LIFE IS A SPECTRUM

It's supposed to be WORDLESS Wednesday, but if you know me, you know that's next to impossible. I can't shut up.

So here are some ghosts of my Halloween past. As I've said before, my Mom was awesome at Halloween costumes (the Wonder Woman Underoos notwithstanding)...

WonderWoman

Wonder Twins!

HoboWitch

How did I talk my sister into wearing THAT getup while I was Cute Witch?

Mime

Remember what I said about "too much costume?" I was 12. As cool as this was, when you're 12 and a girl, you're better off going as a cheerleader or Hannah Montana. Also, nobody likes mimes.

And because tomorrow is my 8th wedding anniversary, I've been thinking a lot about what was then the happiest day of my life (before our kids). Believe it or not, this photo was taken with a digital camera. The resolution was so low, I could have drawn a more accurate photo:

throw

But in this particular shot, I like the low-res effect. You an see my little god-daughter, Imogen, then three years old, down in the right-hand corner, ready to catch the bouquet. I'm climbing the stairs of from the courtyard of the old converted Venetian palace in which Dave and I were just married in Crete. It had just rained lightly. The ceremony was over. I was wearing fresh flowers in my hair, bought in the local market and woven together by my brother that morning. Twenty-five of the people we loved best in the world were there. And I married my best friend. More on that tomorrow ...

Reader Comments

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Marrying your best friend would come pretty high on the list. Love the costumes, especially the mime!

Underoos!!!

Okay, for a wordless Wednesday, I have a few words.

A. I have never before typed the word "Underoos". It is kinda liberating.

2. I generally hate mimes, but you were a cute one.

Third: Happy anniversary - almost.

(d) Crete? Huh. Isn't that off the Jersey Turnpike? Near Camden? Couldn't spring something fancy like the Mediteranean?

I missed it!

I can't believe I missed your SITS Day! I have no excuse...except that I had to go to work and the grocery store! Thank you for the great Spring Chicken shout-out! I love our tribe!

My hubby and I just celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary in October. That picture of you on the steps is beautiful, low resolution and everything!

Those costumes are adorable. My sister is three years younger than me and she still gives me a hard time about having to be the scarecrow while I was Dorothy. It was about 23 years ago...

The wedding sounds like a dream. Can't to read more tomorrow. Hope you have a very happy anniversary! We'll be celebrating our 8th anniversary, too, in March.

Underoos

Look at you, rockin' the underoos! Awesome.

So looking forward to tomorrow's post! I love a good wedding story. :)

Underoos!

Yea, I have a hard time with the wordless part of Wordless Wednesday too (though I was definitely less chatty than usual this go round! :>).

I remember Underoos!!! I had Supergirl and Wonder Woman and I have the picture of me in my Supergirl set on Christmas flashing through my head now. lol :> Thanks for the trip down memory lane!


Happy early Anniversary! Your wedding sounds beautiful and am looking forward to hearing more! :>

I love the Wonder twins!!!! And your witch costume ;)

Title!

My mom and aunt made fantastic costumes as well and one similar to the mime. You guys look great as Wonder Woman times two.

Happy belated SITS day.

LisaDay

Total 9 comments

Today is supposedly Communication Shutdown Day. Thanks to The SITS Girls for letting me share my feelings on that autism awareness campaign -- and some cute pictures of my kids in Halloween costumes -- with my friends in the blogosphere. How do you feel about it?

Reader Comments

You are too much. Hilarious and such a good point. I love it when people think for themselves!
Can you tell I'm just now catching up with all your posts?!

