Friday, November 20, 2015

Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have!

My favorite time of the year is just around the corner!   It's finally getting colder and we can spend our evenings wrapped in warm, fluffy "Frozen" blankets and drink hot cinnamon and ginger tea... I love when it's getting dark earlier.   It almost feels like Christmas but without Christmas decorations (can't wait to put ours up next week!).  It's rather tricky to work from home - many distractions and other people don't see it as a real job, so they often suggest "going out with the girls for a nice cup of tea while kids are at school" or "mommy, can I stay home with you after school? Are you working [meaning: going to the office] or you're working from home today?"... So yeah, not easy to convince my 5 year old that I'm serious about my job, when she sees me dressed in jeans and a T-shirt.    I've heard it many times "dress for the job you want, not for the one you have!".   And so if you want to be a regional director of some fancy company, you don't wear scruffy sweaters and jeans or everyday skirts.  You put on your best, crispy suit and wear some make up, have your hair and nails done, and walk like those corporate "females" in the TV shows, giving others a cold look with your chin up high.   Yeah, I don't think that's me :)    If I was to apply that saying, I should be running around the house and town wearing spandex yoga pants suit with a long cape and a mask.    Obviously I am aspiring to be a superhero of some sort - I wanna save the world, be a 100% supermom, 100% super wife, 100% super employee and have time to cook and eat in peace.
Oh no! I'm aspiring to be a female version of Santa Clause.   I guess my Jambalaya girl's goal is to become a fashion designer or a makeup artist... No explanation needed.   And as for my Booboo bear, I believe he will become the first naturist engineer.   He loves detailed drawings of an engine or airplanes, now also insects or anything with wings... And yes, he loves being naked, of course in the least appropriate times!   On the other hand, they say it's better for your skin, if you let it breathe and get some sun exposure on daily basis, haha... I wonder, how your kids express their personalities through clothes choices they make (or lack of such, in some cases).

By the way, working from home is a lot harder to do because you do your regular job and then take breaks to do all the house works (because you're staying home, right?).  I wish there was a refund for any Autism treatment and special education programs... I wish...   The reality is harsh.   The new statistics say Autism affects now 1 in 45 American children!   And that's just in the USA!   Frightening to the families, yet glorious news to the medical society...

I think it's time for some ginger lemon tea.  Anyone cares for some? :)

Stay warm and remember it's almost Christmas! Yey!   

Monday, September 21, 2015

Best days of our lives, dentists and kefir :)

Counting my blessings...

Michael has had his dental appointment today - it was a pretty big job - lots of drilling and partial root canal... I was already preparing myself (and Mom, who went with me) to hold Michael down during procedure and expect the worst: screaming, moving, kicking, avoiding the drill etc... To our surprise Booboo was as good as gold, didn't move one bit. Even the dentist was shocked, as she has never had a patient that calm... I must say, I was quite emotional looking at my boy so mature and peaceful.

I wanted to share results of our little experiment that we've started not even a week ago. Knowing Michael has very sensitive GI system, we decided to give it a go to natural organic KEFIR (<-- click on this link to read more about kefir). We all know how beneficial fermented foods are to our guts. Well, we tried sauerkraut last year (and Michael was eating it everyday till my surgery, which broke the routine and we never fully got back to it!). We had ups and downs, feeling like there have been way more downs than ups recently, but then we were reminded - IT'S ALL IN THE GUT! Our immune system starts in our gut! The better GI functions, the healthier we get. So we tried kefir :) I am giving it to Booboo with a syringe (like a medicine) as he will accept anything that's "odd" as long as I label it "MEDICINE". So there you go! I'm sure you can find your own way to give this stuff to your picky eaters. Start with small doses - adding kefir to mashed potatoes or soups, sauces etc... or if they like yogurts, add to their yogurt. As long as you don't cook it, because then all trillions of good bacteria will be killed :(

I'm drinking it too and I must say, I'm feeling wonderful - pain I used to suffer from (caused by endometriosis) is almost completely gone now! No medication or hormonal treatments! A glass of kefir every single day!

