Thursday, December 31, 2015

Learing to Pause, Reflect and Repair Myself

Jada Pinkett Smith's response to How hard it is being a wife and mother

I am thankful that I came across this post, because I have been a mix of emotions and exhaustion.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was that was bothering me.  I was slipping and feeling like what I was feeling didn’t matter. That I needed to suck it up and get over it. I have been feeling angry and I have been feeling alone.  

This is something that all women, not just wives and mothers should hear! Everyone should learn how to balance our duties and taking time out for ourselves.  You have to learn how to take care of yourself and how to truly make yourself happy.  You have to love you first.  I have lost my balance and I thought that I was taking care of me, but I was too wrapped up in making sure everyone else was okay.  I love to help others and make them happy.  But I haven’t truly taking care of me.  I have been feeling overwhelmed and unappreciated by those close to me, because they aren’t seeing that I am not myself.  The truth is that I myself didn’t know that I haven’t truly been myself.  I have been blaming others for my unhappiness and unbalance.  

I am not making excuses. I have taken on a lot. And that is no one else’s fault but my own.  I am taking accountability.  I have a vision and a dream that I want to fulfill and now I have to work on balancing it all.  But first I have to take some time to find me.  I need to pause and reflect.  Then I have to put things into perspective.  I have to begin to organize myself better, and set prioritize.  Work on what’s most important first and work my way down, versus trying to get it all done immediately. 
I am only one person.  Though I may have a thousand roles and wear a million hats, I cannot do it all.  I need to remind myself of that when I am asked to take on more.  

I believe in treating people the way that you would like to be treated.  So when I wasn’t getting the same treatment I became resentful and bitter.  It would make me feel like I had to work harder, or find more ways to make them happy and satisfy their needs.   I was letting others ideas and expectations dictate my actions.  Trying to meet their needs, and not have mines met really took a toll on me.  I thought that if I did what they wanted, that they too would want to do the same for me.  I was looking at those around me wondering why they weren’t noticing.  I have been looking to other methods of finding happiness and filling voids.  I have been looking for instant gratification, such as food, which has always been my go to filler for happiness.  But it is only temporary and it only contributes to my unhappiness once I am done eating.  I know this, yet I continue to do it, because it is easier to sit and eat bag of chocolate than to tell someone how you are feeling and they just don’t get it.  

I am motivated by positivity and encouragement.  It is difficult when so many around me only know how to point out the negative.  It can be very overwhelming to juggle so many things and only have what you’ve done wrong or what you haven’t done be acknowledged.  Even if it is done in a “Joking” manner.  

So with the new year approaching, I am not saying a New Year, New Me.  What I am going to say is a New Year to Live, Love and Laugh, and I will do that by taking time to pause, reflect and repair. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Catching the Sun....

Happy Holidays!!!! 

So I am super excited! This past weekend myself and the board members of my newly incorporated 501(c) (3) hosted our first ever Sensory Friendly Holiday Event for Children with Autism!  

D3 Sports & Recreation is dedicated to providing a safe and encouraging environment for individuals on the Autism spectrum with opportunities to participate in sports and recreational activities regardless of their gender, cognitive, physical and/or emotional abilities.  To promote Sensory Integration and Social Engagement through team play and recreation.  To promote and encourage community involvement and sponsorships, in order to provide services for free or low costs.
My reason for starting the organization was to be able to provide more activities for individuals with Autism and their families where they feel comfortable and enjoy themselves.  

The holiday season can be very overwhelming for people in general so can imagine how difficult it may be for an individual with special needs, such as Autism?  The big crowds, bright lights, and noise can cause someone with Autism to meltdown.  Let's not forget the long lines to wait and see Santa!!! So when Mott Haven Bar & Grill agreed to let us host our event there, we were SUPER excited!!!! 

1 Bruckner Blvd, Bronx, NY 10454 

It was important to me that we choose activities that were appropriate for the guests.  I knew just the place to find some cool crafts.  Oriental Trading!!!! awesome

Oriental Trading had so many awesome things to choose from.  I saw these awesome Snow Globe Sun Catchers, and thought they were really cute and unique.  I was sure the guest would have a lot of fun designing their sun catchers.