Congrats on your SITS day! I look forward to reading some of your post because even though I have a neurotypical child, I am fairly sure I can relate to your mommy tantrums and your other mothering trials & tribulations. Again, congrats! :)

Twitter Follow

Oh my. I just realized that I'm not following you on Twitter already, so I'm off to follow you there too! :>

Great Autism Shout Out

Loved your vlog, Amanda! I didn't participate in the Communication Shutdown (aka Global Pout) either! I participated in the Autism Shout Out for ASDay on Twitter all day and connected with some fabulous people speaking for themselves with autism, as well as many rockin' Mamas who squeak loudly for their kidlets! Wasn't it just dripping with irony that it was the day before the election? I know it originated in Australia where the 2nd wouldn't be their election day, but the irony was just too much to bare. And I almost spit my java at the monitor when I saw your Angle autism air quotes! Great vlog and great to see you! :>

I Have Spent Over $5000....

out of pocket in the last 18 months on speech/language therapy and I am not about to ask E. to be quiet now. Can you imagine?? What silliness is this???

Where would we be right now as a civilization without Thomas Paine, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Jeanette Rankin, Bella Abzug, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Ghandi, Harvey Milk, Harvey Fierstein, people with big ideas, big dreams and GIANT voices?

I am happy to have an opportunity each and every day to say that "this" (our family) is the face of ASD. To do so otherwise is to allow others to define who we are and what we need from our communities and elected representatives. Now, go vote!!

Great mom

You are a great mom for your kids. I am sure your son is as lucky having you as a mom as you having him as your son.

I'm visiting from SITS. Congrats on your special day!

I teach an autistic teen (age 17) in his home 3 days a week. (I'm not a specialist, just a teacher.) He is talkative and peppers me with questions during each lesson. He has a great sense of humor and is a talented artist.

I usually work with him in the language area--writing, reading comprehension, literature, foreign language. Through our study of literature, he's gained an appreciation for relationships and how people interact. So even though he's focused on Thomas the Train, he now writes elaborate stories about Thomas and Rosie and their budding relationship! When he reads his stories to me, he changes his voice to play all the parts. (He blushes when Thomas tells Rosie, "I love you.")

And this from a boy who used to sit growling under a desk in kindergarten. He's a truly amazing individual! I'm blessed to know him!

Happy SITS day!

I completely missed communication shutdown day and all the hype, I'm sad to say... although despite everything, I made sure that I posted on my blog... but coming home from the hospital with the latest edition to the fam made me post less than I had planned... I have to say that I totally agree with you though - even when my son was almost completely non-verbal he found creative ways to communicate his needs and wants - and effectively too... when he wants to be clear, he still drags the gallon milk jug and a cup out of the kitchen and into whatever room I'm in if I haven't responded in enough time to his request for moo...

Glad SITS introduced me to your blog, looking forward to getting to know more about you and your family!

Total 18 comments

I've established the fact that I can't cook. And that when I do cook, I frequently take short cuts. So when I saw the pre-cut Nestle Toll House orange jack o' lantern cookies, I thought, “Score!” Just pop 'em out, lay them on a cookie sheet, stick 'em in the oven, cook for 10 minutes. Done.

PumpkinPals

Pumpkin Pals! So happy to be eaten!

I had volunteered to provide two dozen cookies to Willow's Fall Festival party, and I thought the little orange sugar cookies would be the perfect complement to an 18-month-old's celebration of Halloween. I imagined myself impressing all the other parents by being that mom who freshly bakes cookies for the school party. (Maybe they wouldn't have noticed the 6-foot-high Nestle display in the Publix refrigerated section.)

My mistake came when I looked at the package and saw the jolly picture on the package of the jack o' lanterns with colored eyes and mouths. According to the package, you can use decorator gels to fill in the cut-outs and then your cookies will emerge from the oven practically laughing with Halloween happiness.

Well, I don't know what decorator gels are. I did, however, have some food coloring left over from Easter. How different could it be? It says it's for coloring food.

S_yuckycookies

I'll eat YOU, little girl!

I got out the food coloring and some of the kids paint brushes and started painting away. I painted some with green eyes and smiles for the boys and some for pink eyes and mouths for the girls. I missed the part on the instructions where it said, “Do not over-fill.”