We have started our school year and kids are doing fine, despite dust storms and unbelievable humidity and heat! Michael had a few "worse" days but in general I believe he's improved drastically. The other day, he grabbed his homework notepad and brought it to me, asking to do his homework with my supervision - it's amazing! And he seems to be more interested in drawing again (which used to be his favorite thing in the whole world!).  He's keeping eye contact for longer and tries to verbalize his desires more, as well as using PECS and sentence strips correctly! I'm truly amazed!
And we DANCED for the longest time, just me and my boy - laughing, hugging and crying (OK, just me crying part, cause I am a softy, shhh)

Our church family prayed for us and especially our handsome dude - crying, fasting, pleading with God to help him. I tell you what! It works! Us, as parents can get really down sometimes and feel like our prayers don't go anywhere. It's good to ask other believers to pray! I heard someone saying one day: "Even if you don't believe in God or power of prayer, go to some Bible believing church and ask people there to put your autistic child on their prayer list, and pray for him/ her until you get your prayers answered. Cause prayer of the faithful avails a lot!"

I am going a bit crazy with making photo albums these days - melancholic and getting soooo ready for Christmas :) yes, yes, in September!

So here's a song I love "Best day of my life" by American Authors, accompanied by the photographs of THE BEST DAYS OF OUR LIVES :) Enjoy!

Love you all dearly and pray God will grant the desires of your hearts.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Secret ingredient of healing process - Let's be honest here...

Time for some honest confession, folks!

"Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."—Matthew 17:19-21.

    "And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."—Mark 9:28, 29.

If you're not a regular Bible reader or simply not familiar with this story, I'd like to present it in a nutshell, so you understand where I'm coming from...

Once Jesus was on earth, fulfilling His divine ministry, He showed His compassion towards multitudes - He healed those that were sick, mime, deaf, blind, lepers, healed woman with hemophilia, brought a few dead people back to life - all this was done out of great LOVE for His creation. It was not magic tricks or sorcery, as some accused Him of. So anyway, one day nine of the apostles (elected by God),  stayed by the mountain with clear instruction from Jesus to continue great work, after Christ's example. They were not only qualified to do this, but they had actually performed many miracles of healing. When they went into towns, filled with divine power, they healed the sick, and cast out devils everywhere; yet on this particular occasion, it seems, they could do none of that, therefore they were completely shocked and discouraged. As they stood there, a poor father had brought to them his epileptic son, who was also possessed with an evil spirit; and they could neither cast out the evil spirit nor heal his epilepsy. What were they doing wrong? Have they lost "their" powers? Again, it's not about magic tricks or some spiritualistic powers used in sorcery. Perhaps, due to so many successful cases of healing, both physically and  spiritually, they got into "routine", contributing positive results to themselves? Just a thought.
Imagine now this picture... a broken man, no doubt with eyes puffed from crying and lack of sleep, carrying in his arms a little boy who is screaming, shaking and kicking, pulling his hair out, scratching and biting his father's arms... This man falling on his knees before strangers, of whom he only heard stories, and begging them for help. Nothing he ever tried helped his son enough to make him healthy again. No remedies from knowledgeable medics of those days, nor restraining him physically, or even throwing him in water or fire... Total desperation and hopelessness. Can any of you relate to that? I know I can!

