Advice/Tips, Family

Autism Awareness Month: Long Term EEG

For those of you who have children that are on the spectrum or know someone with autism, then you know the struggles and challenges that come with it. For those of you that don’t know or want to know more, I’m going to give you a sneak peak into our life and some of the things we experience.


What is a Long Term EEG?

My middle child, Lexi, was scheduled for a long term EEG this week. Long-term electroencephalographic monitoring (LTM) is used most frequently in the diagnosis and management of seizures and “spells,” but has also gained wider application in the evaluation of sleep disorders, cerebrovascular disease, psychiatric conditions, and movement disorders. 

We were scheduled for a 48 hour LTM to rule out brain seizures since Lexi has staring or dazing spells. She can zone out for a few minutes and only physical touch will bring her out of it.


The Prep and Setup

We were scheduled for 1pm on Wednesday at CHOC in Mission Viejo. As we arrived, we are greeted and shown to our room on the Pediatric floor. Lexi was enjoying all the attention up until we walked into our room and saw the hospital bed; that’s when she sat on the floor pouting. Took a bit to get all her vitals and finally get her onto the bed. That’s when the technician came in to hook her up to the machine. We put a movie on and had her lay down so the tech could start working. It took 1.5 hours to get all the electrodes attached but surprisingly she did well. Once attached and wrapped to secure in place, we are giving all the instructions for our stay and I was given a tour of the rest of the floor.

Lexi as we arrived at the hospital
Finally all attached and wrapped

Making it Through the 48 Hours

For the next 48 hours, it was a lot of fussing and trying to entertain with movies and games. She was brought meals 3 times a day and I was given a $10 food voucher each day for anything in the cafeteria. While in the room, there is a camera that records our whole stay to be able to go back over and review anything that came up irregular on the EEG. It was a long process but we made it through and on Friday late morning, we were given the all clear to be able to leave.


Finally Going Home

After the all clear, we had to wait for the tech to come in to start the removal of all the electrodes. They have to put a solution in her hair to dissolve the glue used to hold everything in place. It took about 30 minutes to get everything off and we were left with messy hair.

After quite a bit of washing and brushing, I got her hair up and get her dressed to head out. Due to policy, she had to be wheeled out of the hospital to the car in a wheelchair. However, Lexi was loving all the positive attention as we left.

All dressed and ready to go

Little diva getting wheeled out

My husband picked us up and we finally were done and going home to enjoy the rest of our Friday afternoon.

Thankfully, the results came back all good so we can check this off our list as an issue and move on! As much as it was a pain and tiresome, I’m glad we were able to get this done and not have to worry about any underlying issue.

Well, I hope this gave you a better insight to some of the issues parents with kids on the spectrum deal with and what the process is like. Let me know if you had a different experience or want more information in the comments!

Thank you and hope you enjoy your weekend!

Cloe 💙

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Advice/Tips, Family, Relationships

Unique Valentines Day Ideas

Whether you are married, dating or single, here are some ideas for what to do and a few gift ideas as well.

Getting Out

  • Have a bonfire – snuggle up with your loved one and enjoy relaxing together.
  • Sign up for chocolate tasting – better than chocolate in a box.
  • Take a dance class – have fun learning a new dance together. Exciting swing dancing or romantic salsa.
  • Roller skating – really brings out the kid in each of us and you can enjoy the music too.
  • Tandem bike riding – enjoy the cool breeze and the funny moments you’re bound to have trying to ride on one bike

Staying Indoors

  • Plan a themed dinner and movie – it can be any theme to fit your unique relationship
  • Create a scavenger hunt – this could be as simple or elaborate as you would like
  • Have a board game night – pull out your favorite board game and let the games begin
  • Have a nerf gun war – how fun to act like kids again, sneaking around the house
  • Have a spa night – bubble bath, massage, anything else to pamper each other.


