Mama Motivation

Life as a parent comes with joy, humor, excitement and love; but it also comes with frustration, exhaustion, stress and sadness.

In those low moments as a parent, finding a silver lining can make a world of difference to your outlook on life and family.

Being a mom of three is crazy; being a mom of three and two have special needs – insane! However, I always find a positive outlook to all the negative that comes with disabilities.

Just this past week, I had an early IEP (Individualized Education Program), scheduled a 3 day EEG and scheduled an audiology appointment (daughter might need a hearing aid). To top it all off, I took my daughter to the ER for a severely infected ingrown toenail, which they had to scalpel open. This is not including our regular schedule of therapy and preschool.

When I tell anyone about all this craziness, they always have some of the same questions for me. How do you do it all? Doesn’t this stress you out? Don’t you get worn out? Honestly, motivation is all that keeps me going.

My motivation is my children. I have to push past my stress of all I need to do, push past my sadness for what my children are going to have to endure; and give them reassurance that everything is under control and they will be okay with anything that comes our way. I show them that just because something bad happens, it doesn’t mean I give up or break down. That doesn’t mean I don’t take small moments to deal with my emotions but I get my feelings out and then get back to work.

The silver linings I found in the possibility that my daughter might be partially deaf in one ear – she can still hear with her right ear and once we get a hearing aid for her, her speech with improve as well!

The silver lining in going to the ER today – I was forced to make all my calls and schedule appointments since there was nothing else to do. Plus, some focused time on how my daughter felt while my son spent some quality time with grandma.

In all that happens in our life, we can learn from the struggles and help others in the same situation. Be thankful for what you have and realize that there is so much more to be thankful for than we give credit.

Hope this gave you a more positive outlook and some ideas for your own motivation in life!

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In Honor of our Veterans

Over the weekend, the Marine Corps celebrated their 243rd birthday and we celebrated Veterans day.

Since my husband was in the Marines, he always celebrates the Marine Corps birthday by calling all his buddies he served with to just catching up and reminisce on the memories they share.

For Veterans Day, we usually will go somewhere significant to veterans (memorials or monuments) and just enjoy our time there.

I feel like in today’s political climate, veterans are neglected and forgotten. Not as many people talk about Veterans Day or actually “thank” a veteran at all.

So I would just like to say thank you to all service members – past, present and future – for the time and effort you put towards protecting this great country and all our freedoms. Without your sacrifice, none of the luxuries we have could be enjoyed. Thank you!!

Long Lost Family, Finally Found

My father was never a part of my life growing up. My mom told me about him and always said that once I was older she would help me contact him and reconnect if I ever wanted.

Through the years, my mom tried to keep as much current information on my father available for when the time came. In her searching, she found out he had another child. I had a half brother and we were close in age.

My mom contacted his mother and told her the situation. She did not want us to tell her son until he was 18 years old. So, we played the waiting game and when he turned 18 we started the search for him. After a couple weeks of sorting through what must have been hundreds of Facebook accounts, we found him!

I sent him a message explaining everything and it took a bit to finally confirm that we were related. He is in the Air Force so it was difficult to set up a time and place to meet. So over the next 6 years we kept in touch and finally, over this last summer, we met face-to-face.

My half brother spent a little over a week at our place, spending quality time with me and the kids. We share so much in common that I don’t share with the siblings I grew up around. He got to celebrate Lexi’s birthday and we surprised him on his birthday. Also, we got matching tattoos together. It is in Japanese and means family – he got it on his left chest area and mine is on my left shoulder blade area. We chose Japanese since that is the strongest shared ethnicity between us.

While he was here, my mom was able to find and get in touch with our paternal uncle. We all met up and got to meet his daughters too, so our cousins. It was a crazy few weeks meeting all this new family.

A couple months passed and in that time, my mom got a hold of my biological father. We planned to meet for dinner and to make it less chaotic, my husband kept the kids while I went with just the baby. I was nervous to meet him and hoped things would go ok. When I got to the restaurant, it was like seeing an old friend. We hugged and just started talking right away about what our daily lives are like and about ourselves. We ended up having so much in common! It turned out to be a great meeting and we plan on more in the future.

He works a ton and usually is out of the country which means long periods of time between us seeing each other. But we keep in touch, by text and email. Another thing to look forward to, he visits Japan often and said he’d love for me and my family to go with him sometime so I could meet other relatives that live near Tokyo, Japan.

From all of this, I learned a lot about my family but also about myself and where I get certain characteristics. I now have even more family than before and am so thankful for each of them. I keep in touch with all of them and am looking forward to what the future may hold. I even learned about my extended family.

Some of the most interesting things I learned about my family and ancestors was that many were put into camps on Hawaii during World War II due to being Japanese. My grandmother also witnessed Hiroshima but was far enough away to not suffer the aftermath. My grandfather was close friends with Jimmy Hoffa and supposedly worked with him. All of these things amaze me and really strengthen my pride in each nationality.

I am so thankful to have been given this opportunity to meet them all and get along with each one. I am also very proud of where I came from and the journey to this point that has made me who I am. I never would want to be different than who I am today.

Autism: Different Therapy Options

April is Autism Awareness Month so I have decided to go into the different therapies that my son receives and just explain the purpose of each.

All of the following are my own personal experiences and understanding of each type of therapy. None of this should be taken for what you will experience. This is for informational purposes only.


ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis)

I feel this one is the most important for kids with autism. It is an in-home therapy that works on behavior, areas of developmental delays and almost any issue that your child is dealing with that is not age appropriate.