Back to our story now... So this poor man, whose faith in ever seeing his son healed, was hanging on a very thin thread, saying "Gentlemen, please! Help my son!". And so apostles gathered around him, seeing how the boy is pining his frail body,  grinding his teeth and foaming from his mouth... Scary picture but not that hard to imagine, is it? You can almost hear those men pray over the young fella... They've done it many times before so why isn't he delivered from this condition?! Looking puzzled at each other (I believe this is the moment they started doubting!), they just lifted their hands and said "sorry, we've done all we could".  The next thing we know is Jesus seeing a big crowd surrounding his disciples, who were questioning them, mocking their faith AND God. Therefore He asked people what the fuss was all about. When the boy's dad saw the Master (Jesus), he came out of the crowd and explained that he brought his son and asked the apostles to heal him and cast out the evil spirit, but they were not able to do so. Jesus was grieved from their disbelief and ordered the man to bring forth his son. Then He told him that if he only believed, all things would be possible for them who believed.  So this poor father prayed to Christ saying "I believe, help thou mine unbelief"... God immediately commanded the spirit to leave boy's body. After this happened the boy was laying on the ground, as dead. Then Jesus touched him and helped him stand up. The boy was completely healed! Witnessing all that, His disciples later asked their Master privately, why they were not able to do the same. He explained that this kind of "healing" is possible ONLY with prayer AND fasting!

So there you go! How does the above apply to my "honest confession"? I am that father praying daily to help my unbelief. I've seen so many big and small miracles in my son's life that I should not doubt God's power to heal Michael. Yet, in my weak flesh, I always allow that "but" in my mind... "I know you are able to deliver my son or untie his tongue that he could communicate with us with words, BUT!!!!!....". And then there is another major ingredient that Jesus' disciples were lacking when they failed - FASTING! Yes, fasting - completely abstaining from food and drinks, having just pure water, is essential in the healing process. Not only do you obey God's Word, but it has many secular benefits for your body and mind too. 

As I have been preparing myself to drink water only, I have done some research on medical side of fasting. There are some cases when a person should not try that. But in majority, if you don't have diabetes, if you are not pregnant or breastfeeding mom, if you are not a pilot, active police officer or a doctor on duty, etc... you are a perfect candidate to water fast. 

Please read more on benefits of fasting here.

I need to share, that over the last couple of weeks, we had a really hard time with Booboo - routine has been thrown out the window - no school, our work schedules are different every week and in general we've been on mental "autopilot" ever since we came back from our holidays in America (more on that in my next blog :)). I am suspecting Mikey may have a toothache, as he's been biting things, and people around him, including his precious Yiayia & Papa (grandparents) as well as his baby sister :( . He's been more naughty and hyper than usual. Many days I felt like giving up! My hope that things would improve was hanging on a very thin thread - like in the story about epileptic son. All I could do was cry and beg God for mercy. Not for myself but for my beautiful boy, who is trying to tell me something but gets frustrated, because his mouth and hands are not coordinated with his mind and brain. He hopes I can hear his thoughts, as his amazing blue eyes filled with tears express fear and hopelessness when he grabs my arm and looks into my eyes (which may be physically painful for him to keep eye contact). 

Then I was reminded about the power of God, through prayer and fasting in faith, believing like a child... I know I was not the only one abstaining from food and drinks recently :) It is simply incredible what a change we've witnessed - Michael has calmed down, slept through the nights... He still has outbursts of frustration, especially when he hurts somewhere and is not able to show us where. But God gave us a glimpse of what can change if we invest our faith in God, following His instructions, and yes - FAST and PRAY more. Folks! It is worth it!

I heard someone on YouTube saying that even if you don't believe in God yourself, ask a local church or some believers to pray for your child with autism, because there is no say what power of prayer can do! And it really IS a big ingredient of healing process.

God bless and be well y'all ;)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Who will love me for me? - prison of Autism

Sip of strong coffee (hot, bitter and with a drop of delact milk of course!), work emails read and replied to, reports checked, kids fed and dressed.   Jambalaya telling me she may throw up - that's what every parent working from home wants to hear, knowing there's so many things pending on the business side... Yup, she was right :( Poor baby girl must have eaten something bad last night. At least Booboo is all ready and happy.  Much calmer after just one day of Valerianaheel drops - praise God for homeopathy :)
Since it looks like my chatterbox stays home with me today, I need to play some calming music to keep me sane :) Yes, it is unlikely but I promise I will try...