10 minutes later, my cookies emerged from the oven looking like something from the horror movie Pumpkinhead. The pink-eyed jack o'lanterns appeared to be bleeding from the eyes and mouth, and the black-mouthed (because the dark green came out black) boys' cookies looked like a warning against tooth decay. Some of them looked like they had grown mold.

Billy pointed at one girl cookie and summed it up: “That pumpkin has a hurchy eye.” Indeed.

So “hurchy,” in fact, that when presented with one of these horror cookies at the Fall Festival, an 18-month-old girl started to cry.

From now on, I'm going to be that mom that impresses everyone with how efficiently she orders from the bakery.

Thanks to The SITS Girls for sponsoring our 3-day “Boo!” blog challenge, just one of the fun reasons that I love being a member of this active blogging community.

Reader Comments

Hey Gurl-fren!

Well, how happy am I to find you on the interwebz? I, too, am the parent of a child with autism and a neurotypical child. I write about them in my other blog "The Adventures of Auti and Tippy". I love that you say there is so much more going on in your world than autism...so true!!! Can't wait to read more.

Welcome to my world :)

Sooooo glad to discover your blog, i love your take on life - especially about life on the spectrum - a topic close to my heart since about a year ago.

Spring Chickens are the best. Congrats on your SITS day!

Tears of laughter!

You have got me crying with laughter! You are so funny! Your mom & dad are sitting in the lving room with me howling with laughter too. I just love how you tell on yourself. Love ya Big Sis!

That made me laugh so hard. I love your ingenuity though! That comment "If you baking skills make babies cry, you're doing something right." is hysterical.

Oh em geee...this post had me laughing so hard...not at you, but WITH you!! I recently attempted to make cupcakes for my son's birthday to share with his friends at school. Nothing fancy, just Duncan Hines with icing from a tub....no big deal, right?! Apparently it WAS! NONE of them turned out well! I ended up making a detour by Kroger on the way to his party! :)

HA! I love the "hurchy" eyes! I probably would have made the same mistake or heck I would have not colored them at all because I wouldn't realize that I needed the extra stuff until too late. Ooops :)

Got an email about decorator gel...

Turns out, this is a kind of food coloring in gel form that helps prevent "hurchy eyes" on cookies by staying where it's supposed to be and not seeping out in creepy ways all over your baked jack o'lanterns. Now I know!

Total 13 comments

Today the SITS Girls are writing about being haunted by the ghosts of Halloween past. I'll admit it, I approached this Halloween haunted. By low expectations. By the memory of everything we did wrong last year with our overwhelmed and exhausted autistic child. And the year before that. Haunted by the disappointment I felt when my handsome astronaut collapsed in the living room floor, screaming for us to remove his costume, claiming to be "Itchy! Hot! Hurchy!" and any number of other negative adjectives that might or might not be recognized words in the English language.

Instead of trick-or-treating, we did this for 45 minutes on October 31, 2009:

S_BillyAstro_Cry2

October 2009: Epic Halloween Fail

But my, oh my, what a difference a year can make:

S_BillyAstro_HAPPY

October 2010: Look who's wearing a HAT!

Last year, we didn't even attempt the cute NASA hat, because Billy couldn't bear to have his head touched. This year, he takes great pleasure in "Vogue-ing" in front of the mirror in his costume and hat.

He wore his costume for HOURS at the pre-K school Halloween party on Friday, while I stood back, practically agog at the unexpected success. He painted pumpkins, climbed inside the scary glow-in-the-dark cave for a Halloween story, completed two different fall crafts and even put his fingers (ever so briefly) into the unknown jar of yucky "guts" (pumpkin entrails).

Granted, he spent a good deal of time on the pre-K play porch dancing with a washcloth, but he was having a great time, and it was actually kind of an interesting dance.

S_BillyAstro_School_cloth

Billy invents Washcloth Dancing.

S_BillyAstro_School_painting

Painting pumpkins

S_BillyAstro_School_eyesclosed

The meditating astronaut

S_BillyAstro_School_surprise

Boo! Gotcha!

