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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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 💙

Family Reunion: 100 Years, 5 Generations, 1 Blessed Family

My family is close and we all keep in touch no matter the distance between us all. So it was no question whether or not we would be flying to Texas for a family reunion that was taking place along with my great grandmothers 100th birthday. 

We planned to fly out there a few days before the reunion/birthday to settle in and plan everything. We wanted to make the most out of a 4 day trip without too many complications.

So when it came time to fly, it was my whole family all together on the same flight; this includes my mom and sister, younger brother and niece, my husband and our two toddlers plus myself. It was a large party all trying to rearrange our seats so the kids were happy but had an adult with them. 


Once we landed, my aunt and grandpa were there to drive all of us back to my grandpas place for the night. We all stayed up late talking and just spending quality time together. 

The next day was spent with my grandpa since he wasn’t able to make it to the reunion. We had dinner with my aunt and her kids; we were a huge group considering it was just my mom and aunt with their kids. 

The next morning, we packed everything up and drove from Dallas area to near Waco for the reunion. It was a blast being reintroduced to distant relatives and getting to reconnect with others since we all live far away. 


And lastly, celebrating My great grandmas 100th birthday was an amazing milestone and quite the experience. 

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It was a wonderful trip and will be lasting, loving memories for the years to come. 

Please comment below or feel free to share your own family experiences. 

Thank you 💋

Autism: First Day of Preschool

My son, Leo, started preschool on Wednesday and I was nervous because he has had a hard time with other school like classes. He hates going to speech and cries when therapists show up at the home for ABA. So I was nervous for how he would be with school. 


He was excited to get his backpack on and there was no complaints walking to his class. We had met his teacher prior to Leo’s first day so when he saw her, he ran right up to her and held her hand. 

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Without any given directions he followed her to the door of his class and saw everyone else hanging their backpacks up on the hooks and he did the same. Turned and waved at me and walked into class. 

It melted my heart! I was so proud of his independence and confidence but sad that it was that easy for him to say bye to me! Haha a silly thing but only a parent would understand. 

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It was a strange feeling being without him for a little over two hours but also a little freeing. When it was time to pick Leo up, I was so excited expecting him to ​​be happy to see me. However, I got the opposite response. He held his teachers leg saying “school, school,” and motioning for me to leave. 

Finally got him to leave but he was crying and pointing back at his class. I guess I can be thankful that he really loves school and his teacher. 

Crying because he saw the car and didn’t want to leave school

If you have any funny first day of school stories, please feel free to share them in the comments below. Or if you have any comments or questions, go ahead and comment below. Thank you!