Monday, September 30, 2013

My daughter, the preschooler

Not in the mood for a picture. But nonetheless

Natalie started preschool today. I was doing so well. I was so proud of myself. I was organized, I had everything ready. Natalie woke up nicely and she had breakfast.
Dad and I decided that we would take her together on her first day. As soon as we got to the school, she must have remembered being there last week for the tour, because she started to skip and seemed excited. 

We  walked into the classroom and she immediately became comfortable and started to play with some of the toys. I spoke to the teacher and explained that she likes to drink lots of water and that she is a picky eater and I showed her the snacks I included. I handed over a blanket and small pillow so that she is comfortable during nap time. I was so proud of myself and then I walked over and gave her a kiss and said good-bye. Dad did the same. We started to leave and that is when Natalie quickly started to make her way towards us. We exited and then peaked through the window (without her noticing us). We saw Ms. Diana go down to Natalie's level and take her hand. Natalie was very attentive to Ms. Diana as she spoke. She didn't cry but looked nervous. We walked away and I was okay. In fact, I was a bit nervous for dad who seemed unsure and stopped a few times to look back. He was worried for her and he didn't feel comfortable. But we assured each other that she would adjust and that she would be fine. 

Natalie & Mom skipping along towards school

And now...well, now...I am a big mess. I have been crying off and on throughout the day. If you could see me now, you would be scared. I look and feel terrible. I can hardly type these words, my hands are as shaky as a leaf in the autumn breeze. 
Natalie's been going to grandma's since she was four months old and loves her Grandma, so I am nervous about how she will react to being placed in a new environment with new faces, expectations and routines.

This is very different than when Austin was in preschool. I picked him up and I asked a hundred questions and he told me about his day and experiences. But I will not hear that from Natalie today. Natalie is a precious and vulnerable child. She is nonverbal, and that will make it hard for me to get any sort of report other than a hard-to-read behavioral change and what the teacher will tell me at dismissal.

I have to keep in mind that research and evaluation data indicates a strong trend toward improved student outcomes (academically, behaviorally, and socially) when they attend school. School is not only a place where children learn reading, writing and math. It is also a place where they learn to get along with others and develop social skills that are needed to interact adaptively in our cultural environment.

But I must also remember, and this is important, it ultimately really is JUST PRESCHOOL! It is supposed to be fun. I must allow her to enjoy making friends, learn new things, and just have FUN! 

One day down, many more to go.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Natalie!

Last night I went to sleep the mother of a two year-old. This morning I woke up the mother of a three year-old. Your name means "Christmas Day" and you are surely a gift from God. Happy Birthday Natalie!  You are my heart and soul.
I want to tell you how much I love you. But trust me, no words would be good enough to express just how much you mean to me and how much you are loved.

I look at you each night and watch the little outside corners of your mouth turned down, as they did when you were an infant. Your sweet rosy cheeks and those beautiful long lashes look just the way they did when you would sleep in my arms back in those early months. I miss those beautiful days. Our whole world was in our little home, just you and me. Dad would go to work and big brother would head off to middle school, and the two of us would sit quietly and study each other. I thought that I was only studying you, but now I realize you were studying me, too. It was in those days that we began our mother/daughter relationship, our bond. I learned all your facial expressions, every wrinkle and those dimples! I watched your eyes come into focus, your mouth start to make sweet little sounds, and watched as your ears learned to listen {sign} I took it all in.
I waited for your first word, I wanted to know what your voice would sound like, to better understand your thoughts and feelings.  But I also relished in the quiet peace of just you and me. You make life so beautiful and full and complete.There is so much I admire about you. Growing up with challenges of communication and the inability to say all that you want or need to say is not an easy task, so I respect and admire your deep desire to fight hard every day, to try to say what you mean and for using your best tool: self-motivation. I’m not sure I’d find the strength that you display each day as you work to become a more able person. I can only admire your greatness. 

Thank you for being my daughter and for reminding me what life is all about, for helping me stop and enjoy all the moments.  I love you more than I could ever put into words and I am thankful for the miracle of you in my life.
Happy 3rd Birthday my sweet girl.
 You make me whole in so many ways.

With Love,

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Endless Alphabet App. Review

I am so happy to report that Natalie has been doing incredibly well with behavioral therapy the last 2 weeks!

I have to give a lot of the credit to an iOS app called Endless Alphabet.  Natalie loves this app so much that we decided to use it in therapy as a reward for doing the tasks that are asked of her. When Natalie does not want to perform the tasks given, we remind her that there is a reward for her work by showing her the app. Natalie immediately complies. In turn, we immediately allow her to play for 2 minutes, then we move on to the next task and once finished we allow her to play again. She is now able to learn and get the most out of her therapies. At the same time she is playing an educational game!

The Endless Alphabet app was created by the same people that brought you Sesame Street's Monster at the End of This Book, and Another Monster at the End of This Book. 

I downloaded the app into my iPad after my sister-in-law told me about it and showed me a preview on her iPhone. I instantly knew that Natalie would love it and would benefit from it. In fact, even I was hooked! 