S_BillyAstro_School_smile

My happy astronaut

S_BillyAstro_School_run

And he's off!

     

This Halloween, his new favorite thing is to say "Boo!" and surprise me, as you can see in the photo sequence above.

He has no idea how surprised I am.

Reader Comments

Happiness

Your kiddos just shine with happiness! Love your blog and your family! Happy SITS day!

Happy Hurchy-ween!

@Lori: You're right -- his happiness on Friday and throughout the weekend was all the treat I needed. Well, that and about 400 mini-Snickers.

@Cheryl & @outoutout: Thanks for the thumbs up on the blog design. I have my creative sister to thank for the header and my hubby to thank for the general implementation and overhaul.

@Ginny Marie: THANK YOU. I take any sign of likeness between me and my kids to be a huge compliment. A lot of people say that Willow looks like Dave all the time. It's nice to think there are some of my genes in their SOMEWHERE.

@Ashley: Agree with you about the smile. It certainly is catching in THIS household :-)

@Lynn: What a very good point. It's easy to remember how well (or not well) things went at a particular holiday in previous years. Not so easy to remember we had a good or bad January 18th. I've got my fingers crossed that Audrey has the best winter carnival experience EVER this year. Hurray for progress indeed!

@Wendy: Having participated in washcloth dancing myself, I can GUARANTEE you that there is no coordination requirement :-)

Billy Embraces Halloween...Yay!

I'm glad Billy had fun on Halloween this year!

Hmmm...washcloth dancing...I should try that. Can someone with almost no coordination do it?

Wendy

Success!

That is awesome! Sometimes the holidays are the best checkpoint to see where your child is one year later. I take Audrey to the same sensory-overloading winter carnival every year to see how she does, and she does better and better every year. Hurray for progress!

Adorable

He has one of those absolutely contagious smiles. I'm so happy to see he had a great time!

In that second photo...

I don't know who Billy favors when you see him in person, but I can totally see you in Billy's face when he's wearing his hat!

I'm so glad he had so much fun at the party!

First of all, huge thumbs-up to your new rainbow-coloured banner! :)

And yes, what a difference a year (or two, or ten, or twenty) can make in the life of an autistic person! I'm so glad your son has gotten to the point where he can enjoy Halloween. His costume looks great!

That's Great!

How wonderful that Billy can enjoy Halloween now! What a difference! BTW, your new blog design looks great!

Total 9 comments

ThreePsbutton

Are you ready to fall in love with Carter. Cause you will.

His awesome Mama, Tara from 3 Ps in a Pod, is guest-blogging this week, and yep, she's another one of my Spring Chicken Tribe from SITS. We're moms with kids whose needs are outside the box, and Tara's Carter was born prematurely at 29 weeks. He's now a happy, healthy (did I mention GORGEOUS) 10-month-old who has his own ideas about eating.

Tara blogs about her baby wearing, breast pumping, cloth diapering, dream feeding, rollercoaster riding family at Three Ps in a Pod. But this week, she's filling us in on her perspective on Halloween. If you drop in on her 3 Ps, be sure and tell her I said, "Hi!"

And by the way, I'm visiting at Four Plus an Angel today, where Jessica has kindly let me share my thoughts on neurodiversity. I think it's speaks so highly of her character that despite the fact our views on autism treatment/therapy are different, she lets me share my viewpoint with her readers.

Lots to read! Let's get started ...