Awww... "What love really means" by JJ Heller  (<-- link to the song)... Man,this song has so many layers. It made me think of all the people I care about that are desperately willing to be loved for who they are. Big gulp tightening my throat as emotions flood through me and tears start flowing down my face... This song has been such a blessing to me and really made me re-think how I treat Michael. God has given me some additional verses to this song to make me realize how Mikey feels... and how desperately he needs our love - not for what he's done or what he will become but for who he is. The way Jesus sees and loves him. Unconditionally... He doesn't have to be a preacher or a doctor or even a football/ baseball player. God made him perfect and has a purpose for his life WITH autism. Perhaps God will heal our boy and puts autism in remission like He did with so many other kids and adults on the spectrum... If yes, it would be wonderful, if not... we will keep on trusting Him and His perfect plan.

I love you Mikey...

Prison of Autism

He cries in the corner where nobody sees
He's the kid with the story
No one would believe
He prays every night
"Dear God won't you please
Could you send someone here
Who will love me?"

Who will love me for me

Not for what I have done

Or what I will become

Who will love me for me

'Cause nobody has shown me what love

What love really means

He wished he could speak to express all his thoughts,
all desires, all dreams, even what was wrong...
He cries every day feeling misunderstood:
"Dear God, make them realize
I would if I could!!!"

Who will love me for me

Not for what I have done

Or what I will become

Who will love me for me

'Cause nobody has shown me what love

What love really means

He’s trying so hard to control all the things
“They’re so easy for them, then why not for me?”
He hears all the sounds even louder than them
But they judge and they mock when he’s overwhelmed…

Who will love him for him

Not for what he has done

Or what he will become

Who will love him for him

'Cause nobody has shown him what love

What love really means

He screams when he hurts, When the pain is too much
He thinks “God, won’t you please, make everything alright?”
He looks at the kids – they’re so happy and free
And yet he is in jail of his own disease…

Who will love me for me

Not for what I have done

Or what I will become

Who will love me for me

'Cause nobody has shown me what love

What love really means

And when night gets dark and his day almost done
He looks up, he looks down, he looks all around…
He sees his dear mom and his dad all apart
“Maybe if I wasn’t here, they would be alright?”

Who will love me for me

Not for what I have done

Or what I will become

Who will love me for me

'Cause nobody has shown me what love

What love really means

One day God looked down and He smiled seeing him
He was running around laughing, chasing the unseen
He stopped little boy and looked deep in his eyes
Then kissed him and told him "son, you'll be alright"

And He said “I will love you for you

Not for what you have done or what you will become

I will love you for you

I will show you what love

What love really means

I'm finding myself at a loss of words. Can't wait to run to my boy and give him the biggest hug ever  and tell him how much he is loved and what a blessing he's been in our lives! 
Mikey and the sea - liberating calm in overwhelming world of Autism

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Love with capital "L" - parsley, ancient city and CD player

Mmm, the smell of blackcurrant tea and delicious crispy protein bar full of nuts, fruit and some other healthy stuff. Yummy! As I felt piece of blueberry on my tooth, my mind drifted back to 2004...

