"I sit and wonder why-y-y-y...Sandy.."

Oh, please. Like there was another song I could use this weekend.

In case you've stumbled upon this blog and aren't on the eastern seaboard, we're being pummeled by Hurricane Tropical Storm  Post-Tropical Cyclone (according to the National Weather Service) Sandy. She has been dumping rain on us for over 24 hours now and this afternoon the winds kicked up. I am as far inland as you can get without being in Philadelphia, so thankfully, things here aren't as bad as they are at my beloved shore, where there is extensive damage.

I have to admit, I'm a bit worried about this little girl:

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Lucy! On the right, per-restoration, on the left as she is today! Love her!

We managed to squeeze in a very busy weekend before Sandy rolled in. There was a girls night out, the Lupus Walk, Robbie's 5th birthday, and some dying my hair purple time.

Wait. What?

At any rate, I'm waiting out the storm and trying to keep poor PJ amused! We are used to lots of activity, but without even therapy to get us through, it's a challenge keeping my high-energy Boy happy! I am hoping that tomorrow will be the last of it!

Thee is so much to tell, but it will have to be for tomorrow, friends! I have a cute toddler to snuggle and keep safe in this crazy storm!

Be safe!

"I can't find the air..."


Oh, these boys.
How blessed I am to have them.
We shared some fall fun yesterday,
pumpkin picking at a local farm!
PJ, at first, only had eyes for the tractor.
"Green tractor!"
He ran through the pumpkin patch
drumming on the huge ones
and trying to fling the smaller ones
while Pete tried to chase him with the
camera and camcorder.
But he was happy as can be and on the way back
discovered just how fun hay can be. :-)
He piled it on his legs and threw it in the air.
It was fresh, super clean, fluffy hay and it smelled
Like, I wondered if maybe Yankee Candle made a
"Fresh Hay" scent.
Sadly, my lungs didn't agree and went all
"Bitch, please, you know we don't do hay!" and
Shut the heck down.
The rest of yesterday was, needless to say,
I was struggling to fill my lungs with air as I grappled with
one of the more severe allergy attacks I have ever had.
But it was worth it to miss some air in my lungs when
my heart was just so. damn. full.
Even more full as, in the wake of a tragedy
I realize that it's all fleeting.
In a blink, I have a newborn...
I have an infant...
I have a toddler...
And even though the time blazes by
you just assume that time will be long.
Oh, I pray so hard for it to be long.
And I pray for the family who lost their beautiful Autumn.

"You're original, cannot be replaced..."

After a brief absence, I was all set to return to my blog last night. But I didn't. You're welcome.

Let me back up a bit. The past week has been a busy one, with all of PJ's usual therapies and activities. I have also been working on a nice bought of Fall Cleaning, which can turn into quite an ordeal foe someone who is as big a slob as I am who wants to make sure every detail is perfect who, quite frankly, would rather sit on my ass and watch tv then scrub shit. But there were fall clothes to clean and organize, bedrooms to straighten up, and a bathroom that needed to not look like it would give you a tropical disease if you dared to take a pee.

I also managed to squeeze in a girls night out with two of my oldest and dearest before being flung into a week where Pete's work schedule had him gone four nights in a row. So, needless to say, we all had our hands full here, and my blog suffered for it, even though I had (as usual) much to say.

Last night I was all ready to sit down at the keyboard, but I watched The Night of Too Many Stars, the Comedy Central telethon to raise money for Autism treatments and programs. Much of the show was hysterical, of course, but there were a few moments that were so completely, emotionally overwhelming that I could not stop my tears. If I had tried to write, it would have been the equivalent of Emotional Ebola; so much feeling just oozing out of my pores. This moment...oh my God, are there even any words?

My friends (especially Randi. Hi, Randi!) know that it does not take much to make me cry, and I have sniffled back tears with my credit card in hand for tons of telethons. This one, however, was for something that affected my own little family, that my son faces every day (with the drive of his beloved Thomas the Train, by the way!). It Just. Hit. So. Close. To. Home. It reminded me that even though our dreams are still bright and shinny and amazing, they were rewritten in the blink of an eye. A year after we began this journey, it can still be a tough pill to swallow.