Endless Alphabet is so simple to use. The app lets your children practice their alphabet while allowing them to learn new words and definitions. The letters are silly with animation. And its no wonder children and adults love it.

When you first open up the app you are greeted by a parade of silly monsters that march across the screen. Once the parade is over you are presented with a large, smiling monster character that has a large mouth containing words for each letter in the alphabet. These words are common, yet complex, like umbrella, bellow and xylophone. 

Once Natalie selects a word, the word is spoken and then a horde of monsters run across the screen, destroying the word by sending the letters scrambling all over the place (Natalie really loves this part. She gasps in disbelief and holds her hands to her mouth--she does this every time and it is adorable!)

Now it is up to Natalie to put the letters in the right place by selecting each letter with her finger and dragging the letter to its position in the word. When Natalie taps a letter the letter starts to shake, and chatters away with its sound as she drags it into place. 
Additionally, you may tap on the 'Word' icon in order to hear the word read aloud along with its meaning. 

Once Natalie drops the letter into its rightful position in the word, the app will then say the name of that letter.  When Natalie completes the letter puzzle she is rewarded with overjoyed monsters that illustrate the word in action, along with a spoken definition in terms children can understand.  The combination of animation, phonetics and letter learning is engaging, fun and educational. 

Endless Alphabet is truly endless as more words are delivered automatically to the app on a regular basis

Endless Alphabet is Rated 4+ and currently costs $5.99 and can be downloaded from the iTunes Store
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Say 'Thank You' to your local police officers

National Tell A Police Officer ‘Thank You’ Day is today. This day was initiated by Andrew Hale and The Whole Truth Project, an organization with a mission to support law enforcement officers by promoting a pro-police message. Citizens are encouraged to take a moment out of their day to show appreciation for their local law enforcement officers through small acts of gratitude — or by simply saying “thank you.”
My brother is a police officer, he is an outstanding person both professionally and personally. He is one of the most ethical and responsible person I have ever known.

Being a police officer is inherently dangerous, and each day they go to work, police officers are risking their lives. Our police officers are the first responders to answer our calls for help, whether it is a simple fender-bender or a tragic shooting. They are soldiers on the street. They help us every day and they help make our world a better place. I shudder to think what our communities would be like without police protection.  Yet, we tend to take these dedicated men and women for granted.

But these heroes are also mommies, daddies, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles. They are people just like all of us. They just happen to be super brave people -- who will go help strangers in scary situations that most of the rest of us are too afraid to handle.

Being a police officer is also a job, and just like teachers who have to give homework and classwork and just like doctors sometimes have to deliver bad news and give a shot, police officers need to do things that people don't like, for example give tickets. It doesn't mean they are bad or ill hearted. They are just doing their jobs.   We want them there when we need them, but when someone is the focus of an officer's attention because they’ve broken a law, the police become the bad guys.  But our police men and women are used to it and they take the bad with the good. They willingly stepped into their career and they believe in upholding the law. 
They believe that good triumphs over evil and they want to be a part of that.

So spread the word today. Talk to your friends and family, neighbors and co-workers about September 21st, National Tell A Police Officer 'Thank You' Day. 
As far as for me and my family, we want to thank my brother and all police officers for the sacrifices you make in order to do your job. Thank you for doing all that you do; for the small things that most people are unaware of.  Thank you all for your protection.
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Monday, September 16, 2013

Why We Walk for Natalie's Dream Team

I decided that I will walk on October 26th as the Team Captain for Natalie's Dream Team because we want to raise funds to help Autism research and raise awareness, so that Natalie, and all of those individuals who are on the spectrum, can live in a more accepting world. 
We want to raise awareness for parents, like us, who have a child on the Autism Spectrum. We will walk for those families, like ours, who show so much strength and endurance on this bumpy road.  Somewhere out there, there are other parents who are dealing with this and might feel helpless like we first did. As parents of a child suffering from autism, we long for the day when our daughter will be in a position to tell us what she feels, what she thinks, what she wants and what she loves. Natalie inspires us to be a more loving, more patient family. She has taught us to enjoy the simpler things in life.  

She is a very special gift that we wouldn't trade for the world.

 And these are the reasons we will walk, not only to raise awareness, but to speak for all the 
children that can't speak-to fight for our brilliant star, our Brown-Eyed Girl, our Natalie. 

If you are interested in supporting our Walk for Autism Speaks, please click here

Thank you to our friends and family who have been there for us!

We love you Natalie!

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fun Friday Blog Hop {Week 37}

I am so excited about co-hosting the Fun Friday blog hop tonight!! 
Come by and link up your wonderful blogs!!

The Pink Momma

Meet our lovely Co-Hosts for this week: 

First of all, thank you for joining us every week. 
Please follow the hosts and the co-hosts, there are many ways to follow us.
(GFC, Bloglovin, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Email

Grab our party button and share the love. It's not required but it's greatly appreciated :)

Please leave a comment with your blog address if you are a new follower, we'll be glad to return the favor.

Every week we will choose one featured blogger. 
The chosen one will get a FREE one month ad space from 
The Pink Momma and Home for 4 Sweet Home.

Congratulations to our Featured Blogger of the Week! 