I was in a need of a decent laptop to write down my very complex life story.   I didn't know any companies specializing in these products, so I asked my manager and a good friend, if she could recommend any, since her laptop was first class.   She then found some leaflet and handed it to me saying it's a solid distributor (and American!), so I should be able to find something decent, meeting my expectations.  Little did she know, a year after that purchase inquiry, I would be marrying my sales person :)  Yup, Mark showed up with my laptop and neither of us talked much about computer's specs, but rather our interests, like and dislikes etc... Mhm, I got a special deal: "buy one, get one free" haha. I bought  a laptop and agreed to be asked out on a date to T.G.I. Friday's.   Obviously I had to very carefully choose my meal there, as I didn't want to eat something heavy or causing any gastrointestinal issues. Duh!  The best choice was a very safe, or so I thought, chicken salad.   To be honest, I don't remember much from that date, and it's not because I was under influence of any sort of substances, although I was under a spell of a tall, handsome American dude...  All I remember was "parsley"!!! As we got our food, we were being all sweet and charming, eating tiny bites, chewing carefully, laughing a lot, sharing things about each other... and of course, what's the number one thing that attracts the opposite sex? Smile! But of course!   I could not stop smiling, and was really fluttered that Mark seemed to notice it.   But after a while of his eyes fixated on my lips, I felt a little uncomfortable.   Mind that it was our first date "out" (our first first date was when he invited me to his church!).   He smiled and looked me in the eyes, and said these famous words that caused permanent "amnesia" in my mind :) "Ula, although we've just met and don't really know each other that well, I believe you would appreciate the honesty and me saying what I want to say without any circling around the subject"... I blushed and thought "man! this guy is a real macho! here comes cliche 'I LOVE YOU'. Just say it and let's get it over with!". And he did! Well, not quite these words. It was more of: "You have a massive piece of parsley on your tooth. If it was me, I would also appreciate your honesty to spare the embarrassment for me".   As you can imagine, I wanted to be swallowed by the ground or become invisible.  My tomato red face and I asked to be excused.  I walked really fast to the restroom and looked for the windows, to escape that hall of shame :) Typically, no windows available, therefore I had to get back to my seat with crumbles of dignity I had left.   I honestly cannot recall that evening's conversation.  The only word still ringing in my head is PARSLEY... Oh well... We agreed to forget about any leafy vegetables when we were eating out.

I knew from that day that he is the one for me.   OK, and he knew too much about me AND saw my defiled smile.   He could either marry me or go missing in unexplained circumstances... I'm still happily married :)

I remember having a really bad day at work, feeling hormonal and snappy when Mark asked me out to dinner. Mind that because of the medication I was on back then, I developed a tremendous lack of confidence.   I didn't want to go to public places where there were many people, as I felt they were all looking at me and probably mocking (all in my head!).   Mark was brave enough and didn't get discouraged by my behaviors.   We ordered some Mexican food and as we were about to eat, he stood up and went to the car saying he had to make a call!  I felt like Daniel in a lion's den :) Of course that put me in an even worse mood.   When he came back all weird and absentminded, I immediately asked to leave.  I had had enough!   So he respected my wish and promised to take me to my place.   I noticed he took the wrong exit and drove towards the sea and ancient city of Amathunda.   In my sick brain, I figured he did it on purpose to get me more upset, as a payback for ruined dinner.   As he stopped the car, the moon reflecting beautifully in the water, gentle breeze outside and not a living soul around, I gave him "the look".   If eyes could kill, Mark would be "no more" :)  I had no clue what he was up to.  There he was, all romantic, trying to pick up the pieces of a disastrous date and his girl resembling an ancient dragon, with nostrils like butterfly wings, grinding her teeth, making her rather full lips practically disappear in tight gin ... If I was a guy, I would run like Speedy Gonzales, while there was still time :)  You can imagine, it was not an easy setting for a gentleman...
I know, I was a terrible creature. But I blame it on my meds ;)

Mark was driving an old Honda with no music player, so he attached his CD player to the radio via long cable. He started playing "our" song which made me suspicious... Why, oh why, would he do that?!  As the music played, our car doors opened so we could feel the soothing breeze and sea air, Mark had spoken :) "Ula... do you remember when you asked me if I thought you were the one for me, for life? Well... I don't." - that's all I've heard. My brain exploded. I've never been more humiliated in my life! OK, I partially deserved that as I had not been a very nice person, especially that evening. So I'm sitting there feeling completely numb, tears flowing down my cheeks, anger and frustration blending with sadness and huge loss and I see Mark getting out of the car. As he moved, his foot got tangled in the wire connecting the CD player to the radio. All I could see was a CD player flying high in the air, smashing into the ground, followed by Mark tripping over the wire, then kneeling down to put the pieces together, getting back in the car and putting on "our" song again. I was in shock. I was searching for energy to punch him in the face for this insult but could not feel my arms. The next time I opened my eyes I saw him by my door, kneeling down on one knee with a small white box and the most beautiful diamond ring a girl could dream of.   My brain registered  "will you marry me?" somewhere between the lines. I regained consciousness and managed to say "yes" :) After dust settled, Mark asked why I reacted that way to his extremely romantic proposal.  Apparently my brain froze and I missed the "good" part.  After "Ula... do you remember when you asked me if I thought you were the one for me, for life? Well... I don't." there was "I don't think. I KNOW you are the one for me and I cannot imagine my life without you, therefore I would like to ask you a question"... We laugh even now.   But like I said in my previous posts, we could not possibly have a regular life journey. From the very beginning, God made sure we would experience some most bizarre and ridiculous things, always random and filled with slapstick humor.  the way we met, our dates filled with parsley, marriage proposal, wedding vows, having a baby and forgetting the "hospital bag"etc... We love it!