A line in the song kept playing through my head: Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed/So you can open one that leads you to the perfect road. Despite my girl crush and pink hair envy, Katy Perry is no Bernie Taupin, but she hit the damn nail on the head with this one. When PJ was diagnosed, it was like an audible slam! It took awhile to realize that this was all...okay. Not right or fair or perfect or anything like I wanted. But, okay. PJ may not end up on a stage singing with Katy Perry (although his Daddy would be thrilled to facilitate that meeting, ha ha!) but, maybe, he'll sing dirty songs about boobs with some of his friends when he's twelve. You know, or something. The point is, we'll open up the right door.

Damn it. Emotional Ebola. But, it's a mild case in comparison to the outbreak had I sat down to blog last night!

At any rate, if you would like to donate:
Click the image above for full donation policy and info, not to mention clips and recaps from the telethon!

"If they knew you at all, then one by one the angels...will fall..."

So, just in case you thought my victorious tone in yesterdays post was a bit too smug, you should know that PJ woke me up this morning by spilling the glass of water I had on my night stand...on my head. I woke up to PJ's gleeful cry of "OH NOOOOOOO!" as I was simultaneously doused in room temperature water. PJ couldn't stop laughing even when I scolded him.


That was me, falling back to Planet Toddler.

Despite that auspicious start, the day was not too terrible. Therapy went well, the weather was outstanding, and PJ had another accident-free day! Pete has a few days off from work, so I am planning on catching up on some projects around the apartment and soaking in as much family time as possible!

To change tone for a second...the other night I saw this story:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I look at Malala Yousufzai, this beautiful young girl, so brave and determined...I think of myself at fourteen- I was ugly, had no self-esteem, and was barely brave enough to correct someone if they mispronounced my name. I went to school because I had to, because if I didn't, I could be in the choir. I learned because it's what I was supposed to do. There was never the idea that possibly, there was another young girl, somewhere in the world, who would do anything for the opportunity I took so casually. If someone had told me that by going to school I would be committing an act of bravery that might get me killed, I would have stayed the hell home. Malala was willing to face death to not only improve her life, but to be an example to young girls in Pakistan and all over the world.

To try and bring any kind of justice to her story is well beyond my capabilities- I feel like I'm bordering on word vomit and this story deserves so much more then that. To say that Malala's story is one of ambition, of bravery, of selflessness...it doesn't come close. I do know that as of right now, her flame is not out, she is continuing to fight for her life. So please. Please. Pray for this amazing soul.

"Bicycle races are coming your way..."

Today was a "big deal" kind of day.

It didn't seem like a special day. We woke up and PJ had an early therapy session, leaving us our entire morning for fun and adventure! The weather took a turn for the slightly warmer and less wet, so PJ and I ventured outside to get some fresh air.

On a whim, I got PJ's little balance bike and helmet out of the basement. PJ got them as gifts from Mommy and Daddy the Easter bunny, but hadn't shown much interest. The helmet especially had been a challenge, PJ hated it! So, we would bring it out now and then. PJ got over his helmet-phobia pretty quickly but the bike only held his interest for a minute or two, tops. Today, though, the gorgeous weather seemed like a good omen, so I got out the bike, strapped on his helmet, and PJ?

PJ went all Lance Armstrong on me! He hopped on and propelled along, carefully holding the handle bars and listening to my help ("Sit up on the seat, Buddy! Okay, now push with your feet!Oh, NO, you may not ride in the street to go look at the stop sign!"). He was persistent, patient, and was having fun!

Taking a break!
So, kid on a bike. Big friggin' deal, right? But actually, it's a huge deal for a bunch of reasons! The first is that PJ still struggles with some of his fine and gross motor skills. Second, he has a very short attention span and is not always able to attend to tasks. Seeing him navigate the bike, check his balance, stick with it and be able to look up at me while he did all of that was amazing! It was light years away from where he was the last time we took the bike out, and I felt very emotional watching him ride/walk along! It was, in fact, a big deal.