Gift Ideas

  • Personalize candy or drinks – make a custom label
  • Map of your love – cut out a heart in a map with the center being where you met, had your first date, or got married
  • Make a flip book – you can draw pictures or actually take pictures of yourself
  • Get cooking – if your loved one enjoys food, make something heart-shaped to eat together (pizza, cake)
  • Message board – you can turn a picture frame into a dry eraser board or get a letter board. You can send each other cute messages each day
  • A five senses gift – see (movie), hear (music, concert tickets), touch (massage oil, lingerie), taste (food, candy), and smell (cologne).

These are all ideas and can be completely customizable to you and your loved one.

Advice/Tips, Family

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!

Advice/Tips, Family, Food, Opinion

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 💙

Advice/Tips, Family

Autism: IEP Process

I’ve decided to share some IEP experience tips and give other parents an insight to what they should expect. 

  • First, be prepared to have many, many meetings so they can evaluate your child. We, personally, had 7 meetings before the final meeting.
  • Second, always remember that you are your child’s best and only advocate. Fight for what you feel your child deserves and needs.
  • Third, have support during this process. This could be your spouse, family member or friend. Makes decisions easier and takes the stress of pressure off of you. 
  • Finally, Don’t feel obligated to sign when presented with their IEP recommendation. You can take it home to “think” about it. I took it home and asked my sons pediatrician and other therapists what they thought and they all thought he should have more time. 

I just recently received the decision of what the school district is offering for my son. They are giving him 1 hr a week of group speech and that is it! I requested to take the IEP home and decide what I think. 

I am going to come back at them with the request for at least 2 hrs a week of individual speech and at least 1 hr a week of OT. 

Once they review my request, they will schedule another meeting and I will find out if they will be adding my request or if they don’t feel he needs the extra time. 

*I will post an update once we get the final decision.*


Please feel free to share some of your experiences or any comment or questions you have! 😁

Advice/Tips, Family, Opinion, Relationships

Marriage Tip #3 – Compromise

Every couple comes to a point when both want different things. When we reach that point, we have three options:

  1. Argue your point and why it’s better
  2. Give in to what your partner wants
  3. Both of you compromise

To come to a compromise, both parties need to be willing to work together. It takes an open mind to consider the possibilities and self-sacrifice if you want to please your partner. Below are some basic steps to reaching a compromise:

  1. Start with the right tone. Don’t come off attacking or irritated. 
  2. Find a common ground. Don’t focus on what you and your partner disagree on but what areas you are similar. 
  3. Brainstorm some new ideas for you and your partner to decide on. 
  4. Be willing to change your mind. Sometimes changing your mind becomes the best decision and you love what you thought you never would. 

Some examples from my own life now to show areas where either my husband or myself has made a compromise. Let me first explain that me and my husband are complete opposites but we complement each other very well. 

  1. We have different tastes in music. I couldn’t stand his so he gave mine a chance. Now he loves the same music so there are no issues. 
  2. My husband loves computer games and I’m usually too busy to play them or care for them. He waits until the kids are asleep to play so he’s not leaving me when I need his help or want to get out. And I make sure to get the kids to bed early enough so he has time to play. 
  3. I love taking pictures of the things I love but always end up missing from them. My husband hates being in pictures. So he will ask others to take the picture for us so I am in them and he gets passed his annoyance of photos so I am happy with the photos we got. 
  4. My husband alway leaves his clothes in the bathroom and I used to continually ask him to bring it back to the room and put in a basket. Now we have a small clothes hamper in the bathroom and that’s pretty much always his clothes so no pre sorting. 

I know there are probably more but I can’t think of many cuz we have always found a solution. 


So, my advice to you is, don’t be so hardheaded that you won’t give the other persons perspective a chance but don’t be too passive that you become someone you’re not. 

Let me know in the comments of this helped you or seems to be true or not for you. 😊

Advice/Tips, Opinion

Pokemon Go

As many people may already know the smart phone game, Pokemon Go, has come out recently and tons of people are jumping right into the game. I won’t deny it either, I totally have been playing it too. 

