autism in the face.

I have fought so hard this last month with behaviors, meds, changes in my kids, and have let myself go.  I have irregularly been running or doing anything good for myself,  my kids doing so well is a consolation.  However, I will make this commitment to you to get back on the fitness track and take care of myself FOR MY CHILDREN.