Right now, my son receives 10 hours a week of therapy and during those sessions, they work on:

  • Speech
  • Fine Motor Skills (Cutting, coloring)
  • Basic Social Skills (His name and age, turn taking)
  • Self Care (Washing hands, brushing teeth)

Speech

This one is a given since our biggest issue with my son is a speech delay. He has broken sentences and about 50 to 75 words but most people have a hard time understanding him since he has a mild slur as well.

He goes to individual speech twice a week for half and hour each time. Plus, an hour once a week as preschool.

Since he started speech, I’ve notice an improvement in his receptive speech, expressive speech and articulation.


OT (Occupational Therapy)

This one is helpful for some of my sons more mild challenges of sensory issues.

They help him with eating – he is a VERY picky eater and does not like too much variety. When I say this, I’m meaning he I’ll only eat a few things.

  • Chicken nuggets
  • Apple sauce pouches (only in the pouches)
  • Bananas, strawberries, apples
  • Muffins
  • Eggs
  • Nutella Sandwich
  • Chips

That is it. No other foods. So daily, this is all he will eat. He won’t try anything else.

So they help try to expose him to new foods and get him to at least taste the food. He goes to OT once a week for an hour.


Special Autism Preschool (IEP)

This may be my favorite therapy for Leo. He gets to go to a preschool, specific for kids with mild disabilities, for a little over two hours every day during the week.

I enjoy knowing Leo is getting social time with peers, he is out of the house and they work on things to prep him for kindergarten. Plus, they incorporate speech and OT into his learning to help reinforce what he is learning outside of the classroom.

I’ve notice a boost in Leo’s confidence and all other areas since he started preschool. Also, he loves school! He will get sad when I pick him up and is so excited when I drop him off. Knowing he loves school makes it easier to drop him off.


Well, that’s all the therapy Leo gets but I know there are a ton more out there for kids with different issues or more severity. Currently, Lexi is also taking part in all these therapies but for slightly different reasons, she does not have a diagnosis yet.

If you have any questions or would like to share a different therapy you, a family member or friend takes part in, feel free to share in the comments!

Thank you for reading!

Cloe 💋

Autism Awareness Month Q&A

So I’m just going to post a few questions I received and my answers. All answers are my opinion or point of view, not all my experiences will be the same for someone else dealing with autism. No two people with autism have the same symptoms or issues. 

Q: What did you think when you found out he had autism?

A: Surprisingly, I was more relieved than anything because now had a plan of how to deal with whatever was thrown my way. If you are wanting more of my diagnosis experience, check out my past blog post on it. 


Q: How has that changed your life?

A: It hasn’t changed that much. He goes to preschool like other kids but it’s a mild special needs class that works on speech. My life with autism isn’t that much different besides making sure he gets therapy to help in the areas he has delays. 


Q: Is there anything he isn’t able to do since he’s autistic?

A: Not really. The only thing I can think of is maybe some independent things since he can’t talk too much yet and isn’t potty trained yet. 


Q: Is he on a special diet?

A: Yes, but very mild restrictions. He can’t have dairy but that is it. I substitute milk with coconut milk and chocolate with carob chips. Cheese is the only hard one since there are substitutes but he doesn’t like the taste. 


Q: How did you know he was autistic?

A: When he was about 1 years old, he was very antisocial, didn’t babble or make eye contact, didn’t play with toys but was fascinated by wheels and light up toys. He didn’t respond to his name or understand simple instructions. Had issues with textures and restrictive clothing. They just seemed odd and I asked to make sure he was ok. Nothing wrong with those behaviors unless they would interfere with his future life. Started therapy and saw major improvements. 


Hope this was informational and thank you all for the questions. Let me know what you thing in the comments!

Happy Easter!! 🐣🐇🐰 
Love, Cloe 💋

Autism: Dairy Free Diet

Since we have gotten the autism diagnosis, we have researched every option to help with Leo’s symptoms and behaviors. The one that seemed like a simple change that could have a big impact was switching off of dairy completely. 


It was a little more difficult than expected because I didn’t realize that the only foods my son liked to eat was all dairy products. Milk, string cheese, mac&cheese, quesadillas, yogurt, ice cream and chocolate. 

The first two days were rough, he was extra fussy and didn’t want anything. I had substituted milk with almond and coconut milk. No cheese at all or yogurt. There is coconut milk ice cream and carob chips (similar to chocolate), so he wasn’t completely cut from everything. 

By day three, we started to see a difference in Leo’s behavior. 

  • He had better attention
  • Willingness to try new things
  • More vocal
  • Fewer tantrums
  • More responsive 


With the results we saw, we were going to stick to a dairy free diet. So we all have been dairy free since October and I can’t go back. I tried having milk and I got stomach aches. It has helped all of our health, not just Leo’s. 

I would highly suggest anyone and everyone to try removing dairy from their diet and see what results they notice. The time it takes to see results vary from person to person. We were lucky to have some results within the first week but it can take up to a month to start seeing a change. And for some, it may not help at all but it is worth a shot. 


I hope this was informational and helpful. If you have more questions or comments, feel free to send me a message!

Love, Cloe 💙

World Autism Awareness Day

Today is World Autism Awareness Day and you can show your Awareness by wearing blue.


April is Autism Awareness Month, so for this month I’ll be posting about autism and doing a Q&A for any of you with questions. 

Autism has good stories – thankfully. But it also has its heartache, challenges and tireless effort. I’d like to share both sides to having a child with autism. 

Many people don’t understand autism in the least. I’ve had my share of experiences with people not knowing what it is he has. 

Autism is the least funded disability in the U.S. effecting the most children. 


So, please send me your questions for me to answer and I’ll be posting more soon on autism. 

Love, Cloe 💙