I have been reading lots of articles and one of my favorite writers/blogger moms Lisa Quinones-Fontanez even posted about coloring relieving stress so I thought this would help keep the mood calm and less overwhelming.

We set up the event in four different sessions to keep things moving smoothly. We found a bunch of crafts at Oriental Trading . The idea was to have guests come in and receive and activity sheet and number to take a picture with Santa Claus.  We had four separate work stations, with a different activity at each station. 

Our first station was the snow globe sun catchers, we set up the table with the sun catchers and the accessories that we purchased, such as markers and string, in order to complete the project and take home a finished product.

Some of our helpers setting up before the event

 As I walked around the room to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves, I noticed that the sun catcher station was the most calm and relaxed.  I even caught a few of the adults joining in and designing their own.

work in progress 

The snow globe sun catchers were a definite hit! It turned out to be just what I wanted, a fun yet calming activity.  

Our first Sensory Friendly Holiday Event was a success.  If you are looking for great crafts and fun activities to do, be sure to check out Oriental

 This review is based strictly on my opinion.  Others may have a different opinion and/or experience with product I discussed.  I was provided a free sample by the company and I provided my honest opinion. No other compensation was received for this review. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

She is My Hero

So the school year has begun and so has the Homework!!! As I'm reviewing my Daughter Devynn's homework I was a taken aback.  The teachers assigned a little questionnaire to learn more about their students.  

My Devynn struggled and disliked school for a longtime before we had her assessed and learned that she had Dyslexia.  She is an amazing girl, and I am proud of her! She is my eldest child and ever since her little brother Donovan was born she has been very nurturing and protective of him.  Even before he was diagnosed with Autism.  

When he was diagnosed, nothing changed.  In fact she became a little more protective.  They're only 1 year and 3 days apart in age.  But the way she cares for him, you would think they were decades apart. She was a huge part of his early intervention.  One of his therapist so to speak. He mimicked her a lot.  

As they got older, she continued to care for him in her way.  I remember going to the park and some kids wanted to play tag. They invited them both to play, and she grabbed Donovan and off they went.  I suddenly hear her telling the group of kids.  My brother is playing.  He doesn't really talk, and he may grab your ears.  He has Autism.  My heart melted.  She couldn't fully grasp the concept of Autism, but there she was educating.  She was Advocating for brother.  

So coming back to her homework assignment.  The questionnaire had a section where you had to name someone who she looked up to or considered a hero.  

It took me a minute for it to sink in.  My heart melted AGAIN!  She doesn't like to write and she has a hard time getting into detail when writing.  So I asked her to explain.  She said "because it's harder for Donovan to do regular things sometimes" 

I ADORE all three of my children!  They are my motivation for striving to make a better place for their futures.  But at that very moment, as I read that answer,  SHE became my Hero!  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I Wanted to do it Myself

The other day I posted about my Dono and his new haircut he did all by himself. I  wrote about how proud I loved his need for independence.  While  that same need for independence does indeed make me proud, it also scares me at times.  Especially when my autistic kid wants to cross the street "All by Himself"! 

My mom is generally who minds Donovan after school and during breaks from school.  But she recently fell ill and isn't a 100% as of yet.  So we have our sitter who steps in at other times when I have a meeting and the husband is working, or when the Hubby and I want a date night minding him and my oldest child Devynn while we work.  He is pretty good with minding the kids and they actually get excited when he comes over to stay with them.  

Yesterday he took them to get some pizza for lunch and Dono let go of his grip and tried to go off on his own.  The sitter is really good at telling about the happenings of the day.  Good or bad, and I truly appreciate that about him.  So he let me know that he took Donovan's iPad privilege away for a while.  I was okay with that.  It wasn't the first time he had tried this with him.  

Later that evening when I asked Donovan if he had run away from Ruben, he quickly answered "yeah". When I asked asked why, he answered with "I wanted to do it myself!" 

As a mom, you want to protect your children.  My oldest is 10 and she finally got the hubby and me to break down and allow her to cross the street alone.  I forget sometimes that Donovan is just one year younger than her.  Together with his Comm Hab worker we have been teaching and supervising him while he crosses the street.  Not sure if I will ever really feel okay with him going off alone, but my hope is that one day he will be travel trained in order to travel on his own.  

