Where have you BEEN?


I haven't been blogging much lately. I haven't really known what to say.

The day Mark turned 18 months old, I took him to the doctor and expressed my concerns about his lack of speech. He has picked up one or two words since he was born, and then eventually never used them again. He doesn't say more than "mama" and "dada" and doesn't always use them to address us. It's been frustrating, but we figured it would come with time--he babbled so early that he had to pick it up eventually, right?

Just a few days after I graduated, we had our referral appointment with a local resource center. He was exactly 19 months old and they determined him to be 5 months in expressive speech and 7 months in receptive speech.

More than that, he is only 13 months in fine motor (small movements like grabbing), 15-18 months in gross motor (large movements, like running and jumping), 7 months in cognitive abilities, 12 months in social/emotional skills, and 9-13 months in adaptive/self-help skills. He is likely Autistic but will not be diagnosed until 3.

We have been put into a program called FACES ("Facing Autism's Challenges by Expanding Skills") and ABA Therapy 5 days a week. We're starting out at 1 hour a day but could be upped to 3 if he's comfortable with it and they feel he needs it.

I'm happy that we got him help instead of ignoring it. I'm happy that they referred him when they didn't truly understand the full extent. I'm happy that he has been acknowledged so early and may be able to slide by without ever being diagnosed, should the therapy benefit him enough.

But I'm sad. I don't know why. He's amazing, just as amazing as before the news and I love him with every fiber of my being, but this changes so much. It changes how people see him. It changes how we have to go about things in life. It changes the way he'll be treated in so many different circumstances.

It makes it clear why he is the way he is. Signs that were meaningless to me before are glaringly obvious now. I just hope that they won't be in a few months.

My kid is awesome and so is every other child ever, especially Autistic children. They're amazing and all of you who have been through this with your children are amazing. It's hard. It's not something I ever imagined, or ever wanted to. I'm just taking it one day at a time.

We're working with the best team of people that I could ever imagine, and I'm grateful for that. We're lucky to have the resources that we do, and we're lucky to have each other.

I graduated!


I did it! I graduated. Now I have a few months of absolutely nothing to do, which is actually kind of freaking me out because not more than a few days ago I had so much work to do that I didn't know how I was going to do anything else.

Now that I'm free for a while I'll be posting more regularly. This is just a quick update to let you guys know where I've been.

Dear Mark


Dear Mark,

I love you. You are the cutest little boy in the world, you're funny, and you're just...fun. We can play with Legos for hours, run around the back yard throwing dirt, play in the pool, or lie around cuddling and watching your favorite shows. We can find entertainment in ridiculous little things, and crack up like it's the funniest thing in the world. Your laugh brings me so much joy.

With that said, you're a little punk sometimes. I know you're getting teeth, but please stop biting me; my shoulder can't take anymore. I know you're tired, but stop screaming! If you're annoyed, there's no reason to stomp on my laptop screen, and I know you want to run around in circles and get into strangers' purses at the doctor's office, but...no. Just no, kid.

It's so amazing watching you grow up and learn new things. You're so much fun now that you're getting bigger...but you're definitely more of a butt, too; there's no need to lie about it. We all know that toddlers are obnoxious, even if I wanted to pretend that you were going to be the sweetest little boy on earth (which you can be--kisses, anyone?).

I just want you to know that I love you and I will continue to love you for the rest of my life. Eventually I'm going to get this parenting thing right and figure out how to get you to listen to the word, "No." I keep hoping that you'll learn to live with it and stop testing your limits, but I'm sure that's not true--look at your parents! Either way, you're going to grow up with an amazing character, even if you can be a punk sometimes.

No matter what, my baby, just keep being amazing.

Love, Mom

My BIG One-and-a-Half-Year-Old!


Mr. Blue Eyes
I've been so busy lately. I don't know how I have time to eat or sleep or really do anything besides homework and raising a toddler. I have so much keyboarding work that I feel like I'll have carpal tunnel by the time these last four weeks are over, and I still have to complete a final project, final tests, and everything else that comes with my normal workload. I'm a little overwhelmed.

I just wanted to update so you understand why I haven't been here much lately.

Mark is a year and a half old as of Wednesday. We had his 18 month appointment the same day, and we found out some things we were really not happy to hear.

I brought up that we were concerned about Mark's speech development; he doesn't seem to have any non-name words and doesn't respond to his name most the time (though I think he's just stubborn), though he should have up to twenty words in his vocabulary by now. He's being referred to the children's hospital for a hearing test and somewhere in town to see if he qualifies for speech therapy. We don't know anything yet, and they might determine that he's on track still, she's just taking precautions as early as possible to ensure that we can deal with potential problems should they arise.

We're obviously going to be participating in whatever they want us to just to make sure everything is okay. I'm so stressed out...I have so much to do and now I feel like I've failed him somehow. Maybe that's ridiculous but I honestly just want to cry every time I think about it. Maybe I spent too much time on the computer? Maybe having untreated postpartum depression for the first few months of his life has hurt his development? What if it's hurt our relationship?

I need to stop thinking about this. We'll be ready when it's time to take him, and we'll be ready to take on whatever we have to. If they say he's okay I'll be so relieved, and if they don't, then at least we'll be working on it early, instead of waiting until he's in school and making his life much more difficult than it needs to be...right?