It’s very simple and easy to play but a little confusing considering there are no clear directions of how to play the game. 

I’m no pro but here are the few tips I have if you are gonna play and some basic info on gameplay. 


When you start out, three Pokemon pop up on the screen for you to choose from. Move away from them 3 times and the fourth time they resurface, Pikachu is in the selection options. 

Your main objective at the start is just collect Pokemon. Once you reach level 5, the real game begins. That is when you choose a team – red, blue or yellow. The team you choose has no effect on your game play. It just separates people so they have opponents. Then you’ll want to join a gym to gain items over time.

At a teammates gym, you will fight other Pokemon to train yours and make the gym stronger. When you duel other teams gyms, you are training yours and weakening their gym. 


Then there are these poke stops. They are at local landmarks, statues and even intersections. Here you can pick up more items for free. The turn over for another pick up is about 5 minutes. 


Once you have done these few steps, it’s all up to you on what you do next! 

Let me know if you have any other secrets or tips! And enjoy! 

Advice/Tips, Opinion

Tips and Advice for Coping with PTSD

To conclude my series of PTSD Awareness Month, I’ve decided to write some tips for people dealing with PTSD – coping skills – and what you can do to help others with this issue by understanding components of PTSD. 

Part 1 – Dealing with PTSD

  1. Exercise – It will release endorphins and help you focus your thoughts. 
  2. Self soothe – Finding what calms you down will help when you really need to get back to what you were doing. 
  3. Connect – Find others who share the same struggle to connect with and help each other. 
  4. Self Care – Take time to relax, eat healthy, stay away from alcohol and drugs, get a good amount of sleep. 

Different things will help depending on what caused your PTSD. 

For abuse, writing out the whole traumatic experience will be difficult but is a great way to feel like you’ve moved past the event. 

For combat, connecting and seeking out some kind of counceling will help. Finding the right counselor is a big part of getting better. 


Part 2 – Supporting Someone with PTSD

  1. Don’t pressure – It can be difficult to express what exactly they are feeling or what they experienced. 
  2. Listen – Most of the time, someone dealing with PTSD need to talk about their issues. Help guide them with what to do by their cues. They may need to just talk about the event over and over again, other times they just need someone to hangout with that doesn’t pressure them. 
  3. Understand Triggers – This could include anniversary dates; people or places connected with the trauma; and even certain sights, sounds, or smells. By being aware of the triggers that may cause a reaction, you are better able to help and understand them. 
  4. It’s not Personal – Dont take certain behaviors personal like anger, irritatable or being closed off. Accept you may never fully understand what they are going through.
  5. Balance – Taking care of yourself and keeping a level head works wonders. Also, learning more about PTSD will help you to understand better. 


So I hope you can go out there and use these tips to help aid yourself or someone else deal with this issue. It can be difficult but with support and determination, you can accomplish a better life. 😊

Let me know if you found these to be helpful or if you have your own tip to add. Just comment below 👍

Advice/Tips, Family, Opinion

Child At Heart

Many people don’t know much about my kids and how my oldest inspires me each day. He has a developmental delay and has therapy five days a week – oh and by the way, he’s only 2!


When he was about 14 months old, I noticed some red flags in his behavior. I made a list of the behaviors and scheduled an evaluation. 

  • No eye contact
  • Tantrums
  • No functional play
  • No speech
  • Sensitivity to sounds
  • Sensitivity to textures
  • Waking all night screaming
  • Poor appetite
  • Emotionally unstable 


At the end of his evaluation, I was told he possibly could be autistic and my stomach dropped. Not from fear of what others would think of me but of the struggles he would have to face. I had been a helper in high school for a kid that was autistic and I had seen first hand the challenges. 