Again here he is telling me in his own way.  "I Can Do It"   

Monday, August 24, 2015

I Did it all by Myself!!!!!

Sooooo..... Donovan usually has a pretty good sleep pattern.  He didn't always.  With a little help of melatonin and a steady routine he sleeps most of the night. We don't give him melatonin daily.  We give it to him when his pattern is disrupted and we need him to get back on track. This usually happens when school is out. he .... Whew it varies.  Mostly he is up all night and crashes around 6 am.  

Recently we've  had some stuff happen that has thrown off our schedules, routines and environment.  So it doesn't surprise me that he has been an owl!  

When he is up, I'm able to take some naps throughout the night.  He usually raids the kitchen cabinets and the fridge.  He will surf YouTube, Netflix or play with other apps on his iPad. But most of all he is up drawing.  He really can draw, but he is a perfectionist and if it isn't to his standards of perfection, he will crumple it up and toss it.  

We went to bed very late, after 12 am.  I thought the kids were asleep, but I heard Donovan shortly after, turning on lights and running back and forth.  Heard the TV go on and I tried my best to rest as much as possible.  Around 5:30 am I thought I heard the bathtub faucet turn on, but I figured it was the fan, and turned over.  But, couldn't fall back to sleep.  I tossed and turned for a bit.  I finally got up and noticed the bathroom light Was on.  I ran into the bathroom and found hair all over the floor and inside the tub. The tub was full with water.  I was half asleep and I thought to myself, did my husband shave and not clean up? Then I got nervous and thought did Dustin shave the cat?! I started going through the rooms.  And there he was scissors in hand snipping away!  I asked him what he was doing?  And very proudly he answered." I gave myself a haircut.  I did it all by myself!" 

After the initial shock, I began to laugh, and then I was so proud of him.  I love how independent he wants to be.  He is constantly reminding me of how capable he is.  Ladies and gentlemen here is my Donomite's hair cut!!!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I Want To

She was his first friend and therapist.  She doesn't completely understand Autism, but then again who really does? She has her own struggles, but she worries about him.  They fight and she knows how to push his buttons, but she loves him.  

As a parent we worry about what will happen to our kids, if we aren't around.  This thought has kept me up on many a night.  This one moment will always stay in my mind.  Devynn came to me.  Devynn was 4 going on 5, and she comes and lays next to me.  She asked, "if you and daddy die, I take care of the boys right?" I was stunned.  The thought had crossed my mind.  My response to her was, "we will be here for as long as we can.  I want you and your brothers to love each other so much, that you would always be there for each other, but you don't HAVE TO, take care of them." She looked me in my eye and said "I want to".  

I pray that their bond continues, and I pray that he nurturing soul grows stronger.  I am proud to be her Mommy!  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Autistic Kids Rock!!!!

Today is the Day!!!!! We've put ALOT of hard work into this event, and I cannot wait to see it all come to life!!!!! 

This evening we come together to celebrate our AMAZING loved ones who are Living with Autism!  Cheers to their accomplishments and to how far they have come!  

This evening we Salute the Autism Moms and Dads for their unconditional love and dedication! 

This evening we take a moment to turn off our propellers and relax a little.  No need to Hover!  

This evening we surround ourselves with people who understand just what we go through and support you.  

This evening their is no judgement because we have walked a mile in your shoes.  

This Evening we let the Bronx and the world know that Autistic Kids Rock!!!!! 

Come out and show your support!!!! Doors open at 5 pm!!! There will be a complimentary Latin Buffet provided by Sabor Borinqueño, drink specials throughout the evening, hookah, prizes, and great people!!! 

Located right by the heart of Westchester Square!!! You can take the 6 train or the BX 21, 31, 4A!!! You don't want to miss it!!!!

Can't make it but would like to donate? Click Here!!!


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Live Love and Laugh!!!!!

Parents are their children's first teachers.  We are they're first example.  They watch us and learn from us.  Even when you don't think they are, they pick up on everything.  How you react to a situation.  How you go into a situation, and what you feel about a situation.  Think about that.  

If you as a parent go into a situation with a negative outlook, they too will become pessimistic.  If you don't try, for fear it won't go well.  They too will develop that same fear. You'll never get to enjoy new things and experiences. 