The other big deal was a light at the end of the potty training tunnel- PJ had his first completely accident-free day! He stayed dry through therapy, through play time, through errands, and through more play time after dinner. He used the potty at Barnes & Noble with no fear and tons of cheers ("Pees pees on the potty HOORAY!"), much to the amusement of our restroom-mates. He still needs to be led to the potty vs. asking to go on his own, but he is obviously getting the idea of waiting to go when he's on the potty instead recognizing the urge to go. We will continue to work on helping him build the communication skills to let us know when he has to use the bathroom but for now, this victory was a huge deal!

Bikes and bathroom breaks don't seem like much, but for us, it was a day of ordinary miracles and big darn deals. After tonight, Pete will enjoy a few days off, and I can't wait to see what milestones we can hit as a whole family!

"You're so precious to me..."

Today was a real, start-of-fall day.
It was grey and cold and damp.
It was snuggle inside weather...
Wear your pajamas all day weather...
Don't bother putting on a bra weather.
Well, just me for that last one.
It was an ordinary day.
It wasn't shiny or exciting.
It, really, wasn't anything to write about.
But, there were lots of hugs.
Tons of laughs.
Scads of jumping on Mommy and Daddys bed.
Well, just PJ for that last one.
At the end of the day,
After a glow stick bath (PJ's favorite),
I zipped my big boy into the first pair of footie pajamas this season.
(It's going into the 40's tonight and my boy gets icicle feet and hands, just like his Mommy!)
A few days ago, my mom and I went shopping to get PJ some new clothes.
Particularly, some school clothes.
Because my big boy is going to school next month.
But when I zipped him into a nice, warm pair of
Blue stripped footie pajamas,
With his beloved paci tucked firmly between his lips...
Ahhh....there he is.
A hint of the tiny blonde boy we brought home from the hospital
Just shy of three years ago.
In just shy of two months, I'll kiss him goodbye
And put him on a bus.
It will just be a few hours...
That will seem like a million.
So, tonight, I savored the feeling
Of a baby boy in footie pajamas
Kissing his Mommy goodnight.

"If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad..."

A while back, I mentioned that my sister Marla said that on Fridays, people tend to blog about the things that make them happy. And why not? For most folks, Friday is the end of the work week, the start of the weekend, the night that there's good stuff to watch on television. It means that Saturday is coming, family time is coming, fun is coming. Friday rocks my socks.

Today was a darn good Friday, in fact, it's been a pretty darn good week. With the exception of PJ being slightly more tantrum-y then usual (he has another damn molar coming in), it has been a week full of happiness, sweet thoughts, and surprises.

Potty training is going very well! We are taking it slow, but PJ seems to be getting the hang of it and understanding the feeling of having to go. He still has to be led to the potty most of the time, but he has gone all on his own a few times. He also used the potty outside of the house (I bring his potty seat with me and just slap it on the toilet wherever we are) with no fear, which is a huge deal! We have phased out diapers completely (except at night) and we are starting to phase out pull-ups. Today, he stayed dry for a whole afternoon at the mall, and even did TWO pee-pees on the potty at Nordstroms! I can only imagine what people thought of the cheers emanating from the ladies room. :-) He cheers so loudly for himself when he uses the potty, and I love seeing him so proud!

Pete got a new position at his hospital, and is moving to the Emergency Department! I think he's really excited about getting a change of scene and having a new challenge. The job is not self-scheduling, as I originally thought; there is a set schedule, so I can only hope that this one will be better then his current one. But either way, I'm so proud of him and so excited for this new opportunity! Plus, he'll be on day shift for a few weeks while he's on orientation. Booyah! He'll hate it because he loves working nights, but I will love having him home every night for a while! :-)

OMG! I just flipped to ABC Family and The Sandlot is on!!! YOU'RE KILLING ME, SMALLS!