We discussed the options and agreed to start therapy to see if he would make improvements. So within a few weeks I got a call and they explained how therapy would work. 

Monday through Friday for two hours each day and these sessions would be at home since he was so young. He would also do occupational therapy for 1 hour a week at a clinic. 

When we first started therapy, in December, I was skeptical because he had a major stranger danger attitude and hated new people – especially if they were wanting him to do something. So he would throw tantrums for the whole 2 hour session. 


Today, he fusses at the start for about 5 minutes but now works during session and has made bounds in improvements!

Now he makes eye contact, does functional play, stabilized his emotions and no more middle of the night waking. He is better with his sensory issues due to his occupational therapy. He is also trying to talk now by saying syllables and a few words here and there. 

A re-evaluation of his behavior shows little to no autism but a developmental delay only. I can keep working with him and therapy to get him up to par. 


Now, anytime I feel like something is impossible, I just look at my own little miracle cuddled next to me. If he can make efforts and improvements like that at only 2 years old then I think I can do anything. The power of a child’s determination, perseverance and strength motivate and inspire me to be the best I can be for my own children. 


Let me know what inspires you to be the best version of yourself! 😘

Advice/Tips, Opinion, Relationships

Post-traumatic stress disorder from Abuse

In honor of PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) Awareness Month, I am writing from my own personal experience of abuse and the affects. This post does contain graphic content that may disturb readers. 


I was in a relationship in 2007 that, at the time, was an abusive relationship but I was not aware of it. He was abusive in multiple ways and I was so young that I didn’t see it as abuse.

He was emotionally/verbally abusive by isolating me from friends and family, blaming me, accusing me, threatening me and/or himself. 

I was financially abused by him controlling my money and when I could use it. 

He used social media and texting to cause digital abuse. He would degrade or threaten me and harass me when I wasn’t with him. Demanded access to all my social media and would go through my phone. 

He stalked me at work, and any time I would be without him, he had a friend watch me. 


When I finally got the courage to leave him, I knew it could go bad and warned coworkers. Once I got home and told him I didn’t want to be with him anymore, I saw the anger rise. This was the first time I had ever been physically abused in my life. He pinned me to the ground and I tried to deflect his punches but many made it past my arms. He knocked me out and he waited til I became conscious to tell me it’s my fault for him doing this. He asked if I was still going to leave and I said yes, the beating continued for about another 10 minutes with him screaming at me. He would yell things like “why would you leave me when I love you?”, “nobody will love you after me because you’re damaged”, “I’ll kill you before I see you with someone else”, and “you are making me do this.”

Coming up with a plan, I finally said I wouldn’t leave, knowing he had work that night. He left and said we would talk later. Once I saw him drive away I called a coworker who picked me up and all my belongings and took me to their home to stay. 

We filed a police report, took photos and visited a doctor. 

The results:

He never was caught. Found out he was an illegal and was hiding. 

I ended up with bruises covering my entire body, busted lip, bone bruises along my jaw, swollen esophagus, a fractured supraorbital arch (eyebrow bone), and PTSD. 


I’m not going to go into detail of my symptoms but I have complied a list of PTSD symptoms I developed. 

  1. Flashbacks and nightmares
  2. Insomnia 
  3. Anxiety 
  4. Numb to emotions 
  5. No self esteem 
  6. Constant headaches
  7. Negative self image 
  8. Hypervigilance


Today, I have moved so far from the struggles I faced then and have become a stronger person. 

What I struggle with today include momentary anxiety and moments of low self esteem. 

I am happy with the person I have become and took a negative and turned it into a positive. I rarely ever have this experience come up and have moved past it. It take determination and courage to push through. Putting my faith in the Lord is what really got me out of such a dark place. My husband and kids really have brought that chapter to a close and I am so thankful I get to enjoy every day with them!

Feel free to share your thoughts or share your story by commenting below. If you would like to share privately, my email is cloe.pottorff@gmail.com 😊💜