So now, after this reminiscing, you can better understand why our kids are the way they are :) They simply have no choice having us as their parents, right?

Now on a serious note, it is really important that parents of a special needs child will keep their romance alive.   Actually, it applies to all parents.   In a rush of daily work, stress and kids, we tend to forget about Love (purposely spelled with capital "L").  Statistics are brutal. 3 out of 4 marriages with kids on the Autism spectrum end up in divorce and father leaving home.  It breaks my heart.  Every child desires to grow up in a complete family with loving parents who show, through their own example, what Love really is.   Are we a perfect couple that never argues or have different opinions on things? Absolutely not! But we do work on our marriage and our secret is "Love God before anyone else and keep Him a central Person in your home".  It works!

Have a fantastic day and never jump to conclusions before you hear the whole sentence ;)  
Love and peace
Till next time...

Friday, May 8, 2015

Hiking and Father's Day Adventure

Looking back... as I listen to the song in the background of a tribute video I put together for my precious boy, I get a big lump in my throat. If I was a song writer, this would be the song!

Enjoy watching "The Beautiful Face of Autism - Mikey Joe

Yup, counting my blessings one by one... It's good to do the stock-take every now and then ;) we had so many great moments together that easily overshadow the bad memories.

Tomorrow we'll be doing our weekly hike in the mountains... That is always an adventure. I remember very well our first big hike around Mount Olympus. We were told that it's a very picturesque walk that makes a perfect circle around the mountain - starting and ending the trip in the same spot - HA!!! It was 2 years ago, Booboo was 6 and Jambalaya not even 3 years old. Knowing how much Mark loves adventures and hiking, I decided to surprise him with backpacks filled with healthy snack and drinks to last 3 hour hike, or so we were told!

All excited we drove up the mountain on a gorgeous, sunny day... Up there it was cooler than by the sea where we live, so it was really pleasant to walk. We parked our car in a shade, under the tree and started our hike. How wonderful. How splendid! One thing our friends were right about and that was the most spectacular views and tranquility all the way... As you can imagine, 6 and 2,5 year old troopers got tired after first 20 minutes of our walk. No biggy, we can make a short stop to refuel our bodies with some sausage and water...

 As we stood up to keep going, our little princess asked if we're "almost there" cause her legs were getting tired!!! We knew we had ahead of us at least another 2.5 hour walk but as we all do, we answered in a quite convincing manner "YES, almost there". Mikey asked to be picked up and carried in Daddy Bear's arms and I had to do the same with Vivien.

Even if they weigh less than 20 kilos, if you have to carry them in your arms for several kilometers, your arms faint pretty fast. We kept going, changing the ways we carried them - letting them sit on our shoulders, carrying them piggy back style, carrying them in the front, supporting their backside on our palms (that's a killer one right there!) and eventually making them walk despite pain.