We're going to be just fine. I'll be back to post again, I promise. Just wanted you guys to know everything that's been occupying my mind lately.


If you get the chance, please check out my friend LaShell's blog at Not Your Typical Housewife. She's pregnant with her first baby, a little boy, and she's awesome all around! I'll be spotlighting her soon and maybe stealing her genius for a guest post since I'm a little preoccupied right now.

Also, enjoy some pictures of Mark and his daddy. :)


Grabbing a handful of dirt...
...and throwing the dirt at his dad!

The Liebster Award!


So this awesome woman named Christy gave me the Liebster blog award a few days ago. Of course I've been a terrible-blogger-slash-awesome-student and haven't even had time to write about it! You can find her post here!


I am an award noob and had never heard of this one, so I'm currently catching myself up and hoping that I do this right. ;) Stealing images from Christy who has said that they aren't hers--if you know where I can link back to, please let me know!

There it is!

Okay, so here are my 11 facts:
  1. I am currently in the process of getting my associates degree. I'll be out of there in May and ready to pursue my bachelors!
  2. I'm living with my dad while I finish college (at least this round of it). I hope to be out on my own very soon.
  3. I live in a small 10 x 12 room with my son. I am dying of claustrophobia.
  4. I only have one baby, and he's the best thing that ever happened to me. He's named after his grandpa who died of cancer just weeks before I found out I was having a boy, and my best friend who committed suicide our senior year of high school, two very lovely men.
  5. I rarely go out anymore. I haven't been out with friends (besides kid-centered birthday parties) since November of last year. It was my birthday.
  6. I love photography but don't seem to have enough time to really get into it myself.
  7. I have two sisters, a half-brother, a half-sister, two stepbrothers, and two stepsisters. WHOO!
  8. My biggest injury ended up getting me stitches in my eyebrow when I was very young--under 5, but I can't remember the exact age. I have never broken any bones.
  9. I've started numerous books, but haven't finished any of them. Some that I was very proud of were lost in computer crashes, and I'll never stop being sad about it.
  10. I have major depression and general anxiety disorder. I have a crippling fear of embarrassing myself, and it often keeps me from talking on the phone, going out with friends, and doing other people-centered activities. It doesn't matter if it's a big group or a small amount of people. One-on-one situations are just as terrifying to me as speaking to a group.
  11. I write about 25 million to-do lists a day, often detailing the same things, because I can't stop thinking them over and over. It's okay to think I'm crazy now. ;)

Here are the questions!
  1. Who or what is your inspiration?
    Mark. Always Mark. Everything I do, I do for him. He's the highlight of my life!
  2. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
    My son wakes me up in the morning, so I grab him, change his diaper, and we go to the living room to eat breakfast and play.
  3. How do you handle a stressful day?
    I usually just try to take it slow. My days are always the same: hang out with this kid, watch TV, eat, play with toys. I don't do much ever! But I try to relax and not run around as much (I tend to be the chauffeur at my house) and just not do anything that's going to upset me in any way.
  4. What book do you recommend all parents read to their children?
    That's a toughie. Mark doesn't seem to be taking to any book specifically, so I just read him whatever I feel like...ha! Of course, the classics like Dr. Seuss. Every kid needs that in their life.
  5. When the kids go to bed what do you do?
    I blog, do homework, try to do as much relaxing as possible before I fall asleep. It's the only time I have that things are actually quiet!
  6. What is one thing about your past you wish you could change?
    I absolutely wish I would have taken college more seriously before I had a baby. I didn't want to be there. I only was because my dad said I had to be...of course I realize now that he wanted me to do better than him, but in my mind I had been at school my whole life and didn't want to do it anymore. I was stubborn.
  7. If you had a million dollars, what would you buy?
    Oh jees...a house and a car, definitely. And probably lots and lots of things for Mark. There are a million things that I need and want, but every time I go to a store I drop it all and buy him something!
  8. Why did you start blogging?
    I started years ago with no audience just because I needed an outlet. Now it's the same, but I do it for the awesome community that comes with it. Plus I have no friends anymore. ;)
  9. Are you going to follow all the award nominees?
    I'm definitely going to try to get over to all of them. I've been bad lately, so bad!
  10. What is one thing you hope your children remember about you?
    That I was loving, and fun, and that I did everything for him.
  11. How would you define your character?
    I try to be the best person I can be. I think that even if I'm not always the best friend, it's because I devote everything I can to my son. Nothing else really matters after that. If there's extra time and resources, then I'll try my best to use them on others.

Now my nominees. I couldn't find some of your follower counts, so I apologize if you're over the 200 limit! Great blogs no matter what.
Lastly, my questions for you. Whoo!
  1. What are you doing when you're the happiest?
  2. Where is the one place that you're dying to go?
  3. What got you to start blogging?
  4. What does your blog name mean?
  5. Who is your favorite person in the world, and why?
  6. What's the perfect Saturday to you?
  7. What is your favorite book and why?
  8. What do you want your kids (present/future) to remember about you?
  9. What is the best memory you have of your own parents (or whoever raised you)?
  10. What's something that you never get tired of?
  11. What's your weirdest habit?

Aaand...done. Your turn! Send me back a link and a comment so I can check yours out. :)