Having three kids all in a very close age range, can make outings and events a little difficult.  Throw a meltdown in, with a twist of just plain spoiled, it can be exhausting.  But it's all a learning experience that may end up leaving you with an everlasting memory!!!

Think positive, live life like there's no tomorrow, cry because you're laughing too hard, and love like your heart was never broken!  We have one life to live, SO LIVE IT!!!!!! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Waiting to Exhale

So many have thanked me for putting together the Challenger League, but i want you to now that I am forever grateful and thankful to you all!  This has been one of my most rewarding and fulfilling moments in my life.  Being able to meet so many super amazing children and their amazing families is hands down top five in my lifetime experiences.  

When I learned of my son's diagnosis, I was mixed with emotions and felt powerless and confused.  I can't say alone, because I had my husband, but we didn't personally know of anyone else diagnosed with Autism.  As we pushed forward we met others who experienced the same heartache, struggles and overwhelming love for our children. 

This hasn't been an easy journey, as a lot of you know.  But it is a very rewarding one.  I have to say that the rewards outweigh the meltdowns and red tape I get tangled up in at times.  All their milestones and accomplishments  are that much more greater, because we know how much they had to overcome to make it happen! 

Last season, when baseball started, I had no idea what to expect, but I went into with the intention of creating an environment where everyone involved was going to get something out of it!  It was and still is important that parents and family trust me and understand that I had only good intentions.  My goal was to make them feel at home!  And to allow them to be comfortable with letting their most precious possession be themselves.  I wanted them to have the same service that I would want for myself and my children.  It's why I take the time to know each child and get to know the family!  

I love talking to parents who are unsure about signing their children up.  They're always sound so tense, but once I start to explain, I hear that sigh of relief.  That exhale.  I look forward to our second season!!!! 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Every Little Bit Counts

For a few years, I raised thousands of dollars to donate to an organization that mainly focuses on research of Autism.  Which by the way is a great thing.  But, my child HAS Autism and Needs services now.  I live in the Bronx and most times have to travel out of the borough I live in for activities and/or programs that are tailored to my sons needs. 
I began to feel uncomfortable about handing over so much money and never really knowing if the money was going to services and not advertising or incentives to raise more money.  So when my child asked to play baseball, I did all that I could to make it happen!
I am so proud to be able to put all my fundraising efforts into a program that benefits children on the spectrum, and that is Free.  I love being able to see just where the funds that we raised are going to. 
Check out our Website to see how successful our last season was!!!! We went from having 65 players and 4 teams to having 145 players and 12 teams for our upcoming season!   Help us to make our 2nd Season even more AMAZING than last year!!!!!
Come out on Friday April 3rd, 2015 to sing your hearts or just support at our 5th Annual Autistic Kids Rock Karaoke Fundraiser

Can't make it out to our event, but still want to donate?  You can check out our GoFundme Page

Want to learn more about our program and see pics of our great 1st season? Click here to Check Out our Website

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Amazing trip to the South of France

Being a mom makes it difficult to get away.  So when you find a place that can take you away like Calgon close to home, it's definitely a keeper!!!! 

I have found an amazing little spot right in my Hometown of the Bronx!  It's called The South of France.  It's a quaint little spot right on Westchester Avenue!  It's a Restaurant and Bar!!!! The best of both worlds Food and liquor YUM!!!!!! 

The name will fool you!  The only thing French Is the rustic stone facade outside and the huge sign with Red letters that reads South of France.  

The inside looks like a romantic Bistro, with its wood floors, posts and stone walls!  I've never been to France, but I feel like it would be a lot like this!  

But here you won't fine French Cuisine, you will find one of the Best Puerto Rican Cuisines I've ever tasted.  Their Rice and Beans are so flavorful and good, you may pick your plate up and lick it clean!!!.My favorite is the Sirloin Steak!!!! Oh how my mouth waters just thinking about it!!!! 

This morning I went for Brunch!!! 

And it was AWESOME!!!! There was a huge buffet!!!!! And everything was delicious!!!! 

I tried to taste everything!!!! There was mangu, with Salami, queso Frito (fried cheese), home fries, French toast!!!

And There was pancakes, sausage, yuca (cassava), quesadillas, stuffed mushrooms!!!!