 After about 3,5 hour walk and going through all our snacks, we stopped even noticing amazing views around us. All we wanted was to get to the car as soon as possible, hoping we would see it behind the next curve. Another 2 hours passed and sun was setting down... Kids were crying and begging for mercy - literally. And so were we. I'm pretty sure I was speaking in Polish to vent my frustration and pain that was piercing my calves and thighs. Even my hips and back hurt! I was willing to stay under the open sky, just sit in the middle of the path and risk being eaten by Troodos mountain wildlife :)

Mark was walking faster in hope to see our car and to shout back to us that he found it. That would be nice. But we're not an average hiking team. We had to keep walking... It was really odd that throughout the entire walk on this trail we have passed just one couple who was walking in another direction. We felt like in Twin Peaks or something. Mysterious trail where people disappear... Finally we heard some cars on the road, so we knew we were close. What a relief that was. As we walked toward the setting sun and got extra power to speed up with both kids on our shoulders.

You can imagine our shock when we got to the road and didn't see our car. No, it was not stolen.  It was parked 5 kilometers up the mountain on the way to Olympus... Yes... the vision of walking up the road with two hungry, extremely tired kiddies did not turn us into kind and sweet best friends. Hissing and growling could be heard as we kept crawling up. At some point I was hoping that at least one of the passing us cars would stop and give us a lift to our car. Not a chance! My legs rebelled against me and I just sat down on a big rock holding my two sleepy babies. Mark turned out to be a hero that saved the day, as he walked up the hill, alone, despite excruciating pain in his legs. He found our car and drove down to pick us all up. I've never been more relieved in my life. As tears of joy flowed down my face, kids immediately fell asleep and Mark turned to me, smiled and said "never again!" We could not move for 2 days. And we were in pretty good physical shape before this adventure  :) So what did we do the following weekend? Yup, you got it! We went hiking again but this time we took the right trail. And  that became our new family tradition...

Looking forward to see what tomorrow holds! :) Aaaah, this time Bonnie goes with us ;) more fun!

Have a fabulous weekend and make some memories with the people you love! God bless xx