------------------------------------------------------

The Life of Halloween

halloween

Photo by Flickr user Miala

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve never been crazy about Halloween. Well, maybe when I was a kid and at the age when trick-or-treating was still cool. But that was many years ago. However, now that I’m a mom, I’ve been thinking more and more about this holiday and it’s slowly reeling me back in. My thoughts have included the “life of Halloween” and the realization of how the activities and feelings associated with this holiday have changed so much over the years.
Halloween as a kid is such a magical time. A time full of parties, candy, and dressing up as our favorite characters! There’s nothing more fun than the thought of “What am I going to be this year?” Walking through the stores, looking at all the costumes and accessories, and knowing that you can be whatever you want to be on this one day! Shelves surround you, full of glitter, wigs, make-up, fake blood, fake teeth, masks, and everything else imaginable. Then, a couple aisles over, there’s all the candy. With that sight comes the excitement of trick-or-treating and the prospect of having mounds and mounds of candy to last for months! Oh, and don’t forget, carving pumpkins!
Then we grow older and trick-or-treating is no longer cool, but there comes a whole new excitement with this holiday. Parties! I’m not quite sure at what age I stopped trick-or-treating, but I’m sure it was a sad time. Come on, even adults like candy! But I remember going to my first Halloween party. It was in a dark garage. We played a game where we were blind folded and stuck our hand in a bowl of gooey something that ended up being slimy spaghetti noodles. Halloween music played and we had fun just talking and socializing. We also enjoyed the wonderful activity we liked to
call “toilet papering.” Now, apparently not everyone experiences this, as my husband never did. We snuck out in the dark of night to fill people’s trees with toilet paper. Oh, the memories.

Then we grow even older and graduate high school, some going off to college. Here comes a brand new meaning to Halloween - parties…of a different kind. You may also get together with friends to go to a haunted trail, haunted house, etc.

After college Halloween may bring yet another set of activities. You may purchase candy to pass out to trick-or-treating kids. Or you may attend yet another kind of Halloween party, a work party. My workplace would usually have a carry-in and do some Halloween activities that included passing out candy. Yes, candy! A little bit of the fun comes back.

Now I’m a mother and, like I said at the beginning, I sit here thinking of all the things I can’t wait to do with Carter. Some of them we will do this year even though he’s still little, like dress him up in a costume. But next year will be like a new beginning to Halloween. The magic that I felt as a child will all come rushing back, in parent form. The aisles and aisles of costumes, glitter, wigs, and masks will, again, be a part of my life. We’ll go trick-or-treating and sit on the floor sorting through the mounds of candy when we get home. We’ll start new family traditions, like going to a pumpkin
patch to pick out our pumpkins, carving the pumpkins together, and eventually we’ll have Halloween parties for Carter and all of his friends.
I feel like Halloween has come full circle, at least for me. Your journey through the life of Halloween may have not been the same as mine. Of course, we all experience different things as children and adults, and have different interests and traditions when it comes to any holiday. But I hope all of you enjoy this time of year and take a minute to think about your journey through the life of Halloween. Has the magic it had in the past come back to you?

Written by Tara from Three P’s in a Pod
http://3psmama.blogspot.com

Reader Comments

Happy SITS day!

Happy SITS day! What a cute blog you have!

Life with Kaishon

Congratulations on having a SITS day! That is so exciting : ) Your blog is fascinating. Your children are so adorable (in their hats and without) : )

Congrats on your SITS day. I have been really enjoying your blog this afternoon. :)

Congratulations on your SITS day

Amanda, congratulations on your big day! I loved reading your answers to the SITS girls' questions, especially the one about having more children. I can totally relate! I admire people who can so gracefully juggle the responsibilities of big families, but I know that personally, I'm not cut out for that role. My two little girls keep me plenty busy, engaged, entertained, and hovering just above the line between sane and totally squirrel-nut-zippy. I love your writing style and am definitely looking forward to reading more of your posts. It was wonderful to read about what a positive and supportive experience your Tribe has been (love the tribe name too!)

Again, congratulations! Warmest wishes, Jenn

You inspire me!

I have two little girls ages 2 & 3 (Madeline and Natalie) Madeline my 3 year old is in the beginning stages of being diagnosed with Autism. The part you wrote about joy...its so true. Some may not understand that they are not disabled but just differently abled. Congrats on your SITS day my fellow SITSta!

Congrats!

Congrats on your SITS day. It is so awesome to fell all of the love. I hope you get tons and tons of comments.

Happy SITS day!

Happy SITS day! :)

Total 13 comments

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