 And Mussels, acapurrias, and Pastellios!!!! 

Potato Salad, Chicken tenders and Raw Oysters!!!! Yum!!!!! 

And I almost forgot.... The too die for Rice and Beans, Pernil and Beef!!!!!! 

They even made custom order eggs and omelettes!!! 

Then if you didn't have enough!!!! There was a large selection of fruits, cheese and desserts!!!! Including the freshest flan!!! Soooooo good! 

To wash it down you have Unlimited,  I mean Unlimited mimosas, bellinis and so much more!!!! All served by a beautiful bartender!

But what makes the South of France sooo much more amazing, is the owner Maribel!!! She is what a business owner should be! She cares about her establishment, and takes great pride in it!!! She makes sure everyone is comfortable and enjoying themselves!  Her huge smile and great spirit!  She makes you feel like you are with Family!  

The south of France is a great spot!!! Check them out!!! 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Turning the page

For as long as I can remember diabetes is something I've lived with. I personally didn't have diabetes, but I'd watch my mom nursing my dad and herself because they were both diabetics.  My mom monitored both their diets and their meds.   She'd lay out his pills. Prepare and give them both their insulin injections. She also kept track of their blood glucose levels daily.  They'd be pricking and poking themselves so much I joked that if they drink any liquids that it may start to pour out all their holes like a water fountain.  

I knew right away to get either one of them a glass of Orange juice or something sweet if their sugar dropped and keep an eye on them if they'd get dizzy from their sugar being too high.  It was always a concern that I'd get it too.  Both my parents and my paternal grandmother had it.  The fact that I was overweight worried my parents and doctors.  When I was pregnant with my oldest child I tested positive for gestational diabetes, and i needed insulin to balance my sugar levels.  Once I had my daughter, I showed no signs of diabetes, but I was told I needed to be very careful.  

A few years ago I was introduced to Zumba. I really enjoyed it and I started to lose weight.  I decided that it was time for me to take the concerns seriously.  I had three kids that depend on me and i needed to do whatever was needed to spare me a few more years to my lifetime!   I changed my eating habits and excersized regularly.  I was so into it, I started a Bootcamp workout.  I was loving how I was feeling and even more so how I was looking!  I even joined a gym to be able to work out during the cold weather seasons!  But unfortunately, certain things beyond my control took me away from my path of a healthier me.  

My working out began to slowly come to a stop.  I tried working out at home, but it got complicated and wasn't fun anymore.  I started feeling depressed and my anxiety started getting out of control. I fell back into my bad habit of filling myself with comfort foods in order to fill voids and ease my emotions.  I tried to work out occasionally, but I put on weight.  I began to spiral.  

Recently, I have been feeling pretty crappie! And started experiencing symptoms that were familiar.  Constant urge to urinate, feeling thirsty no matter how much water I would drink.  I thought I had developed a bladder infection, but turned out that wasn't the case.  I was tired ALL the time and I had no energy.  I started to see spots and my vision seemed to be getting worse.  So.... It was time to pay my doctor a visit!  

Today I went back for my follow up.  I was tired and thought about rescheduling my appointment.  It was freezing out, but I had been experiencing dizzy spells.  So bundled up and head out!

I was in good spirits for some reason and was greeted by great company when I arrived.  It made the wait at the doctors office go quicker and way more interesting.  (Thank you Junior)!!! 

My doctor wasn't in so I met with the physicians assistant. She was peppy and nice. She chatted with me and said let me tell you the good stuff.  Cool!!! Now here is the bad stuff we have to talk about.  "Your cholesterol is a bit high, if you work on it now you can avoid having to take meds" I thought I can live with that. Then here it was.  "You have diabetes" I felt relieved initially, because now I had a cause for the dizzy spells, spots and constant peeing! We talked about my future and management of my diabetes.  MY DIABETES!!!!!! Holy Sh!t!!! I have diabetes.  I don't have to take meds , but I have to visit the doctor regularly to monitor my diabetes!  

It hit me as I walked home.  I was suddenly thinking about how this was going to change my life completely.  If I didn't take care of myself, my kids Will have to live with diabetes just like me.  

Today I end another chapter in my life and tomorrow I begin a new one.  I will have diabetes, but I won't let diabetes have me!