Bilingual home with countless "Autism" Rules broken

As I looked at my "love tribute" to Mark that I made for one of our wedding anniversaries, I realized we could not have a "neuro-typical" proper life.  It was predestined to have it all other way around, as we have always been the crazy kids on the block. Although I grew up in reserved Poland with Catholic background and Mark in good ole' South, USA in a Baptist community, we could never fit the little square boxes of conventions. I was a rebel since my early childhood, raised in a socialist "Polish People's Republic", where sharing your faith and believes in public could cost you your job, prison or even death in some extreme cases.   I was only a few years old and was proud to tell other kids about the love of Jesus, sharing all Bible stories I've heard in my "religion" classes. Especially sharing them with my friend who was a daughter of the biggest communist in militia back home. I had no fear (or understanding of the consequences), so I was teaching her all things I've learned - like the model prayer, all about the angels and heaven and what God did for us because of His love... She then asked her parents if she could start attending my religion classes.  Oopsie daisy :) Yup, I caused some trouble every now and then. I could never sit still and watch TV, like my kids can nowadays... Partly because "kids' programs" were not available 24/7. We had like 2-3  channels and kids could watch cartoons on Saturday and Sunday morning till 10-ish and then "goodnight" story for 20 min after evening news section. And that was it! So, like most of you, I spent my days outdoors. I found it easier to play with boys rather than other girls. I always loved climbing the trees, playing cards, not so much playing football, but doing all other things that were far more fascinating than changing clothes of our dollies and playing tea parties... As a teenager I was the one "saving" my class from big tests by acting in a really dramatic way (and yet very believable) acute appendicitis and other medical emergencies :) May God have mercy on me haha. School nurse got to know me well by the end of my school years. But I also went to hospital and was willing to go through all kinds of nasty and really uncomfortable procedures just to avoid going to music school (my violin lessons)... So yes, not an average Joe. Mark had similar character and knew he had to do more than what was offered to him in his community. He came with his parents, who were missionaries to Cyprus, as a young boy and practically grew up in here, surrounded by multinational culture. He never had problems making friends and, like me, he wanted to share the gospel with anyone coming his way - always with a great sense of humor. I remember the story he shared when his best friend came to his house for a meal. Mom cooked some delicious food and everyone ate with good appetite. Then when Mom left with all the dishes, Mark said very loud "this is so rude of you! Why would you say that my Mom's food is horrible?! I can't believe you". Poor guy turned red and was ready to strangle Mark with his bare hands. :) Although we were raised in two completely different environments, we were so alike. And then when we finally met, we knew from the beginning that was IT :)
To cut the story short (finally!!!)
We fell in love, got married twice (to each other!) and then stork flew over our house and dropped our Mikey first and then 3.5 years later his baby sister.  We're a Polish - American family living in Cyprus, having great friends from Israel, Lebanon, Russia, Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Austria, Philippines, UK, Sri Lanka, Holland, Germany etc.... We're truly blessed. And so as a young mommy, I was talking to my baby boy both in Polish and English, until I went to work when Michael was one. Then it was more difficult as I didn't have much time with him. One and a half year after that we had first ASD diagnosis and suggestion from pediatrician to limit communication language to just English :( It hurt me (and still hurts) that my language was put on the side track as less important. I know if we were living in Poland it would be different, as we'd be surrounded by this language. In Cyprus official language is Greek (but of course! - "give me any word, ANY WORD! and I will prove that its root is in Greek!" - quoting from the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"). All doctors are Cypriots, public schools are Greek language based. We had a big problem. There were even some suggestions that we should learn Greek and speak in Greek at home, so that Mikey could go to public (free of charge) school one day and to know Greek by default. Sounds crazy now but back then we were considering all options. We found private English kindergarten and then school, so problem was solved (although a very costly solution to language dilemma). Funny enough, Mikey shows great interest in foreign languages. He loves the sound of Chinese, Hebrew, Arabic, Greek and Dutch. At school he's writing his name in Greek alphabet as if it was no biggy... This boy is full of surprises, no doubt!
Bilingual parents, multinational friends at school and in church, Polish grandparents who took an effort (in their mature age!) and studied English for several years, in order to communicate with their "foreign" grandkids (sigh)....
Psychologists and all the smart medical professionals seem to be on the same page regarding limiting communication language to just one (English). The same rule applies to calling Michael by his name, not to confuse him. Ha! Now that would be easy if we were "normal" parents obeying instructions coming from professionals. As the natural born rebels without a cause we cannot conform ourselves into small boxes of conventions :) We both make up words and nicknames for all the members of our family. It's impossible to just have one name and one nick. So our poor boy on the spectrum knows (and likes) all his nicknames. And, what puzzles the medical world, responds to most of them :) In my craziness, I tend to forget that when picking up kids from school, I should call their given names. And then I see surprised faces of other parents when I call my kids by their nicks... Some of them are really bizarre:
Booba Boobela - female form of the original name Booboo (origin: Yogi and Booboo Bear)
Sillina - combo of the English word "silly" and Polish ending of female names "na"
Grumpelstinsky - nick for Daddy Bear ;) I don't think it requires further elaboration ("-sky" is a typical surname ending of Polish Americans immigrants)
Floopy doopy doo with occasional moderation of Floopidy Floop Floop and Flopster
Dziumbellina (pronounced: joom-bellina) -  no real meaning but sounds cool
Frompiduria - again, totally made up word
Occasionally we throw some random Greek words like "glikaniso" (γλυκάνισο) which means aniseed. I know! Couldn't get more ridiculous :)

To sum up - there's this magical beauty in our multinational existence and bilingual family with crazy made up dictionary that keeps our Autism reality that much sweeter. Since we cannot change circumstances, we can and we most definitely will change conventions and words we use.

What's the recipe for happiness in our crazy household?
1 American stud
1 Polish female rebel
2 Polish- American kids
handful of humor
1 tsp of seriousness
10Tbsp of craziness
pinch of sadness and trials
a whole lot of Autism
and all marinated and cooked in pure organic faith

That would be all, folks! Stay tuned and send me some comments ;)
Love and kisses...
God bless each and every one of you