Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Anniversary of Destruction, My Life before Autism

 It's been awhile since I have blogged, and since I am putting off housework, why not now??
7 years ago today the Hubs and I were living in Mobile Alabama. Hurricane Katrina was upon us. You see, we evacuated for hurricane Dennis. Since driving home was cheaper and easier than finding a hotel during a hurricane, thats what we did. We made it to Virginia and work called me. It was down graded to a tropical storm, come home. So being the wet behind the ears southerners we were, when Katrina was coming, we stocked up on supplies and prepared to weather the storm. SCARY!!!!!!!!
 I will never forget that day and the days following. My life changed drastically, though for the better. I went from being a tattoo artist, working 60-70 hours a week, to being a house wife, on bed rest, because I was carrying my high risk miracle! You guessed it! Liam was made during the hurricane. Hubs jokes, "what else is there to do with no power!" Very true! I made his son a stocking by candlelite and hubs and a friend played chess while we listened to the wind and the goings on with a NOAA radio. After the hurricane passed us, our friend made us go outside. Never in my life have I seen a sky so clear, so full of stars, and so beautiful....then I heard gun shots ring out and I high tailed my arse back inside!
 The looting had begun. The devastation was mind boggling and heart wrenching. The next morning we went with friends to tour the area. We were so lucky. Our complex sustained minimal damage. Loss of shingles, a few trees down, the pool was wasted (BOOOOOO). But we we LUCKY!!! Just 15 minutes from us homes were destroyed, the historic battleship was moved, yes a whole battleship was moved by the force of the water. The water was so high there was sea weed on the power lines. The lines at the gas stations were building. (Matter of fact, we went a week without being able to get gas. We were rolling on fumes, and lucked out and only had to wait 45 minutes for gas.) The images I saw personally were heart breaking, but I wasn't prepared for what was to come on the news. You see, what we saw on the news, and what you saw on the news was so different. You saw damage, flooding, people in Louisiana saying they lost their family. What we saw was the bridge going out of Louisiana covered with people. Injured people. Mothers with infants screaming for milk because mom was so dehydrated she couldn't produce. Many on this bridge were dead and/or dying. What came next is something I will NEVER forget. A plane flew over. I thought, they thought, they were going to drop water to these poor people. I was so wrong...... Instead, they dropped Lye. You read that right! They dropped Lye on the dying, on the mothers, on the babies. They dropped Lye to control the smell of the dead and decaying. They dropped it on LIVE people! My heart couldn't take anymore sadness, so the tv stayed off for days.

A glimpse of what we saw...

so many pics like this surfaced on the news...
New Orleans Super Dome...Do you know why they put these people here?? You heard it was to save them from rising water. What you didn't hear is they evacuate the old, the disabled and the poor here. They knew the Dome wouldn't sustain the hurricane, and they didn't have time to get them all out. They put them here as a mass grave of sorts.....

So many streets around looked like this.
This may not seem like much, but winds and water were able to tip the USS Alabama a few degrees. A few degrees is ALOT when you take into account how much this ship weighs.
Downtown Mobile during Katrina (15 mins from where we lived)

Bayou La Batre Louisiana. Hubs did a lot of work here after Katrina.

Dauphin Island (30 minutes from us)  
Pascagoula Beach (30 mins from us) all that was left was their roof.

I have no words

prepared to shoot looters. see the poor kid in the back ground, makes me want to cry!

Evacuees on the I 10 Bridge

Prisoners on the I 10, this is the same bridge they dumped Lye on..

So I realize, 7 years later, that I will NEVER forget how I felt during and after Hurricane Katrina. In  the midst of devastation and sadness, God gave me a miracle. I was one of the lucky ones. I still mourn and think about the lives lost. I still see the images in my mind as if it were yesterday. I still pray that those who were separated from their loved ones have been reunited.  We moved home just a few months after the hurricane. Food was scarce, gas was scarce. Though hubs had a job, getting paid was a waiting game. They were repairing homes so people could move in and move on, but waiting for FEMA to pay the contractors was like pulling teeth. Yet, there were convicts in jail getting their checks. The government really disappointed me in their actions of the aftermath, but sadly it was of no surprise.

My Life BEFORE Autism
My friend and I in front of the tattoo shop. 
Before the Hurricane, and my miracle (I looked so young, and so thin :( ....)
May 2005

My Life AFTER Autism
Me and my miracle now
I wouldn't change a thing <3
October 2011

My advice, NEVER take anything for granted, it could be gone in a flash. Be thankful for what you have, and who you have in your life. Tell them you love them, EVERY DAY!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Now that all the work is done in LJ's class room, it was time for some fun. Daddy took him fishing yesterday with some friends. He was proud that he was the only one to catch a fish. He also came home with a monarch "callepittar". We put it in the tank and are going to watch the metamorphosis, then release it. (Did you know in our area of the world Monarch's are close to extinct?? Lj said he had to save this one :))
 When the men came back it was time for fun with mommy. While I was on my Pinterest yesterday I found some fun looking science stuff that would also help Liam with his Fine Motor skills. You know me, I love to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. (thank goodness LJ is just learning to read, he HATES that metaphor, he really thinks it means to "kill") So anyway, I got this cool idea from another momma over at The Artful Parent.
Liam really enjoyed it. (NOTE: kiddos hand will get messy, Liam's are still green, as is his face from trying to eat the ice.)
Pictures say it best, so here goes:
getting started. I made ice cubes in different sized bowls. Then you will need salt and different colors of water.

salting the ice

let the salt sit and start to melt the ice, while you make your colored water

momma (the big kid) had to try it to show Liam

Liam trying it out

the more the salt works, the better it will look

The finished product

Liam loved this project. He LOVES salt, so he had fun eating the salty ice when he was done. Hope your kiddos enjoy it too.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


 Does your Autie kiddo hate the word "NO?" Does he/she become angered or maybe enraged when told "NO" too much? Mine does. Its NOT fun! "No" has always been an issue here. Thing is, it's not that he is bad, its that he despises the word itself. If you tell him "maybe" or "we'll see" he handles that much better. 
 We've also started the "First and Then" method. So far so good. Example. Liam will say, "momma, can I have chips?" I will say, "first you have dinner, then you have chips." Sounds simple I know, but it works! Let me get brainy sounding for a minute :) ......