Brianna of Endlessly Beloved

Grab the featured button and share the love :)

The Pink Momma

Link up your blog, visit other blogs, make friends and have fun!

If you would like to be a co-host, email at

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


My birthday is today! Yes, that's right, 9/11. It goes without saying the association that most people make with this date. For example, I called my bank not long ago and when the lady asked for my date of birth and I responded, she replied, "I'm so sorry." For most of my life, people will cringe when I give them my date of birth, or occasionally when I make a comment about being born on September 11th.  I admit that I feel guilty when people respond in that manner, I feel as though I should apologize for reminding them of however this tragedy affected them.
But it is MY birthday and I don't want to have to feel guilty about celebrating it, despite of the horrific events of 9/11. Because this day also represents the start of MY life!  But many believe that it’s inappropriate to be festive while the rest of the country observes a somber anniversary.

I think that I will hear some echo of these remarks for years to come, although the further away we get, the more it will start to become a more normal day. 

So I will do what I have always done, while paying my respects to the 9/11 victims, I will celebrate my birthday and blow out the candles on my cake and I will make a wish for peace and for happiness throughout the world.
{God Bless}

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Write your favorite Disney character a letter and get a response!

Attention Parents and Teachers!
Did you know that if you write a Disney character a letter, they send back an autographed post card? I just found out about this from a friend. She had her kids write a letter to their favorite Disney characters and she got back an autographed postcard. Isn't that awesome?!?

There are two addresses you can send the letter to.

Attn: {Insert character name here ex: Rapunzel}
Walt Disney World Communications
P.O. Box 10040

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040

Attn: Fan Mail Department / {Insert character name here ex: Lightning McQueen}
Walt Disney World Communications
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521

The postcard arrives within 4-6 weeks.
The letter can be about anything you want. Just be sure to include the child's name and return address.  My friend has her kids tell their favorite character how much they love them. Her kids also decorate the envelope and/or letter with stickers and drawings. She says you can write repeated letters to each adress and if you have multiple children, they can each write a letter.
I think this would also be an awesome idea for teachers. They can have their class practice their writing skills and they can learn about how the postal service works.
Hope you and your kids enjoy this!
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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sunshine Award!

So first of all, a massive thank you to the lovely . Amanda from A Day In the Life of a SAHM . She’s not only a great mommy who recently started to home school --and loves it! but she is also an awesome money saver with great couponing skills! Please check her out!

For the Sunshine Award, the blogger must:
Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
Share 11 random facts about yourself.
Answer 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
List 11 bloggers.  They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate answer & let all the bloggers know they've been nominated.  You cannot nominate the blogger that nominated you. 

11 Random Facts About Me

1.  The first cassette tape I bought was Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet (oh gosh, I am old)

2.  I LOVE tomatoes but I REALLY dislike ketchup

3.  I saw snow for the first time at 34 year's old! We were in NYC and we were eating in a restaurant, when suddenly, I saw snow flurries outside the window. I ran into the street and started to dance with my tongue sticking out of my mouth in the hopes of licking some snow! It was one of those great life moments!

This is how I felt

4.  I wrote a romance novel as part of a project in 6th grade. My teacher loved it and said that she and her two teen girls sat up and read it every night. They loved it and said I should become a writer.  

5.  I brush my teeth while I shower. I like to multitask.

6.  I was told that I only had a 2% chance of ever having children. One month after being married we found out we were pregnant! 12 years after that (no protection ever used) we welcomed our brown-eyed girl! We love our 2 miracle babies!

7.  I have a secret crush on Johnny Depp.

8.  I Love Seafood! Any Seafood, Any time, Any where (Well...maybe not any where)

9.  My children and my husband are my world! I love them so much and I THANK GOD for them, They are a great BLESSING

10.  I love Mortal Combat (the arcade game). I was always the girl fighter. "FINISH HIM!"

11.  I believe in the power of prayer and I love God very much. 

My Questions for the bloggers I am nominating:

1. If you had an unlimited amount of money to spend in any one store of your choice, where would you choose?
2. What's your favorite place to eat out?
3. When not blogging, what do you do for fun?
4. Favorite PRINT Magazine?
5. Your life is going to become a script for a movie. Who would you want to play you?
6. Coffee or Tea?
7. Book or Movie?
8. Camping or luxury hotel?
9. What is the worst gift you've ever received?
10. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, What would it be?
11. What smell do you like the best?

11 Questions: (From the person who nominated me)

What’s your favorite meal of the day? Lunch. I really look forward to that nice break in the middle of my work day.

What’s your favorite fruit? Avocados!

When you were five what did you want to be when you grew up?  A Pediatrician, I wanted to help others and, as a child, I mostly wanted to help children.

What quality do you find most attractive in others? Kindness

What’s your favorite sport? Bike riding To watch basketball

Gold or Silver?  White gold.

What’s your favorite candy? Hershey's Kisses

What’s your favorite online shopping website? Amazon

What’s your pet peeve? People who are racist and only see the color of the person, religion or what country they are from

Winter, spring, summer or fall?  Fall. 

How many pairs of shoes do you have? 10

11 Bloggers I'm Nominating :  Please Check These Ladies Out =)

Please help me reach my Goal!