Anyway. I got to spend a lot of time with my sister Marla this week. She had yet another setback in starting her new medication, but she hangs in there the best she can. She keeps her sense of humor, makes the best of everything, and has even started her own blog! I really hope that with a new doctor and a new regimen (that will, hopefully, start sometime this year) she is going to turn a corner in this thing. I know she wants to go back to work, and to look and feel like herself again, and I am praying that she's on her way. PJ needs his Aunt Mawwah!

And today? Today is the fourth anniversary of the death of my brother-in-law, Greg. There's always a tinge of sharp pain when he's thought of, that first second when you remember again that he's not here. And it's not easy, never has or will be easy to know he's gone, with all of his laid-back, Star Wars fan, dark-humored ways. But time passes and his daughters keep growing and his wife, Shelly, keeps going on. It's okay for life to ge good. We smile and laugh a lot when we think of Greg. And we miss him.

It's good for the soul to look back at the week past and think about all of the things that have made you happy. Life is never perfect- far from it, of course. There can be so much difficulty and hard work and adversary, but Fridays? Fridays are meant for happiness.

"Illuminating just what you want to show..."

For a Monday, today was a pretty good day. Actually, it was a great day! It was one of those days that hit the sweet spot- therapy went well, we had a great day at the play ground, PJ napped well, and we all ate dinner together as a family. I felt like I was hitting all of my marks as a mama for once, no mistakes, no slip-ups. We got through therapy, we chatted as we walked to the playground, he made me proud when he shared his snack with a cute little girl. We made mulch snacks by the slides and used sticks as forks. There were many pee-pees on the potty and long stretches of dry Thomas the Train underpants. PJ napped and I cleaned the kitchen. Dinner was edible and I tucked a clean, well-fed, precious little dude into bed right at bedtime.

I am a pretty good mama most days, but today? Today I kicked ass.

PJ and I ventured over to the playground to meet up with some local parents who have a group on Facebook. It's used for communication about local events, shout-outs when someone needs a strolled/toddler bed/certain kind of something, and often, a way to gather up the troops to meet at the park. When I noticed someone ask if anyone wanted to meet up today, I was in!

I already had met Lori, one of the moms, before, when I had helped her in her search for an apartment in Collingswood. I had gotten to know her a bit through Facebook and  PJ and her daughter had even played together once before. As our kids played together, climbing the slides and flinging mulch, we started chatting a bit about PJ's therapy. Lori made note that, to her, it didn't look like there was anything "wrong" with PJ. As he smiled and laughed at her daughter, took turns sliding down the slides, pointed at things of interest ("BIKE! BYE BYE BIKE!" {ahemlawnmower})and sweetly shared the swings, it was hard to see any difference. Of course, I could see how he bounced along instead of walking (energetic to most, sensory-seeking to me), had spotty eye-contact, and didn't answer simple questions. He does struggle with those things, that's true, but the parents on the playground were also right. PJ is funny, brave, sweet and cute.

Lori asked me when PJ had begun therapy, and I thought back to a year ago when we were just starting out. When we first started this journey, I needed other people to look at PJ and see "normal". It countered the growing reality that something was not quite right to have others reassure me that PJ was smart, social, bright and funny. I wanted people to look at PJ and see normal, and that was all that would do. It wasn't okay to look at him and see anything else. Normal meant that this other thing wasn't happening.

Of course, autism did happened, has happened, is happening. It's around us always. Yet, at the same time, we're in a completely different place. When people compliment PJ, I am proud and happy and thankful for all of the things my baby is. PJ is a great climber, he shares his treats, gives big hugs, laughs a lot. He is sunny, funny, brave and bright. There are so many pieces to his puzzle, and autism is just one. I am trying to stop stressing over the bits and pieces and just look at the big picture as a whole. It's a lesson it took me a year to learn and one that, I imagine, I will be learning forever. It's all lesson-learning, this parenthood thing, no matter what pieces make up the puzzle that is your child.