First/Then Strategy

  • First/then teaching provides organization in the mind of an autistic child and allows them to associate tasks. One example of a first/then strategy is the visual schedule of daily events. A visual schedule will help lessen anxiety by providing structure so that a child can understand what is expected of him. A schedule could include a picture of a homework assignment then a picture of a computer. This tells a child, first you do homework, and then you play on the computer. When developing a visual schedule always include at least two tasks, so a child will understand the concept of sequencing activities.
Read more: Behavior Strategies for Teaching Children With Autism |

More brainy info from
First and then.....
Are based on a "first-then" strategy; that is, "firstyou do ___, then you do ___", rather than an "if-then" approach (i.e., "if you do ___, then you can do___"). This first-then strategy allows the "first" expectation (whether a task, activity or assignment) to be modified, as needed. The modification is in terms of task completion and amount of prompting, in order to accommodate the student's daily fluctuations in his ability to process in-coming information. Then he can move on to his next visually scheduled task/activity.

good example of first and then visual

 Also, while looking for more info to implement this for Liam, I stumbled across some blank visual aids or PECS to reinforce the strategy, and customize it to your child.
 Visit Postively Autism HERE and you will see a free printable of blank First and Then charts. 
 My suggestion for this is to take poster board and make a First and Then graph. Put some velcro on each side. Now go through and make pics of the first and then tasks. This way, you can change it to your child's needs. I will be making one, so I will post pics when I complete mine. 
 As for clip art to make the pics, try Google. It has many free images, simply type in "free clip art."  
    Good luck, and I hope this strategy works well for you all!

As promised, a pic of Liam's First and Then chart I made today :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fine Motor Fun

 Yesterday we had fun making noodle necklaces! Liam has been sick, as have his friends, so it was a nice to make them feel a bit better with some fun. LJ and his friends loved it. It was also great for his fine motor skills, and the pincer grasp. All disguised as fun! What could be better?!?!?!
 We started by dying the pasta the day before. 2 projects out of one is AUSOME!!!! I made a handy dandy pic to explain this process :)

Dying rice is the same way. We love our dyed rice too! (Neon food dyes do give brighter colors. We didn't have any left :/ )

Once the noodles are dry, its time for fun! We waited until the next day to be sure.
We used thick fishing line to string ours. Plastic lanyard would have worked great, but of course Liam got into mine so it was nowhere to be found. The kids made some gorgeous necklaces :)

It was very hot out yesterday, but being the kiddos are sick, they couldn't swim or really get wet. So instead, I broke out the colored cubes, and some watercolor paper, and they went to town making art  :)

To make the ice cubes, simply dye some water, and pour into trays and freeze. Again, the neon dye was brighter and worker better. (blue was the only neon I had left and it worked much better for this)

All in all, we had a blast with our crafts, and Liam worked on motor skills without realizing it. A win win for this momma. Hope you too have as much fun as we did :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sensory Fun Day

 Yesterday Liam's brother left after his 2 week visit with us. This usually creates a crap storm of tears for my lil man, so momma thought ahead and got some sensory fun ready. Liam was stoked, B was kinda bummed as he wanted to take part as well. Liam informed him, "NO!! You get to leave, I don't!" I have nothing to say to that, which is odd, I always have something to say!
 So here is what we did. I will post the pics and then how I did it. Enjoy, I know Liam sure did!

This one was cool. I started with an old ice cream bucket. My plan was to layer the ice in rainbow colors, but that was taking too long. (yes, momma often lacks patience too!) I gathered up some small toys of the boys. (Dollar Tree has lots of these things, that where most of ours come from.) I started with about 2 inches of water, added some toys, freeze. Repeat until bucket is full. Then its time to excavate. Liam chose the small hammers because his toys ones weren't strong enough to break the ice. SAFETY GLASSES were a must as the ice really full. (a few of the toys didn't make it :/ he was using the claws of the hammer and it broke the toys) NOTE: I must give credit where credit is due and I would like to thank COUNTING COCONUTS for this idea. 

This one was AUSOME!!!! I even got into this one!!!! First I started by making up different colors of water, and freezing in ice cube trays. Then I got a white sheet, and placed it on the table outside. Next, let your kiddos go to town!!!! When finished, hang to dry and you will have a gorgeous tie dyed sheet! My favorite was his little hand prints all over :) (ours got rained on, so today we have to redo it. Liam was NOT happy, but changed his mind when I told him he gets to do it again.) Again, credit where credit is due and for this idea I have to thank SHARE AND REMEMBER.

After a visit to our friends it was time to relax with a bath. I decided to finish off the night with a sensory bath for him. This time we decided to use his new balls from "grama Sue." He loved it, had a blast with them! I can see this sensory bath becoming a nightly thing :)

Enjoy the fun, we sure did!